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Sample records for mars analog lakes

  1. Bristol Dry Lake, California: An Analog for Ancient Lacustrine Environments on Mars

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mitchell, J. L.; Christensen, P. R.

    2016-05-01

    This study investigates Bristol Dry Lake, CA, as an analog site for ancient lakes on Mars. Water chemistry and spectra were used to explore the geology and chemistry of chlorides at Bristol and their impact on possible habitable environments on Mars.

  2. The Antarctic analogy for ancient lakes at Gale Crater, Mars

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kling, A.; Haberle, R. M.; McKay, C. P.; Bristow, T.; Rivera-Hernandez, F.

    2016-12-01

    In place of the dual choice of "warm and wet" versus "cold and dry" Mars, we reconcile in this paper the notion of a cold Mars with the notion of wet Mars. Both the geological evidences at Gale's for the presence of liquid water during the Hesperian (Grotzinger et al., Science, 350 (6257), 2015) and the failure of climate models make Mars warm (Wordsworth, Review of Earth and Planetary Science, 44, 1-31, 2016) suggested that an alternative scenario could be envisioned.The lake Untersee, Antarctica is an inspiring example of how an aqueous environment can survive for an extended period of the time in a place where the day average temperatures never reach 273K. The key process which maintains a liquid, potentially habitable, environment under the ice is the subaqueous melting of a glacial dam in contact with the lake which provides a constant latent heat flux into the lake (McKay et al, in preparation) Our calculations showed that for certain range of pressures, temperatures and ice optical properties, a large body of water at Gale's will not freeze solid even if the surface temperatures are at all times well below freezing. The rather high sublimation rates of ice at Mars', the sunlight penetrating the ice and the geothermal flux contribute to stabilize the solid/liquid interface at a certain depth. We found that for a mean annual temperature of 245K ice thicknesses range from 3-10 meters which are comparable values to the range of those for the Antarctic lakes (2-7m). Thus, the ice potentially gets thin enough to let sediments penetrate the ice (Rivera-Hernandez et al., in preparation) and geological features associated with aqueous environments may still be possible with a perennially-covered lake, on cold, but wet planet. The Antarctic lakes model is engaging as it relaxes the requirement for a long-lived active hydrological cycle involving rainfall and runoff, which no climate model has been able to produce for early Mars.

  3. Antarctic Dry Valley Streams and Lakes: Analogs for Noachian Mars?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Head, James; Marchant, David

    2013-04-01

    Recent climate models suggest that Noachian Mars may have been characterized by a "cold and icy", rather than a "warm and wet" climate. Noachian valley networks and open basin lakes have been cited as key evidence for a "warm and wet" early Mars. We investigate fluvial and lacustrine processes in the Mars-like Antarctic McMurdo Dry Valleys (MDV) to assess whether such processes, which take place in the absence of pluvial activity and with mean annual temperatues (MAT) well below zero, can serve as informative proxies for Noachian Mars. In contrast to temperate climates, fluvial processes in the MDV (and thus a host of weathering, erosion and transport processes there) are severely limited by the lack of rainfall. The limited sources of meltwater provide very local streams and hyporheic zones, serving to concentrate chemical weathering processes and biological ecosystems. The horizontally stratified hydrologic system means that localized meltwater is constrained to flow in a very shallow and narrow aquifer perched on top of the ice table aquiclude. Lakes and ponds in temperate areas are largely of pluvial origin and characterized by abundant vegetation, large drainage basins and higher order streams delivering rainwater. In contrast, the hyperarid, hypothermal conditions in the MDV mean that there is no rainfall, water sources are limited primarily to meltwater from the surface of cold-based glaciers, and drainage into lakes is seasonal and highly variable, being related to changing and sluggish response to surface ice hypsometry, itself a function of changing climate. Lake surface fluctuations are caused by imbalances between meltwater input and sublimation from the lake surface ice and this sensitive balance tends to magnify even minor climate signals. Where does the lakewater come from and under what conditions is excess meltwater produced to cause modifications in their levels? The dominant means of supply (meltwater) and loss (ablation) are clearly seasonally

  4. Mono Lake Analog Mars Sample Return Expedition for AMASE

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Conrad, P. G.; Steele, A.; Younse, P.; DiCicco, M.; Morgan, A. R.; Backes, P.; Eigenbrode, J. E.; Marquardt, D.; Amundsen, H. E. F.

    2011-01-01

    We explored the performance of one robotic prototype for sample acquisition and caching of martian materials that has been developed at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory for potential use in the proposed MAX-C Mars Sample Return architecture in an environment, rich in chemical diversity with a variety of mineralogical textures. Mono Lake State Tufa Reserve in Mono County, CA possesses a variety of minerals including a variety of evaporites, volcanic glass and lava, and sand and mudstones. The lake itself is an interesting chemical system: the water is highly alkaline (pH is approximately 10) and contains concentrations of Cl, K, B, with lesser amounts of S Ca Mg, F, As, Li, I and Wand generally enriched HREEs. There are also traces of radioactive elements U, Th, Pl.

  5. Alkaline Hypersaline Lakes as Analogs for Ancient Microbial Habitats on Mars

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    McDonald, G. D.; Tsapin, A. I.; Storrie-Lombardi, M. C.; Nealson, K. H.; Brinton, K. L. F.; Sun, H.; Venkateswaren, K.; Tsapin, I.; Melack, J.; Jellison, R.

    1999-01-01

    As the climate of ancient Mars became colder and drier with time, open bodies of water would have entered a regime in which evaporation exceeded input from precipitation or runoff. This would have resulted in increases in salinity and perhaps pH. The last open water on Mars was most likely found in alkaline hypersaline lakes, and these lakes would have been the last surface aquatic habitats for life on Mars. It follows, then, that the biomarkers most likely to be found in ancient sedimentary basins on Mars are those left by organisms adapted to high salt and high pH environments. We have begun to investigate the nature of biological diversity and adaptation to these environments, and the potential for biomarker preservation in them, using Mono Lake as a terrestrial analog environment. Additional information is contained in the original extended abstract.

  6. Alkaline Hypersaline Lakes as Analogs for Ancient Microbial Habitats on Mars

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    McDonald, G. D.; Tsapin, A. I.; Storrie-Lombardi, M. C.; Nealson, K. H.; Brinton, K. L. F.; Sun, H.; Venkateswaren, K.; Tsapin, I.; Melack, J.; Jellison, R.

    1999-01-01

    As the climate of ancient Mars became colder and drier with time, open bodies of water would have entered a regime in which evaporation exceeded input from precipitation or runoff. This would have resulted in increases in salinity and perhaps pH. The last open water on Mars was most likely found in alkaline hypersaline lakes, and these lakes would have been the last surface aquatic habitats for life on Mars. It follows, then, that the biomarkers most likely to be found in ancient sedimentary basins on Mars are those left by organisms adapted to high salt and high pH environments. We have begun to investigate the nature of biological diversity and adaptation to these environments, and the potential for biomarker preservation in them, using Mono Lake as a terrestrial analog environment. Additional information is contained in the original extended abstract.

  7. Microbial Diversity in a Hypersaline Sulfate Lake: A Terrestrial Analog of Ancient Mars

    PubMed Central

    Pontefract, Alexandra; Zhu, Ting F.; Walker, Virginia K.; Hepburn, Holli; Lui, Clarissa; Zuber, Maria T.; Ruvkun, Gary; Carr, Christopher E.

    2017-01-01

    Life can persist under severe osmotic stress and low water activity in hypersaline environments. On Mars, evidence for the past presence of saline bodies of water is prevalent and resulted in the widespread deposition of sulfate and chloride salts. Here we investigate Spotted Lake (British Columbia, Canada), a hypersaline lake with extreme (>3 M) levels of sulfate salts as an exemplar of the conditions thought to be associated with ancient Mars. We provide the first characterization of microbial structure in Spotted Lake sediments through metagenomic sequencing, and report a bacteria-dominated community with abundant Proteobacteria, Firmicutes, and Bacteroidetes, as well as diverse extremophiles. Microbial abundance and functional comparisons reveal similarities to Ace Lake, a meromictic Antarctic lake with anoxic and sulfidic bottom waters. Our analysis suggests that hypersaline-associated species occupy niches characterized foremost by differential abundance of Archaea, uncharacterized Bacteria, and Cyanobacteria. Potential biosignatures in this environment are discussed, specifically the likelihood of a strong sulfur isotopic fractionation record within the sediments due to the presence of sulfate reducing bacteria. With its high sulfate levels and seasonal freeze-thaw cycles, Spotted Lake is an analog for ancient paleolakes on Mars in which sulfate salt deposits may have offered periodically habitable environments, and could have concentrated and preserved organic materials or their biomarkers over geologic time.

  8. Microbial mats in playa lakes and other saline habitats: Early Mars analog?

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Bauld, John

    1989-01-01

    Microbial mats are cohesive benthic microbial communities which inhabit various Terra (Earth-based) environments including the marine littoral and both permanent and ephemeral (playa) saline lakes. Certain geomorphological features of Mars, such as the Margaritifer Sinus, were interpreted as ancient, dried playa lakes, presumably formed before or during the transition to the present Mars climate. Studies of modern Terran examples suggest that microbial mats on early Mars would have had the capacity to survive and propagate under environmental constraints that would have included irregularly fluctuating regimes of water activity and high ultraviolet flux. Assuming that such microbial communities did indeed inhabit early Mars, their detection during the Mars Rover Sample Return (MRSR) mission depends upon the presence of features diagnostic of the prior existence of these communities or their component microbes or, as an aid to choosing suitable landing, local exploration or sampling sites, geomorphological, sedimentological or chemical features characteristic of their playa lake habitats. Examination of modern Terran playas (e.g., the Lake Eyre basin) shows that these features span several orders of magnitude in size. While stromatolites are commonly centimeter-meter scale features, bioherms or fields of individuals may extend to larger scales. Preservation of organic matter (mats and microbes) would be favored in topographic lows such as channels or ponds of high salinity, particularly those receiving silica-rich groundwaters. These areas are likely to be located near former zones of groundwater emergence and/or where flood channels entered the paleo-playa. Fossil playa systems which may aid in assessing the applicability of this particular Mars analog include the Cambrian Observatory Hill Beds of the Officer Basin and the Eocene Wilkins Peak Member of the Green River Formation.

  9. Using Australian Acidic Playa Lakes as Analogs for Phyllosilicate and Sulfate Depositional Environments on Mars

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Baldridge, A. M.; Michalski, J.; Kargel, J.; Hook, S.; Marion, G.; Crowley, J.; Bridges, N.; Brown, A.; Ribeiro da Luz, B.; de Souza Filho, C. R.; Thomson, B.

    2008-12-01

    lakes with the OMEGA and CRISM data for regions on Mars that contain both phyllosilicates and sulfates will aid in determining if these deposits on Mars could be formed in a single depositional system. Western Australian ferricretes are spectrally similar to phyllosilicates. We therefore suggest that these analogs point to a single depositional system for Mars if phyllosilicates represent near-shore facies and sulfates interior lake deposits. The identification of ferricretes on Mars would provide an important paleoenvironmental indicator and might reveal sites of dilute brine influx.

  10. Australian Acid Playa Lake as a Mars Analog: Results from Sediment Lipid Analysis

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Graham, H.; Baldridge, A. M.; Stern, J. C.

    2015-12-01

    The ephemeral saline acidic lakes on the Yilgarn Craton of Western Australia have been suggested as geochemical analogues to martian terrains. Both are characterized by interbedded phyllosilicates and hydrated sulfates. On Mars, these areas indicate shifting environmental conditions, from the neutral/alkaline and wet conditions that dominated during the Noachian era to the more familiar dry, acidic conditions that began in the Hesperian. The habitability of such a dynamic environment can be informed by investigation of the Yilgarn Lake system. Previous work has found phospholipid fatty acids (PLFA) evidence of microbial communities in sections of sediment cores taken from Lake Gilmore. These communities include both Gram-positive and -negative bacteria, Actinomycetes, and even methanotrophs. Given recurring detection of methane on the martian surface, evidence of a methane cycling community in an analogous environment is of particular interest. In this study we analyze the carbon isotope composition of bulk organic material as well as extracted lipids from the Lake Gilmore sediment cores at both a near-shore and mid-lake location. These analyses reveal very low accumulations of organic carbon, concentrated primarily in the gypsum-rich near-shore core. The near-shore sediments show a down-core decrease in abundance of organic carbon as well as depletion in the carbon isotope composition (δ13C) with depth. Bulk carbon did not exhibit the unique, highly depleted, diagnostic signature associated with methanotrophic biomass. Compound-specific isotope analysis (CSIA) of carbon in extracted methanotroph PFLAs can confirm the presence of a methane cycling metabolism at depth. Also, additional extractions have isolated lipids associated with lake-edge grasses. These analyses consider both the chain-length distribution and carbon CSIA of these lipids in order to understand the effect of terrestrial detritus on any preserved methanotroph carbon signal, given the very low

  11. Dissolution cavities in upper Ordovician sandstones from Lake Ontario: analogs to vesiculated rocks on Mars?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    DiGregorio, Barry E.

    2003-02-01

    Fossiliferous sandstones of the Upper Ordovician (Lorraine Group) found along the Erie-Ontario Lowlands represent near-shore marine invertebrate communities which dominated the warm shallow sea that existed in this region 450 my ago. Subsequent glacial scouring and breakup of this ancient seabed during the Pleistocene resulted in its being buried under glacial sediments and soil. Then over a period of thousands of years, mild carbonic acid from rainwater mixed with humic acids from soil percolated through the sandstones and dissolved the entombed fossils leaving only dissolution cavities. This same process is how caves and karst features are formed. Rocks imaged by NASA"s Viking 2 lander in 1976 revealed ubiquitous "vesicles" that to this day remain enigmatic because the mineralogy of Martian rocks has not been adequately analyzed to date. Neither a sedimentary nor a volcanic origin for the rocks has been firmly established. Furthermore, proposed theories on the evolution of the Utopia Basin near the Viking 2 landing site include an ancient shallow ocean and glacial scouring. If Mars did indeed have an ocean at one point in its history, then the question must be asked "Did Martian lakes and oceans also have time enough for the development of life and ultimately to the multicellular stage that may have left traces of their existence as dissolution cavities? In this report, attention is drawn to the morphological similarities of biogenic dissolution cavities in terrestrial sandstones and in the near-field rocks at the Viking 2 landing site on Mars. The Beagle 2 astrobiology lander, part of the ESA"s Mars Express mission in 2003, will once again land in the northern plains of Mars not far from the shoreline of the proposed northern ocean basin. A comparison of the rocks from the Beagle 2 landing site to those at Viking 2 may shed further light on whether they are sedimentary or volcanic in origin, and, of greatest interest, whether the vesicles in the Martian rocks

  12. Molecular Analysis of the Microbial Communities of Mars Analog Lakes in Western Australia

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mormile, Melanie R.; Hong, Bo-Young; Benison, Kathleen C.

    2009-12-01

    Unique, shallow interdune lakes and groundwaters with extremely low pH and high salinity exist in Australia, along with nearby lakes that possess higher pH values. These acidic hypersaline environments are possibly the best modern terrestrial analogues for past martian environments. However, no previous microbiological analyses of these lakes have been conducted. During the Australian winter of 2005, water samples were taken from several hypersaline lakes located in southern Western Australia that possessed acidic to slightly alkaline pH. These samples were subjected to molecular analysis to identify bacterial communities. DNA extraction and polymerase chain reaction (PCR) amplification of the 16S rRNA gene sequences, by using universal bacterial primers, were also performed on the samples. Extracted DNA was amplified with 1070 forward and 1392 GC-clamped reverse primers and analyzed by using denaturant gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE). In addition, libraries were developed from DNA retrieved from four lakes, including a marginal marine neutral lake, an inland neutral lake, and two inland acid lakes, and selected clones with distinct operational taxonomic units were sequenced. The DGGE profiles and clone sequence data indicate that there are distinct, abundant, and diverse microbial populations in these Australian hypersaline environments, especially the acidic ones. These results are significant for two reasons: (1) they provide the first microbiological survey of natural acid saline lakes and (2) they hint at the possibility that there could have been a diverse microbial population in acidic hypersaline environments on Mars.

  13. Terrestrial analogs to Mars

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Farr, T. G.; Arcone, S.; Arvidson, R.; Baker, V.; Barlow, N.; Beaty, D.; Bell, M.; Blankenship, D.; Bridges, N.; Briggs, G.; hide

    2002-01-01

    It is well recognized that interpretations of Mars must begin with the Earth as a reference. The most successful comparisons have focused on understanding geologic processes on the Earth well enough to extrapolate to Mars' environment. Several facets of terrestrial analog studies have been pursued and are continuing.

  14. Mars inflatable greenhouse analog.

    PubMed

    Sadler, Philip D; Giacomelli, Gene A

    2002-01-01

    Light intensities on the Martian surface can possibly support a bioregenerative life support system (BLSS) utilizing natural sunlight for hydroponic crop production, if a suitable controlled environment can be provided. Inflatable clear membrane structures offer low mass, are more easily transported than a rigid structure, and are good candidates for providing a suitable controlled environment for crop production. Cable culture is one hydroponic growing system that can take advantage of the beneficial attributes of the inflatable structure. An analog of a Mars inflatable greenhouse can provide researchers data on issues such as crew time requirements for operation, productivity for BLSS, human factors, and much more at a reasonable cost. This is a description of one such design.

  15. Aeolian sand as a tool for understanding Mars: Thermal infrared remote sensing of volcaniclastic Mars-analog sand dunes in Christmas Lake Valley, Oregon, U.S.A.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Edgett, Kenneth S.

    1996-10-01

    INTRODUCTION: On Earth, aeolian sand dunes are used as tools of scientific inquiry. Holocene and Pleistocene dunes preserve clues about Quaternary climate variations and human activities ranging from Ice Age hunting practices to Twentieth Century warfare. Modern dunes contain the sedimentary textures and structures necessary for interpreting ancient sandstones, and they provide natural laboratories for investigation of aeolian physics and desertification processes. The dunes of Mars can likewise be used as scientific tools. Dunes provide relatively dust-free surfaces. From a remote sensing perspective, martian dunes have much potential for providing clues about surface mineralogy and the interaction between the surface and atmosphere. Such information can in turn provide insights regarding crust composition, volcanic evolution, present and past climate events, and perhaps weathering rates. The Mars Global Surveyor Thermal Emission Spectrometer (TES) is expected to reach the planet in September 1997. TES will provide 6 to 50 micrometer spectra of the martian surface at ground resolutions of 3 to 9 km. Sandy aeolian environments on Mars might provide key information about bedrock composition. To prepare for the TES investigation, I have been examining a thermal infrared image of a Mars-composition analog dune field in Christmas Lake Valley, Oregon. COMPOSITION AND GEOLOGIC SETTING: The "Shifting Sand Dunes" dune field is located at the eastern end of Christmas Lake Valley, in what was once the Pleistocene Fort Rock Lake [1]. Much of the sand that makes up the Shifting Sand Dunes dune field is reworked Mt. Mazama airfall from its terminal eruption 6,800 years ago, plus material deflated from the lake bed [1, 2]. The main constituents of the dunes are volcanic glass and devitrified glass fragments, plagioclase crystals, basalt lithic fragments, aggregates of silt and clay-size volcanic ash, pyroxenes, opaque oxide minerals (mostly magnetite), and trace occurrences of

  16. Australian Acid Brine Lake as a Mars Analog: An Analysis of Preserved Lipids in Shore and Lake Sediments

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Graham, H. V.; Stern, J. C.; Baldridge, A. M.; Thomsen, B. J.

    2016-05-01

    This study investigates organic molecules preserved in sediment cores from an acid brine lake. We explore the distribution and stable isotopic composition of lipids in order to understand preservation potential in similar martian environments.

  17. Mineralogy of evaporite deposits on Mars: Constraints from laboratory, field, and remote measurements of analog terrestrial acid saline lakes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bridges, N.; Núñez, J. I.; Seelos, F. P., IV; Hook, S. J.; Baldridge, A. M.; Thomson, B. J.

    2015-12-01

    Remote compositional data from imaging spectrometers such as CRISM, OMEGA, and TES, and high-resolution imagery from MOC, CTX, and HiRISE have provided invaluable information for improving our understanding of the composition and geologic history of the martian surface and identifying potential past and present habitable environments on Mars. Simulated CRISM spectra and summary parameter maps and HiRISE color images were generated using airborne hyperspectral data of two acid-saline lakes in Western Australia. These locations are applicable to Mars, as they contain a suite of clays, sulfates, and salts formed under variable pH and salinity - mineralogies similar to those observed in Noachian and Hesperian terrain. The remote datasets were used to make surface composition predictions which were then verified through field study and sample analysis. We find phyllosilicates intermixed with sulfates in sulfate-rich surfaces exhibit variable spectral responses, even for similar conditions and abundances seen in the field. Where sulfates, such as gypsum and alunite, are found, phyllosilicates are intermixed or reside beneath the surface yet are not always detected. This suggests that geologic complexities may mask phyllosilicate detection at or near the surface on Mars where only sulfates have so far been found.

  18. The MARS2013 Mars analog mission.

    PubMed

    Groemer, Gernot; Soucek, Alexander; Frischauf, Norbert; Stumptner, Willibald; Ragonig, Christoph; Sams, Sebastian; Bartenstein, Thomas; Häuplik-Meusburger, Sandra; Petrova, Polina; Evetts, Simon; Sivenesan, Chan; Bothe, Claudia; Boyd, Andrea; Dinkelaker, Aline; Dissertori, Markus; Fasching, David; Fischer, Monika; Föger, Daniel; Foresta, Luca; Fritsch, Lukas; Fuchs, Harald; Gautsch, Christoph; Gerard, Stephan; Goetzloff, Linda; Gołebiowska, Izabella; Gorur, Paavan; Groemer, Gerhard; Groll, Petra; Haider, Christian; Haider, Olivia; Hauth, Eva; Hauth, Stefan; Hettrich, Sebastian; Jais, Wolfgang; Jones, Natalie; Taj-Eddine, Kamal; Karl, Alexander; Kauerhoff, Tilo; Khan, Muhammad Shadab; Kjeldsen, Andreas; Klauck, Jan; Losiak, Anna; Luger, Markus; Luger, Thomas; Luger, Ulrich; McArthur, Jane; Moser, Linda; Neuner, Julia; Orgel, Csilla; Ori, Gian Gabriele; Paternesi, Roberta; Peschier, Jarno; Pfeil, Isabella; Prock, Silvia; Radinger, Josef; Ramirez, Barbara; Ramo, Wissam; Rampey, Mike; Sams, Arnold; Sams, Elisabeth; Sandu, Oana; Sans, Alejandra; Sansone, Petra; Scheer, Daniela; Schildhammer, Daniel; Scornet, Quentin; Sejkora, Nina; Stadler, Andrea; Stummer, Florian; Taraba, Michael; Tlustos, Reinhard; Toferer, Ernst; Turetschek, Thomas; Winter, Egon; Zanella-Kux, Katja

    2014-05-01

    We report on the MARS2013 mission, a 4-week Mars analog field test in the northern Sahara. Nineteen experiments were conducted by a field crew in Morocco under simulated martian surface exploration conditions, supervised by a Mission Support Center in Innsbruck, Austria. A Remote Science Support team analyzed field data in near real time, providing planning input for the management of a complex system of field assets; two advanced space suit simulators, four robotic vehicles, an emergency shelter, and a stationary sensor platform in a realistic work flow were coordinated by a Flight Control Team. A dedicated flight planning group, external control centers for rover tele-operations, and a biomedical monitoring team supported the field operations. A 10 min satellite communication delay and other limitations pertinent to human planetary surface activities were introduced. The fields of research for the experiments were geology, human factors, astrobiology, robotics, tele-science, exploration, and operations research. This paper provides an overview of the geological context and environmental conditions of the test site and the mission architecture, in particular the communication infrastructure emulating the signal travel time between Earth and Mars. We report on the operational work flows and the experiments conducted, including a deployable shelter prototype for multiple-day extravehicular activities and contingency situations.

  19. Terrestrial analogs to Mars: The NRC community decadal report

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Farr, Tom G.

    2004-01-01

    In 2001, the US National Research Council, at the request of NASA, initiated a broad community survey of the current state of solar system exploration seeking recommendations for the coming decade. One of the studies was on Terrestrial Analogs to Mars. It is well recognized that interpretations of Mars must begin with the Earth as a reference. The most successful comparisons have focused on understanding geologic processes on the Earth well enough to extrapolate to Mars' environment. Over the next decade, we will be entering a new phase of Mars study as the era of reconnaissance global mapping is ending and we begin to focus on detailed analysis at the regional to outcrop level. Recommendations from the Terrestrial Analogs to Mars community panel included: process studies at analog sites, field workshops, instrument and operations tests, and laboratory measurements. Coordinated deployment of airborne, spaceborne, field instrumentation, and personnel to several sites to test instruments and technology intended for Mars and to provide data for ongoing studies of terrestrial geologic processes relevant to Mars was the most important area recommended for support. Field workshops should be continued and expanded and could also include operation of field instruments, modeled after the Marsokhod field tests at Silver Lake and this workshop. Laboratory studies are needed to determine more fully the physical, spectral, and electromagnetic characteristics of Mars analog materials. Data archives were recommended to collect, document, and make available via the Web existing terrestrial data relevant to Mars studies. The establishment of Mars analog sites would also support human exploration objectives and could be used for effective outreach to better engage the public in the exploration of Mars.

  20. Ancient lakes on Mars?

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Goldspiel, J. M.; Squyres, S. W.

    1989-01-01

    The valley systems in Mars' ancient cratered terrain provide strong evidence for a warmer and wetter climate very early in planetary history. The valley systems in some instances debouch into closed depressions that could have acted as local ponding basins for the flow. A survey of the Martian equatorial region shows that numerous local depressions at the confluence of valley systems exist. These depressions (approximately 100 km) typically are characterized by many valleys flowing into them and few or none flowing out. If ponding did take place, these basin would have contained lakes for some period during Mars' early warmer epoch. Although the collection basins are numerous, location of ones that have not suffered significant subsequent geologic modification is difficult. Some morphologic features suggest that volcanic lavas may have filled them subsequent to any early fluvial activity. Two detailed maps of valley systems and local ponding basins in USGC 1:2,000,000 subquadrangles were completed and a third is in progress. The completed regions are in Mare Tyrrhenum (MC-22 SW) and Margarifter Sinus (MC-19 SE), and the region in progress is in Iapygia (MC-21 NW). On the maps, the valley systems and interpreted margins of ponding basins are indicated. The depressions are of interest for two reasons. First, the depressions were surely the sites in which the materials eroded from the valleys were deposited. Such sediments could preserve important information about the physical conditions at the time of deposition. Second, the sediments could preserve evidence of water-atmosphere interactions during the early period of the Martian climate. Atmospheric carbon dioxide would dissolve in water, and solid carbonate minerals would tend to precipitate out to form carbonate sedimentary deposits. Formation of carbonates in this manner might account for some of the CO2 lost from the early more dense atmosphere.

  1. Planetary analogs in Antarctica: Mars

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Malin, M. C.

    1985-04-01

    A study of chemical and physical weathering rates in Antarctic ice-free areas, sponsored by the National Science Foundation's Antarctic Research Program, permitted observations to be made that also have application other planetary surfaces. Four observations relevent to Mars are addressed: the effects of freezing on sand dune morphology (Mars polar dune field), chemical/physical weathering to create pits (Mars pitted rocks, Viking Lander 1 and 2 sites), armored surfaces (Mars lander sites), and mass movements (movement of Martian debris).

  2. An Earth Analog to Mars Yellowknife Bay

    NASA Image and Video Library

    2013-03-12

    A sampling pit exposing clay-bearing lake sediments, deposited in a basaltic basin in southern Australia -- a modern terrestrial analog to the Yellowknife Bay area that NASA Curiosity rover is exploring.

  3. The aqueous stability of a Mars salt analog: Instant Mars

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Nuding, D. L.; Davis, R. D.; Gough, R. V.; Tolbert, M. A.

    2015-03-01

    Due to their stability in low-temperature conditions, aqueous salt solutions are the favored explanation for potential fluid features observed on present-day Mars. A salt analog was developed to closely match the individual cation and anion concentrations at the Phoenix landing site as reported by the Wet Chemistry Laboratory instrument. "Instant Mars" closely replicates correct relative concentrations of magnesium, calcium, potassium, sodium, perchlorate, chloride, and sulfate ions. A Raman microscope equipped with an environmental cellprobed liquid water uptake and loss by Instant Mars particles in a Mars relevant temperature and relative humidity (RH) environment. Our experiments reveal that Instant Mars particles can form stable, aqueous solutions starting at 56 ± 5% RH between 235 K and 243 K and persist as a metastable, aqueous solution at or above 13 ± 5% RH. Particle levitation using an optical trap examined the phase state and morphology of suspended Instant Mars particles exposed to changing water vapor conditions at room temperature. Levitation experiments indicate that water uptake began at 42 ± 8% RH for Instant Mars particles at 293 K. As RH is decreased at 293 K, the aqueous Instant Mars particles transition into a crystalline solid at 18 ± 7% RH. These combined results demonstrate that Instant Mars can take up water vapor from the surrounding environment and transition into a stable, aqueous solution. Furthermore, this aqueous Instant Mars solution can persist as a metastable, supersaturated solution in low-RH conditions.

  4. Mars-Analog Evaporite Experiment: Initial Results

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Moore, J. M.; Bullock, M. A.; Sharp, T.G.; Quinn, R.

    2005-01-01

    This research is part of a multiyear experimental investigation to understand the nature and evolution brines and evaporates on Mars. The spectacular discoveries of the MER rovers, particularly those of Opportunity at Meridiani, both illustrate the relevance, as well as guide the future direction, of this work. Here we report the initial results from our just-completed and tested evaporites apparatus, using a synthetic brine analog to our brine experiment simulating a modern Mars environment in which the brine was subjected to rapid evaporation under modern Martian conditions. Additional information is included in the original extended abstract.

  5. The 2012 Moon and Mars Analog Mission

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Graham, Lee

    2014-01-01

    The 2012 Moon and Mars Analog Mission Activities (MMAMA) scientific investigations were completed on Mauna Kea volcano in Hawaii in July 2012. The investigations were conducted on the southeast flank of the Mauna Kea volcano at an elevation of approximately 11,500 ft. This area is known as "Apollo Valley" and is in an adjacent valley to the Very Large Baseline Array dish antenna.

  6. Dust deposits on Mars: The 'parna' analog

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Greeley, Ronald; Williams, Steven H.

    1994-01-01

    Parna is an Autralian aboriginal word meaning 'sandy dust'. It has been applied to deposits of clay, silt, and sand which were initially transported by the wind as aggregates, or pellets, of sand size. Parna is distinguished by its silt and clay content, which in some cases exceeds 85% of the total volume of the deposit. Much of the fine-grained playa silt and clay is incorporated into the parna as sand-sized aggregates, which greatly facilitate their transportation and reworking by the wind. Rain following aggregate emplacement can cause their disintegration, rendering the parna immobile by the wind, yet some pellets can survive several wetting/drying episodes. Parna deposits on Earth occur both as dune forms and as sheet deposits which mantle older terrains. In both cases the deposits are typically derived from lacustrine (lake) beds, such as playas. There is substantial evidence to suggest that bodies of water existed on Mars in the past. Thus, the potential is high for lacustrine deposits and the formation of parna on Mars. Although no parna dunes have been identified, it is suggested that the deposits derived from White Rock (-8 deg, 335 deg W), near Mamers Valles (34 deg, 343 deg W), and elsewhere on Mars may represent sheet parna. Data obtained from Mars-94/96 missions and potential landed spacecraft may provide additional evidence for the existence of parna on Mars.

  7. Dust deposits on Mars: The 'parna' analog

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Greeley, Ronald; Williams, Steven H.

    1994-01-01

    Parna is an Autralian aboriginal word meaning 'sandy dust'. It has been applied to deposits of clay, silt, and sand which were initially transported by the wind as aggregates, or pellets, of sand size. Parna is distinguished by its silt and clay content, which in some cases exceeds 85% of the total volume of the deposit. Much of the fine-grained playa silt and clay is incorporated into the parna as sand-sized aggregates, which greatly facilitate their transportation and reworking by the wind. Rain following aggregate emplacement can cause their disintegration, rendering the parna immobile by the wind, yet some pellets can survive several wetting/drying episodes. Parna deposits on Earth occur both as dune forms and as sheet deposits which mantle older terrains. In both cases the deposits are typically derived from lacustrine (lake) beds, such as playas. There is substantial evidence to suggest that bodies of water existed on Mars in the past. Thus, the potential is high for lacustrine deposits and the formation of parna on Mars. Although no parna dunes have been identified, it is suggested that the deposits derived from White Rock (-8 deg, 335 deg W), near Mamers Valles (34 deg, 343 deg W), and elsewhere on Mars may represent sheet parna. Data obtained from Mars-94/96 missions and potential landed spacecraft may provide additional evidence for the existence of parna on Mars.

  8. Dust deposits on Mars: The 'parna' analog

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Greeley, Ronald; Williams, Steven H.

    1994-07-01

    Parna is an Australian aboriginal word meaning 'sandy dust'. It has been applied to deposits of clay, silt, and sand which were initially transported by the wind as aggregates, or pellets, of sand size. Parna is distinguished by its silt and clay content, which in some cases exceeds 85% of the total volume of the deposit. Much of the fine-grained playa silt and clay is incorporated into the parna as sand-sized aggregates, which greatly facilitate their transportation and reworking by the wind. Rain following aggregate emplacement can cause their disintegration, rendering the parna immobile by the wind, yet some pellets can survive several wetting/drying episodes. Parna deposits on Earth occur both as dune forms and as sheet deposits which mantle older terrains. In both cases the deposits are typically derived from lacustrine (lake) beds, such as playas. There is substantial evidence to suggest that bodies of water existed on Mars in the past. Thus, the potential is high for lacustrine deposits and the formation of parna on Mars. Although no parna dunes have been identified, it is suggested that the deposits derived from White Rock (-8 deg, 335 deg W), near Mamers Valles (34 deg, 343 deg W), and elsewhere on Mars may represent sheet parna. Data obtained from Mars-94/96 missions and potential landed spacecraft may provide additional evidence for the existence of parna on Mars.

  9. Eastern Sahara Geology from Orbital Radar: Potential Analog to Mars

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Farr, T. G.; Paillou, P.; Heggy, E.

    2004-01-01

    Much of the surface of Mars has been intensely reworked by aeolian processes and key evidence about the history of the Martian environment seems to be hidden beneath a widespread layer of debris (paleo lakes and rivers, faults, impact craters). In the same way, the recent geological and hydrological history of the eastern Sahara is still mainly hidden under large regions of wind-blown sand which represent a possible terrestrial analog to Mars. The subsurface geology there is generally invisible to optical remote sensing techniques, but radar images obtained from the Shuttle Imaging Radar (SIR) missions were able to penetrate the superficial sand layer to reveal parts of paleohydrological networks in southern Egypt.

  10. Eastern Sahara Geology from Orbital Radar: Potential Analog to Mars

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Farr, T. G.; Paillou, P.; Heggy, E.

    2004-01-01

    Much of the surface of Mars has been intensely reworked by aeolian processes and key evidence about the history of the Martian environment seems to be hidden beneath a widespread layer of debris (paleo lakes and rivers, faults, impact craters). In the same way, the recent geological and hydrological history of the eastern Sahara is still mainly hidden under large regions of wind-blown sand which represent a possible terrestrial analog to Mars. The subsurface geology there is generally invisible to optical remote sensing techniques, but radar images obtained from the Shuttle Imaging Radar (SIR) missions were able to penetrate the superficial sand layer to reveal parts of paleohydrological networks in southern Egypt.

  11. Pleistocene Lake Bonneville as an analog for extraterrestrial lakes and oceans: Chapter 21

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Chan, M.A.; Jewell, P.; Parker, T.J.; Ormo, J.; Okubo, Chris; Komatsu, G.

    2016-01-01

    Geomorphic confirmation for a putative ancient Mars ocean relies on analog comparisons of coastal-like features such as shoreline feature attributes and temporal scales of process formation. Pleistocene Lake Bonneville is one of the few large, geologically young, terrestrial lake systems that exemplify well-preserved shoreline characteristics that formed quickly, on the order of a thousand years or less. Studies of Lake Bonneville provide two essential analog considerations for interpreting shorelines on Mars: (1) morphological variations in expression depend on constructional vs erosional processes, and (2) shorelines are not always correlative at an equipotential elevation across a basin due to isostasy, heat flow, wave setup, fetch, and other factors. Although other large terrestrial lake systems display supporting evidence for geomorphic comparisons, Lake Bonneville encompasses the most integrated examples of preserved coastal features related to basin history, sediment supply, climate, and fetch, all within the context of a detailed hydrograph. These collective terrestrial lessons provide a framework to evaluate possible boundary conditions for ancient Mars hydrology and large water body environmental feedbacks. This knowledge of shoreline characteristics, processes, and environments can support explorations of habitable environments and guide future mission explorations.

  12. Terrestrial analogs of the hellespontus dunes, Mars

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Breed, C.S.

    1977-01-01

    Geomorphic features in the Hellespontus region, Mars, were compared with dunes of the crescentic ridge type in numerous terrestrial sand seas quantitatively by dimensional analysis of dune lengths, widths, and wavelengths. Mean values for the Hellespontus dunes are close to mean values derived from measurements of all sampled terrestrial sand seas. Terrestrial analogs of form and areal distribution of the Hellespontus dunes are shown by comparison of scale ratios derived from the measurements. Dunes of similar form occur in South West Africa, in Pakistan, in the southeastern Arabian peninsula, in the Sahara, in eastern USSR and northern China, and in western North America. Terrestrial analogs closest to form and areal distribution of the Hellespontus dunes are in the Kara Kum Desert, Turkmen SSR, and in the Ala Shan (Gobi) Desert, China. ?? 1977.

  13. Utah Marbles and Mars Blueberries: Comparitive Terrestrial Analogs for Hematite Concretions on Mars

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Chan, M. A.; Beitler, B.; Parry, W. T.; Ormö, J.; Komatsu, G.

    2005-03-01

    Compelling comparisons show why Utah iron oxide-cemented "marbles" are a good analog for Mars hematite "blueberries". Terrestrial examples offer valuable models for interpreting the diagenetic history and importance of water on Mars.

  14. Eskers in Ireland, analogs for sinuous ridges on Mars

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Pellicer, Xavier; Bourke, Mary

    2014-05-01

    resolution images also show the presence of large boulders. Large glacial lakes in the Irish Midlands during ice withdrawal aided the outstanding preservation of these features. This permitted the cataloguing of 'pristine' morphologies and morphometries. Esker-like ridges identified on Mars are often located in low relief and depressions and show similar topographic conditions to those in Ireland. The ExoMars rover scheduled to be launched on the surface of Mars by 2018 carries the first space-borne GPR system (Wisdom) with the objective of characterizing the top 3 m of the Martian subsurface. Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) surveys carried out on the Irish eskers and associated sediments depicted the landforms internal architecture and paleocurrent indicators. A throughout investigation of the Irish eskers as Mars analogs using remote sensing methods and GPR will contribute to the understanding of sinuous ridges on Mars.

  15. Diagram of Lake Stratification on Mars

    NASA Image and Video Library

    2017-06-01

    This diagram presents some of the processes and clues related to a long-ago lake on Mars that became stratified, with the shallow water richer in oxidants than deeper water was. The sedimentary rocks deposited within a lake in Mars' Gale Crater more than three billion years ago differ from each other in a pattern that matches what is seen in lakes on Earth. As sediment-bearing water flows into a lake, bedding thickness and particle size progressively decrease as sediment is deposited in deeper and deeper water as seen in examples of thick beds (PIA19074) from shallowest water, thin beds (PIA19075) from deeper water and even thinner beds (PIA19828) from deepest water. At sites on lower Mount Sharp, inside the crater, measurements of chemical and mineral composition by NASA's Curiosity Mars rover reveal a clear correspondence between the physical characteristics of sedimentary rock from different parts of the lake and how strongly oxidized the sediments were. Rocks with textures indicating that the sediments were deposited near the edge of a lake have more strongly oxidized composition than rocks with textures indicating sedimentation in deep water. For example, the iron mineral hematite is more oxidized than the iron mineral magnetite. An explanation for why such chemical stratification occurs in a lake is that the water closer to the surface is more exposed to oxidizing effects of oxygen in the atmosphere and ultraviolet light. On Earth, a stratified lake with a distinct boundary between oxidant-rich shallows and oxidant-poor depths provides a diversity of environments suited to different types of microbes. If Mars has ever hosted microbial live, the stratified lake at Gale Crater may have similarly provided a range of different habitats for life. https://photojournal.jpl.nasa.gov/catalog/PIA21500

  16. Experimental Studies of Mars-Analog Brines

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Moore, Jeffrey M.; Bullock, Mark A.

    1999-01-01

    Evaporite deposits may represent significant sinks of mobile cations (e.g., those of Ca, N, Mg, and Fe) and anions (e.g., those of C, N, S, and Cl) among the materials composing the Martian surface and upper crust. Carbon and nitrogen are especially interesting because of their role as atmospheric gases which can become incorporated into crustal rocks. However, the nature of evaporite precursor brines formed under Martian conditions is poorly understood. To date, only a very limited number of laboratory investigations have been reported which have any bearing on a better understanding of various processes related to brine or evaporite formation on Mars. Here we report on preliminary laboratory experiments that exposed igneous minerals analogous to those in Martian (Shergottites, Nakhlites, and Chassigny (SNC) group) meteorites to a simulated Martian atmosphere and pure, deoxygenated water. Analysis of the water over intervals of time approaching 1 year showed that atmospheric gases dissolved to form carbonate and nitrate ions while minerals dissolved to form sulfate and chloride along with various cations. On an annual basis, ion formation gave a carbonate/sulfate ratio that is comparable to the ratio found among salts in SNC meteorites. The sulfate/chloride ratio of the experimental brines is higher than in SNC meteorites but lower than in surface soils measured at the Viking and Pathfinder landing sites.

  17. Weathering of Mars - Antarctic analog studies

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Berkley, J. L.; Drake, M. J.

    1981-01-01

    Subaerial extrusion of lavas above permafrost is proposed as a possible weathering regime leading to the presence of Martian surface fines, and the characteristics of this process are examined through a study of the analogous altered terrestrial basalts from Antarctica. On the basis of mineralogical and petrological analyses of samples obtained from core cuttings recovered by the Dry Valley Drilling Program from rocks predominantly of an aklalic basalt-phonolite suite, it is found that in the absence of liquid water, weathering is geologically slow, and that zeolites predominate over clays as secondary mineral. Of the possible weathering processes proposed for Mars, it is concluded that both subaerial extrusion and subpermafrost intrusion of lavas involving liquid water would be less important volumetrically than the hydrothermal alteration of impact melt sheets if water were present during an intense phase of early bombardment, or than subsequent solid-gas alteration reactions. It is thus predicted that the present Martian fines should contain a major contribution from the ancient crust as typified by the southern cratered highlands, and a lesser contribution from the younger basaltic lavas.

  18. Experimental Studies of Mars-Analog Brines

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Moore, Jeffrey M.; Bullock, Mark A.

    1999-01-01

    Evaporite deposits may represent significant sinks of mobile cations (e.g., those of Ca, N, Mg, and Fe) and anions (e.g., those of C, N, S, and Cl) among the materials composing the Martian surface and upper crust. Carbon and nitrogen are especially interesting because of their role as atmospheric gases which can become incorporated into crustal rocks. However, the nature of evaporite precursor brines formed under Martian conditions is poorly understood. To date, only a very limited number of laboratory investigations have been reported which have any bearing on a better understanding of various processes related to brine or evaporite formation on Mars. Here we report on preliminary laboratory experiments that exposed igneous minerals analogous to those in Martian (Shergottites, Nakhlites, and Chassigny (SNC) group) meteorites to a simulated Martian atmosphere and pure, deoxygenated water. Analysis of the water over intervals of time approaching 1 year showed that atmospheric gases dissolved to form carbonate and nitrate ions while minerals dissolved to form sulfate and chloride along with various cations. On an annual basis, ion formation gave a carbonate/sulfate ratio that is comparable to the ratio found among salts in SNC meteorites. The sulfate/chloride ratio of the experimental brines is higher than in SNC meteorites but lower than in surface soils measured at the Viking and Pathfinder landing sites.

  19. Photometric properties of Mars soils analogs

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Pommerol, A.; Thomas, N.; Jost, B.; Beck, P.; Okubo, C.; McEwen, A.S.

    2013-01-01

    We have measured the bidirectional reflectance of analogs of dry, wet, and frozen Martian soils over a wide range of phase angles in the visible spectral range. All samples were produced from two geologic samples: the standard JSC Mars-1 soil simulant and Hawaiian basaltic sand. In a first step, experiments were conducted with the dry samples to investigate the effects of surface texture. Comparisons with results independently obtained by different teams with similar samples showed a satisfying reproducibility of the photometric measurements as well as a noticeable influence of surface textures resulting from different sample preparation procedures. In a second step, water was introduced to produce wet and frozen samples and their photometry investigated. Optical microscope images of the samples provided information about their microtexture. Liquid water, even in relatively low amount, resulted in the disappearance of the backscattering peak and the appearance of a forward-scattering peak whose intensity increases with the amount of water. Specular reflections only appeared when water was present in an amount large enough to allow water to form a film at the surface of the sample. Icy samples showed a wide variability of photometric properties depending on the physical properties of the water ice. We discuss the implications of these measurements in terms of the expected photometric behavior of the Martian surface, from equatorial to circum-polar regions. In particular, we propose some simple photometric criteria to improve the identification of wet and/or icy soils from multiple observations under different geometries.

  20. Halophilic habitats: earth analogs to study Mars and Europa's habitability

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gomez-Gomez, F.; Fernandez-Remolar, D.; Gomez-Elvira, J.; Rodriguez, N.; Amils, R.; Prieto-Ballesteros, O.

    The necessity of the Europa surface exploration comes from the idea of a water ocean existence in its interior. Europa surface presents evidence of an active geology showing many tectonic features that seems to be connected with some liquid interior reservoir. Life needs several requirements for its establishment but, the only sine qua nom elements is the water, taking into account our experience on Earth extreme ecosystems. Data from Galileo Spacecraft reported spectra that fit with salty composition of the Europas surface on this potential connected areas to the interior. Several high salinity related analogs ecosystems have been analysed on Earth. Different microorganisms have been isolated from these ecosystems with a wide diversity of methabolisms. From chemolithotrophy to heterotrophy, life is able of gaining energy for development from inorganic to organic material (under oxic or anoxic conditions). The neutral composition of Tirez Lake brines fit well with the spectra of salty terrains of the Europa surface depending on the crystallization path of the liquid from the interior reservoir. Related high salinity but acidic ecosystem is Rio Tinto. Recent results from orbiters around Mars reported the possible existence of permafrost in some areas of the equator (Murray, 2005) and North Pole (Titus, 2001) of the red planet. An interesting Mars analog is permafrost on Earth. Data from a campaign to Alaskan permafrost are reported on this paper. Geophysical analyses and a bore hole were developed on Bearing Land Bridge National Preserve (Alaska) in order to permafrost study. A third example of extreme habitat microbiology characterization is Rio Tinto. An acidic river with high concentration of heavy metals on solution located at South-West Spain. Recently, a drilling campaign was developed in collaboration with NASA Ames Research Center in order to identify and characterize subsurface life (M.A.R.T.E. project). The second objective of the project was to simulate

  1. Conference Report: Biosignature Preservation and Detection in Mars Analog Environments

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hays, Lindsay; Beaty, David

    2017-01-01

    The Conference on Biosignature Preservation and Detection in Mars Analog Environments held in May 2016 brought together scientists to discuss microbial biosignatures in Mars analog habitable environments. Five analog environments were discussed: (1) hydrothermal spring systems, (2) subaqueous environments, (3) subaerial environments, (4) subsurface environments, and (5) iron-rich systems. This paper details the major messages that resulted from the discussions and will be followed by a review paper that adds significant detail from the published literature and interpretations from the writing committee of the workshop for future research and application to astrobiological exploration missions.

  2. Conference Report: Biosignature Preservation and Detection in Mars Analog Environments.

    PubMed

    Hays, Lindsay; Beaty, David

    2017-01-01

    The Conference on Biosignature Preservation and Detection in Mars Analog Environments held in May 2016 brought together scientists to discuss microbial biosignatures in Mars analog habitable environments. Five analog environments were discussed: (1) hydrothermal spring systems, (2) subaqueous environments, (3) subaerial environments, (4) subsurface environments, and (5) iron-rich systems. This paper details the major messages that resulted from the discussions and will be followed by a review paper that adds significant detail from the published literature and interpretations from the writing committee of the workshop for future research and application to astrobiological exploration missions. Key Words: Biosignature preservation-Biosignature detection-Mars analog environments-Conference report-Astrobiological exploration. Astrobiology 17, 1-2.

  3. Exobiology site selection for future Mars missions: Martian paleolake sediments and terrestrial analogs

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Wharton, Robert A., Jr.

    1989-01-01

    This research was conducted to establish the scientific framework for the exobiological study of sediments on Mars and to encourage the selection of these sedimentary deposits as sampling sites for future Mars missions. A study was completed on the Antarctic Dry Valley Lakes (terrestrial analogs of the purported Martian paleolakes) and their sediments that allowed the development of quantitative models relating environmental factors to the nature of the biological community and sediment forming processes. The publications presented include: (1) Diversity of micro-fungi isolated in an Antarctic dry valley; (2) Lake Hoare, Antarctica--sedimentation through a thick perennial ice cover; (3) The possibility of life on Mars during a water-rich past; (4) An Antarctic research outpost as a model for planetary exploration; (5) Early Martian environments--the Antarctic and other terrestrial analogs; (6) Lipophilic pigments from the benthos of a perennially ice-covered Antarctic lake; and (7) Perennially ice-covered Lake Hoare, Antarctica--physical environment, biology, and sedimentation.

  4. In Situ Geophysical Exploration by Humans in Mars Analog Environments

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Shiro, B. R.; Ferrone, K. L.

    2010-01-01

    We carried out three geophysical experiments in Mars analog environments in order to better understand the challenges future astronauts will face when conducting similar surveys on Mars or the Moon. The experiments included a passive seismometer deployment and a time-domain electromagnetic survey at the Flashline Mars Arctic Research Station (FMARS) on Devon Island, Canada and a seismic refraction survey in southeastern Utah at the Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS). FMARS is located on the rim of the 23 Ma Haughton Crater in a polar desert environment. MDRS is located in an area with sedimentary plateaus and canyons of Jurassic to Cretaceous age. Both facilities were built by The Mars Society to help develop key knowledge about human Mars exploration. Crews of six spend 2-4 weeks in the habitats and conduct eld research on simulated extravehicular activities (EVAs) wearing mock spacesuits. The work reported here was conducted in July 2009 at FMARS and February 2010 at MDRS.

  5. Ferric sulfate montmorillonites as Mars soil analogs

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Bishop, J. L.; Pieters, C. M.; Burns, R. G.

    1993-01-01

    Spectroscopic analyses have shown that Fe(3+)-doped smectites prepared in the laboratory exhibit important similarities to the soils on Mars. Ferrihydrite in these smectites has features in the visible to near-infrared region that resemble the energies and band-strengths of features in reflectance spectra observed for several bright regions on Mars. Ferric - sulfate - montmorillonite samples have been prepared more recently because they are a good compositional match with the surface material on Mars as measured by Viking. Reflectance spectra of montmorillonite doped with ferric sulfate in the interlayer regions include a strong 3 micron band that persists under dry conditions. This is in contrast to spectra of similarly prepared ferric-doped montmorillonites, which exhibit a relatively weaker 3 micron band under comparable dry environmental conditions. Presented here are reflectance spectra of a suite of ferric-sulfate exchanged montmorillonites prepared with variable ferric sulfate concentrations and variable pH conditions.

  6. A Frozen Lake/Glaciolacustrine Model of Crater Greg (Mars)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kargel, J. S.; Furfaro, R.

    2012-03-01

    Crater Greg (near Hellas, Mars) exhibits some of the most compelling evidence of glaciation on Mars. The depositional environment and paleoclimatic implications are not clear. Here we propose a frozen lake model of glacier-like flow formation.

  7. Simulated View of Gale Crater Lake on Mars

    NASA Image and Video Library

    2014-12-08

    This simulation depicts a lake partially filling Mars Gale Crater, receiving runoff from snow melting on the crater rim, showing evidence that NASA Curiosity rover has found ancient streams, deltas and lakes.

  8. A preliminary comparison of two perennially ice-covered lakes in Antarctica: analogs of past Martian lacustrine environments.

    PubMed

    Andersen, D T; Doran, P; Bolshiyanov, D; Rice, J; Galchenko, V; Cherych, N; Wharton, R A; McKay, C P; Meyer, M; Garshnek, V

    1995-03-01

    Perennially ice-covered lakes in the Antarctic have been suggested as analogs to lakes which may have existed on the surface of Mars 3.5 billion years ago. During the 1991-1992 austral summer, a joint Russian/American research effort was directed at studies of ice-covered lakes in the Bunger Hills Oasis, Antarctica (66 degrees S, 100 degrees E). The primary objective of the expedition was to investigate this ice-free area for features analogous to ancient martian environments that may have been capable of supporting life and to compare the ice-covered lakes of the Bunger Hills with those in the McMurdo Dry Valleys of southern Victoria Land (77 degrees S, 166 degrees E) as part of the continuing studies of Antarctic-Mars analogs.

  9. Drilling Automation Tests At A Lunar/Mars Analog Site

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Glass, B.; Cannon, H.; Hanagud, S.; Lee, P.; Paulsen, G.

    2006-01-01

    Future in-situ lunar/martian resource utilization and characterization, as well as the scientific search for life on Mars, will require access to the subsurface and hence drilling. Drilling on Earth is hard - an art form more than an engineering discipline. The limited mass, energy and manpower in planetary drilling situations makes application of terrestrial drilling techniques problematic. The Drilling Automation for Mars Exploration (DAME) project is developing drilling automation and robotics for projected use in missions to the Moon and Mars in the 2011-15 period. This has been tested recently, drilling in permafrost at a lunar/martian analog site (Haughton Crater, Devon Island, Canada).

  10. Mars for Earthlings: A Higher Educational Terrestrial Analog Approach for Teaching Integrated Earth and Planetary Science

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Chan, M. A.; Robinson, J. K.

    2012-03-01

    "Mars for Earthlings" teaching modules use Earth analogs to explore Mars at an introductory college level. This integrated approach increases science literacy and attracts students to STEM disciplines.

  11. Hints of Habitable Environments on Mars Challenge Our Studies of Mars-Analog Sites on Earth

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    desMarais, David J

    2009-01-01

    Life as we know it requires water with a chemical activity (alpha) >or approx.0.6 and sources of nutrients and useful energy. Some biota can survive even if favorable conditions occur only intermittently, but the minimum required frequency of occurrences is poorly understood. Recent discoveries have vindicated the Mars exploration strategy to follow the water. Mars Global Surveyor s Thermal Emission Spectrometer (TES) found coarse-grained hematite at Meridiani Planum. Opportunity rover confirmed this and also found evidence of ancient sulfate-rich playa lakes and near-surface groundwater. Elsewhere, TES found evidence of evaporitic halides in topographic depressions. But alpha might not have approached 0.6 in these evaporitic sulfate- and halide-bearing waters. Mars Express (MEX) and Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) found extensive sulfate evaporites in Meridiani and Valles Marineris. MEX found phyllosilicates at several sites, most notably Mawrth Valles and Nili Fossae. MRO's CRISM near-IR mapper extended the known diversity and geographic distribution of phyllosilicates to include numerous Noachian craters. Phyllosilicates typically occur at the base of exposed ancient rock sections or in sediments in early Hesperian craters. It is uncertain whether the phyllosilicates developed in surface or subsurface aqueous environments and how long aqueous conditions persisted. Spirit rover found remarkably pure ferric sulfate, indicating oxidation and transport of Fe and S, perhaps in fumaroles or hot springs. Spirit also found opaline silica, consistent with hydrothermal activity. CRISM mapped extensive silica deposits in the Valles Marineris region, consistent with aqueous weathering and deposition. CRISM also found ultramafic rocks and magnesite at Nili Fossae, consistent with serpentinization, a process that can sustain habitable environments on Earth. The report of atmospheric methane implies subsurface aqueous conditions. A working hypothesis is that aqueous

  12. Hints of Habitable Environments on Mars Challenge Our Studies of Mars-Analog Sites on Earth

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    desMarais, David J

    2009-01-01

    Life as we know it requires water with a chemical activity (alpha) >or approx.0.6 and sources of nutrients and useful energy. Some biota can survive even if favorable conditions occur only intermittently, but the minimum required frequency of occurrences is poorly understood. Recent discoveries have vindicated the Mars exploration strategy to follow the water. Mars Global Surveyor s Thermal Emission Spectrometer (TES) found coarse-grained hematite at Meridiani Planum. Opportunity rover confirmed this and also found evidence of ancient sulfate-rich playa lakes and near-surface groundwater. Elsewhere, TES found evidence of evaporitic halides in topographic depressions. But alpha might not have approached 0.6 in these evaporitic sulfate- and halide-bearing waters. Mars Express (MEX) and Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) found extensive sulfate evaporites in Meridiani and Valles Marineris. MEX found phyllosilicates at several sites, most notably Mawrth Valles and Nili Fossae. MRO's CRISM near-IR mapper extended the known diversity and geographic distribution of phyllosilicates to include numerous Noachian craters. Phyllosilicates typically occur at the base of exposed ancient rock sections or in sediments in early Hesperian craters. It is uncertain whether the phyllosilicates developed in surface or subsurface aqueous environments and how long aqueous conditions persisted. Spirit rover found remarkably pure ferric sulfate, indicating oxidation and transport of Fe and S, perhaps in fumaroles or hot springs. Spirit also found opaline silica, consistent with hydrothermal activity. CRISM mapped extensive silica deposits in the Valles Marineris region, consistent with aqueous weathering and deposition. CRISM also found ultramafic rocks and magnesite at Nili Fossae, consistent with serpentinization, a process that can sustain habitable environments on Earth. The report of atmospheric methane implies subsurface aqueous conditions. A working hypothesis is that aqueous

  13. Licancabur Volcano, Bolivia and life in the Atacama: Environmental physics and analogies to Mars

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hock, Andrew Nelson

    Although there is no perfect environmental analog to Mars on Earth, quantitative study of relevant terrestrial field sites can serve as the basis for physical models and technology development to aid future exploration. This dissertation describes original field and laboratory research on two terrestrial analog sites: Licancabur Volcano, Bolivia, and the Atacama Desert, Chile. Atop Licancabur, at an elevation of nearly 6,000 meters above sea level, sits the highest volcanic lake on Earth. Prior to this work, little was known about the lake, its waters, the role of volcanism or its potential relationship to locales on Mars. In the first part of this work, I describe observations of the lake resulting from several years of field study, including data on meteorological conditions and solar irradiance. These and other measurements provide the basis for (1) the first quantitative mass and energy balance model of the lake, and (2) the first determination of the altitude effect on solar visible and ultraviolet flux from the high altitude summit. Under the observed conditions, model results indicate: lake waters are primarily meteoric in origin and evaporating rapidly; volcanic input is not required to explain observations of lake water temperature or year-end model results. Nearby, Chile's Atacama Desert is known to be one of the driest, most inhospitable environments on Earth. There, environmental similarities to Mars provide an apt testing ground for new astrobiological exploration technologies. In the latter part of this work, I present results from my work with the Life In The Atacama (LITA) Mars rover field experiment. In particular, I report on the development of a new data analysis tool named the LITA Data Scoring System (DSS). Subject to the user-defined constraints, the DSS was used to facilitate targeting, analysis and mapping of rover science results relevant to potential habitability and evidence for life at three desert field sites. Although experimental in

  14. Biosignature Preservation and Detection in Mars Analog Environments.

    PubMed

    Hays, Lindsay E; Graham, Heather V; Des Marais, David J; Hausrath, Elisabeth M; Horgan, Briony; McCollom, Thomas M; Parenteau, M Niki; Potter-McIntyre, Sally L; Williams, Amy J; Lynch, Kennda L

    2017-04-01

    This review of material relevant to the Conference on Biosignature Preservation and Detection in Mars Analog Environments summarizes the meeting materials and discussions and is further expanded upon by detailed references to the published literature. From this diverse source material, there is a detailed discussion on the habitability and biosignature preservation potential of five primary analog environments: hydrothermal spring systems, subaqueous environments, subaerial environments, subsurface environments, and iron-rich systems. Within the context of exploring past habitable environments on Mars, challenges common to all of these key environments are laid out, followed by a focused discussion for each environment regarding challenges to orbital and ground-based observations and sample selection. This leads into a short section on how these challenges could influence our strategies and priorities for the astrobiological exploration of Mars. Finally, a listing of urgent needs and future research highlights key elements such as development of instrumentation as well as continued exploration into how Mars may have evolved differently from Earth and what that might mean for biosignature preservation and detection. Key Words: Biosignature preservation-Biosignature detection-Mars analog environments-Conference report-Astrobiological exploration. Astrobiology 17, 363-400.

  15. Biosignature Preservation and Detection in Mars Analog Environments

    PubMed Central

    Graham, Heather V.; Des Marais, David J.; Hausrath, Elisabeth M.; Horgan, Briony; McCollom, Thomas M.; Parenteau, M. Niki; Potter-McIntyre, Sally L.; Williams, Amy J.; Lynch, Kennda L.

    2017-01-01

    Abstract This review of material relevant to the Conference on Biosignature Preservation and Detection in Mars Analog Environments summarizes the meeting materials and discussions and is further expanded upon by detailed references to the published literature. From this diverse source material, there is a detailed discussion on the habitability and biosignature preservation potential of five primary analog environments: hydrothermal spring systems, subaqueous environments, subaerial environments, subsurface environments, and iron-rich systems. Within the context of exploring past habitable environments on Mars, challenges common to all of these key environments are laid out, followed by a focused discussion for each environment regarding challenges to orbital and ground-based observations and sample selection. This leads into a short section on how these challenges could influence our strategies and priorities for the astrobiological exploration of Mars. Finally, a listing of urgent needs and future research highlights key elements such as development of instrumentation as well as continued exploration into how Mars may have evolved differently from Earth and what that might mean for biosignature preservation and detection. Key Words: Biosignature preservation—Biosignature detection—Mars analog environments—Conference report—Astrobiological exploration. Astrobiology 17, 363–400. PMID:28177270

  16. Considerations on Terrestrial Iron Depositing Analogs to Earliest Mars

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Brown, Igor I.; Allen, Carlton C.; Sarkisova, S. A.; Garrison, D. H.; McKay, D. S.

    2007-01-01

    Iron oxide and hydroxide minerals, including hematite, can mineralize and preservemicrofossils and physical biomarkers (Allen at al., 2004). Preserved remnants of phototrophic microorganisms are recognized as biosignatures of past life on Earth (Schopf, 2006). To date, two types of surface iron depositing environments have been studied as analogs to possible habitable environments on earliest Mars: the highly acidified Rio Tinto River (Iberian Belt, Spain) [Gomez Ortis et al., 2007], and the nearneutral iron depositing Chocolate Pots Hot Spring (Yellowstone National Park, US) [Parenteau at al., 2005]. While phototrophs in the Rio Tinto are only represented by eukaryotic algae (Amaral Zettler et all., 2002), Chocolate Pots is mainly populated with cyanobacteria (Pierson et all., 2000; Brown et all., 2007). Which of these environments is the closer analog to a potentially habitable early Mars? Paleobiological data, combined with recent "tree of life" interpretations, suggest that phototrophic eukaryotes evolved not earlier than 2.5 - 2.8 b.y. after Earth s accretion (4.6 b.y.), while cyanobacteria and /or their iron-tolerant predecessors evolved between 1 - 1.5 b.y. after accretion (Brown et al., 2007). Lindsay and Brasier (2002) postulated that microbial life on Mars surface could have lasted no more than 1-1.5 b.y. after Mars accretion (also 4.6 b.y.). Recent multispectral mapping of Mars suggests that near-neutral wet environments prevailed at approximately this time (Bibring, et al., 2006). Thus, near-neutral iron depositing hot springs such as Chocolate Pots Hot Spring seem to be the more likely habitable analogs for earliest Mars.

  17. Considerations on Terrestrial Iron Depositing Analogs to Earliest Mars

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Brown, Igor I.; Allen, Carlton C.; Sarkisova, S. A.; Garrison, D. H.; McKay, D. S.

    2007-01-01

    Iron oxide and hydroxide minerals, including hematite, can mineralize and preservemicrofossils and physical biomarkers (Allen at al., 2004). Preserved remnants of phototrophic microorganisms are recognized as biosignatures of past life on Earth (Schopf, 2006). To date, two types of surface iron depositing environments have been studied as analogs to possible habitable environments on earliest Mars: the highly acidified Rio Tinto River (Iberian Belt, Spain) [Gomez Ortis et al., 2007], and the nearneutral iron depositing Chocolate Pots Hot Spring (Yellowstone National Park, US) [Parenteau at al., 2005]. While phototrophs in the Rio Tinto are only represented by eukaryotic algae (Amaral Zettler et all., 2002), Chocolate Pots is mainly populated with cyanobacteria (Pierson et all., 2000; Brown et all., 2007). Which of these environments is the closer analog to a potentially habitable early Mars? Paleobiological data, combined with recent "tree of life" interpretations, suggest that phototrophic eukaryotes evolved not earlier than 2.5 - 2.8 b.y. after Earth s accretion (4.6 b.y.), while cyanobacteria and /or their iron-tolerant predecessors evolved between 1 - 1.5 b.y. after accretion (Brown et al., 2007). Lindsay and Brasier (2002) postulated that microbial life on Mars surface could have lasted no more than 1-1.5 b.y. after Mars accretion (also 4.6 b.y.). Recent multispectral mapping of Mars suggests that near-neutral wet environments prevailed at approximately this time (Bibring, et al., 2006). Thus, near-neutral iron depositing hot springs such as Chocolate Pots Hot Spring seem to be the more likely habitable analogs for earliest Mars.

  18. Chemical Weathering on a Cold and Wet Ancient Mars: New Insights from a Glacial Mars Analog Site

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Scudder, N.; Horgan, B. H. N.; Rutledge, A. M.; Rampe, E. B.

    2016-12-01

    If cold climates prevailed on ancient Mars, we should expect to see corroborating mineralogical evidence preserved in the geologic record. However, the extent to which the diverse alteration mineralogy observed on Mars can be explained by cold climate weathering is currently unknown, as the alteration phases that result from weathering by snow and ice are poorly understood. If cold climate weathering produces distinct alteration signatures, they may be a useful climate indicator on Mars. On Earth, poorly crystalline or short order silicates, such as allophane, tend to dominate in alpine and arctic soils where weathering mainly occurs through rapid seasonal melting of ice and snow. This mineralogy is distinct from the crystalline phyllosilicates that are common in more temperate climates. Thus, we hypothesize that high abundances of poorly crystalline material could indicate cold climate weathering. Here we report new results from a field campaign at the mafic and glaciated Three Sisters volcanic complex in Oregon, USA, to determine the mineralogy and chemistry of cold climate weathering in a Mars analog environment. We find that high abundances of poorly crystalline phases are generated in this environment and that these phases may be detectable using orbital spectroscopy. Ongoing chemical and mineralogical analyses of glacial till and sediments from glacier-fed lakes and streams will allow us to determine the specific distribution and composition of mineral phases in Mars-relevant glacial environments. Poorly crystalline phases have been detected on Mars: modeling of TES data suggests a regionally distributed allophane component, while MER and MSL results indicate up to 40-50% amorphous components in rocks and sediments at Gusev and Gale Craters. We hypothesize that these could be the result of weathering by ice and snow. However, it is not clear that more crystalline alteration phases observed elsewhere on Mars could be formed under a globally cold climate.

  19. Mars for Earthlings: An Analog Approach to Mars in Undergraduate Education

    PubMed Central

    Kahmann-Robinson, Julia

    2014-01-01

    Abstract Mars for Earthlings (MFE) is a terrestrial Earth analog pedagogical approach to teaching undergraduate geology, planetary science, and astrobiology. MFE utilizes Earth analogs to teach Mars planetary concepts, with a foundational backbone in Earth science principles. The field of planetary science is rapidly changing with new technologies and higher-resolution data sets. Thus, it is increasingly important to understand geological concepts and processes for interpreting Mars data. MFE curriculum is topically driven to facilitate easy integration of content into new or existing courses. The Earth-Mars systems approach explores planetary origins, Mars missions, rocks and minerals, active driving forces/tectonics, surface sculpting processes, astrobiology, future explorations, and hot topics in an inquiry-driven environment. Curriculum leverages heavily upon multimedia resources, software programs such as Google Mars and JMARS, as well as NASA mission data such as THEMIS, HiRISE, CRISM, and rover images. Two years of MFE class evaluation data suggest that science literacy and general interest in Mars geology and astrobiology topics increased after participation in the MFE curriculum. Students also used newly developed skills to create a Mars mission team presentation. The MFE curriculum, learning modules, and resources are available online at http://serc.carleton.edu/marsforearthlings/index.html. Key Words: Mars—Geology—Planetary science—Astrobiology—NASA education. Astrobiology 14, 42–49. PMID:24359289

  20. Mars for Earthlings: an analog approach to Mars in undergraduate education.

    PubMed

    Chan, Marjorie; Kahmann-Robinson, Julia

    2014-01-01

    Mars for Earthlings (MFE) is a terrestrial Earth analog pedagogical approach to teaching undergraduate geology, planetary science, and astrobiology. MFE utilizes Earth analogs to teach Mars planetary concepts, with a foundational backbone in Earth science principles. The field of planetary science is rapidly changing with new technologies and higher-resolution data sets. Thus, it is increasingly important to understand geological concepts and processes for interpreting Mars data. MFE curriculum is topically driven to facilitate easy integration of content into new or existing courses. The Earth-Mars systems approach explores planetary origins, Mars missions, rocks and minerals, active driving forces/tectonics, surface sculpting processes, astrobiology, future explorations, and hot topics in an inquiry-driven environment. Curriculum leverages heavily upon multimedia resources, software programs such as Google Mars and JMARS, as well as NASA mission data such as THEMIS, HiRISE, CRISM, and rover images. Two years of MFE class evaluation data suggest that science literacy and general interest in Mars geology and astrobiology topics increased after participation in the MFE curriculum. Students also used newly developed skills to create a Mars mission team presentation. The MFE curriculum, learning modules, and resources are available online at http://serc.carleton.edu/marsforearthlings/index.html.

  1. Observations of Crew Dynamics during Mars Analog Simulations

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Cusack, Stacy L.

    2010-01-01

    This presentation reviews the crew dynamics during two simulations of Mars Missions. Using an analog of a Mars habitat in two locations, Flashline Mars Arctic Research Station (FMARS) which is located on Devon Island at 75 deg North in the Canadian Arctic, and the Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS) which is located in the south of Utah, the presentation examines the crew dynamics in relation to the leadership style of the commander of the mission. The difference in the interaction of the two crews were shown to be related to the leadership style and the age group in the crew. As much as possible the habitats and environment was to resemble a Mars outpost. The difference between the International Space Station and a Mars missions is reviewed. The leadership styles are reviewed and the contrast between the FMARS and the MDRS leadership styles were related to crew productivity, and the personal interactions between the crew members. It became evident that leadership styles and interpersonal skill had more affect on mission success and crew dynamics than other characteristics.

  2. Moon and Mars Analog Mission Activities for Mauna Kea 2012

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Graham, Lee D.; Morris, Richard V.; Graff, Trevor G.; Yingst, R. Aileen; tenKate, I. L.; Glavin, Daniel P.; Hedlund, Magnus; Malespin, Charles A.; Mumm, Erik

    2012-01-01

    Rover-based 2012 Moon and Mars Analog Mission Activities (MMAMA) scientific investigations were recently completed at Mauna Kea, Hawaii. Scientific investigations, scientific input, and science operations constraints were tested in the context of an existing project and protocols for the field activities designed to help NASA achieve the Vision for Space Exploration. Initial science operations were planned based on a model similar to the operations control of the Mars Exploration Rovers (MER). However, evolution of the operations process occurred as the analog mission progressed. We report here on the preliminary sensor data results, an applicable methodology for developing an optimum science input based on productive engineering and science trades discussions and the science operations approach for an investigation into the valley on the upper slopes of Mauna Kea identified as "Apollo Valley".

  3. Moon and Mars Analog Mission Activities for Mauna Kea 2012

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Graham, Lee D.; Morris, Richard V.; Graff, Trevor G.; Yingst, R. Aileen; tenKate, I. L.; Glavin, Daniel P.; Hedlund, Magnus; Malespin, Charles A.; Mumm, Erik

    2012-01-01

    Rover-based 2012 Moon and Mars Analog Mission Activities (MMAMA) scientific investigations were recently completed at Mauna Kea, Hawaii. Scientific investigations, scientific input, and science operations constraints were tested in the context of an existing project and protocols for the field activities designed to help NASA achieve the Vision for Space Exploration. Initial science operations were planned based on a model similar to the operations control of the Mars Exploration Rovers (MER). However, evolution of the operations process occurred as the analog mission progressed. We report here on the preliminary sensor data results, an applicable methodology for developing an optimum science input based on productive engineering and science trades discussions and the science operations approach for an investigation into the valley on the upper slopes of Mauna Kea identified as "Apollo Valley".

  4. Moon and Mars Analog Mission Activities for Mauna Kea 2012

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Graham, L. D.; Morris, R. V.; Graff, T. G.; Yingst, R. A.; ten Kate, I. L.; Glavin, D. P.; Hedlund, M.; Malespin, C. A.; Mumm, E.

    Rover-based 2012 Moon and Mars Analog Mission Activities (MMAMA) scientific investigations were recently completed at Mauna Kea, Hawaii. Scientific investigations, scientific input, and science operations constraints were tested in the context of an existing project and protocols for the field activities designed to help NASA achieve the Vision for Space Exploration. Initial science operations were planned based on a model similar to the operations control of the Mars Exploration Rovers (MER). However, evolution of the operations process occurred as the analog mission progressed. We report here on the preliminary sensor data results, an applicable methodology for developing an optimum science input based on productive engineering and science trades and the science operations approach for an investigation into the valley on the upper slopes of Mauna Kea identified as “ Apollo Valley.”

  5. Biosignature Preservation and Detection in Mars Analog Environments

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hays, Lindsay E.; Graham, Heather V.; Des Marais, David J.; Hausrath, Elisabeth M.; Horgan, Briony; McCollom, Thomas M.; Parenteau, M. Niki; Potter-McIntyre, Sally L.; Williams, Amy J.; Lynch, Kennda L.

    2017-04-01

    This review of material relevant to the Conference on Biosignature Preservation and Detection in Mars Analog Environments summarizes the meeting materials and discussions and is further expanded upon by detailed references to the published literature. From this diverse source material, there is a detailed discussion on the habitability and biosignature preservation potential of five primary analog environments: hydrothermal spring systems, subaqueous environments, subaerial environments, subsurface environments, and iron-rich systems. Within the context of exploring past habitable environments on Mars, challenges common to all of these key environments are laid out, followed by a focused discussion for each environment regarding challenges to orbital and ground-based observations and sample selection. This leads into a short section on how these challenges could influence our strategies and priorities for the astrobiological exploration of Mars. Finally, a listing of urgent needs and future research highlights key elements such as development of instrumentation as well as continued exploration into how Mars may have evolved differently from Earth and what that might mean for biosignature preservation and detection.

  6. Basaltic Ring Structures as an Analog for Ring Features in Athabasca Valles, Mars

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Jaeger, W. L.; Keszthelyi, L. P.; Burr, D. M.; Emery, J. P.; Baker, V. R.; McEwen, A. S.; Miyamoto, H.

    2005-01-01

    Basaltic ring structures (BRSs) are enigmatic, quasi-circular landforms in eastern Washington State that were first recognized in 1965. They remained a subject of geologic scrutiny through the 1970 s and subsequently faded from the spotlight, but recent Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) images showing morphologically similar structures in Athabasca Valles, Mars, have sparked renewed interest in BRSs. The only known BRSs occur in the Channeled Scabland, a region where catastrophic Pleistocene floods from glacial Lake Missoula eroded into the Miocene flood basalts of the Columbia Plateau. The geologic setting of the martian ring structures (MRSs) is similar; Athabasca Valles is a young channel system that formed when catastrophic aqueous floods carved into a volcanic substrate. This study investigates the formation of terrestrial BRSs and examines the extent to which they are appropriate analogs for the MRSs in Athabasca Valles.

  7. Possible Extent of Ancient Lake in Gale Crater, Mars

    NASA Image and Video Library

    2013-12-09

    This illustration depicts a concept for the possible extent of an ancient lake inside Gale Crater. The base map combines image data from the Context Camera on NASA Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter and color information from Viking Orbiter imagery.

  8. Telepresence in the human exploration of Mars: Field studies in analog environments

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Stoker, Carol R.

    1993-01-01

    This paper describes the role of telepresence in performing exploration of Mars. As part of an effort to develop telepresence to support Mars exploration, NASA is developing telepresence technology and using it to perform exploration in space analog environments. This paper describes experiments to demonstrate telepresence control of an underwater remotely operated vehicle (TROV) to perform scientific field work in isolated and hostile environments. Toward this end, we have developed a telepresence control system and interfaced it to an underwater remotely operated vehicle. This vehicle was used during 1992 to study aquatic ecosystems in Antarctica including a study of the physical and biological environment of permanently ice-covered lake. We also performed a preliminary analysis of the potential for using the TROV to study the benthic ecology under the sea ice in McMurdo sound. These expeditions are opening up new areas of research by using telepresence control of remote vehicles to explore isolated and extreme environments on Earth while also providing an impetus to develop technology which will play a major role in the human exploration of Mars. Antarctic field operations, in particular, provide an excellent analog experience for telepresence operation in space.

  9. Observations of Crew Dynamics During Mars Analog Simulations

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Cusack, Stacy L.

    2009-01-01

    Crewmembers on Mars missions will face new and unique challenges compared to those in close communications proximity to Mission Control centers. Crews on Mars will likely become more autonomous and responsible for their day-to-day planning. These explorers will need to make frequent real time decisions without the assistance of large ground support teams. Ground-centric control will no longer be an option due to the communications delays. As a result of the new decision making model, crew dynamics and leadership styles of future astronauts may become significantly different from the demands of today. As a volunteer for the Mars Society on two Mars analog missions, this presenter will discuss observations made during isolated, surface exploration simulations. The need for careful crew selections, not just based on individual skill sets, but on overall team interactions becomes apparent very quickly when the crew is planning their own days and deciding their own priorities. Even more important is the selection of a Mission Commander who can lead a team of highly skilled individuals with strong and varied opinions in a way that promotes crew consensus, maintains fairness, and prevents unnecessary crew fatigue.

  10. Observations of Crew Dynamics During Mars Analog Simulations

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Cusack, Stacy L.

    2009-01-01

    Crewmembers on Mars missions will face new and unique challenges compared to those in close communications proximity to Mission Control centers. Crews on Mars will likely become more autonomous and responsible for their day-to-day planning. These explorers will need to make frequent real time decisions without the assistance of large ground support teams. Ground-centric control will no longer be an option due to the communications delays. As a result of the new decision making model, crew dynamics and leadership styles of future astronauts may become significantly different from the demands of today. As a volunteer for the Mars Society on two Mars analog missions, this presenter will discuss observations made during isolated, surface exploration simulations. The need for careful crew selections, not just based on individual skill sets, but on overall team interactions becomes apparent very quickly when the crew is planning their own days and deciding their own priorities. Even more important is the selection of a Mission Commander who can lead a team of highly skilled individuals with strong and varied opinions in a way that promotes crew consensus, maintains fairness, and prevents unnecessary crew fatigue.

  11. Infrared optical properties of Mars soil analog materials: Palagonites

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Roush, Ted L.

    1992-01-01

    The globally distributed bright soils on Mars represent products of chemical alteration of primary igneous materials. As such, understanding the chemistry and mineralogy of these soils provides clues about the nature of the parent materials and the type, duration, and extent of the chemical weathering environments on Mars. Such clues are key in developing an understanding of the interior and surficial processes that have operated throughout Mars' history to yield the surface as it is currently observed. The generally homogeneous nature of these soils is illustrated by a variety of observational data. These data include (1) direct determination of elemental abundances by the X-ray fluorescence instruments on both Viking Landers, (2) Earth-based telescopic observations, and (3) space-based observations. Based on their spectral properties in the visible and near-infrared, terrestrial palagonitic soils have been suggested as analogs for the bright regions on Mars. Palagonites represent the weathering products of basaltic glass and as such are composed of a variety of minerals/materials. In order to gain an understanding regarding the chemical, mineralogical, and spectral properties of a broad suite of palagonites, several samples were collected from the eastern and central regions of the island of Hawaii.

  12. Mars extant-life campaign using an approach based on Earth-analog habitats

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Palkovic, Lawrence A.; Wilson, Thomas J.

    2005-01-01

    The Mars Robotic Outpost group at JPL has identified sixteen potential momentous discoveries that if found on Mars would alter planning for the future Mars exploration program. This paper details one possible approach to the discovery of and response to the 'momentous discovery'' of extant life on Mars. The approach detailed in this paper, the Mars Extant-Life (MEL) campaign, is a comprehensive and flexible program to find living organisms on Mars by studying Earth-analog habitats of extremophile communities.

  13. Mars extant-life campaign using an approach based on Earth-analog habitats

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Palkovic, Lawrence A.; Wilson, Thomas J.

    2005-01-01

    The Mars Robotic Outpost group at JPL has identified sixteen potential momentous discoveries that if found on Mars would alter planning for the future Mars exploration program. This paper details one possible approach to the discovery of and response to the 'momentous discovery'' of extant life on Mars. The approach detailed in this paper, the Mars Extant-Life (MEL) campaign, is a comprehensive and flexible program to find living organisms on Mars by studying Earth-analog habitats of extremophile communities.

  14. Principles for Integrating Mars Analog Science, Operations, and Technology Research

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Clancey, William J.

    2003-01-01

    During the Apollo program, the scientific community and NASA used terrestrial analog sites for understanding planetary features and for training astronauts to be scientists. Human factors studies (Harrison, Clearwater, & McKay 1991; Stuster 1996) have focused on the effects of isolation in extreme environments. More recently, with the advent of wireless computing, we have prototyped advanced EVA technologies for navigation, scheduling, and science data logging (Clancey 2002b; Clancey et al., in press). Combining these interests in a single expedition enables tremendous synergy and authenticity, as pioneered by Pascal Lee's Haughton-Mars Project (Lee 2001; Clancey 2000a) and the Mars Society s research stations on a crater rim on Devon Island in the High Canadian Arctic (Clancey 2000b; 2001b) and the Morrison Formation of southeast Utah (Clancey 2002a). Based on this experience, the following principles are proposed for conducting an integrated science, operations, and technology research program at analog sites: 1) Authentic work; 2) PI-based projects; 3) Unencumbered baseline studies; 4) Closed simulations; and 5) Observation and documentation. Following these principles, we have been integrating field science, operations research, and technology development at analog sites on Devon Island and in Utah over the past five years. Analytic methods include work practice simulation (Clancey 2002c; Sierhuis et a]., 2000a;b), by which the interaction of human behavior, facilities, geography, tools, and procedures are formalized in computer models. These models are then converted into the runtime EVA system we call mobile agents (Clancey 2002b; Clancey et al., in press). Furthermore, we have found that the Apollo Lunar Surface Journal (Jones, 1999) provides a vast repository or understanding astronaut and CapCom interactions, serving as a baseline for Mars operations and quickly highlighting opportunities for computer automation (Clancey, in press).

  15. Cerro Negro, Nicaragua: A Key Mars Analog Environment for Acid-Sulfate Weathering

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hynek, B. M.; Rogers, K. L.; McCollom, T. M.

    2007-07-01

    Cerro Negro Volcano, Nicaragua, is being investigated as an analog for acid-sulfate weathering of Mars-like basalts. Our goal is to better understand the mineral alteration pathways and the astrobiological potential of early Mars.

  16. Icelandic Analogs for Volcanic and Fluvial Processes on Mars

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    McEwen, A.; Burr, D.; Hardardottir, J.; Hoskuldsson, A.; Keszthelyi, L.; Lanagan, P.; Snorrason, A.; Thordarson, T.

    2001-12-01

    Iceland has proven to be an excellent location to study a wide range of Martian geologic analogs. Among these are basaltic volcanism and aqueous flooding--key geologic processes that have shaped the Martian surface and that remain active in Iceland. On both Mars and Iceland, volcanic units are interfingered in space and time with fluvial units. Well-preserved flood lavas in SE Elysium Planitia, Amazonis Planitia, and portions of the Tharsis rise are dominated by a distinctive morphology of plates and ridges, very similar to the "apalhraun" or "rubbly pahoehoe" of Iceland (Keszthelyi and Thordarson, 2000, GSA Abstract 52593). On both Iceland and Mars there are marginal regions of undisrupted inflated pahoehoe, small rootless cones, and long parallel structures in the wake of topographic obstacles. The Icelandic paleoflood channels of Jokulsa a Fjollum, extending from the Vatnajokull ice cap to the north coast, have eroded basaltic plains and provide many insights into morphologies seen on Mars. The manner in which different types of lava erode in a catastrophic flood is well illustrated and sometimes surprising. For example, there are channel floors where the crusts of inflated lavas have been completely stripped off by the floodwater, but then suddenly transitions upstream into a stretch with almost no erosion--even the cm-scale pahoehoe ropes are intact. This implies that significant aqueous floods could have occurred over some well-preserved lava flows on Mars. A streamlined "island" or mesa extending downstream from the volcanic crater Hrossaborg in Iceland appears to be mixture of remobilized older glacial deposits and a debris flow deposit. The debris flow apparently formed by collapse of the western outer crater slopes into the active floodwaters, diverting the flow northward; this process may have occurred on Mars at some of the impact craters eroded by outflow channels.

  17. delta C-13 Analysis of Mars Analog Carbonates Using Evolved Gas Cavity - Ringdown Spectrometry on the 2010 Arctic Mars Analog Svalbard Expedition (AMASE)

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Stern, J. C.; McAdam, A. C.; ten Kate, I. L.; Mahaffy, P. R.; Steele, A.; Amundson, H. E. F.

    2011-01-01

    The 2010 Arctic Mars Analog Svalbard Expedition (AMASE) investigated two distinct geologic settings on Svalbard, using instrumentation and techniques in development for future Mars missions, such as the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL), ExoMars, and Mars Sample Return (MSR). The Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instrument suite, which will fly on MSL, was developed at Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC), together with several partners. SAM consists of a quadrupole mass spectrometer (QMS), a gas chromatograph CGC), and a tunable laser spectrometer (TLS), which all analyze gases created by evolved gas analysis (EGA). The two sites studied represent "biotic" and "abiotic" analogs; the "biotic" site being the Knorringfjell fossil methane seep, and the "abiotic" site being the basaltic Sigurdfjell vent complex. The data presented here represent experiments to measure the carbon isotopic composition of carbonates from these two analogs using evolved gas analysis coupled with a commercial cavity ringdown CO2 isotopic analyzer (Picarro) as a proxy for the TLS on SAM.

  18. Low elevation hydrogeological features in the McMurdo Dry Valleys as analogs to recent Mars

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Doran, P. T.; Lyons, W. B.; Gardner, C.; Welch, K.

    2007-12-01

    Low elevation regions of the dry valleys in East Antarctica are often used as analogs for Mars at some time in the past when surface water was readily available. Numerous perennially ice covered lakes in particular have been touted as excellent examples of the last vestige of aquatic ecosystems on Mars during a planetary climatic deterioration [e.g. Doran, et al., 1998; Wharton, et al., 1995]. Recent climate on Mars though is too cold (and pressures too low) to support standing water at or near the surface. Yet features reminiscent of water flow, even in recent times, have been identified [Malin and Edgett, 2000; Malin, et al., 2006]. We discuss phenomena in the dry valleys which may provide clues to the nature and origin of the recent flow features on Mars. In this paper we will discuss two main phenomena: 1. Irregular spring flow derived from melting ground ice, snow patches, refrozen precipitation or buried glacier ice. Some of these seeps flow only during the warmest summers. The majority of the seeps observed flow directly out of the ground with no nearby glaciers to supply the water. Both solute chemistry and isotopic signatures are distinct from nearby streams an glaciers indicating that seep waters have been substantially modified if they originated from the same meteoric water. The geochemical data support a subsurface origin for these waters with a relatively long residence time. 2. Persistent saline groundwater discharge in a region which has permafrost to depths from 240 to 970 m [Decker and Bucker, 1977]. Don Juan Pond in Wright Valley is a CaCl-rich groundwater outcrop which is liquid year-round. Evidence of the existence of saline groundwater is also provided by flows into the bottom of Lake Vanda, and well measurements in Victoria Valley References Decker, E. R., and G. J. Bucker (1977), Geothermal studies in Antarctica, Antarc. J. US, XII, 102-104. Doran, P. T., et al. (1998), Antarctic paleolake sediments and the search for extinct life on Mars

  19. Gamma-Ray Sterilization of Mars Analog Rocks and Minerals

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Allen, C. C.

    1998-01-01

    Samples of rock and soil, collected by robotic spacecraft on Mars, will be returned to terrestrial laboratories early in the next century. Plans call for the samples to be placed immediately in biological containment and tested for signs of present or past life and biological hazard. It is recommended that "controlled distribution of unsterilized materials from Mars should occur only if rigorous analyses determine that the materials do not constitute a biological hazard. If any portion of the sample is removed from containment prior to completion of these analyses it should first be sterilized." While sterilization of Mars samples may not be required, an acceptable method must be available before the samples are returned to Earth. Various techniques are routinely used to sterilize biological samples. These include dry heating to temperatures of 150C or higher, heating in the presence of steam, exposure to poisonous gases such as formaldehyde and propiolactone, exposure to H2O2 vapor or plasma, exposure to ultraviolet light, and exposure to gamma radiation. The appropriate technique depends on the physical characteristics of the sample and the desired results. Gamma radiation is routinely used to inactivate viruses and destroy bacteria in medical research. The most commercial sterilizers use Cobalt 60, which emits gamma photons with energies of 1. 173 and 1. 332 MeV. Absorbed doses of approximately 106 rad (104 gamma ray is equal to 104 ergs/gm) are sufficient to destroy most bacteria. The current study is designed to investigate the effects of lethal doses of Cobalt 60 gamma radiation on geologic materials analogous to the first samples to be returned from Mars. The goals are (1) to determine the gamma ray dose required to kill microorganisms within geologic samples, and (2) to determine the effects of lethal doses of gamma radiation on the physical and chemical properties of the samples.

  20. Lake Shorelines: Earth Analogs for Hypothesized Martian Coastal Features

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Zimbelman, J. R.; Williams, S. H.; Johnston, A. K.; Head, James W.

    2004-01-01

    The possibility of oceans on Mars has generated a lot of interest in the science community, but conclusive evidence supporting or refuting the ocean hypothesis has remained somewhat elusive. Precise topographic measurements of fresh-appearing shorelines from glacial Lake Lahontan were collected recently in an effort to obtain well-constrained data for comparison with the hypothesized Martian shorelines. This report summarizes the first results of the on-going research project.

  1. Declining Lake Habitats in the Andes: Implications for Early Mars, Life, and Exploration (Invited)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cabrol, N. A.; Grin, E. A.; High Lakes Project Team

    2010-12-01

    The environment of the Andes presents analogies with Mars when the planet was transitioning from a wetter to a drier, colder climate: thin atmosphere, high solar irradiance, depleted ozone, high temperature fluctuations with low averages, ice, low precipitation and RH, and volcanic activity. This region is also among three areas of the world most impacted by climate change, which results in enhanced evaporation and high negative water balance that modifies lake habitat rapidly. Data shows strong interannual fluctuations in precipitation, water balance, major ion concentration, and pH are well marked. Microorganisms dwelling near the surface are exposed to a UV flux 170% that of sea level, and exceptionally high UVB levels. The thin cold atmosphere generates sudden and significant inverse relationship between UV and temperatures. In this cold, unstable environment lake habitats host abundant life. In addition to adaptation strategies, the timing of key cycles appears to be a critical factor in life’ survival. Environmental analogy with early Mars is multifold. Aridification has resulted in an evaporative environment. Latitude and altitude generate a UV-flux double that of present-day Mars at the equator and UVB only half that of the red planet, low average total ozone, and a low atmospheric pressure. Yearly temperature extremes range from -40C to +9C. Lakes are ice-covered starting austral fall, reaching maximum thickness by mid-winter. Thawing occurs in spring, but negative night temperatures result in the formation of a thin film of ice that thaws by mid-morning in spring and summer. Because of their geophysical environment, rapid climate change, isolation, and mostly uncharted ecosystems, these lakes are representative of an end-member class of terrestrial lakes and are meaningful analogs to early martian lakes. With differences inherent to the study of terrestrial analogs, the overall environmental similarity of Andean lakes with Mars at the Noachian

  2. Stability of streams and lakes on Mars

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Carr, M.H.

    1983-01-01

    Under present climatic conditions streams and lakes on Mars will freeze. Freezing is slow and would have a negligible effect in impeding flow of the large floods that are believed to have eroded the outflow channels. Valley networks are more difficult to form under current climatic conditions since they appear to have formed by slow erosion by streams of modest discharges. Freezing of small Martian streams was modeled for a variety of climatic conditions on the supposition that the Martian atmosphere may have been considerably thicker in the past when the valley networks formed. The modeling involves examination of the energy balance at the upper and lower surfaces of ice on streams to determine the rate at which the ice thickens with time. The results indicate that freezing rates are not strongly dependent on atmospheric pressure. With no wind, increasing the pressure by a factor of 10 cuts the time taken to freeze solid only by about a factor of about 2. Under windy conditions dependence on atmospheric pressure is even weaker. The distance that water could travel in a stream before flow is arrested by freezing is also calculated. The distances depend on the initial temperature of the stream and when icings develop, but in general, if a stream deeper than 2 m can be initiated and sustained, the water within it can survive long enough to cut most of the valley networks observed. The main problem with forming the valley is initiating the flow. Groundwater seepage alone appears inadequate because of the difficulty of recharging the groundwater system. Melting of ice precipitated onto the surface following injection of water into the atmosphere by large impacts is a possible source of water, but the climatic conditions under which the ice could melt and the water be collected into streams that can survive long enough to cut the valley is uncertain. ?? 1983.

  3. Cadence and cause of lake-forming climates on Mars

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kite, Edwin; Goldblatt, Colin; Gao, Peter; Mayer, David; Sneed, Jonathan

    2016-10-01

    Paleolakes on Mars record a sustained hydrologic cycle, but soils upstream record a largely dry past, so lake-forming climates were intermittent. The cadence of lakes on Mars is constrained by relatively young (~3 Ga) deltas and alluvial fans. Deposit build-up required lakes to persist for >2 Kyr (assuming dilute flow), but the watersheds' little-weathered soils indicate a swift return to dry conditions. The lake-forming climates' duty cycle and trigger mechanism remain unknown. Here we show that these data are inconsistent with many previously-proposed triggers for lake-forming climates, but consistent with a novel CH4-burst mechanism. Assuming runoff was sourced from snowmelt, SO2- and impact-triggered warming are too brief, and H2-enabled warming too persistent, to match data. However, chaotic transitions in mean obliquity are a potential trigger with suitable cadence. Mean-obliquity transitions drive latitudinal shifts in temperature and ice loading that destabilize CH4 clathrate. For achievable hydrate stability zone occupancy fractions, CH4 builds up to levels whose direct radiative forcing is comparable to a quadrupling of CO2 (20 W/m2), and sufficient to modulate lake-forming climates. Sub-lake CH4 destabilization provides positive feedback. Photolysis of CH4 curtails individual lake-forming climates to 105-106 yr duration, and depletion of CH4-clathrate limits lake-forming climates to 1-3 in number, consistent with intermittency data. We further propose that Mars' first atmospheric collapse could drive ice sheets from highlands to poles, destabilizing sub-ice clathrate and triggering the formation of the ~4 Ga-old valley networks. Our results show how a warmer early Mars can undergo intermittent orbitally-triggered excursions to a warm, wet climate state.

  4. Curvilinear Ground on Mars: the Search for Terrestrial Analogs

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Rossbacher, L. A.

    1984-01-01

    Curvilinear features on Mars have dimensions ranging from 0.5 to 18.6 km in length and 0.2 to 2.0 km in width; these landforms can occur as curving ridges and troughs, rimless arcuate depressions, or features with no apparent relief. The Martian curvilinear ground has a relatively consistent relationship to both regional and local geomorphology. These landforms are one of a suite of features that occur near the base of the regional slope that marks the transition from the cratered uplands to the northern plains. Based on morphologic similarities, numerous terrestrial analogs were proposed for these Martian features. These include gilgai, backwasting scarps, solifluction lobes, ice-cored ridges and glacial moraines. Process models for the origin of the curvilinear ground suggest that its formation probably involved several processes, including scarp retreat by backwasting.

  5. Ice-Covered Lakes in Gale Crater Mars: The Cold and Wet Hypothesis

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Kling, A. M.; Haberle, R. M.; Mckay, C. P.; Bristow, T. F.

    2016-01-01

    Recent geological discoveries from the Mars Science Laboratory provide evidence that Gale crater may have intermittently hosted a fluvio-lacustine environment during the Hesperian, with individual lakes lasting for a period of tens to hundreds of thousands of years. (Grotzinger et al., Science, 350 (6257), 2015). Estimates of the CO2 content of the atmosphere at the time the Gale sediments formed are far less than needed by any climate model to warm early Mars (Bristow et al., Geology, submitted), given the low solar energy input available at Mars 3.5 Gya. We have therefore explored the possibility that the lakes in Gale during the Hesperian were perennially covered with ice using the Antarctic Lakes as an analog. Using our best estimate for the annual mean surface temperature at Gale at this time (approx. 230K) we computed the thickness of an ice-covered lake. These thickness range from 10-30 meters depending on the ablation rate and ice transparency and would likely inhibit sediments from entering the lake. Thus, a first conclusion is that the ice must not be too cold. Raising the mean temperature to 245K is challenging, but not quite as hard as reaching 273K. We found that a mean annual temperature of 245K ice thicknesses range from 3-10 meters. These values are comparable to the range of those for the Antarctic lakes (3-6 m), and are not implausible. And they are not so thick that sediments cannot penetrate the ice. For the ice-covered lake hypothesis to work, however, a melt water source is needed. This could come from subaqueous melting of a glacial dam in contact with the lakes (as is the case for Lake Untersee) or from seasonal melt water from nearby glaciers (as is the case for the Dry Valley lakes). More work is needed to better assess these possibilities. However, the main advantage of the ice-covered lake model (and the main reason we pursued it) is that it relaxes the requirement for a long-lived active hydrological cycle involving rainfall and runoff

  6. Ice-Covered Lakes in Gale Crater Mars: The Cold and Wet Hypothesis

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kling, Alexandre; Haberle, Robert; McKay, Christopher P.; Bristow, Thomas

    2016-10-01

    Recent geological discoveries from the Mars Science Laboratory provide evidence that Gale crater may have intermittently hosted a fluvio-lacustine environment during the Hesperian, with individual lakes lasting for a period of tens to hundreds of thousands of years. (Grotzinger et al., Science, 350 (6257), 2015). Estimates of the CO2 content of the atmosphere at the time the Gale sediments formed are far less than needed by any climate model to warm early Mars (Bristow et al., Geology, submitted), given the low solar energy input available at Mars 3.5 Gya. We have therefore explored the possibility that the lakes in Gale during the Hesperian were perennially covered with ice using the Antarctic Lakes as an analog. Using our best estimate for the annual mean surface temperature at Gale at this time (~230K) we computed the thickness of an ice-covered lake. These thickness range from 10-30 meters depending on the ablation rate and ice transparency and would likely inhibit sediments from entering the lake. Thus, a first conclusion is that the ice must not be too cold. Raising the mean temperature to 245K is challenging, but not quite as hard as reaching 273K. We found that a mean annual temperature of 245K ice thicknesses range from 3-10 meters. These values are comparable to the range of those for the Antarctic lakes (3-6 m), and are not implausible. And they are not so thick that sediments cannot penetrate the ice. For the ice-covered lake hypothesis to work, however, a melt water source is needed. This could come from subaqueous melting of a glacial dam in contact with the lakes (as is the case for Lake Untersee) or from seasonal melt water from nearby glaciers (as is the case for the Dry Valley lakes). More work is needed to better assess these possibilities. However, the main advantage of the ice-covered lake model (and the main reason we pursued it) is that it relaxes the requirement for a long-lived active hydrological cycle involving rainfall and runoff, which

  7. Aqueous Alteration of Mars-Analog Rocks Under an Acidic Atmosphere

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Bullock, M. A.; Moore, J. M.; Mellon, M. T.

    2001-01-01

    The wind-blown fines of Mars have high amounts of salts that are easily mobilized by water. We report on laboratory experiments that produce brines from the interaction of water with Mars-analog rocks and a simulated acidic Mars paleoatmosphere. Additional information is contained in the original extended abstract.

  8. Aqueous Alteration of Mars-Analog Rocks Under an Acidic Atmosphere

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Bullock, M. A.; Moore, J. M.; Mellon, M. T.

    2001-01-01

    The wind-blown fines of Mars have high amounts of salts that are easily mobilized by water. We report on laboratory experiments that produce brines from the interaction of water with Mars-analog rocks and a simulated acidic Mars paleoatmosphere. Additional information is contained in the original extended abstract.

  9. Lunar and Planetary Science XXXV: Mars: Remote Sensing and Terrestrial Analogs

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    2004-01-01

    The session "Mars: Remote Sensing and Terrestrial Analogs" included the following:Physical Meaning of the Hapke Parameter for Macroscopic Roughness: Experimental Determination for Planetary Regolith Surface Analogs and Numerical Approach; Near-Infrared Spectra of Martian Pyroxene Separates: First Results from Mars Spectroscopy Consortium; Anomalous Spectra of High-Ca Pyroxenes: Correlation Between Ir and M ssbauer Patterns; THEMIS-IR Emissivity Spectrum of a Large Dark Streak near Olympus Mons; Geomorphologic/Thermophysical Mapping of the Athabasca Region, Mars, Using THEMIS Infrared Imaging; Mars Thermal Inertia from THEMIS Data; Multispectral Analysis Methods for Mapping Aqueous Mineral Depostis in Proposed Paleolake Basins on Mars Using THEMIS Data; Joint Analysis of Mars Odyssey THEMIS Visible and Infrared Images: A Magic Airbrush for Qualitative and Quantitative Morphology; Analysis of Mars Thermal Emission Spectrometer Data Using Large Mineral Reference Libraries ; Negative Abundance : A Problem in Compositional Modeling of Hyperspectral Images; Mars-LAB: First Remote Sensing Data of Mineralogy Exposed at Small Mars-Analog Craters, Nevada Test Site; A Tool for the 2003 Rover Mini-TES: Downwelling Radiance Compensation Using Integrated Line-Sight Sky Measurements; Learning About Mars Geology Using Thermal Infrared Spectral Imaging: Orbiter and Rover Perspectives; Classifying Terrestrial Volcanic Alteration Processes and Defining Alteration Processes they Represent on Mars; Cemented Volcanic Soils, Martian Spectra and Implications for the Martian Climate; Palagonitic Mars: A Basalt Centric View of Surface Composition and Aqueous Alteration; Combining a Non Linear Unmixing Model and the Tetracorder Algorithm: Application to the ISM Dataset; Spectral Reflectance Properties of Some Basaltic Weathering Products; Morphometric LIDAR Analysis of Amboy Crater, California: Application to MOLA Analysis of Analog Features on Mars; Airborne Radar Study of Soil Moisture at

  10. Lunar and Planetary Science XXXV: Mars: Remote Sensing and Terrestrial Analogs

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    2004-01-01

    The session "Mars: Remote Sensing and Terrestrial Analogs" included the following:Physical Meaning of the Hapke Parameter for Macroscopic Roughness: Experimental Determination for Planetary Regolith Surface Analogs and Numerical Approach; Near-Infrared Spectra of Martian Pyroxene Separates: First Results from Mars Spectroscopy Consortium; Anomalous Spectra of High-Ca Pyroxenes: Correlation Between Ir and M ssbauer Patterns; THEMIS-IR Emissivity Spectrum of a Large Dark Streak near Olympus Mons; Geomorphologic/Thermophysical Mapping of the Athabasca Region, Mars, Using THEMIS Infrared Imaging; Mars Thermal Inertia from THEMIS Data; Multispectral Analysis Methods for Mapping Aqueous Mineral Depostis in Proposed Paleolake Basins on Mars Using THEMIS Data; Joint Analysis of Mars Odyssey THEMIS Visible and Infrared Images: A Magic Airbrush for Qualitative and Quantitative Morphology; Analysis of Mars Thermal Emission Spectrometer Data Using Large Mineral Reference Libraries ; Negative Abundance : A Problem in Compositional Modeling of Hyperspectral Images; Mars-LAB: First Remote Sensing Data of Mineralogy Exposed at Small Mars-Analog Craters, Nevada Test Site; A Tool for the 2003 Rover Mini-TES: Downwelling Radiance Compensation Using Integrated Line-Sight Sky Measurements; Learning About Mars Geology Using Thermal Infrared Spectral Imaging: Orbiter and Rover Perspectives; Classifying Terrestrial Volcanic Alteration Processes and Defining Alteration Processes they Represent on Mars; Cemented Volcanic Soils, Martian Spectra and Implications for the Martian Climate; Palagonitic Mars: A Basalt Centric View of Surface Composition and Aqueous Alteration; Combining a Non Linear Unmixing Model and the Tetracorder Algorithm: Application to the ISM Dataset; Spectral Reflectance Properties of Some Basaltic Weathering Products; Morphometric LIDAR Analysis of Amboy Crater, California: Application to MOLA Analysis of Analog Features on Mars; Airborne Radar Study of Soil Moisture at

  11. The investigation of terrestrial analogs for the paleoclimate of Mars

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Thorpe, M.; Hurowitz, J.; Dehouck, E.

    2016-12-01

    The paleoclimate of Mars is recorded in sedimentary rocks and deposits, with geochemical and mineralogical lines of evidence illustrating an active hydrologic cycle and aqueous weathering environment. The nature of this paleoclimate remains a debatable subject, with several competing hypothesis existing from warm and wet to cold and icy. However, sedimentary processes in basaltic terrains are understudied, leading to an inadequate reference frame for the sedimentary record of Mars. Therefore, investigating the effects of climate on basaltic terrestrial analogs will help in establishing a context for understanding the ancient conditions of Mars. The Columbia River Basalts in Idaho, USA will serve as conditions in a warm and wet climate, while the weathering of Icelandic Basalts in southwestern Iceland will provide a cold and wet climate scenario. In the warm and wet conditions of Idaho, Miocene basaltic source rock is broken down by physical and chemical weathering, transported by streams and deposited locally as small deltas. The sediment that accumulates preserves the basaltic provenance mineralogy in grain sizes as small as silt. The major elemental geochemistry displays chemical weathering trends that are consistent with decreasing grain size, and interpreted as mafic mineral dissolution (i.e., olivine and pyroxenes). Clay mineral phases are separated into the finest grain size fraction during the sedimentation process and are identified as smectite clays. A similar story of preserving basaltic mineralogy is illustrated by Icelandic deposits, except mechanical breakdown of the sediment appears to have a larger impact. Primary mafic minerals are identified in even the clay size fraction of the Icelandic fluvial delta deposits. Additionally, there are limited abundances of clay mineral phases, with more obvious contributions of poorly crystalline phases in the less than 2 micron fraction. The preservation of basaltic provenance in the mineralogy of sediments

  12. The Licancabur Project: Exploring the Limits of Life in the Highest Lake on Earth as an Analog to Martian Paleolakes

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Cabrol, N. A.; Grin, E. A.; McKay, C. P.; Friedmann, I.; Diaz, G. Chong; Demergasso, C.; Kisse, K.; Grigorszky, I.; Friedmann, R. Ocampo; Hock, A.

    2003-01-01

    The Licancabur volcano (6017 m) hosts the highest and one of the least explored lakes in the world in its summit crater. It is located 22 deg.50 min. South / 67 deg.53 min. West at the boundary of Chile and Bolivia in the High-Andes. In a freezing environment, the lake located in volcano-tectonic environment combines low-oxygen, low atmospheric pressure due to altitude, and high-UV radiation (see table). However, its bottom water temperature remains above 0 C year-round. These conditions make Licancabur a unique analog to Martian paleolakes considered high-priority sites for the search for life on Mars.

  13. The Licancabur Project: Exploring the Limits of Life in the Highest Lake on Earth as an Analog to Martian Paleolakes

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Cabrol, N. A.; Grin, E. A.; McKay, C. P.; Friedmann, I.; Diaz, G. Chong; Demergasso, C.; Kisse, K.; Grigorszky, I.; Friedmann, R. Ocampo; Hock, A.

    2003-01-01

    The Licancabur volcano (6017 m) hosts the highest and one of the least explored lakes in the world in its summit crater. It is located 22 deg.50 min. South / 67 deg.53 min. West at the boundary of Chile and Bolivia in the High-Andes. In a freezing environment, the lake located in volcano-tectonic environment combines low-oxygen, low atmospheric pressure due to altitude, and high-UV radiation (see table). However, its bottom water temperature remains above 0 C year-round. These conditions make Licancabur a unique analog to Martian paleolakes considered high-priority sites for the search for life on Mars.

  14. Microbial Analysis of Australian Dry Lake Cores; Analogs For Biogeochemical Processes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Nguyen, A. V.; Baldridge, A. M.; Thomson, B. J.

    2014-12-01

    Lake Gilmore in Western Australia is an acidic ephemeral lake that is analogous to Martian geochemical processes represented by interbedded phyllosilicates and sulfates. These areas demonstrate remnants of a global-scale change on Mars during the late Noachian era from a neutral to alkaline pH to relatively lower pH in the Hesperian era that continues to persist today. The geochemistry of these areas could possibly be caused by small-scale changes such as microbial metabolism. Two approaches were used to determine the presence of microbes in the Australian dry lake cores: DNA analysis and lipid analysis. Detecting DNA or lipids in the cores will provide evidence of living or deceased organisms since they provide distinct markers for life. Basic DNA analysis consists of extraction, amplification through PCR, plasmid cloning, and DNA sequencing. Once the sequence of unknown DNA is known, an online program, BLAST, will be used to identify the microbes for further analysis. The lipid analysis approach consists of phospholipid fatty acid analysis that is done by Microbial ID, which will provide direct identification any microbes from the presence of lipids. Identified microbes are then compared to mineralogy results from the x-ray diffraction of the core samples to determine if the types of metabolic reactions are consistent with the variation in composition in these analog deposits. If so, it provides intriguing implications for the presence of life in similar Martian deposits.

  15. Reconstructing the past climate at Gale crater, Mars, from hydrological modeling of late-stage lakes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Horvath, David G.; Andrews-Hanna, Jeffrey C.

    2017-08-01

    The sedimentary deposits in Gale crater may preserve one of the best records of the early Martian climate during the Late Noachian and Early Hesperian. Surface and orbital observations support the presence of two periods of lake stability in Gale crater—prior to the formation of the sedimentary mound during the Late Noachian and after the formation and erosion of the mound to its present state in the Early Hesperian. Here we use hydrological models and late-stage lake levels at Gale, to reconstruct the climate of Mars after mound formation and erosion to its present state. Using Earth analog climates, we show that the late-stage lakes require wetter interludes characterized by semiarid climates after the transition to arid conditions in the Hesperian. These climates are much wetter than is thought to characterize much of the Hesperian and are more similar to estimates of the Late Noachian climate.

  16. SAM-like Evolved Gas Analysis of Mars Analog Samples from the Arctic Mars Analog Svalbard Expedition: Implications for Analyses by the Mars Science Laboratory

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    McAdam, A.; Stern, J. C.; Mahaffy, P. R.; Blake, D. F.; Morris, R. V.; Ming, D. W.; Bristow, T.; Steele, A.; Amundsen, H.

    2012-12-01

    The Arctic Mars Analog Svalbard Expeditions (AMASE) have investigated a range of geologic settings on Svalbard, using methodologies and techniques being developed for Mars missions, such as the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL). The Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instrument suite on MSL consists of a quadrupole mass spectrometer (QMS), a gas chromatograph (GC), and a tunable laser spectrometer (TLS), which analyze gases created by pyrolysis of samples. During AMASE, a Hiden Evolved Gas Analysis-Mass Spectrometer (EGA-QMS) system represented the EGA-QMS capability of SAM. Another MSL instrument, CheMin, will use x-ray diffraction (XRD) and x-ray fluorescence (XRF) to perform quantitative mineralogical characterization of samples. Field-portable versions of CheMin were used during AMASE. Here we discuss the SAM-like EGA-QMS analyses of a selected subset of samples acquired during several field seasons, together with AMASE CheMin team results. The results enable insight into organic content, organic-mineral associations, and mineralogy. Organic materials evolved from all samples over a range of temperatures. In general, this can indicate that the organics have a range of thermal maturity and/or are bound in different ways to their matrix. Most often, organics that were outside of mineral grains were the dominant pool of organic material inferable from the EGA-QMS, but organics encapsulated within mineral grains, including possibly methane, were also inferred. Organic-mineral associations can influence organic preservation potential and detection. Constraints on these associations, and overall sample organic chemistry, enabled by our SAM-like EGA-QMS analog analyses demonstrate the potential to understand the organic chemical characteristics in materials sampled by MSL, even when utilizing EGA-QMS, the simplest type of solid sample experiment SAM will perform. Any organic chemical information inferred from EGA-QMS analysis could then also be followed by detailed SAM EGA

  17. Basalt weathering in an Arctic Mars-analog site

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Yesavage, Tiffany; Thompson, Aaron; Hausrath, Elisabeth M.; Brantley, Susan L.

    2015-07-01

    possible that cyclic adsorption of water onto basaltic rocks in this dry climate may result in high physical spalling rates that in turn promote chemical leaching. Many observations at Sverrefjell are similar to inferences from Mars: the presence of SRO phases, Si-rich coatings, and/or Si-rich allophane, as well as the persistence of olivine. Given these similarities, it is inferred that Sverrefjell volcano is a good analog for martian weathering and that other processes operating at Sverrefjell may also have occurred on Mars, including Na leaching, surface spalling, and precipitation of Si-rich layers. Such processes could have occurred on Mars wherever basalts were exposed to water at circumneutral pH for thousands to tens of thousands of years.

  18. Evolved Gas Analysis of Mars Analog Samples from the Arctic Mars Analog Svalbard Expedition: Implications for Analyses by the Mars Science Laboratory

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    McAdam, A.; Stern, J. C.; Mahaffey, P. R.; Blake, D. F.; Bristow, T.; Steele, A.; Amundsen, H. E. F.

    2012-01-01

    The 2011 Arctic Mars Analog Svalbard Expedition (AMASE) investigated several geologic settings on Svalbard, using methodologies and techniques being developed or considered for future Mars missions, such as the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL). The Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instrument suite on MSL consists of a quadrupole mass spectrometer (QMS), a gas chromatograph (GC), and a tunable laser spectrometer (TLS), which analyze gases created by pyrolysis of samples. During AMASE, a Hiden Evolved Gas Analysis-Mass Spectrometer (EGA-MS) system represented the EGA-QMS capability of SAM. Another MSL instrument, CheMin, will use x-ray diffraction (XRD) and x-ray fluorescence (XRF) to perform quantitative mineralogical characterization of samples. Field-portable versions of CheMin were used during AMASE. AMASE 2011 sites spanned a range of environments relevant to understanding martian surface materials, processes and habitability. They included the basaltic Sverrefjell volcano, which hosts carbonate globules, cements and coatings, carbonate and sulfate units at Colletth0gda, Devonian sandstone redbeds in Bockfjorden, altered basaltic lava delta deposits at Mt. Scott Keltie, and altered dolerites and volcanics at Botniahalvoya. Here we focus on SAM-like EGA-MS of a subset of the samples, with mineralogy comparisons to CheMin team results. The results allow insight into sample organic content as well as some constraints on sample mineralogy.

  19. Were lakes on early Mars perennially were ice-covered?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sumner, D. Y.; Rivera-Hernandez, F.; Mackey, T. J.

    2016-12-01

    Paleo-lake deposits indicate that Mars once sustained liquid water, supporting the idea of an early "wet and warm" Mars. However, liquid water can be sustained under ice in cold conditions as demonstrated by perennially ice-covered lakes (PICLs) in Antarctica. If martian lakes were ice-covered, the global climate on early Mars could have been much colder and dryer than if the atmosphere was in equilibrium with long-lived open water lakes. Modern PICLs on Earth have diagnostic sedimentary features. Unlike open water lakes that are dominated by mud, and drop stones or tills if icebergs are present, previous studies determined that deposits in PICLs can include coarser grains that are transported onto the ice cover, where they absorb solar radiation, melt through the ice and are deposited with lacustrine muds. In Lake Hoare, Antarctica, these coarse grains form conical sand mounds and ridges. Our observations of ice-covered lakes Joyce, Fryxell, Vanda and Hoare, Antarctica suggest that the distributions of grains depend significantly on ice characteristics. Deposits in these lakes contain moderately well to moderately sorted medium to very coarse sand grains, which preferentially melt through the ice whereas granules and larger grains remain on the ice surface. Similarly, high albedo grains are concentrated on the ice surface, whereas low albedo grains melt deeper into the ice, demonstrating a segregation of grains due to ice-sediment interactions. In addition, ice cover thickness may determine the spatial distribution of sand deposited in PICLs. Localized sand mounds and ridges composed of moderately sorted sand are common in PICLs with rough ice covers greater than 3 m thick. In contrast, lakes with smooth and thinner ice have disseminated sand grains and laterally extensive sand layers but may not have sand mounds. At Gale Crater, Mars, the Murray formation consists of sandy lacustrine mudstones, but the depositional process for the sand is unknown. The presence of

  20. Echo Source Discrimination in Airborne Radar Sounding Data for Mars Analog Studies, Dry Valleys, Antarctica

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Holt, J. W.; Blankenship, D. D.; Peters, M. E.; Kempf, S. D.; Morse, D. L.; Williams, B. J.

    2003-01-01

    The recent identification of features on Mars exhibiting morphologies consistent with ice/rock mixtures, near-surface ice bodies and near-surface liquid water [1,2], and the importance of such features to the search for water on Mars, highlights the need for appropriate terrestrial analogs in order to prepare for upcoming radar missions targeting these and other water-related features. Climatic, hydrological, and geological conditions in the McMurdo Dry Valleys of Antarctica are analogous in many ways to those on Mars, and a number of ice-related features in the Dry Valleys may have direct morphologic and compositional counterparts on Mars.

  1. The Corfu Landslide: Analog to Giant Landslides on Mars

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Lewis, S. W.; Baker, V. R.

    1984-01-01

    In an analog to the great landslides of the Vales Marineris, Mars, a detailed study was made of the Corfu Landslide in south-central Washington. This prehistoric slide is located on the northern flank of the Saddle Mountains, southwest of Othello, Washington. The slide covers a 13 square km area centered on section 11 of T.15N., R.27E., Willamette Meridian, adjacent to the Corfu townsite. Approximately 1 cubic km of material is involved in sliding that was probably initiated by Missoula flooding through the Channeled Scabland. It is concluded that there were four primary factors involved in the initiation of the Corfu landsliding: (1) A slip surface was present at the right orientation; (2) Glacial flooding undercut the slope; (3) Wetter climatic conditions prevailed during that time period; and (4) Some seismic vibrations, known to occur locally, probably acted as a trigger. These factors show that special conditions were required in conjunction to produce landsliding. Studies in progress of the Vales Marieneris suggest that the same factors probably contributed to landsliding there.

  2. The drying of Mars - an analog from Kachchh, western India

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gupta, S.; Mitra, S.; Mitra, K.; Bhattacharya, S.; Banerjee, S.; Chauhan, P.; Jain, N.; Parthasarathy, G.

    2016-12-01

    tectonic uplift in the Kachchh region in the Holocene, during which oxidized surface water percolated through fractures and mixed with in situ acidified groundwater in the shale units. However, parallels with the Martian occurrences suggest that the Kachchh setting may represent an excellent analog to the disappearance of water from the surface of Mars.

  3. Lonar Crater, India: Analog for Mars in the Field and in the Laboratory

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wright, S. P.

    2014-07-01

    A wealth of geologic processes and products analogous to Mars and SNC's can be studied through the synthesis of fieldwork at Lonar Crater, sample analyses of collected shocked and altered basalts, and eventual application to remote and rover data.

  4. Monturaqui Crater (Atacama Desert, Chile) as a Mars Analog: Exploring the Impact Spherule Hypothesis for Meridiani

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Piatek, J. L.; Ukstins Peate, I.; Cabrol, N. A.; Grin, E. A.; Chong, G.

    2010-03-01

    Monturaqui is a young terrestrial impact in the Atacama Desert. The impact affected volcanic rocks and created a vesicular impactite that contains iron oxide spherules, representing a potential analog for "blueberries" in Meridiani Planum, Mars.

  5. Characterization of Fungal Population During 30-Day Occupation in a Simulated Lunar/Mars Analog Habitat

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Blachowicz, A.; Mayer, T.; Swarmer, T. M.; De Leon, P.; Venkateswaran, K.

    2015-10-01

    The simulated Lunar/Mars Analog Habitat (LMAH) keeps its inhabitants in isolation from the outside environment what enabled to observe the changes in the fungal microbiome during human occupation. It is crucial since fungi might be hazardous.

  6. Perennial Lakeshores as an Exploration Target for Microbial Remains on Mars Based on Earth Analogs

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Blair, T. C.

    2013-12-01

    Exploring for evidence of present or past life is a key part of the NASA Mars program. Satellite data show the existence on the Martian surface of several types of potentially habitable settings for past microbial life if it existed, including remnants of former environments still in morphologic context. Of these environments, lakeshores are a prime target for future rover missions because they manifest a past critical interface between atmosphere, sunlit water, and a solid substrate. Case studies were made of possible analog remnants from now desiccated late Pleistocene perennial lakes of the western Basin and Range province, USA, to better understand microbial remains in this setting. These case studies show that the best preserved and most concentrated records of fossil microbial life developed in the upper photic zone of former shorezones where: 1) coeval clastic sedimentation was low; 2) a solid substrate such as coarse clasts or bedrock was present for colonization; 3) lake level was relatively stable for at least a few thousand years; and 4) chemical conditions promoted some mineral precipitation, such as of calcite. Although not a prerequisite, microbial accumulations also are common in the studied Pleistocene lakes where effluent from piedmont groundwater mixed with chemically different lake water either diffusely in the beachface or at springs in the shoreface. Martian river deltas with discernible multi-sequence deposits are a good indicator of past stable levels in associated lakes because such deltaic intervals record a sustained history. An example is the Eberswalde delta. River discharge delivered sediment to build the deltas and concurrently added water to maintain the lakes. A distinction between river deltas and alluvial fans or fan deltas is necessary to identify these targets, and this can easily be achieved using Earth case studies. An appreciation that river deltas are not reclassified as alluvial fans simply because they were abandoned also

  7. Hydraulic Inferences for Mars From Geologic Mapping in Margaritifer Terra, Mars and Measurements of Terrestrial Analogs.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Fortezzo, C. M.; Williams, K. K.; Springer, A. E.

    2006-12-01

    Past hydrogeologic models of Mars have focused primarily on exploring a link between large scale groundwater systems and the Martian outflow channels. These groundwater models have generally given only slight consideration to the occurrence of smaller-scale valley network that dissect much of the southern highlands. Ongoing geologic and geomorphic mapping in 6 Mars Transverse Mercator 1:500K quadrangles (17.5ºS - 27.5ºS and 345ºE - 360ºE) in southeast Margaritifer Terra, Mars, shows valley networks are often associated with the internal and external slopes of the impact basin but are absent on the basin floor. We propose a sequence of ponding in the basin followed by infiltration into the subsurface, transmission down the regional slope and sapping valleys forming on the crater flanks. The Martian valley morphologies are analogous with morphologies of terrestrial spring-fed sapping processes (i.e., amphitheater-shaped heads, stubby tributaries, steep walls, and U-shaped valleys that maintain consistent width-depth ratios along their length). Flow measurements from spring-fed channels in the Navajo Sandstone near Escalante, Utah supply data from areas actively forming sapping valleys and provide insight into the interaction between surface-water and groundwater. Measurements taken during pre-monsoon and post-snow melt run-off and planned post- monsoonal measurements will provide a range of discharge values furnishing data to model the interaction of subsurface- and surface-water flow on Mars. Published stratigraphic models of Mars postulate that the upper kilometer of material is ejecta related well-mixed unsorted debris ranging from meter sized blocks down to dust sized particles overlying fractured bedrock. Detailed mapping using high resolution datasets allows for accurate characterization of surficial material properties on a local scale which will help to better understand influences on hydrologic variables (i.e. permeability, hydraulic conductivity, etc

  8. General Education Engagement in Earth and Planetary Science through an Earth-Mars Analog Curriculum

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Chan, M. A.; Kahmann-Robinson, J. A.

    2012-12-01

    The successes of NASA rovers on Mars and new remote sensing imagery at unprecedented resolution can awaken students to the valuable application of Earth analogs to understand Mars processes and the possibilities of extraterrestrial life. Mars For Earthlings (MFE) modules and curriculum are designed as general science content introducing a pedagogical approach of integrating Earth science principles and Mars imagery. The content can be easily imported into existing or new general education courses. MFE learning modules introduce students to Google Mars and JMARS software packages and encourage Mars imagery analysis to predict habitable environments on Mars drawing on our knowledge of extreme environments on Earth. "Mars Mission" projects help students develop teamwork and presentation skills. Topic-oriented module examples include: Remote Sensing Mars, Olympus Mons and Igneous Rocks, Surface Sculpting Forces, and Extremophiles. The learning modules package imagery, video, lab, and in-class activities for each topic and are available online for faculty to adapt or adopt in courses either individually or collectively. A piloted MFE course attracted a wide range of non-majors to non-degree seeking senior citizens. Measurable outcomes of the piloted MFE curriculum were: heightened enthusiasm for science, awareness of NASA programs, application of Earth science principles, and increased science literacy to help students develop opinions of current issues (e.g., astrobiology or related government-funded research). Earth and Mars analog examples can attract and engage future STEM students as the next generation of earth, planetary, and astrobiology scientists.

  9. Redox stratification of an ancient lake in Gale crater, Mars

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hurowitz, J. A.; Grotzinger, J. P.; Fischer, W. W.; McLennan, S. M.; Milliken, R. E.; Stein, N.; Vasavada, A. R.; Blake, D. F.; Dehouck, E.; Eigenbrode, J. L.; Fairén, A. G.; Frydenvang, J.; Gellert, R.; Grant, J. A.; Gupta, S.; Herkenhoff, K. E.; Ming, D. W.; Rampe, E. B.; Schmidt, M. E.; Siebach, K. L.; Stack-Morgan, K.; Sumner, D. Y.; Wiens, R. C.

    2017-06-01

    In 2012, NASA's Curiosity rover landed on Mars to assess its potential as a habitat for past life and investigate the paleoclimate record preserved by sedimentary rocks inside the ~150-kilometer-diameter Gale impact crater. Geological reconstructions from Curiosity rover data have revealed an ancient, habitable lake environment fed by rivers draining into the crater. We synthesize geochemical and mineralogical data from lake-bed mudstones collected during the first 1300 martian solar days of rover operations in Gale. We present evidence for lake redox stratification, established by depth-dependent variations in atmospheric oxidant and dissolved-solute concentrations. Paleoclimate proxy data indicate that a transition from colder to warmer climate conditions is preserved in the stratigraphy. Finally, a late phase of geochemical modification by saline fluids is recognized.

  10. Redox stratification of an ancient lake in Gale crater, Mars.

    PubMed

    Hurowitz, J A; Grotzinger, J P; Fischer, W W; McLennan, S M; Milliken, R E; Stein, N; Vasavada, A R; Blake, D F; Dehouck, E; Eigenbrode, J L; Fairén, A G; Frydenvang, J; Gellert, R; Grant, J A; Gupta, S; Herkenhoff, K E; Ming, D W; Rampe, E B; Schmidt, M E; Siebach, K L; Stack-Morgan, K; Sumner, D Y; Wiens, R C

    2017-06-02

    In 2012, NASA's Curiosity rover landed on Mars to assess its potential as a habitat for past life and investigate the paleoclimate record preserved by sedimentary rocks inside the ~150-kilometer-diameter Gale impact crater. Geological reconstructions from Curiosity rover data have revealed an ancient, habitable lake environment fed by rivers draining into the crater. We synthesize geochemical and mineralogical data from lake-bed mudstones collected during the first 1300 martian solar days of rover operations in Gale. We present evidence for lake redox stratification, established by depth-dependent variations in atmospheric oxidant and dissolved-solute concentrations. Paleoclimate proxy data indicate that a transition from colder to warmer climate conditions is preserved in the stratigraphy. Finally, a late phase of geochemical modification by saline fluids is recognized. Copyright © 2017, American Association for the Advancement of Science.

  11. Limits of Detection for Life on Mars: An Example Using IR Spectroscopy of Sulfate Salts and Halophiles from Lakes in British Columbia, Canada

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hyde, B. C.; Foster, I. S.; King, P. L.; Southam, G.; Nushaj, D.

    2007-03-01

    Salt lakes in B.C., Canada are Mars analog sites for biology and sulfate formation. We use halophiles from them to show the lower limit of infrared detection of halophiles in salt to be 10-15 wt% halophiles providing constraints for martian study.

  12. Tírez lake as a terrestrial analog of Europa.

    PubMed

    Prieto-Ballesteros, Olga; Rodríguez, Nuria; Kargel, Jeffrey S; Kessler, Carola González; Amils, Ricardo; Remolar, David Fernández

    2003-01-01

    Tírez Lake (La Mancha, central Spain) is proposed as a terrestrial analogue of Europa's ocean. The proposal is based on the comparison of the hydrogeochemistry of Tírez Lake with the geochemical features of the alteration mineralogy of meteoritic precursors and with Galileo's Near Infrared Mapping Spectrometer data on Europa's surface. To validate the astrobiological potential of Tírez Lake as an analog of Europa, different hydrogeochemical, mineral, and microbial analyses were performed. Experimental and theoretical modeling helped to understand the crystallization pathways that may occur in Europa's crust. Calculations about the oxidation state of the hypothetical Europan ocean were estimated to support the sulfate-rich neutral liquid model as the origin of Europa's observed hydrated minerals and to facilitate their comparison with Tírez's hydrogeochemistry. Hydrogeochemical and mineralogical analyses showed that Tírez waters corresponded to Mg-Na-SO(4)-Cl brines with epsomite, hexahydrite, and halite as end members. A preliminary microbial ecology characterization identified two different microbial domains: a photosynthetically sustained community represented by planktonic/benthonic forms and microbial mat communities, and a subsurficial anaerobic realm in which chemolithotrophy predominates. Fluorescence in situ hybridization has been used to characterize the prokaryotic diversity of the system. The subsurficial community seemed to be dominated by sulfate-reducing bacteria and methanogens. Frozen Tírez brines were analyzed by Fourier-transform infrared techniques providing spectra similar to those reported previously using pure components and to the Galileo spectral data. Calorimetric measurements of Tírez brines showed pathways and phase metastability for magnesium sulfate and sodium chloride crystallization that may aid in understanding the processes involved in the formation of Europa's icy crust. The use of fluorescence hybridization techniques for

  13. Tírez Lake as a Terrestrial Analog of Europa

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Prieto-Ballesteros, Olga; Rodríguez, Nuria; Kargel, Jeffrey S.; Kessler, Carola González; Amils, Ricardo; Remolar, David Fernández

    2003-12-01

    Tírez Lake (La Mancha, central Spain) is proposed as a terrestrial analogue of Europa's ocean. The proposal is based on the comparison of the hydrogeochemistry of Tírez Lake with the geochemical features of the alteration mineralogy of meteoritic precursors and with Galileo's Near Infrared Mapping Spectrometer data on Europa's surface. To validate the astrobiological potential of Tírez Lake as an analog of Europa, different hydrogeochemical, mineral, and microbial analyses were performed. Experimental and theoretical modeling helped to understand the crystallization pathways that may occur in Europa's crust. Calculations about the oxidation state of the hypothetical Europan ocean were estimated to support the sulfate-rich neutral liquid model as the origin of Europa's observed hydrated minerals and to facilitate their comparison with Tírez's hydrogeochemistry. Hydrogeochemical and mineralogical analyses showed that Tírez waters corresponded to Mg-Na-SO4-Cl brines with epsomite, hexahydrite, and halite as end members. A preliminary microbial ecology characterization identified two different microbial domains: a photosynthetically sustained community represented by planktonic/benthonic forms and microbial mat communities, and a subsurficial anaerobic realm in which chemolithotrophy predominates. Fluorescence in situ hybridization has been used to characterize the prokaryotic diversity of the system. The subsurficial community seemed to be dominated by sulfate-reducing bacteria and methanogens. Frozen Tírez brines were analyzed by Fourier-transform infrared techniques providing spectra similar to those reported previously using pure components and to the Galileo spectral data. Calorimetric measurements of Tírez brines showed pathways and phase metastability for magnesium sulfate and sodium chloride crystallization that may aid in understanding the processes involved in the formation of Europa's icy crust. The use of fluorescence hybridization techniques for

  14. Distribution of Thermophilic Acidophiles at Cerro Negro, Nicaragua, an Analog for Acid-Sulfate Weathering Environments on Early Mars

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rogers, K. L.; Stephenson, S.; McCollom, T. M.; Hynek, B. M.

    2010-04-01

    Cerro Negro, Nicaragua is an excellent terrestrial analog for putative acid-sulfate weathering systems on early Mars. Sulfur- and sulfate-reducing acidophiles are found throughout Cerro Negro and can further elucidate the habitability of early Mars.

  15. Crater floor polygons: Desiccation patterns of ancient lakes on Mars?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    El Maarry, M. R.; Markiewicz, W. J.; Mellon, M. T.; Goetz, W.; Dohm, J. M.; Pack, A.

    2010-10-01

    Global mapping of intermediate-size (100-200 m) polygonal troughs occurring mainly in impact crater floors was carried out using high-resolution images from spacecraft currently orbiting Mars. Earlier works have classified these polygonal networks as periglacial features on account of their apparent occurrence at higher latitudes and morphological similarities to thermal contraction polygons (TCPs). Crater floor polygons (CFPs) have diameters ranging from 15 to 350 m. They morphologically resemble terrestrial TCPs and desiccation cracks. Their size distribution, however, is significantly different from that of TCPs that are ubiquitous in the high latitudes. An analytical model based on fracture mechanics reveals that under current climatic conditions, the maximum fracture spacing attainable by thermal stresses alone is 75 m at the most. More reasonable values fall within 18 and 22 m, which is the range for TCPs on Mars. As a result, we propose desiccation to be a dominant mechanism for the formation of CFPs without ruling out thermal contraction as a possible contributor in some cases. This implies that lakes or water-rich sediments occupied the craters in the past. Many such aqueous environments have no apparent external source of water, and thus, hydrothermal processes occurring shortly after the impact event may be viable explanations for the observed evidence. The association of features, which correspond to terrestrial lakes such as sedimentary deposits, mounds, and shorelines, corroborates lake formation and their eventual desiccation to form CFPs. The variation of CFP sizes with location can be indicative of different hydrologic environments.

  16. Sediment and Soil Profiles of Taylor and Wright Valleys, Antarctica, as Analogs for Mars

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Englert, P. A.; Bishop, J. L.; Patel, S.; Koeberl, C.; Gibson, E. K.

    2013-12-01

    The Antarctic Dry Valleys are extremely cold and dry desert environments. They represent a unique analog for Martian surface development conditions. Chemistry and mineralogy of soils and sediments from Taylor and Wright Valleys were analyzed [1-4]. Samples from selected lakes, ponds and nearby surface areas were collected in 1979/1980, from sediments below Lake Hoare in 1994/95, and from lake surfaces in 2005/06. Surface samples are from Lakes Brownworth, Vanda and Fryxell; sediment cores from Lake Hoare, Don Juan and Don Quixote ponds. Systematic analysis by INAA, XRD, VNIR and mid-infrared spectroscopy, and other methods is underway for all samples. Classical major element weathering / pedogenesis ratiosand major element weathering indices are applied to ADV as well as MER and MSL rocks and soils. The Chemical Index of Alteration (CIA) values were used to characterize weathering conditions in Antarctic soils of Barton Peninsula [5] and for sediment layers in Antarctic drill cores [6]. The CIAs of sediment layers in drill cores are largely explained by the CIAs of source materials and reflect little or isochemical weathering. At Barton Peninsula with a less arid environment than the ADVs, CIAs of soils generally exceed those of source rocks. In Figure 1, two of several ADV soil source rocks and three sets of ADV soil and sediment CIAs are compared to molar Al2O3/TiO2 ratios. ADV CIA data are clustered and, as expected, lower than those of Barton Penisula, indicating a lesser degree of weathering. Very low ADV soil CIAs indicate sulfur rich samples. Full geochemical analysis as proposed will provide good indicators of weathering where historical to contemporary alteration conditions are liquid water based. Investigating elemental relationships for analogs that can be applied to Mars elemental abundance data bases is therefore important to assist in evaluating the extent of water based alteration derived from indicators in the Martian surface. References: [1] Gibson

  17. Altered basaltic glass - A terrestrial analog to the soil of Mars

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Allen, C. C.; Gooding, J. L.; Jercinovic, M.; Keil, K.

    1981-02-01

    In order to understand the nature of weathering processes and the formation of clay-like substances on Mars, analogous terrestrial processes and materials have been examined including sideromelane and palagonite. It is shown that palagonite is a good analog to the soil of Mars to the level of precision available from Viking and ground-based telescopic spectral measurements. Points of resemblance between the two materials include bulk chemical composition, particle size, reflectance spectra, and magnetic properties. A mechanism for the formation of Martian soil, based on a palagonite model, is proposed.

  18. Altered basaltic glass - A terrestrial analog to the soil of Mars

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Allen, C. C.; Jercinovic, M.; Keil, K.; Gooding, J. L.

    1981-01-01

    In order to understand the nature of weathering processes and the formation of clay-like substances on Mars, analogous terrestrial processes and materials have been examined including sideromelane and palagonite. It is shown that palagonite is a good analog to the soil of Mars to the level of precision available from Viking and ground-based telescopic spectral measurements. Points of resemblance between the two materials include bulk chemical composition, particle size, reflectance spectra, and magnetic properties. A mechanism for the formation of Martian soil, based on a palagonite model, is proposed.

  19. Analogs Environments on Earth and the Search for Organics and Life on Mars

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    McKay, C. P.

    2005-12-01

    Analog environments on Earth provide an important tool to prepare for the search for organics and life on future missions to Mars. Sites on Mars that has been proposed as targets for the search include: the martian surface soils, the fringes of the martian polar ice, liquid water aquifers that may exist in the subsurface, and deep in the ice-rich martian polar permafrost. Each of these sites has corresponding analog sites on Earth. By studying the chemistry and microbiology of these analog sites we can develop approaches and instruments for future Mars missions. The analogs on Earth are geographically diverse and range from the Antarctic to the Arctic, from low deserts to mountain tops and to the subsurface. They also range in diversity of chemical environments; including extremes of pH, salt, temperature, and water availability. Analogs also illustrate preservation mechanisms. By searching for fossil and structural remnants of microbial life here on Earth we learn how to do this on Mars.

  20. Aseptically Sampled Organics in Subsurface Rocks From the Mars Analog Rio Tinto Experiment: An Analog For The Search for Deep Subsurface Life on Mars.}

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bonaccorsi, R.; Stoker, C. R.

    2005-12-01

    The subsurface is the key environment for searching for life on planets lacking surface life. Subsurface ecosystems are of great relevance to astrobiology including the search for past/present life on Mars. The surface of Mars has conditions preventing current life but the subsurface might preserve organics and even host some life [1]. The Mars-Analog-Rio-Tinto-Experiment (MARTE) is performing a simulation of a Mars drilling experiment. This comprises conventional and robotic drilling of cores in a volcanically-hosted-massive-pyrite deposit [2] from the Iberian Pyritic Belt (IBP) and life detection experiments applying anti-contamination protocols (e.g., ATP Luminometry assay). The RT is considered an important analog of the Sinus Meridiani site on Mars and an ideal model analog for a deep subsurface Martian environment. Former results from MARTE suggest the existence of a relatively complex subsurface life including aerobic and anaerobic chemoautotrophs and strict anaerobic methanogens sustained by Fe and S minerals in anoxic conditions. A key requirement for the analysis of a subsurface sample on Mars is a set of simple tests that can help determine if the sample contains organic material of biological origin, and its potential for retaining definitive biosignatures. We report here on the presence of bulk organic matter Corg (0.03-0.05 Wt%), and Ntot (0.01-0.04 Wt%) and amount of measured ATP (Lightning MVP, Biocontrol) in weathered rocks (tuffs, gossan, pyrite stockwork from Borehole #8; >166m). This provides key insight on the type of trophic system sustaining the subsurface biosphere (i.e., heterotrophs vs. autotrophs) at RT. ATP data (Relative-Luminosity-Units, RLU) provide information on possible contamination and distribution of viable biomass with core depth (BH#8, and BH#7, ~3m). Avg. 153 RLU, i.e., surface vs. center of core, suggest that cleaness/sterility can be maintained when using a simple sterile protocol under field conditions. Results from this

  1. Analysis of Organic Compounds in Mars Analog Samples

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Mahaffy, P. R.; Brinckerhoff, W. B.; Buch, A.; Cabane, M.; Coll, P.; Demick, J.; Glavin, D. P.

    2004-01-01

    The detailed characterization of organic compounds that might be preserved in rocks, ices, or sedimentary layers on Mars would be a significant step toward resolving the question of the habitability and potential for life on that planet. The fact that the Viking gas chromatograph mass spectrometer (GCMS) did not detect organic compounds should not discourage further investigations since (a) an oxidizing environment in the near surface fines analyzed by Viking is likely to have destroyed many reduced carbon species; (b) there are classes of refractory or partially oxidized species such as carboxylic acids that would not have been detected by the Viking GCMS; and (c) the Viking landing sites are not representative of Mars overall. These factors motivate the development of advanced in situ analytical protocols to carry out a comprehensive survey of organic compounds in martian regolith, ices, and rocks. We combine pyrolysis GCMS for analysis of volatile species, chemical derivatization for transformation of less volatile organics, and laser desorption mass spectrometry (LDMS) for analysis of elements and more refractory, higher-mass organics. To evaluate this approach and enable a comparison with other measurement techniques we analyze organics in Mars simulant samples.

  2. Laboratory investigations of Mars - Chemical and spectroscopic characteristics of a suite of clays as Mars soil analogs

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Banin, Amos; Carle, Glenn C.; Chang, Sherwood; Coyne, Lelia M.; Orenberg, James B.

    1988-01-01

    A model system of Mars soil analog materials (MSAMs) was prepared, and the properties of these clays, such as chemical composition, surface-ion composition, water adsorption isotherms, and reflectance spectra, were examined. The results of these studies, performed along with simulations of the Viking Labeled Release Experiement using MSAMs, indicate that surface iron and adsorbed water are important determinants of clay behavior, as evidenced by changes in reflectance, water absorption, and clay surface reactions. The paper discusses the relevance of these results to the two major questions raised by prior explorations of Mars: has there ever been abundant water on Mars, and why is the iron found in the Martian soil not readily seen in the reflectance spectra of the surface?

  3. Laboratory investigations of Mars - Chemical and spectroscopic characteristics of a suite of clays as Mars soil analogs

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Banin, Amos; Carle, Glenn C.; Chang, Sherwood; Coyne, Lelia M.; Orenberg, James B.

    1988-01-01

    A model system of Mars soil analog materials (MSAMs) was prepared, and the properties of these clays, such as chemical composition, surface-ion composition, water adsorption isotherms, and reflectance spectra, were examined. The results of these studies, performed along with simulations of the Viking Labeled Release Experiement using MSAMs, indicate that surface iron and adsorbed water are important determinants of clay behavior, as evidenced by changes in reflectance, water absorption, and clay surface reactions. The paper discusses the relevance of these results to the two major questions raised by prior explorations of Mars: has there ever been abundant water on Mars, and why is the iron found in the Martian soil not readily seen in the reflectance spectra of the surface?

  4. Methanogenesis in hypersaline environments -Analogs for Ancient Mars?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bebout, Brad; Chanton, Jeff; Kelley, Cheryl; Tazaz, Amanda; Poole, Jennifer; García Maldonado, José Q.; López Cortés, Alejandro

    The recent findings of evidence of large bodies of hypersaline water which existed in the past on Mars have underscored the need to investigate those environments for evidence of past, as well as extant, life. Methane, a key biomarker gas, has been reported in the atmosphere of Mars, and is known to be produced by microbial mats which are present in most hypersaline environments on Earth. Modern microbial mat communities are thought to be extant analogues of communities which were present early in Earth's geologic history, when environmental condition on Earth and Mars were similar. Because methane may be an indication of life (biogenic methane) but might also be a consequence of geologic activity (abiotic methane) and/or the thermal alteration of ancient organic matter (thermogenic methane), the stable isotopic composition of methane (both carbon and hydrogen) will be a key criterion for determining whether or not the methane on Mars is biologically produced, and if so, how recently (i.e., biogenic vs. thermogenic methane). The goals of our study are: a) to document the range of the stable isotopic composition of methane (both carbon and hydrogen) in hypersaline environments, and b) to understand the role of biology in generating that stable isotopic composition. Our results will help provide a framework for the interpretation of methane stable isotopic data from Mars. We have measured high concentrations of methane in bubbles of gas present in the Guerrero Negro hypersaline ecosystem, Baja California Mexico and in salt ponds on the San Francisco Bay. These bubbles are present both in sediments underlying microbial mats (including one site where methane constitutes nearly 40% by volume of the bubbles), as well as in areas not colonized by microbial mats; layers of evaporitic minerals in some areas trap gas containing high concentrations of methane. The carbon isotopic (δ 13 C) composition of the methane in collected bubbles exhibited an extremely wide range of

  5. Icelandic Pseudocraters as Analogs to some Volcanic Cones on Mars

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Greeley, Ronald; Fagents, Sarah A.

    2003-01-01

    Pseudocraters are rootless vents formed by the interaction of lava flows with surface or near-surface water. This interaction can produce mild explosions and the accumulation of scoria and spatter into small constructs. Pseudocraters in several localities in Iceland were examined in the field and compared to similar appearing features observed on Mars. The Icelandic pseudocrater cones in this study range in size from 6 to 70 m in diameter, have summit craters which range from 2 to 28 m in diameter (many cones lack craters entirely), and have flanks that am either concave- up or convex-up. The size and spacing of Icelandic pseudo-craters might be a function of the availability of water, in which larger, closely spaced features result from efficient lava-water interaction, as suggested by the environments in which the features formed. Possible Martian pseudocrater cones in Amamnis Planitia range in diameter from 30 to 180 m and have craters 12 to 80 m in diameter. A numerical model for volcanic explosions was adapted to study the formation of pseudocraters under terrestrial and Martian conditions. The results suggest that explosions forming Martian cones require significantly less water (calculated masses am less by a factor of 4 to 16) than those forming Icelandic pseudokers, despite their larger sizes, This is attributed to the low gravity and atmospheric pressure in the Mars environment and is consistent with the likely lower abundance of water, which might be present as interstitial ice at shallow depths in the regolith. Locations of potential pseudocraters on Mars at latitudes as low as approximately 8 degrees N, imply the presence of crustal ice stores at the time of their formation.

  6. Geochemistry and Mineralogy of Western Australian Salt Lake Sediments: Implications for Meridiani Planum on Mars

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Ruecker, A.; Schröder, C.; Byrne, J.; Weigold, P.; Behrens, S.; Kappler, A.

    2016-07-01

    Hypersaline lakes are characteristic for Western Australia and display a rare combination of geochemical and mineralogical properties that make these lakes potential analogues for past conditions on Mars. In our study, we focused on the geochemistry and mineralogy of Lake Orr and Lake Whurr. While both lakes are poor in organic carbon (<1%), the sediments' pH values differ and range from 3.8 to 4.8 in Lake Orr and from 5.4 to 6.3 in Lake Whurr sediments. Lake Whurr sediments were dominated by orange and red sediment zones in which the main Fe minerals were identified as hematite, goethite, and tentatively jarosite and pyrite. Lake Orr was dominated by brownish and blackish sediments where the main Fe minerals were goethite and another paramagnetic Fe(III)-phase that could not be identified. Furthermore, a likely secondary Fe(II)-phase was observed in Lake Orr sediments. The mineralogy of these two salt lakes in the sampling area is strongly influenced by events such as flooding, evaporation, and desiccation, processes that explain at least to some extent the observed differences between Lake Orr and Lake Whurr. The iron mineralogy of Lake Whurr sediments and the high salinity make this lake a suitable analogue for Meridiani Planum on Mars, and in particular the tentative identification of pyrite in Lake Whurr sediments has implications for the interpretation of the Fe mineralogy of Meridiani Planum sediments.

  7. A Periglacial Analog for Landforms in Gale Crater, Mars

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Oehler, Dorothy Z.

    2013-01-01

    Several features in a high thermal inertia (TI) unit at Gale crater can be interpreted within a periglacial framework. These features include polygonally fractured terrain (cf. ice-wedge polygons), circumferential patterns of polygonal fractures (cf. relict pingos with ice-wedge polygons on their surfaces), irregularly-shaped and clustered depressions (cf. remnants of collapsed pingos and ephemeral lakes), and a general hummocky topography (cf. thermokarst). This interpretation would imply a major history of water and ice in Gale crater, involving permafrost, freeze-thaw cycles, and perhaps ponded surface water.

  8. 2012 Moon Mars Analog Mission Activities on Mauna Kea, Hawai'i

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Graham, Lee; Graff, Trevor G.; Aileen Yingst, R.; ten Kate, Inge L.; Russell, Patrick

    2015-05-01

    Rover-based 2012 Moon and Mars Analog Mission Activities (MMAMA) scientific investigations were completed at Mauna Kea, Hawaii. Scientific investigations, scientific input, and science operations constraints were tested in the context of an existing project and protocols for the field activities designed to help NASA achieve the Vision for Space Exploration. Four separate science investigations were integrated in a Martian analog environment with initial science operations planned based on a model similar to the operations control of the Mars Exploration Rovers (MER). However, evolution of the operations process occurred during the initial planning sessions and as the analog mission progressed. We review here the overall program of the investigation into the origin of the valley including preliminary sensor data results, an applicable methodology for developing an optimum science input based on productive engineering, and science trades and the science operations approach for an investigation into the valley on the upper slopes of Mauna Kea identified as “Apollo Valley”.

  9. Airborne Radar Study of Mars Analogs in the Southwestern United States

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Greeley, R.; Doggett, T. C.; Davies, A. G.; Baker, V.; Dohm, J.; Ferre, P. A.; Hinnell, A.; Rucker, D.; Roden, J.; Stough, T.

    2003-01-01

    The search for surface and near-surface liquid water on Mars is a central part of current and planned future exploration, which include radar sounders on Mars Express and MRO and proposed synthetic aperture radar (SAR) imagers. In order to penetrate sand and dust cover, these systems are proposed for longer wavelengths (e.g, from [2]: 24 cm / L-band and 74 cm / P-band) than those considered optimal for the detection of soil moisture (6 cm / C-band). However, there has been some success in detecting soil moisture at longer wavelengths. Given the size and mass constraints for Mars missions, the optimization of radar instrument parameters for meeting science objectives, such as searching for liquid water, is essential. In this on-going study, we are using repeat coverage of Mars analog sites with multifrequency (C, L and P band) airborne radar and ground truth soil sample data to assess the detectability of soil moisture.

  10. Mars Redox Chemistry: Atacama Desert Soils as a Terrestrial Analog

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Quinn, R. C.; Grunthaner, F. J.; Taylor, C. L.; Zent, A. P.

    2003-01-01

    The motivation for this work is to perform quantitative site characterizations of soil chemical processes to allow further development and field validation of the Mars Oxidant Instrument (MOI). The MOI is an in situ survey instrument designed to establish the presence of reactive chemical species in the martian soil, dust, or atmosphere, and to provide detailed reaction model system measurements to enable comprehensive Earthbased study. Functioning as a survey instrument, MOI tests the broad range of hypotheses explaining the reactivity of the martian surface material that have been put forth since the Viking experiments. This work is currently being carried out under the NASA ASTEP funded AstroBioLab (Jeffery Bada, PI). A second objective is to use Atacama field and Viking data to perform comparative studies, with the goal of furthering the understanding of the formation mechanisms and properties of martian oxidants.

  11. Mars Redox Chemistry: Atacama Desert Soils as a Terrestrial Analog

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Quinn, R. C.; Grunthaner, F. J.; Taylor, C. L.; Zent, A. P.

    2003-01-01

    The motivation for this work is to perform quantitative site characterizations of soil chemical processes to allow further development and field validation of the Mars Oxidant Instrument (MOI). The MOI is an in situ survey instrument designed to establish the presence of reactive chemical species in the martian soil, dust, or atmosphere, and to provide detailed reaction model system measurements to enable comprehensive Earthbased study. Functioning as a survey instrument, MOI tests the broad range of hypotheses explaining the reactivity of the martian surface material that have been put forth since the Viking experiments. This work is currently being carried out under the NASA ASTEP funded AstroBioLab (Jeffery Bada, PI). A second objective is to use Atacama field and Viking data to perform comparative studies, with the goal of furthering the understanding of the formation mechanisms and properties of martian oxidants.

  12. Production of Phyllosilicates and Sulfates on Mars Through Acidic Weathering: The Río Tínto Mars Analog Model

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Fernández-Remolar, D. C.; Prieto-Ballesteros, O.; Amils, R.; Gómez, F.; Friedlander, L.; Arvidson, R.; Morris, R. V.; Gómez, D.

    2009-12-01

    Understanding the paleoclimate of Mars and the nature and extent of the interaction of water with crustal materials is essential to evaluate if life emerged once on Mars. Using recent results obtained by orbiters and surface rovers we propose that mildly acidic aqueous conditions produced phyllosilicate minerals during the Noachian period on Mars related to a CO2-rich atmosphere and an active hydrosphere. Underground neutralization of these mild acidic meteoric solutions with crustal materials would produce subsurface carbonates inside the crust after. Moreover, hydrothermalism provides mineralization to favor subsurface sulfide orebodies, but also secondary geochemical processes would also favor its formation. After cessation of the internal magnetic dynamo, the CO2-rich atmosphere was eroded and decreased by interactions with the solar wind and the hydrologic cycle that induced a climatic change to dry conditions where hydrological processes had subsurface dominance. Under this thin atmospheric aridic conditions photochemistry played an essential role in generating oxidizing and acidifying compounds that after entering the Mars crust promoted carbonate dissolution and sulfide oxidation. As a consequence, acid-sulfate evaporite deposits were precipitated in areas where acidic subsurface solutions emerged. Analogous processes have been observed in the underground fluids that feed the Río Tínto Mars analog. Seasonal subsurface of sulfur continued by a rapid oxidation induced by rainwaters, which induces a strong acidification through proton releasing (FeS2 + 3·O2 + 2 H2O → 2·SO42- + Fe2+ + 4 H+). This stage is followed by a neutralization and reduction of the ferric and sulfate rich acidified waters, which favors the subsurface carbonate precipitation. In addition, phyllosillicate sedimentation under the strong acidic conditions of Río Tínto, supports preservation of same minerals under early Noachian mildly acidic conditions.

  13. Earth analogs for Martian life. Microbes in evaporites, a new model system for life on Mars.

    PubMed

    Rothschild, L J

    1990-01-01

    The prospect of life on Mars today is daunting. Especially problematic for a potential life form is a lack of water, particularly in a liquid state; extremely cold temperatures; ultraviolet and ionizing radiation; and soil oxidants. Yet, "oases" where life might persist have been suggested to occur in rocks (in analogy with endolithic microorganisms described from deserts around the world), in polar ice caps (in analogy with snow and ice algae) and in possible volcanic regions (in analogy with chemoautotrophs living in deep sea hydrothermal vents); all are critically examined. Microorganisms are known to be able to survive in salt crystals, and recently it has been shown that organisms can metabolize while encrusted in evaporites. Because evaporites are thought to occur on Mars and can attenuate light in the UV range while being far more transparent to radiation useful for photosynthesis (400-700 nm), and because of the properties of these "endoevaporitic" organisms, I propose that such communities provide a new model system for studying potential life on Mars. On the basis of this model, I suggest possibilities for site selection for future exobiological experiments on Mars.

  14. Mars Analog Mission: Glacier Simulation AMADEE-15 by Austrian Space Forum

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Groemer, Gernot; Losiak, Anna; Soucek, Alexander; Plank, Clemens; Zanardini, Laura; Sejkora, Nina; Sams, Sebastian

    2016-04-01

    Austrian Space Forum: The Austrian Space Forum (OeWF, Österreichisches Weltraum Forum) is a non-profit, citizen-science organization of aerospace specialists and enthusiasts. One of its specialisations is Mars analog research. Analog studies and analog instrument validation supported all planetary surface missions so far [1] and are considered as an effective tool to prepare for future missions to Mars [2,3,4,5,6,7]. Since 2006, OeWF has conducted 11 Mars analog field campaigns in diverse locations that represented: 1) average current Mars conditions (the Mars Desert Research Station (MDRS) in Utah in 2006 [8] and the Northern Sahara near Erfoud, Morocco in 2013 [9]); 2) the early and wet Mars (analog site of Rio Tinto Spain in 2011 [10]); and 3) subsurface exploration (Dachstein Ice Caves in 2012). During these campaigns, 68 experiments and major engineering tests were performed, whichwere mostly focused on astrobiology, robotics, human factors, geoscience and spacesuit operations. Major assets of OeWF include two advanced spacesuit simulators Aouda [11], an increasingly evolving Mission Support Center, a dedicated Remote Science Support team [12], and a growing set of Standard Operating Procedures defining major workflows within a mission team. The spacesuit simulators were operated by a total of 18 analog astronauts, who were selected and trained during a >6 month program. Total EVA time is nearly 600 hours, leading to a significant experience in analog field simulations. AMADEE-15: The mission took place between August 2nd and 14th 2015 at the Kaunertal Glacier in Tyrol, Austria. This glacier was selected as a study site because of its accessibility and high number of micro-landscapes analogous to those expected on Mars in locations where abundant water ice is present. As such it is considered a first-tier Mars analog [13]. The Base station was located at N 46.86320, E 10.71401 at 2800 masl, the highest reached location was on elevation of 2887 m. Eleven

  15. Microbial Perchlorate Reduction in the Unsaturated Zone of an Israeli Mars Analog Site

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Coleman, M. L.; Gal, H.; Ronen, Z.; Weisbrod, N.

    2010-12-01

    The identification of perchlorate on Mars by the Phoenix mission (Hecht et al. 2009 Science vol 325, 64) encouraged those who favored the Atacama Desert as an analog. However, in the Atacama, nitrate predominates wherever perchlorate is found and the extreme aridity is unlike the Phoenix landing site, where there is ice. In Israel, the site of a former ammonium perchlorate factory was investigated because of environmental concerns about perchlorate in both groundwater and the unsaturated zone but it is also a valuable Mars analog. The unsaturated zone comprises 40 m of sands with sandy clay and clay-rich layers in which bacteria with perchlorate reducing capability had been detected. Microbial perchlorate reduction occurs under anaerobic conditions, not those expected in the unsaturated zone, and the process needs water and an electron donor (e.g. trace organic matter). Chlorine stable isotope analyses quantitatively characterize both partially reduced perchlorate and the resultant chloride product. Our analyses show varying extents of perchlorate reduction in the unsaturated zone, up to 10%, but not correlated with depth, clay content, or water content. We assume that the reduction is occurring in microenvironments in a generally aerobic system but the precise source of the electron donor is still enigmatic; organic coatings on clays would be one possibility. This site, despite having been modified by human activity, is a valuable analog for possible microbial processes on Mars. The microbial activity has given another example of the persistence of life in an extreme environment where nutrients are extremely limited. Although not analogous in terms of Mars temperatures, this site offers the potential for new understanding of life processes (and new challenges for Mars exploration).

  16. Proposal MaMBA - Moon and Mars Base Analog

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Heinicke, Christiane; Foing, Bernard

    2017-04-01

    Despite impressive progress in robotic exploration of celestial bodies, robots are believed to never reach the effectiveness and efficiency of a trained human. Consequently, ESA proposes to build an international Moon Village in roughly 15 years and NASA plans for the first manned mission to Mars shortly after. One of the challenges still remaining is the need for a shelter, a habitat which allows human spacefarers to safely live and work on the surface of a celestial body. Although various prototype habitats have been built and inhabited during the last decade, they typically share two fundamental flaws: First, they usually consist of a single space, which may become uninhabitable after depressurization due to just one single catastrophic event. Second, none of the habitats provides shielding against radiation, one of the major health concerns for spacefaring crews. Project MaMBA will address these two problems at the root and build an underground habitat comprised of five connected, but independent modules. The habitat will serve for testing technologies like life support, power systems, and interplanetary communication. Special attention will be given to the development of the geoscience laboratory module. In addition to the technological aspects, the envisioned habitat will serve as a unique test ground for studies on the effects of underground habitation on a crew.

  17. Raman study of mineralogical precipitation sequence of Rio Tinto "Mars analog"

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Venegas, G.; Guerrero, J.; Sansano, A.; Sanz, A.; Rull, F.

    2012-09-01

    Rio Tinto (Spain) has been proposed as potential Earth analog [1] for the geological and astrobiological exploration of Mars. In this context of Mars exploration, and considering the geomorphological and sedimentological features of the selected landing sites [2], an important point to consider is the ratios of mineralization/alteration due to hydration-dehydration processes. To carry out this objective a spectroscopic Raman study of a wide range of samples collected from Rio Tinto was performed. On the other hand it has carried out the simulation of the phenomenon of precipitation in the laboratory using small droplets of synthetic and natural water from Rio Tinto.

  18. Mega-ripples in Iran: A new analog for transverse aeolian ridges on Mars

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Foroutan, M.; Zimbelman, J. R.

    2016-08-01

    A new terrestrial analog site for transverse aeolian ridges (TARs) is described in this study. The Lut desert of Iran hosts large ripple-like aeolian bedforms, with the same horizontal length scales and patterns of TARs on Mars. Different classes of TARs and different types of other aeolian features such as sand dunes, zibars, dust devil tracks and yardangs can be found in this area, which signify an active aeolian region. This area represents a unique site to study the formation and evolution of these enigmatic features, with potential relevance toward a better understanding of TARs on Mars.

  19. Mojave Mars simulant—Characterization of a new geologic Mars analog

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Peters, Gregory H.; Abbey, William; Bearman, Gregory H.; Mungas, Gregory S.; Smith, J. Anthony; Anderson, Robert C.; Douglas, Susanne; Beegle, Luther W.

    2008-10-01

    We have identified and characterized a basaltic Mars simulant that is available as whole rocks, sand and dust. The source rock for the simulant is a basalt mined from the Tertiary Tropico Group in the western Mojave Desert. The Mojave Mars Simulant (MMS) was chosen for its inert hygroscopic characteristics, its availability in a variety of forms, and its physical and chemical characteristics. The MMS dust and MMS sand are produced by mechanically crushing basaltic boulders. This is a process that more closely resembles the weathering/comminution processes on Mars where impact events and aerodynamic interactions provide comminution in the (relative) absence of water and organics. MMS is among the suite of test rocks and soils that was used in the development of the 2007/8 Phoenix Scout and is being used in the 2009 Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) missions. The MMS development team is using the simulant for research that centers on sampling tool interactions in icy soils. Herein we describe the physical properties and chemical composition of this new Mars simulant.

  20. Geochemistry and Mineralogy of Western Australian Salt Lake Sediments: Implications for Meridiani Planum on Mars.

    PubMed

    Ruecker, A; Schröder, C; Byrne, J; Weigold, P; Behrens, S; Kappler, A

    2016-07-01

    Hypersaline lakes are characteristic for Western Australia and display a rare combination of geochemical and mineralogical properties that make these lakes potential analogues for past conditions on Mars. In our study, we focused on the geochemistry and mineralogy of Lake Orr and Lake Whurr. While both lakes are poor in organic carbon (<1%), the sediments' pH values differ and range from 3.8 to 4.8 in Lake Orr and from 5.4 to 6.3 in Lake Whurr sediments. Lake Whurr sediments were dominated by orange and red sediment zones in which the main Fe minerals were identified as hematite, goethite, and tentatively jarosite and pyrite. Lake Orr was dominated by brownish and blackish sediments where the main Fe minerals were goethite and another paramagnetic Fe(III)-phase that could not be identified. Furthermore, a likely secondary Fe(II)-phase was observed in Lake Orr sediments. The mineralogy of these two salt lakes in the sampling area is strongly influenced by events such as flooding, evaporation, and desiccation, processes that explain at least to some extent the observed differences between Lake Orr and Lake Whurr. The iron mineralogy of Lake Whurr sediments and the high salinity make this lake a suitable analogue for Meridiani Planum on Mars, and in particular the tentative identification of pyrite in Lake Whurr sediments has implications for the interpretation of the Fe mineralogy of Meridiani Planum sediments. Western Australia-Salt lakes-Jarosite-Hematite-Pyrite-Mars analogue. Astrobiology 16, 525-538.

  1. Reflectance and Mossbauer spectroscopy of ferrihydrite-montmorillonite assemblages as Mars soil analog materials

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Bishop, J. L.; Pieters, C. M.; Burns, R. G.; Chang, S. (Principal Investigator)

    1993-01-01

    Spectroscopic analyses show that Fe(3+)-doped smectites prepared in the laboratory exhibit important similarities to the soils on Mars. Ferrihydrite has been identified as the interlayer ferric component in Fe(3+)-doped smectites by a low quadrupole splitting and magnetic field strength of approximately 48 tesla in Mossbauer spectra measured at 4.2 K, as well as a crystal field transition at 0.92 micrometer. Ferrihydrite in these smectites explains features in the visible-near infrared region that resemble the energies and band strengths of features in reflectance spectra observed for several bright regions on Mars. Clay silicates have met resistance in the past as Mars soil analogs because terrestrial clay silicates exhibit prominent hydrous spectral features at 1.4, 1.9, and 2.2 micrometers; and these are observed weakly, if at all, in reflectance spectra of Mars. However, several mechanisms can weaken or compress these features, including desiccation under low-humidity conditions. The hydration properties of the interlayer cations also effect band strengths, such that a ferrihydrite-bearing smectite in the Martian environment would exhibit a 1.9 micrometers H2O absorption that is even weaker than the 2.2 micrometers structural OH absorption. Mixing experiments demonstrate that infrared spectral features of clays can be significantly suppressed and that the reflectance can be significantly darkened by mixing with only a few percent of a strongly absorbing opaque material. Therefore, the absolute reflectance of a soil on Mars may be disproportionately sensitive to a minor component. For this reason, the shape and position of spectral features and the chemical composition of potential analogs are of utmost importance in assessing the composition of the soil on Mars. Given the remarkable similarity between visible-infrared reflectance spectra of soils in bright regions on Mars and Fe(3+)-doped montmorillonites, coupled with recent observations of smectites in SNC

  2. Reflectance and Mossbauer spectroscopy of ferrihydrite-montmorillonite assemblages as Mars soil analog materials

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Bishop, J. L.; Pieters, C. M.; Burns, R. G.; Chang, S. (Principal Investigator)

    1993-01-01

    Spectroscopic analyses show that Fe(3+)-doped smectites prepared in the laboratory exhibit important similarities to the soils on Mars. Ferrihydrite has been identified as the interlayer ferric component in Fe(3+)-doped smectites by a low quadrupole splitting and magnetic field strength of approximately 48 tesla in Mossbauer spectra measured at 4.2 K, as well as a crystal field transition at 0.92 micrometer. Ferrihydrite in these smectites explains features in the visible-near infrared region that resemble the energies and band strengths of features in reflectance spectra observed for several bright regions on Mars. Clay silicates have met resistance in the past as Mars soil analogs because terrestrial clay silicates exhibit prominent hydrous spectral features at 1.4, 1.9, and 2.2 micrometers; and these are observed weakly, if at all, in reflectance spectra of Mars. However, several mechanisms can weaken or compress these features, including desiccation under low-humidity conditions. The hydration properties of the interlayer cations also effect band strengths, such that a ferrihydrite-bearing smectite in the Martian environment would exhibit a 1.9 micrometers H2O absorption that is even weaker than the 2.2 micrometers structural OH absorption. Mixing experiments demonstrate that infrared spectral features of clays can be significantly suppressed and that the reflectance can be significantly darkened by mixing with only a few percent of a strongly absorbing opaque material. Therefore, the absolute reflectance of a soil on Mars may be disproportionately sensitive to a minor component. For this reason, the shape and position of spectral features and the chemical composition of potential analogs are of utmost importance in assessing the composition of the soil on Mars. Given the remarkable similarity between visible-infrared reflectance spectra of soils in bright regions on Mars and Fe(3+)-doped montmorillonites, coupled with recent observations of smectites in SNC

  3. Reflectance and Mossbauer spectroscopy of ferrihydrite-montmorillonite assemblages as Mars soil analog materials.

    PubMed

    Bishop, J L; Pieters, C M; Burns, R G

    1993-01-01

    Spectroscopic analyses show that Fe(3+)-doped smectites prepared in the laboratory exhibit important similarities to the soils on Mars. Ferrihydrite has been identified as the interlayer ferric component in Fe(3+)-doped smectites by a low quadrupole splitting and magnetic field strength of approximately 48 tesla in Mossbauer spectra measured at 4.2 K, as well as a crystal field transition at 0.92 micrometer. Ferrihydrite in these smectites explains features in the visible-near infrared region that resemble the energies and band strengths of features in reflectance spectra observed for several bright regions on Mars. Clay silicates have met resistance in the past as Mars soil analogs because terrestrial clay silicates exhibit prominent hydrous spectral features at 1.4, 1.9, and 2.2 micrometers; and these are observed weakly, if at all, in reflectance spectra of Mars. However, several mechanisms can weaken or compress these features, including desiccation under low-humidity conditions. The hydration properties of the interlayer cations also effect band strengths, such that a ferrihydrite-bearing smectite in the Martian environment would exhibit a 1.9 micrometers H2O absorption that is even weaker than the 2.2 micrometers structural OH absorption. Mixing experiments demonstrate that infrared spectral features of clays can be significantly suppressed and that the reflectance can be significantly darkened by mixing with only a few percent of a strongly absorbing opaque material. Therefore, the absolute reflectance of a soil on Mars may be disproportionately sensitive to a minor component. For this reason, the shape and position of spectral features and the chemical composition of potential analogs are of utmost importance in assessing the composition of the soil on Mars. Given the remarkable similarity between visible-infrared reflectance spectra of soils in bright regions on Mars and Fe(3+)-doped montmorillonites, coupled with recent observations of smectites in SNC

  4. Student Participation in Mars Sample Return Rover Field Tests, Silver Lake, California

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Anderson, R. C.; Arvidson, R. E.; Bowman, J. D.; Dunham, C. D.; Backes, P.; Baumgartner, E. T.; Bell, J.; Dworetzky, S. C.; Klug, S.; Peck, N.

    2000-01-01

    An integrated team of students and teachers from four high schools across the country developed and implemented their own mission of exploration and discovery using the Mars Sample Return prototype rover, FIDO, at Silver Lake in the Mojave Desert.

  5. Student Participation in Mars Sample Return Rover Field Tests, Silver Lake, California

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Anderson, R. C.; Arvidson, R. E.; Bowman, J. D.; Dunham, C. D.; Backes, P.; Baumgartner, E. T.; Bell, J.; Dworetzky, S. C.; Klug, S.; Peck, N.

    2000-01-01

    An integrated team of students and teachers from four high schools across the country developed and implemented their own mission of exploration and discovery using the Mars Sample Return prototype rover, FIDO, at Silver Lake in the Mojave Desert.

  6. The Formation of Liquid Water on Present-Day Mars: Calcium-Magnesium Chloride Brines in the Antarctic Dry Valleys as a Mars Analog

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Toner, J. D.; Catling, D. C.

    2016-09-01

    By analogy to the Antarctic Dry Valleys, Ca-Mg-Cl brines may be responsible for aqueous flows on Mars. We use modeling to show that Ca-Mg-Cl brines could be stable on Mars, and are often more favorable for forming solutions than perchlorate salts.

  7. Mars Analogs on Earth: Putative Habitats on Mars? Lectures from Extremophiles

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gómez, F.; Fernández-Remolar, D. C.; Prieto, O.; Rodríguez-Manfredi, J. A.; Rodríguez, N.; Amils, R.

    2006-03-01

    Mineralogy studies by NASA Opportunity Rover report iron oxides and hydroxides precipitates on Mars. Sedimentary deposits have been identified at Meridiani Planum. These deposits should have been generated in a dune aqueous acidic and oxidizing environment. Similarities appear when we study Rio Tinto.

  8. A Web-based Collaborative Tool for Mars Analog Data Exploration

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Necsoiu, M.; Dinwiddie, C. L.; Heggy, E.; Farr, T. G.

    2005-01-01

    Solving today's complex research and modeling challenges are dependent on our ability to discover, access, integrate, and share information from multiple sources. The planetary sciences community is no exception'; over the last few years, the need for data mining and exploration tools that can expedite comparative studies between Martian and terrestrial analogs sites and aid the interpretation of Mars data sets has become evident. Data sharing maximizes scientific return from studies and data sets.

  9. A Web-based Collaborative Tool for Mars Analog Data Exploration

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Necsoiu, M.; Dinwiddie, C. L.; Heggy, E.; Farr, T. G.

    2005-01-01

    Solving today's complex research and modeling challenges are dependent on our ability to discover, access, integrate, and share information from multiple sources. The planetary sciences community is no exception'; over the last few years, the need for data mining and exploration tools that can expedite comparative studies between Martian and terrestrial analogs sites and aid the interpretation of Mars data sets has become evident. Data sharing maximizes scientific return from studies and data sets.

  10. Scientific analogs and the development of human mission architectures for the Moon, deep space and Mars

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lim, D. S. S.; Abercromby, A.; Beaton, K.; Brady, A. L.; Cardman, Z.; Chappell, S.; Cockell, C. S.; Cohen, B. A.; Cohen, T.; Deans, M.; Deliz, I.; Downs, M.; Elphic, R. C.; Hamilton, J. C.; Heldmann, J.; Hillenius, S.; Hoffman, J.; Hughes, S. S.; Kobs-Nawotniak, S. E.; Lees, D. S.; Marquez, J.; Miller, M.; Milovsoroff, C.; Payler, S.; Sehlke, A.; Squyres, S. W.

    2016-12-01

    Analogs are destinations on Earth that allow researchers to approximate operational and/or physical conditions on other planetary bodies and within deep space. Over the past decade, our team has been conducting geobiological field science studies under simulated deep space and Mars mission conditions. Each of these missions integrate scientific and operational research with the goal to identify concepts of operations (ConOps) and capabilities that will enable and enhance scientific return during human and human-robotic missions to the Moon, into deep space and on Mars. Working under these simulated mission conditions presents a number of unique challenges that are not encountered during typical scientific field expeditions. However, there are significant benefits to this working model from the perspective of the human space flight and scientific operations research community. Specifically, by applying human (and human-robotic) mission architectures to real field science endeavors, we create a unique operational litmus test for those ConOps and capabilities that have otherwise been vetted under circumstances that did not necessarily demand scientific data return meeting the rigors of peer-review standards. The presentation will give an overview of our team's recent analog research, with a focus on the scientific operations research. The intent is to encourage collaborative dialog with a broader set of analog research community members with an eye towards future scientific field endeavors that will have a significant impact on how we design human and human-robotic missions to the Moon, into deep space and to Mars.

  11. Low Biotoxicities of Analog Soils Suggest that the Surface of Mars May Be Habitable for Terrestrial Microorganisms

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Schuerger, A. C.; Ming, D. W.; Golden, D. C.

    2012-03-01

    Bacillus subtilis and Enterococcus faecalis were exposed to six Mars analog soils under martian conditions. Only high-salt soils were observed to be moderately biotoxic to both species, suggesting regoltih may be habitable to terrestrial microorganisms.

  12. A Closed Mars Analog Simulation: The Approach of Crew 5 At the Mars Desert Research Station

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Clancey, William J.; Koga, Dennis (Technical Monitor)

    2002-01-01

    For twelve days in April 2002 we performed a closed simulation in the Mars Desert Research Station, isolated from other people, as on Mars, while performing systematic surface exploration and life support chores. Email provided our only means of contact; no phone or radio conversations were possible. All mission-related messages were mediated by a remote mission support team. This protocol enabled a systematic and controlled study of crew activities, scheduling, and use of space. The analysis presented here focuses on two questions: Where did the time go-why did people feel rushed and unable to complete their work? How can we measure and model productivity, to compare habitat designs, schedules, roles, and tools? Analysis suggests that a simple scheduling change-having lunch and dinner earlier, plus eliminating afternoon meetings-increased the available productive time by 41%.

  13. Gypsum veins in Triassic Moenkopi mudrocks of southern Utah: Analogs to calcium sulfate veins on Mars

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Young, B. W.; Chan, M. A.

    2017-01-01

    Well-exposed gypsum veins in the Triassic Moenkopi formation in southern Utah, USA, are similar to veins at Endeavour and Gale Craters on Mars. Both Moenkopi and Mars veins are hydrated calcium sulfate, have fibrous textures, and crosscut other diagenetic features. Moenkopi veins are stratigraphically localized with strontium and sulfur isotope ratios similar to primary Moenkopi sulfate beds and are thus interpreted to be sourced from within the unit. Endeavour veins seem to be distributed by lithology and may have a local source. Gale veins cut across multiple lithologies and appear to be sourced from another stratigraphic interval. Evaluation of vein network geometries indicates that horizontal Moenkopi veins are longer and thicker than vertical veins. Moenkopi veins are also generally oriented with the modern stress field, so are interpreted to have formed in the latest stages of exhumation. Endeavour veins appear to be generally vertical and oriented parallel to the margins of Cape York and are interpreted to have formed in response to topographic collapse of the crater rim. Gale horizontal veins appear to be slightly more continuous than vertical veins and may have formed during exhumation. Abrupt changes in orientation, complex crosscutting relationships, and fibrous (antitaxial) texture in Moenkopi and Mars veins suggest emplacement via hydraulic fracture at low temperatures. Moenkopi and Mars veins are interpreted as late-stage diagenetic features that have experienced little alteration since emplacement. Moenkopi veins are useful terrestrial analogs for Mars veins because vein geometry, texture, and chemistry record information about crustal deformation and vein emplacement.

  14. New Method for the Detection of Organosulfur Biosignatures in Mars-Analog Terrestrial Sedimentary Facies

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mora, M. F.; Tuite, M. L., Jr.; Hoffmann, A.; Willis, P. A.; Williford, K. H.

    2014-12-01

    Thiols are the dominant form of sulfur in terrestrial organisms where they are present in the amino acids cysteine and methionine as well as various co-enzymes. Despite their biogeochemical importance, thiols are not typically evaluated as biosignatures of past life because their high reactivity prevents analysis by GC-MS and suggests they would likely not be preserved over geological timescales. Employing microchip capillary electrophoresis coupled to fluorescence detection we observed thiols in samples from a ~200 million year old methane seep in the south of England. In order to identify the thiol in the sample we have developed a new GC-MS method that involves derivatization of thiols with a trialkysilyl reagent (MSTFA). We are currently optimizing the method to improve the yield of derivatization and to maximize chromatographic separation. The abundance of sulfur on Mars has been confirmed by numerous data from both in situ and remote sensing instruments. Most recently, NASA's Curiosity Mars rover detected calcium sulfates and iron sulfides among the sedimentary rocks at Yellowknife Bay. In anticipation of a Mars sample return mission, we have begun collection and evaluation of Mars-analog sedimentary facies for the presence of thiols. Discovery of thiols in martian rocks would provide strong evidence for a biologically-mediated sulfur cycle on Mars.

  15. Echo Source Discrimination in Airborne Radar Sounding Data From the Dry Valleys, Antarctica, for Mars Analog Studies

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Holt, J. W.; Blankenship, D. D.; Peters, M. E.; Kempf, S. D.; Williams, B. J.

    2003-12-01

    The identification of features on Mars exhibiting morphologies consistent with ice/rock mixtures, near-surface ice bodies and near-surface liquid water, and the importance of such features to the search for water on Mars highlights the need for appropriate terrestrial analogs in order to prepare for upcoming radar missions targeting these and other water-related features. Climatic, hydrological, and geological conditions in the McMurdo Dry Valleys of Antarctica are analogous in many ways to those on Mars, and a number of ice-related features in the Dry Valleys may have direct morphologic and compositional counterparts on Mars. We have collected roughly 1,000 line-km of airborne radar sounding data in the Dry Valleys for Mars analog studies. A crucial first step in the data analysis process is the discrimination of echo sources in the radar data. The goal is to identify all returns from the surface of surrounding topography in order to positively identify subsurface echoes. This process will also be critical for radar data that will be collected in areas of Mars exhibiting significant topography, so that subsurface echoes are identified unambiguously. Using a Twin Otter airborne platform, data were collected in three separate flights during the austral summers of 1999-2000 and 2001-2002 using multiple systems, including a chirped 52.5 - 67.5 MHz coherent radar operating at 750 W and 8 kW peak power (with multiple receivers) and 1 - 2 microsecond pulse width, and a 60 MHz pulsed, incoherent radar operating at 8 kW peak power with 60 ns and 250 ns pulse width. The chirped, coherent data are suitable for the implementation of advanced pulse compression algorithms and SAR focusing. Flight elevation was nominally 500 m above the surface. Targets included permafrost, subsurface ice bodies, rock/ice glaciers, ice-covered saline lakes, and glacial deposits in Taylor and Beacon Valleys. A laser altimeter (fixed relative to the aircraft frame) was also used during both

  16. Geomorphic knobs of Candor Chasma, Mars: New Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter data and comparisons to terrestrial analogs

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Chan, M.A.; Ormo, J.; Murchie, S.; Okubo, C.H.; Komatsu, G.; Wray, J.J.; McGuire, P.; McGovern, J.A.

    2010-01-01

    High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) imagery and digital elevation models of the Candor Chasma region of Valles Marineris, Mars, reveal prominent and distinctive positive-relief knobs amidst light-toned layers. Three classifications of knobs, Types 1, 2, and 3, are distinguished from a combination of HiRISE and Thermal Emission Imaging System (THEMIS) images based on physical expressions (geometries, spatial relationships), and spectral data from Compact Reconnaissance Imaging Spectrometer for Mars (CRISM). Type 1 knobs are abundant, concentrated, topographically resistant features with their highest frequency in West Candor, which have consistent stratigraphic correlations of the peak altitude (height). These Type 1 knobs could be erosional remnants of a simple dissected terrain, possibly derived from a more continuous, resistant, capping layer of pre-existing material diagenetically altered through recrystallization or cementation. Types 2 and 3 knobs are not linked to a single stratigraphic layer and are generally solitary to isolated, with variable heights. Type 3 are the largest knobs at nearly an order of magnitude larger than Type 1 knobs. The variable sizes and occasional pits on the tops of Type 2 and 3 knobs suggest a different origin, possibly related to more developed erosion, preferential cementation, or textural differences from sediment/water injection or intrusion, or from a buried impact crater. Enhanced color HiRISE images show a brown coloration of the knob peak crests that is attributable to processing and photometric effects; CRISM data do not show any detectable spectral differences between the knobs and the host rock layers, other than albedo. These intriguing knobs hold important clues to deducing relative rock properties, timing of events, and weathering conditions of Mars history. ?? 2009 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

  17. Testing of the Prototype Mars Drill and Sample Acquisition System in the Mars Analog Site of the Antarctica's Dry Valleys

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zacny, K.; Paulsen, G.; McKay, C.; Glass, B. J.; Marinova, M.; Davila, A. F.; Pollard, W. H.; Jackson, A.

    2011-12-01

    We report on the testing of the one meter class prototype Mars drill and cuttings sampling system, called the IceBreaker in the Dry Valleys of Antarctica. The drill consists of a rotary-percussive drill head, a sampling auger with a bit at the end having an integrated temperature sensor, a Z-stage for advancing the auger into the ground, and a sampling station for moving the augered ice shavings or soil cuttings into a sample cup. In November/December of 2010, the IceBreaker drill was tested in the Uni-versity Valley (within the Beacon Valley region of the Antarctic Dry Valleys). University Valley is a good analog to the Northern Polar Regions of Mars because a layer of dry soil lies on top of either ice-cemeted ground or massive ice (depending on the location within the valley). That is exactly what the 2007 Phoenix mission discovered on Mars. The drill demonstrated drilling in ice-cemented ground and in massive ice at the 1-1-100-100 level; that is the drill reached 1 meter in 1 hour with 100 Watts of power and 100 Newton Weight on Bit. This corresponds to an average energy of 100 Whr. At the same time, the bit temperature measured by the bit thermocouple did not exceed more than 10 °C above the formation temperature. The temperature also never exceeded freezing, which minimizes chances of getting stuck and also of altering the materials that are being sampled and analyzed. The samples in the forms of cuttings were acquired every 10 cm intervals into sterile bags. These tests have shown that drilling on Mars, in ice cemented ground with limited power, energy and Weight on Bit, and collecting samples in discrete depth intervals is possible within the given mass, power, and energy levels of a Phoenix-size lander and within the duration of a Phoenix-like mission.

  18. Earth Analog Seismic Deployment for InSight's Mars seismic installation

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kedar, S.; Bradford, S. C.; Clayton, R. W.; Davis, P. M.; Ervin, J.; Kawamura, T.; Lognonne, P. H.; Lorenz, R. D.; Mimoun, D.; Murdoch, N.; Roberson, T.; Stubailo, I.; Van Buren, D.

    2014-12-01

    InSight (Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport) is a NASA Discovery Program mission that will place a single geophysical lander on Mars to study its deep interior. InSight's main experiment is the Seismic Experiment for Interior Structure (SEIS), which will robotically place a broadband seismometer provided by the French Space Agency (CNES) on the Martian surface. SEIS will operate on the surface for a full Mars year. Installing and operating a seismometer on Mars imposes constraints rarely considered in terrestrial seismic installations. The InSight project has therefore conducted a terrestrial analog field deployment exercise to better understand and prepare for the distinctive challenges that placing a broadband seismometer in a Mars-like configuration and environment would pose. The exercise was conducted in two phases at NASA's Goldstone facility in the Southern California Mojave desert. In the first phase we have installed a surface geophysical station including a broadband seismometer, a microbarometer, anemometer, and thermal sensors in a configuration resembling the InSight's geophysical station. The site was located in an exposed location with rough surface and subsurface terrain. It was in close proximity to Goldstone permanent seismic station (GSC) that provided a ground-truth measurement. In the second phase, the installation was moved to a dry lakebed where the geophysical conditions mimic the expected geophysical environment of InSight's target landing site on Mars. We will present a summary of lessons learned so far from our analog deployment exercise. The data analysis emphasizes several aspects of key importance to the InSight mission: (1) Exploring strategies to mitigate environmental noise sources; (2) Recognizing noise sources that might be introduced by the InSight lander (solar panel flutter); (3) Identifying weak geophysical signals with low SNR above the environmental noise; (4) Using non tectonic

  19. Antarctic Mirabilite Mounds as Mars Analogs: The Lewis Cliffs Ice Tongue Revisited

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Socki, Richard A.; Sun, Tao; Niles, Paul B.; Harvey, Ralph P.; Bish, David L.; Tonui, Eric

    2012-01-01

    It has been proposed, based on geomorphic and geochemical arguments, that subsurface water has played an important role in the history of water on the planet Mars [1]. Subsurface water, if present, could provide a protected and long lived environment for potential life. Discovery of gullies [2] and recurring slopes [3] on Mars suggest the potential for subsurface liquid water or brines. Recent attention has also focused on small (< approx. 1km dia.) mound-like geomorphic features discovered within the mid to high latitudes on the surface of Mars which may be caused by eruptions of subsurface fluids [4, 5]. We have identified massive but highly localized Na-sulfate deposits (mirabilite mounds, Na2SO4 .10H2O) that may be derived from subsurface fluids and may provide insight into the processes associated with subsurface fluids on Mars. The mounds are found on the end moraine of the Lewis Cliffs Ice Tongue (LCIT) [6] in the Transantarctic Mountains, Antarctica, and are potential terrestrial analogs for mounds observed on the martian surface. The following characteristics distinguish LCIT evaporite mounds from other evaporite mounds found in Antarctic coastal environments and/or the McMurdo Dry Valleys: (1) much greater distance from the open ocean (approx.500 km); (2) higher elevation (approx.2200 meters); and (3) colder average annual temperature (average annual temperature = -30 C for LCIT [7] vs. 20 C at sea level in the McMurdo region [8]. Furthermore, the recent detection of subsurface water ice (inferred as debris-covered glacial ice) by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter [9] supports the use of an Antarctic glacial environment, particularly with respect to the mirabilite deposits described in this work, as an ideal terrestrial analog for understanding the geochemistry associated with near-surface martian processes. S and O isotopic compositions.

  20. The importance of environmental conditions in reflectance spectroscopy of laboratory analogs for Mars surface materials

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Bishop, J.; Murchie, S.; Pratt, S.; Mustard, J.; Pieters, C.

    1993-01-01

    Reflectance spectra are presented here for a variety of particulate, ferric-containing analogs to Martian soil (Fe(3+)-doped smectites and palagonites) to facilitate interpretation of remotely acquired spectra. The analog spectra were measured under differing environmental conditions to evaluate the influence of exposure history on water content and absorption features due to H2O in these samples. Each of these materials contains structural OH bonded to metal cations, adsorbed H2O, and bound H2O (either in a glass, structural site, or bound to a cation). Previous experiments involving a variety of Mars analogs have shown that the 3 micron H2O band in spectra of palagonites is more resistant to drying than the 3 micron H2O band in spectra of montmorillonites. Other experiments have shown that spectra of ferrihydrite and montmorillonites doped with ferric sulfate also contain sufficient bound H2O to retain a strong 3 micron band under dry conditions. Once the effects of the environment on bound water in clays, oxides, and salts are better understood, the hydration bands measured via reflectance spectroscopy can be used to gain information about the chemical composition and moisture content of real soil systems. Such information would be especially useful in interpreting observations of Mars where subtle spatial variations in the strengths of metal-OH and H2O absorptions have been observed in telescopic and ISM spectra. We measured bidirectional reflectance spectra of several Mars soil analogs under controlled environmental conditions to assess the effects of moisture content on the metal-OH and H2O absorptions. The samples analyzed include chemically altered montmorillonites, ferrihydrite. and palagonites from Hawaii and Iceland. Procedures for preparation of the cation-exchanged montmorillonites, ferric-salt doped montmorillonites, and ferric oxyhydroxides are described in detail elsewhere.

  1. Habitability: Where to look for life? Halophilic habitats: Earth analogs to study Mars habitability

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gómez, F.; Rodríguez-Manfredi, J. A.; Rodríguez, N.; Fernández-Sampedro, M.; Caballero-Castrejón, F. J.; Amils, R.

    2012-08-01

    Oxidative stress, high radiation doses, low temperature and pressure are parameters which made Mars's surface adverse for life. Those conditions found on Mars surface are harsh conditions for life to deal with. Life, as we know it on Earth, needs several requirements for its establishment but, the only "sine qua nom" element is water. Extremophilic microorganisms widened the window of possibilities for life to develop in the universe, and as a consequence on Mars. Recently reported results in extreme environments indicate the possibility of presence of "oasys" for life in microniches due to water deliquescence in salts deposits. The compilation of data produced by the ongoing missions (Mars Global Surveyor, Mars Odyssey, Mars Express and Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity) offers a completely different view from that reported by Viking missions: signs of an early wet Mars and rather recent volcanic activity. The discovery of important accumulations of sulfates, and the existence of iron minerals like jarosite, goethite and hematite in rocks of sedimentary origin has allowed specific terrestrial models related with this type of mineralogy to come into focus. Río Tinto (Southwestern Spain, Iberian Pyritic Belt) is an extreme acidic environment, product of the chemolithotrophic activity of microorganisms that thrive in the massive pyrite-rich deposits of the Iberian Pyritic Belt. The high concentration of ferric iron and sulfates, products of the metabolism of pyrite, generate a collection of minerals, mainly gypsum, jarosite, goethite and hematites, all of which have been detected in different regions of Mars. Some particular protective environments or elements could house organic molecules or the first bacterial life forms on Mars surface. Terrestrial analogs could help us to afford its comprehension. We are reporting here some preliminary studies about endolithic niches inside salt deposits used by phototrophs for taking advantage of sheltering particular light

  2. Craters of the Moon National Monument as a Terrestrial Mars Analog: Examination of Mars Analog Phosphate Minerals, Phosphate Mineral Shock-Recovery Experiments, and Phosphate Minerals in Martian Meteorites

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Adcock, C. T.; Hausrath, E.; Tschauner, O. D.; Udry, A.

    2015-12-01

    Martian analogs, meteorites, and data from unmanned missions have greatly advanced our understanding of martian surface and near-surface processes. In particular, terrestrial analogs allow us to investigate Mars-relevant geomorphic, geochemical, petrogenetic, and hydrologic processes, as well as potential habitability. Craters of the Moon National Monument (COTM), located on the Snake River Plain of Idaho in the United States, represents a valuable phosphate-rich Mars analog, allowing us to examine phosphate minerals, important as volatile indicators and potential nutrient providers, under Mars-relevant conditions. COTM is in an arid to semi-arid environment with sub-freezing lows much of the year. Though wetter than present day Mars (24 - 38 cm MAP) [1], COTM may be analogous to a warmer and wetter past Mars. The area is also the locale of numerous lava flows, a number of which have been dated (2,000 to >18,000 y.b.p.) [2]. The flows have experienced weathering over time and thus represent a chronosequence with application to weathering on Mars. The flows have unusual chemistries, including high average phosphate contents (P2O5 1.75 wt% n=23 flows) [2], close to those in rocks analyzed at Gusev Crater, Mars (P2O5 1.79 wt% n=18 rocks) [3]. The Mars-like high phosphorus contents indicate a potential petrogenetic link and are also of astrobiological interest. Further, current samples of Mars phosphate minerals are limited to meteorites which have been heavily shocked - COTM represents a potential pre-shock and geochemical analog to Mars. We investigated weathering on COTM basalts and shock effects on Mars-relevant phosphate minerals. We used scanning electron microscopy, backscattered electron imagery, and X-Ray analysis/mapping to investigate COTM thin sections. Synchrotron diffraction was used to investigate martian meteorites and laboratory shocked Mars/COTM-relevant minerals for comparison. Results of our investigations indicate porosity development correlates

  3. Remote sensing and in situ mineralogic survey of the Chilean salars: An analog to Mars evaporate deposits?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Flahaut, J.; Martinot, M.; Bishop, J. L.; Davies, G. R.; Potts, N. J.

    2017-01-01

    Atacama's unique arid and volcanic environment, coupled with the transition recorded in some of the salars has a strong Mars analog potential. Characterizing the outcrop mineralogy at a variety of environments from alkaline, lake waters to more acidic salar brines may help in constraining geochemical environments on Mars.

  4. Thermal mapping and trends of Mars analog materials in sample acquisition operations using experimentation and models

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Szwarc, Timothy; Hubbard, Scott

    2014-09-01

    The effects of atmosphere, ambient temperature, and geologic material were studied experimentally and using a computer model to predict the heating undergone by Mars rocks during rover sampling operations. Tests were performed on five well-characterized and/or Mars analog materials: Indiana limestone, Saddleback basalt, kaolinite, travertine, and water ice. Eighteen tests were conducted to 55 mm depth using a Mars Sample Return prototype coring drill, with each sample containing six thermal sensors. A thermal simulation was written to predict the complete thermal profile within each sample during coring and this model was shown to be capable of predicting temperature increases with an average error of about 7%. This model may be used to schedule power levels and periods of rest during actual sample acquisition processes to avoid damaging samples or freezing the bit into icy formations. Maximum rock temperature increase is found to be modeled by a power law incorporating rock and operational parameters. Energy transmission efficiency in coring is found to increase linearly with rock hardness and decrease by 31% at Mars pressure.

  5. Attenuation of UV Light in Mars Analog Minerals: Implications for Organic Detection with the SHERLOC Mars 2020 Instrument

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Carrier, Brandi; Beegle, Luther; Bhartia, Rohit; Abbey, William

    2016-10-01

    -11. 2. Peters, Gregory H. et al. "Mojave Mars simulant—Characterization of a New Geologic Mars Analog." Icarus 197.2 (2008): 470-479.

  6. Icebreaker-3 Drill Integration and Testing at Two Mars-Analog Sites

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Glass, B.; Bergman, D.; Yaggi, B.; Dave, A.; Zacny, K.

    2016-01-01

    A decade of evolutionary development of integrated automated drilling and sample handling at analog sites and in test chambers has made it possible to go 1 meter through hard rocks and ice layers on Mars. The latest Icebreaker-3 drill has been field tested in 2014 at the Haughton Crater Marsanalog site in the Arctic and in 2015 with a Mars lander mockup in Rio Tinto, Spain, (with sample transfer arm and with a prototype life-detection instrument). Tests in Rio Tinto in 2015 successfully demonstrated that the drill sample (cuttings) was handed-off from the drill to the sample transfer arm and thence to the on-deck instrument inlet where it was taken in and analyzed ("dirt-to-data").

  7. Coordinating Chemical and Mineralogical Analyses of Antarctic Dry Valley Sediments as Potential Analogs for Mars

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Patel, S. N.; Bishop, J. L.; Englert, P.; Gibson, E. K.

    2015-01-01

    The Antarctic Dry Valleys (ADV) provide a unique terrestrial analog for Martian surface processes as they are extremely cold and dry sedimentary environments. The surface geology and the chemical composition of the Dry Valleys that are similar to Mars suggest the possible presence of these soil-formation processes on Mars. The soils and sediments from Wright Valley, Antarctica were investigated in this study to examine mineralogical and chemical changes along the surface layer in this region and as a function of depth. Surface samples collected near Prospect Mesa and Don Juan Pond of the ADV were analyzed using visible/near-infrared (VNIR) and mid-IR reflectance spectroscopy and major and trace element abundances.

  8. Earth analogs for Martian life - Microbes in evaporites, a new model system for life on Mars

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Rothschild, Lynn J.

    1990-01-01

    It is suggested that 'oases' in which life forms may persist on Mars could occur, by analogy with terrestrial cases, in (1) rocks, as known in endolithic microorganisms, (2) polar ice caps, as seen in snow and ice algae, and (3) volcanic regions, as witnessed in the chemoautotrophs which live in ocean-floor hydrothermal vents. Microorganisms, moreover, have been known to survive in salt crystals, and it has even been shown that organisms can metabolize while encrusted in evaporites. Evaporites which may occur on Mars would be able to attenuate UV light, while remaining more transparent to the 400-700 nm radiation useful in photosynthesis. Suggestions are made for the selection of Martian exobiological investigation sites.

  9. Earth analogs for Martian life - Microbes in evaporites, a new model system for life on Mars

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Rothschild, Lynn J.

    1990-01-01

    It is suggested that 'oases' in which life forms may persist on Mars could occur, by analogy with terrestrial cases, in (1) rocks, as known in endolithic microorganisms, (2) polar ice caps, as seen in snow and ice algae, and (3) volcanic regions, as witnessed in the chemoautotrophs which live in ocean-floor hydrothermal vents. Microorganisms, moreover, have been known to survive in salt crystals, and it has even been shown that organisms can metabolize while encrusted in evaporites. Evaporites which may occur on Mars would be able to attenuate UV light, while remaining more transparent to the 400-700 nm radiation useful in photosynthesis. Suggestions are made for the selection of Martian exobiological investigation sites.

  10. Water Uptake by Mars Salt Analogs: An Investigation of Stable Aqueous Solutions Using Raman Microscopy

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Nuding, Danielle L.

    Liquid water processes that may occur on the surface and near-subsurface of Mars have important implications for the present-day water cycle, habitability, and planetary protection policies. The presence of salts on Mars plays a role in surface-atmosphere interactions as salts enhance the soil's ability to retain water. This thesis explores the phase transitions of water upon interaction with Mars relevant salt analogs. Water uptake and loss properties of a single and complex Mars analog are examined using a Raman microscope equipped with an environmental cell. The effect of the hygroscopic salts on bacterial spores was evaluated with a focus on potential terrestrial contamination on outbound spacecraft and its influence on planetary protection concerns. Calcium perchlorate (Ca(ClO4)2) is a highly deliquescent salt that may exist on the surface of present-day Mars. Here, we quantify the deliquescent relative humidity (DRH) and efflorescent relative humidity (ERH) of Ca(ClO4)2 as a function of temperature (223 K to 273 K) to elucidate its behavior on the surface of Mars. Mars relevant temperature and relative humidity (RH) conditions were simulated and deliquescence (solid to aqueous) and efflorescence (aqueous to solid) phase transitions of Ca(ClO4)2 were characterized. Experimental DRH values were compared to a thermodynamic model for three hydration states of Ca(ClO 4)2. Calcium perchlorate was found to supersaturate, with lower ERH values than DRH values. Additionally, we conducted a 17-hour experiment to simulate a subsurface relative humidity and temperature diurnal cycle. This demonstrated that aqueous Ca(ClO4)2 solutions can persist without efflorescing for the majority of a martian sol, up to 17 hours under Mars temperature heating rates and RH conditions. Applying these experimental results to martian surface and subsurface heat and mass transfer models, we find that aqueous Ca(ClO4)2 solutions could persist for most of the martian sol under present

  11. Perchlorate and volatiles of the brine of Lake Vida (Antarctica): Implication for the in situ analysis of Mars sediments

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kenig, Fabien; Chou, Luoth; McKay, Christopher P.; Jackson, W. Andrew; Doran, Peter T.; Murray, Alison E.; Fritsen, Christian H.

    2016-07-01

    The cold (-13.4°C), cryoencapsulated, anoxic, interstitial brine of the >27 m thick ice of Lake Vida (Victoria Valley, Antarctica) contains 49 µg · L-1 of perchlorate and 11 µg · L-1 of chlorate. Lake Vida brine (LVBr) may provide an analog for potential oxychlorine-rich subsurface brine on Mars. LVBr volatiles were analyzed by solid-phase microextraction (SPME) gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) with two different SPME fibers. With the exception of volatile organic sulfur compounds, most other volatiles observed were artifacts produced in the GC injector when the thermal decomposition products of oxychlorines reacted with reduced carbon derived from LVBr and the SPME fiber phases. Analysis of MilliQ water with perchlorate (40 µg · L-1) showed low level of organic artifacts, reflecting carbon limitation. In order to observe sample-derived organic compounds, both in analog samples and on Mars, the molar abundance of reduced carbon in a sample must exceed those of O2 and Cl2 produced during decomposition of oxychlorines. This suggests that the abundance of compounds observed by the Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instruments in Sheepbed samples (CB-3, CB5, and CB6) may be controlled by an increase in the reduced-carbon/oxychlorine ratio of these samples. To increase chances of in situ detection of Martian organics during pyrolysis-GC-MS, we propose that the derivatization agents stored on SAM may be used as an external source of reduced carbon, increasing artificially the reduced-carbon to perchlorate ratio during pyrolysis, allowing the expression of more abundant and perhaps more diverse Martian organic matter.

  12. Perchlorate and Volatiles of the Brine of Lake Vida (Antarctica): Implication for the in Situ Analysis of Mars Sediments

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Kenig, Fabien; Chou, Luoth; McKay, Christopher P.; Jackson, W. Andrew; Doran, Peter T.; Murray, Alison E.; Fritsen, Christian H.

    2016-01-01

    The cold (-13.4 C), cryoencapsulated, anoxic, interstitial brine of the 27 m-thick ice of Lake Vida (Victoria Valley, Antarctica) contains 49 microgram L-1 of perchlorate and 11 microgram L-1 of chlorate. Lake Vida brine (LVBr) may provide an analog for potential oxychlorine-rich subsurface brine on Mars. LVBr volatiles were analyzed by solid-phase microextraction (SPME) gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) with two different SPME fibers. With the exception of volatile organic sulfur compounds, most other volatiles observed were artifacts produced in the GC injector when the thermal decomposition products of oxychlorines reacted with reduced carbon derived from LVBr and the SPME fiber phases. Analysis of MilliQ water with perchlorate (40 microgram L-1) showed low level of organic artifacts, reflecting carbon limitation. In order to observe sample-derived organic compounds, both in analog samples and on Mars, the molar abundance of reduced carbon in a sample must exceed those of O2 and Cl2 produced during decomposition of oxychlorines. This suggests that the abundance of compounds observed by the Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instruments in Sheepbed samples (CB-3, CB5, and CB6) may be controlled by an increase in the reduced-carbon/oxychlorine ratio of these samples. To increase chances of in situ detection of Martian organics during pyrolysis-GC-MS, we propose that the derivatization agents stored on SAM may be used as an external source of reduced carbon, increasing artificially the reduced-carbon to perchlorate ratio during pyrolysis, allowing the expression of more abundant and perhaps more diverse Martian organic matter.

  13. Low Biotoxicity of Mars Analog Soils Suggests that the Surface of Mars May be Habitable for Terrestrial Microorganisms

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Schuerger, A. C.; Ming, Douglas W.; Golden, D. C.

    2012-01-01

    Recent studies on the interactive effects of hypobaria, low temperatures, and CO2-enriched anoxic atmospheres on the growth of 37 species of mesophilic bacteria identified 14 potential biocidal agents that might affect microbial survival and growth on the martian surface. Biocidal or inhibitory factors include (not in priority): (1) solar UV irradiation, (2) low pressure, (3) extreme desiccating conditions, (4) extreme diurnal temperature fluctuations, (5) solar particle events, (6) galactic cosmic rays, (7) UV-glow discharge from blowing dust, (8) solar UV-induced volatile oxidants [e.g., O2(-), O(-), H2O2, O3], (9) globally distributed oxidizing soils, (10) extremely high salts levels [e.g., MgCl2, NaCl, FeSO4, and MgSO4] in surficial soils at some sites on Mars, (11) high concentrations of heavy metals in martian soils, (12) likely acidic conditions in martian fines, (13) high CO2 concentrations in the global atmosphere, and (14) perchlorate-rich soils. Despite these extreme conditions several studies have demonstrated that dormant spores or vegetative cells of terrestrial microorganisms can survive simulated martian conditions as long as they are protected from UV irradiation. What has not been explored in depth are the effects of potential biotoxic geochemical components of the martian regolith on the survival and growth of microorganisms. The primary objectives of the research included: (1) prepare and characterize Mars analog soils amended with potential biotoxic levels of sulfates, salts, acidifying minerals, etc.; and (2) use the simulants to conduct biotoxicity assays to determine if terrestrial microorganisms from spacecraft can survive direct exposure to the analog soils.

  14. Salivary amylase and stress during stressful environment: three Mars analog mission crews study.

    PubMed

    Rai, Balwant; Kaur, Jasdeep; Foing, Bernard H

    2012-06-14

    After the establishment of the space age physicians, human factors engineers, neurologist and psychologists and their special attention to work on people's capability to meet up the physical, psychological, neuroscience and interpersonal strains of working in space, it has been regarded as an issue that seeks urgent consideration. Not study was conducted on effect of simulated Mars analog environment on stress and salivary amylase. So, this study aimed to confirm whether salivary amylase is act as stress biomarker in crew members who took part in Mars analog mission in an isolated and stressful environment. The 18 crew members were selected who took part in Mars Analog Research Station, Utah. Salivary amylase was measured using a biosensor of salivary amylase monitor and State-Trait Anxiety Inventory score at pre-extravehicular activity, post-extravehicular activity and on before mission. The state and trait anxiety scores at pre-extravehicular activity for each commander were elevated as compared to after extravehicular activity. There were significant differences in the state and trait anxiety scores between before extravehicular activity and after extravehicular activity of Commander and other members, also there were significant differences in values of before-extravehicular activity between commanders and other members. There were significant differences in values of salivary amylase at before extravehicular activity and after extravehicular activity between commander group and other members. There was significant correlation between salivary amylase and state and trait anxiety scores in all groups. Measuring salivary amylase level could be useful for stress assessment of crew members and population working in a stressful and isolated environment. Copyright © 2012 Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.

  15. Biotoxicity of Mars Analog Soils: Microbial, Dispersal into Desiccated Soils Versus Emplacement in Salt or Ice Inclusions Fluids

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Schuerger, A. C.; Ming, Doutlas W.; Golden, D. C.

    2010-01-01

    Recent evidence from the Opportunity and Spirit rovers and the Mars Express mission suggests that the soils on Mars might be very high in biotoxic materials including sulfate salts, chlorides, and acidifying agents. Yet, very little is known about how the chemistries of Mars soils might affect the survival and growth of terrestrial microorganisms. The primary objectives of the research included: (1) prepare and characterize Mars analog soils amended with potential biotoxic levels of sulfates, chlorides, and acidifying minerals; and (2) use the simulants to conduct a series of toxicology assays to determine if terrestrial microorganisms from spacecraft can survive direct exposure to the biotoxic soils.

  16. An alkaline spring system within the Del Puerto ophiolite (California USA): A Mars analog site

    SciTech Connect

    Blank, J.G.; Green, S.; Blake, D.; Valley, J.; Kita, N.; Treiman, A.; Dobson, P.F.

    2008-10-01

    Mars appears to have experienced little compositional differentiation of primitive lithosphere, and thus much of the surface of Mars is covered by mafic lavas. On Earth, mafic and ultramafic rocks present in ophiolites, oceanic crust and upper mantle that have been obducted onto land, are therefore good analogs for Mars. The characteristic mineralogy, aqueous geochemistry, and microbial communities of cold-water alkaline springs associated with these mafic and ultramafic rocks represent a particularly compelling analog for potential life-bearing systems. Serpentinization, the reaction of water with mafic minerals such as olivine and pyroxene, yields fluids with unusual chemistry (Mg-OH and Ca-OH waters with pH values up to {approx}12), as well as heat and hydrogen gas that can sustain subsurface, chemosynthetic ecosystems. The recent observation of seeps from pole-facing crater and canyon walls in the higher Martian latitudes supports the hypothesis that even present conditions might allow for a rockhosted chemosynthetic biosphere in near-surface regions of the Martian crust. The generation of methane within a zone of active serpentinization, through either abiogenic or biogenic processes, could account for the presence of methane detected in the Martian atmosphere. For all of these reasons, studies of terrestrial alkaline springs associated with mafic and ultramafic rocks are particularly timely. This study focuses on the alkaline Adobe Springs, emanating from mafic and ultramafic rocks of the California Coast Range, where a community of novel bacteria is associated with the precipitation of Mg-Ca carbonate cements. The carbonates may serve as a biosignature that could be used in the search for evidence of life on Mars.

  17. Experimental Acid Weathering of Fe-Bearing Mars Analog Minerals and Rocks: Implications for Aqueous Origin of Hematite-Bearing Sediments in Meridiani Planum, Mars

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Golden, D. C.; Koster, A. M.; Ming, D. W.; Morris, R. V.; Mertzman, S. A.

    2011-01-01

    A working hypothesis for Meridiani evaporite formation involves the evaporation of fluids derived from acid weathering of Martian basalts and subsequent diagenesis [1, 2]. However, there are no reported experimental studies for the formation of jarosite and gray hematite (spherules), which are characteristic of Meridiani rocks from Mars analog precursor minerals. A terrestrial analog for hematite spherule formation from basaltic rocks under acidic hydrothermal conditions has been reported [3], and we have previously shown that the hematite spherules and jarosite can be synthetically produced in the laboratory using Fe3+ -bearing sulfate brines under hydrothermal conditions [4]. Here we expand and extend these studies by reacting Mars analog minerals with sulfuric acid to form Meridiani-like rock-mineral compositions. The objective of this study is to provide environmental constraints on past aqueous weathering of basaltic materials on Mars.

  18. Low-temperature and low atmospheric pressure infrared reflectance spectroscopy of Mars soil analog materials

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Bishop, Janice L.; Pieters, Carle M.

    1995-01-01

    Infrared reflectance spectra of carefully selected Mars soil analog materials have been measured under low atmospheric pressures and temperatures. Chemically altered montmorillonites containing ferrihydrite and hydrated ferric sulfate complexes are examined, as well as synthetic ferrihydrite and a palagonitic soil from Haleakala, Maui. Reflectance spectra of these analog materials exhibit subtle visible to near-infrared features, which are indicative of nanophase ferric oxides or oxyhydroxides and are similar to features observed in the spectra of the bright regions of Mars. Infrared reflectance spectra of these analogs include hydration features due to structural OH, bound H2O, and adsorbed H2O. The spectral character of these hydration features is highly dependent on the sample environment and on the nature of the H2O/OH in the analogs. The behavior of the hydration features near 1.9 micron, 2.2 micron, 2.7 micron, 3 micron, and 6 microns are reported here in spectra measured under a Marslike atmospheric environment. In spectra of these analogs measured under dry Earth atmospheric conditions the 1.9-micron band depth is 8-17%; this band is much stronger under moist conditions. Under Marslike atmospheric conditions the 1.9-micron feature is broad and barely discernible (1-3% band depth) in spectra of the ferrihydrite and palagonitic soil samples. In comparable spectra of the ferric sulfate-bearing montmorillonite the 1.9-micron feature is also broad, but stronger (6% band depth). In the low atmospheric pressure and temperature spectra of the ferrihydrite-bearing montmorillonite this feature is sharper than the other analogs and relatively stronger (6% band depth). Although the intensity of the 3-micron band is weaker in spectra of each of the analogs when measured under Marslike conditions, the 3-micron band remains a dominant feature and is especially broad in spectra of the ferrihydrite and palagonitic soil. The structural OH features observed in these materials

  19. Low-temperature and low atmospheric pressure infrared reflectance spectroscopy of Mars soil analog materials

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Bishop, Janice L.; Pieters, Carle M.

    1995-01-01

    Infrared reflectance spectra of carefully selected Mars soil analog materials have been measured under low atmospheric pressures and temperatures. Chemically altered montmorillonites containing ferrihydrite and hydrated ferric sulfate complexes are examined, as well as synthetic ferrihydrate and a palagonitic soil from Haleakala, Maui. Reflectance spectra of these analog materials exhibit subtle visible to near-infrared features, which are indicative of nanophase ferric oxides or oxyhydroxides and are similar to features observed in the spectra of the bright regions of Mars. Infrared reflectance spectra of these analogs include hydration features due to structural OH, bound H2O and adsorbed H2O. The spectal character of these hydration features is highly dependent on the sample environment and on the nature of the H2O/OH in the analogs. The behavior of the hydration features near 1.9 micrometers, 2.2 micrometers, 2.7 micrometers, 3 micrometers, and 6 micrometers are reported here in spetra measured under Marslike atmospheric environment. In spectra of these analogs measured under dry Earth atmospheric conditions the 1.9-micrometer band depth is 8-17%; this band is much stonger under moist conditions. Under Marslike atmospheric conditions the 1.9-micrometer feature is broad and barely discernible (1-3% band depth) in spectra of the ferrihydrite and palagonitic soil samples. In comparable spectra of the ferric sulfate-bearing montmorillonite the 1.9-micrometer feature is also broad, but stronger (6% band depth). In the low atmospheric pressure and temperature spectra of the ferrihydrite-bearing montmorillonite this feature is sharper than the other analogs and relatively stronger (6% band depth). Although the intensity of the 3- micrometer band is weaker in spectra of each of the analogs when measured under Marslike conditions, the 3-micromter band remains a dominant feature and is especially broad in spectra of the ferrihydrite and palagonitic soil. The structural

  20. Low-temperature and low atmospheric pressure infrared reflectance spectroscopy of Mars soil analog materials

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Bishop, Janice L.; Pieters, Carle M.

    1995-01-01

    Infrared reflectance spectra of carefully selected Mars soil analog materials have been measured under low atmospheric pressures and temperatures. Chemically altered montmorillonites containing ferrihydrite and hydrated ferric sulfate complexes are examined, as well as synthetic ferrihydrate and a palagonitic soil from Haleakala, Maui. Reflectance spectra of these analog materials exhibit subtle visible to near-infrared features, which are indicative of nanophase ferric oxides or oxyhydroxides and are similar to features observed in the spectra of the bright regions of Mars. Infrared reflectance spectra of these analogs include hydration features due to structural OH, bound H2O and adsorbed H2O. The spectal character of these hydration features is highly dependent on the sample environment and on the nature of the H2O/OH in the analogs. The behavior of the hydration features near 1.9 micrometers, 2.2 micrometers, 2.7 micrometers, 3 micrometers, and 6 micrometers are reported here in spetra measured under Marslike atmospheric environment. In spectra of these analogs measured under dry Earth atmospheric conditions the 1.9-micrometer band depth is 8-17%; this band is much stonger under moist conditions. Under Marslike atmospheric conditions the 1.9-micrometer feature is broad and barely discernible (1-3% band depth) in spectra of the ferrihydrite and palagonitic soil samples. In comparable spectra of the ferric sulfate-bearing montmorillonite the 1.9-micrometer feature is also broad, but stronger (6% band depth). In the low atmospheric pressure and temperature spectra of the ferrihydrite-bearing montmorillonite this feature is sharper than the other analogs and relatively stronger (6% band depth). Although the intensity of the 3- micrometer band is weaker in spectra of each of the analogs when measured under Marslike conditions, the 3-micromter band remains a dominant feature and is especially broad in spectra of the ferrihydrite and palagonitic soil. The structural

  1. Low-temperature and low atmospheric pressure infrared reflectance spectroscopy of Mars soil analog materials

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Bishop, Janice L.; Pieters, Carle M.

    1995-01-01

    Infrared reflectance spectra of carefully selected Mars soil analog materials have been measured under low atmospheric pressures and temperatures. Chemically altered montmorillonites containing ferrihydrite and hydrated ferric sulfate complexes are examined, as well as synthetic ferrihydrite and a palagonitic soil from Haleakala, Maui. Reflectance spectra of these analog materials exhibit subtle visible to near-infrared features, which are indicative of nanophase ferric oxides or oxyhydroxides and are similar to features observed in the spectra of the bright regions of Mars. Infrared reflectance spectra of these analogs include hydration features due to structural OH, bound H2O, and adsorbed H2O. The spectral character of these hydration features is highly dependent on the sample environment and on the nature of the H2O/OH in the analogs. The behavior of the hydration features near 1.9 micron, 2.2 micron, 2.7 micron, 3 micron, and 6 microns are reported here in spectra measured under a Marslike atmospheric environment. In spectra of these analogs measured under dry Earth atmospheric conditions the 1.9-micron band depth is 8-17%; this band is much stronger under moist conditions. Under Marslike atmospheric conditions the 1.9-micron feature is broad and barely discernible (1-3% band depth) in spectra of the ferrihydrite and palagonitic soil samples. In comparable spectra of the ferric sulfate-bearing montmorillonite the 1.9-micron feature is also broad, but stronger (6% band depth). In the low atmospheric pressure and temperature spectra of the ferrihydrite-bearing montmorillonite this feature is sharper than the other analogs and relatively stronger (6% band depth). Although the intensity of the 3-micron band is weaker in spectra of each of the analogs when measured under Marslike conditions, the 3-micron band remains a dominant feature and is especially broad in spectra of the ferrihydrite and palagonitic soil. The structural OH features observed in these materials

  2. Terrestrial cold-desert analogs: Antarctic landforms and implications for regional glaciation on Mars

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Head, J. W.; Marchant, D. R.; Dickson, J. L.; Baker, D. M.; Mackay, S.; Lamp, J.

    2011-12-01

    The Antarctic Dry Valleys (ADV) are generally classified as a hyper-arid, cold-polar desert. The region has long been considered an important terrestrial analog for Mars because of its cold and dry climate and because it contains a suite of landforms at macro-, meso-, and microscales that closely resemble those occurring on the martian surface. The extreme hyperaridity of both Mars and the ADV has focused attention on the importance of salts and brines on soil development, phase transitions from liquid water to ice, and ultimately, on process geomorphology and landscape evolution at a range of scales on both planets. The ADV can be subdivided into three microclimate zones: a coastal thaw zone, an inland mixed zone, and a stable upland zone; zones are defined on the basis of summertime measurements of atmospheric temperature, soil moisture, and relative humidity. Subtle variations in these climate parameters result in considerable differences in the distribution and morphology of: (1) macroscale features (e.g., slopes and gullies); (2) mesoscale features (e.g., polygons, including ice-wedge, sand-wedge, and sublimation-type polygons, as well as viscous-flow features, including solifluction lobes, gelifluction lobes, and debris-covered glaciers); and (3) microscale features (e.g., rock-weathering processes/features, including salt weathering, wind erosion, and surface pitting). Equilibrium landforms are those features that formed in balance with environmental conditions within fixed microclimate zones. We report on our multi-year field and instrument analysis of four important ADV landforms: 1) sublimation polygons and relation to buried ice, 2) gullies and the environmental controls responsible for their episodic activity, 3) slope streaks, the role of water and brines in their formation and the timing of their activity, and 4) debris-covered glaciers and their three-dimensional geometry, mode and rates of formation. The relative geomorphic and climate stability for

  3. Mineralization and Preservation of an extremotolerant Bacterium Isolated from an Early Mars Analog Environment.

    PubMed

    Gaboyer, F; Le Milbeau, C; Bohmeier, M; Schwendner, P; Vannier, P; Beblo-Vranesevic, K; Rabbow, E; Foucher, F; Gautret, P; Guégan, R; Richard, A; Sauldubois, A; Richmann, P; Perras, A K; Moissl-Eichinger, C; Cockell, C S; Rettberg, P; Marteinsson; Monaghan, E; Ehrenfreund, P; Garcia-Descalzo, L; Gomez, F; Malki, M; Amils, R; Cabezas, P; Walter, N; Westall, F

    2017-08-18

    The artificial mineralization of a polyresistant bacterial strain isolated from an acidic, oligotrophic lake was carried out to better understand microbial (i) early mineralization and (ii) potential for further fossilisation. Mineralization was conducted in mineral matrixes commonly found on Mars and Early-Earth, silica and gypsum, for 6 months. Samples were analyzed using microbiological (survival rates), morphological (electron microscopy), biochemical (GC-MS, Microarray immunoassay, Rock-Eval) and spectroscopic (EDX, FTIR, RAMAN spectroscopy) methods. We also investigated the impact of physiological status on mineralization and long-term fossilisation by exposing cells or not to Mars-related stresses (desiccation and radiation). Bacterial populations remained viable after 6 months although the kinetics of mineralization and cell-mineral interactions depended on the nature of minerals. Detection of biosignatures strongly depended on analytical methods, successful with FTIR and EDX but not with RAMAN and immunoassays. Neither influence of stress exposure, nor qualitative and quantitative changes of detected molecules were observed as a function of mineralization time and matrix. Rock-Eval analysis suggests that potential for preservation on geological times may be possible only with moderate diagenetic and metamorphic conditions. The implications of our results for microfossil preservation in the geological record of Earth as well as on Mars are discussed.

  4. Cerro Negro, Nicaragua: A key Mars Analog Environment for Acid-Sulfate Weathering

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hynek, B. M.; Rogers, K. L.; McCollom, T. M.

    2008-12-01

    Sulfate-rich bedrock has been discovered in many locations on Mars and has been studied by both orbiting spacecraft and landers. It appears that in most cases these minerals are produced by acid-sulfate weathering of igneous rocks, which may have been a widespread process for the first billion years of Mars' history. The origin of life on Earth may have occurred in iron-sulfur hydrothermal settings and it is conceivable that early Mars had similar environmental conditions. An excellent terrestrial analog for acid- sulfate weathering of Mars-like basalts exists at Cerro Negro (CN), Nicaragua, where sulfur-bearing gases interact with recently erupted basaltic ash in numerous fumaroles. To date, we have made two expeditions to CN to assess the chemical, mineralogical, and biological conditions. At the fumaroles pH ranges from <1 to 5 and temperatures range from 40 to 400° C. Basalts with a chemical composition very similar to those on Mars are being chemically altered in the solfatara setting. In a few years, freshly erupted basalt can be converted into predominately Ca-, Mg-, and Fe-sulfates, Fe-hydroxides (including jarosite), clays, and free silica. Altered rocks have up to 30 wt% SO3 equivalent, which is similar to the Meridiani Planum bedrocks and inferred in other sulfate-bearing bedrock on Mars. Moreover, heavily weathered rocks have silica contents up to 80 wt%, similar to silica-rich soils at Gusev Crater that possibly formed in hydrothermal environments. Samples were collected for biological analysis including enrichment and isolation of novel thermophiles as well as molecular characterization of thermophile diversity. The low water and nutrient levels found in solfatara environments lead to less biomass when compared to hot springs with similar geochemical conditions. Nonetheless, microbes are thriving in these hot, acidic vent environments. At Cerro Negro solfatara, we are characterizing the metabolic and phylogenetic diversity of resident microbial

  5. Medical preparedness, incidents, and group dynamics during the analog MARS2013 mission.

    PubMed

    Luger, T J; Stadler, A; Gorur, P; Terlevic, R; Neuner, J; Simonsen, O; Sansone, P; Toferer, E; Luger, M F; Winter, E; Beck, T

    2014-05-01

    Participants on spaceflights and international scientific analog Mars missions can encounter medical incidents (accidents, illnesses) and psychological issues (e.g., stress, group interaction, sleep disturbance, emotions). The aim of this study was to examine these parameters in a field crew living in a desert environment similar to Mars (Group 1) and in Mission Support Center (MSC) personnel on "Earth" (Group 2) during a 4-week mission. Of the 107 medical interventions in the field, 73 mainly minor incidents together with four near accidents and 29 medical checkup interventions were recorded. Of the 32 medical interventions, medical treatments for 23 incidents of minor severity were necessary in Group 2. Injuries (Group 1: 1.4/100 h, Group 2: 0.1/100 h) were significantly increased in the field, and illnesses (Group 1: 0.3/100 h, Group 2: 3.0/100 h) in the MSC personnel. Causes of accidents and illnesses are described. Psychological results show that emotions and stress remained stable in both groups. Sympathy, social competence, teamwork, and leadership showed high scores. These scores were lower on "Earth" but significantly increased in the last weeks. The Sahara's nighttime coldness was reflected in an increased wake-up frequency, and a longer sleeping time peaked in the third week, probably as a result of overfatigue. MARS2013 was a successful mission with highly motivated participants and minor medical incidents. For future analog missions and possibly long-distance open-space missions, some recommendations in terms of medical and psychological preparedness are made to reduce risks for field crew members and MSC personnel.

  6. Identifying and Interpreting Stratification in Sedimentary Rocks on Mars: Insight from Rover and Orbital Observations and Terrestrial Field Analogs

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Edgar, Lauren A.

    Sedimentary rocks on Mars provide insight into past aqueous and atmospheric processes, climate regimes, and potential habitability. The stratigraphic architecture of sedimentary rocks on Mars is similar to that of Earth, indicating that the processes that govern deposition and erosion on Mars can be reasonably inferred through reference to analogous terrestrial systems. This dissertation aims to understand Martian surface processes through the use of (1) ground-based observations from the Mars Exploration Rovers, (2) orbital data from the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment onboard the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, and (3) the use of terrestrial field analogs to understand bedforms and sediment transport on Mars. Chapters 1 and 2 trace the history of aqueous activity at Meridiani Planum, through the reconstruction of eolian bedforms at Victoria crater, and the identification of a potential mudstone facies at Santa Maria crater. Chapter 3 uses Terrestrial Laser Scanning to study cross-bedding in pyroclastic surge deposits on Earth in order to understand sediment transport in these events and to establish criteria for their identification on Mars. The final chapter analyzes stratal geometries in the Martian North Polar Layered Deposits using tools for sequence stratigraphic analysis, to better constrain past surface processes and past climate conditions on Mars.

  7. A Terrestrial Wind Erosion Analog for Mound and Moat Morphology of Gale Crater, Mars

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Chan, M. A.; Netoff, D. I.

    2016-12-01

    A striking feature of Gale crater is the 5.5 km high, layered mound called Mount Sharp- the major exploration target for the Mars Science Laboratory rover, Curiosity. Within the 154 km diameter crater, low plains (e.g. Aeolis Palus) resemble a moat surrounding Mount Sharp. Current studies debate whether sedimentary layers completely filled the crater, as well as how the units were sculpted to their current morphology. Areas of southern Utah are favorable for terrestrial comparisons to Mars due to the exceptional exposure and lack of vegetation in the desert climate. Here, water is key in shaping large geomorphic features, but wind is also an effective sculptor of the landscape. In Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument, a distinctive weathering pit with a central mound and moat occurs in bleached eolian facies of the Jurassic Navajo Sandstone. This pit is 60 m wide by 20 m deep and was informally dubbed "inselberg pit", although it has recently gained notoriety under the name of "cosmic navel" or "cosmic ashtray". Inside the pit, loose dune sand shifts periodically and seasonally across the pit floor and up against the walls. Eolian abrasion features of cm to m scales include: grooves, flutes, and erosional-shaped fingers or stalks topped with concretions. Strong regional and local winds are funneled to amplify their velocity and produce a venturi effect that sculpts the pit via wind abrasion, creating an internal mound and moat morphology. Although the Navajo pit is significantly smaller than Gale crater on Mars by several orders of magnitude, both show comparable mound and moat morphologies accompanied by erosional wind features. In Gale crater, evidence for wind erosion includes yardangs, dunes, and wind streaks. The natural Navajo analogy suggests that strong, dynamic, focused winds on Mars could be capable of carving deeply into sedimentary layers over long periods of time to generate Mount Sharp, surrounded by low, eroded plains within Gale crater.

  8. Antarctic lakes (above and beneath the ice sheet): Analogues for Mars

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Rice, J. W., Jr.

    1992-01-01

    The perennial ice covered lakes of the Antarctic are considered to be excellent analogues to lakes that once existed on Mars. Field studies of ice covered lakes, paleolakes, and polar beaches were conducted in the Bunger Hills Oasis, Eastern Antarctica. These studies are extended to the Dry Valleys, Western Antarctica, and the Arctic. Important distinctions were made between ice covered and non-ice covered bodies of water in terms of the geomorphic signatures produced. The most notable landforms produced by ice covered lakes are ice shoved ridges. These features form discrete segmented ramparts of boulders and sediments pushed up along the shores of lakes and/or seas. Sub-ice lakes have been discovered under the Antarctic ice sheet using radio echo sounding. These lakes occur in regions of low surface slope, low surface accumulations, and low ice velocity, and occupy bedrock hollows. The presence of sub-ice lakes below the Martian polar caps is possible. The discovery of the Antarctic sub-ice lakes raises possibilities concerning Martian lakes and exobiology.

  9. A Possible Small Frozen Lake in Utopia Planitia, Mars

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    de Pablo, M. A.; Pacifici, A.; Komatsu, G.

    2008-03-01

    We describe the geomorphological features observed on a MOC-na image (E0402007) that reveal the existence of a possible small frozen lake on the surface of Utopia Planitia. Some of its characteristics are similar to some frozen lakes on the Earth.

  10. A numerical model for an alternative origin of Lake Vostok and its exobiological implications for Mars

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Duxbury, N. S.; Zotikov, I. A.; Nealson, K. H.; Romanovsky, V. E.; Carsey, F. D.

    2001-01-01

    In connection with recent Galileo images of the Jovian satellite Europa, there has been a significantly increased interest in the subglacial Lake Vostok in central East Antarctica. Since the theoretical prediction by Zotikov [1961] of the existence of lakes (one of which later was named Vostok) under ~4 km of ice in Antarctica and its confirmation by radar measurements from aircraft in 1974 [Robin et al., 1977] and from the ERS-1 satellite in 1993, it was tacitly assumed that the lake originated from the basal melting of ice [e.g., Zotikov, 1961, 1977, 1986; Kapitsa et al., 1996]. Recently, Zotikov and Duxbury [2000] proposed an alternative hypothesis that if Lake Vostok had existed on the surface before the Antarctic perennial glaciation began 5-30 Myr ago, then it was buried under the thermally protecting ice and never froze all the way to the bottom. In this study we support our hypothesis by comprehensive numerical modeling and evaluate its interesting implications for Mars and exobiology. Our numerical experiments on the sensitivity of the freezing depth to different upper boundary temperatures and different internal heat flows and the recent Mars Global Surveyor Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter (MOLA) data support our model of the origin of possible subpolar water on Mars versus the old basal melting hypothesis. We also propose here experimental tests for our hypothesis. As a result of our computations, we conclude that Lake Vostok has survived the Antarctic glaciation without freezing completely, if it were initially an open lake with a surprisingly small water depth (greater than ~53 m). The current water depth at a single point is as much as 500 m [Verkulich et al., 1996]. This maximum freezing depth of ~53 m was reached in only 3300 years when the total upper ice cover was only ~600 m. The computed critical water depth is applicable to other Antarctic lakes under a thick ice cover. For the Martian internal heat flow we have computed the critical water depth

  11. Mars Analog Rio Tinto Experiment (MARTE): An Experimental Demonstration of Key Technologies for Searching for Life on Mars

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Stoker, Carol

    2004-01-01

    The discovery of near surface ground ice by the Mars Odyssey mission and the abundant evidence for recent Gulley features observed by the Mars Global Surveyor mission support longstanding theoretical arguments for subsurface liquid water on Mars. Thus, implementing the Mars program goal to search for life points to drilling on Mars to reach liquid water, collecting samples and analyzing them with instrumentation to detect in situ organisms and biomarker compounds. Searching for life in the subsurface of Mars will require drilling, sample extraction and handling, and new technologies to find and identify biomarker compounds and search for living organisms.

  12. Mars Analog Rio Tinto Experiment (MARTE): An Experimental Demonstration of Key Technologies for Searching for Life on Mars

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Stoker, Carol

    2004-01-01

    The discovery of near surface ground ice by the Mars Odyssey mission and the abundant evidence for recent Gulley features observed by the Mars Global Surveyor mission support longstanding theoretical arguments for subsurface liquid water on Mars. Thus, implementing the Mars program goal to search for life points to drilling on Mars to reach liquid water, collecting samples and analyzing them with instrumentation to detect in situ organisms and biomarker compounds. Searching for life in the subsurface of Mars will require drilling, sample extraction and handling, and new technologies to find and identify biomarker compounds and search for living organisms.

  13. Biotoxicity of Mars soils: 1. Dry deposition of analog soils on microbial colonies and survival under Martian conditions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Schuerger, Andrew C.; Golden, D. C.; Ming, Doug W.

    2012-11-01

    Six Mars analog soils were created to simulate a range of potentially biotoxic geochemistries relevant to the survival of terrestrial microorganisms on Mars, and included basalt-only (non-toxic control), salt, acidic, alkaline, aeolian, and perchlorate rich geochemistries. Experiments were designed to simulate the dry-deposition of Mars soils onto spacecraft surfaces during an active descent landing scenario with propellant engines. Six eubacteria were initially tested for tolerance to desiccation, and the spore-former Bacillus subtilis HA101 and non-spore former Enterococcus faecalis ATCC 29212 were identified to be strongly resistant (HA101) and moderately resistant (29212) to desiccation at 24 °C. Furthermore, tests with B. subtilis and E. faecalis demonstrated that at least 1 mm of Mars analog soil was required to fully attenuate the biocidal effects of a simulated Mars-normal equatorial UV flux. Biotoxicity experiments were conducted under simulated Martian conditions of 6.9 mbar, -10 °C, CO2-enriched anoxic atmosphere, and a simulated equatorial solar spectrum (200-1100 nm) with an optical depth of 0.1. For B. subtilis, the six analog soils were found, in general, to be of low biotoxicity with only the high salt and acidic soils exhibiting the capacity to inactivate a moderate number of spores (<1 log reductions) exposed 7 days to the soils under simulated Martian conditions. In contrast, the overall response of E. faecalis to the analog soils was more dramatic with between two and three orders of magnitude reductions in viable cells for most soils, and between six and seven orders of magnitude reductions observed for the high-salt soil. Results suggest that Mars soils are likely not to be overtly biotoxic to terrestrial microorganisms, and suggest that the soil geochemistries on Mars will not preclude the habitability of the Martian surface.

  14. A terrestrial weathering and wind abrasion analog for mound and moat morphology of Gale crater, Mars

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Chan, Marjorie A.; Netoff, Dennis I.

    2017-05-01

    A striking feature of Gale crater is the 5.5 km high, central layered mound called Mount Sharp (Aeolis Mons)—the major exploration target for the Mars Science Laboratory rover, Curiosity. Within the 154 km diameter crater, low plains (Aeolis Palous) resemble a moat surrounding Mount Sharp. There is a similar terrestrial analog in the Jurassic Navajo Sandstone of southern Utah, USA, where a distinctive weathering pit 60 m wide by 20 m deep contains a central pillar/mound and moat. Strong regional and local winds are funneled to amplify their velocity and produce a Venturi effect that sculpts the pit via wind abrasion. Although the Navajo pit is orders of magnitude smaller than Gale crater, both show comparable morphologies accompanied by erosional wind features. The terrestrial example shows the impact of weathering and the ability of strong winds and vortices to shape lithified sedimentary rock over long periods of time.

  15. Two Distinct Secondary Carbonate Species in OC Meteorites from Antarctica are Possible Analogs for Mars Carbonates

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Evans, M. E.; Niles, P. B.; Locke, D. R.; Chapman, P.

    2016-01-01

    Meteorites falling in Antarctica are captured in ice and stored until the glacial flow transports them to the surface where they can be collected. Prior to collection, they are altered during interactions between the rock, the cryosphere, and the hydrosphere. The purpose of this study is to characterize the stable isotope values of terrestrial, secondary carbonate minerals from Ordinary Chondrite (OC) meteorites collected in Antarctica. This facilitates better understanding of terrestrial weathering in martian meteorites as well as mechanisms for weathering in cold, arid environments as an analog to Mars. OC samples were selected for analysis based upon size and collection proximity to known martian meteorites. They were also selected based on petrologic type (3+) such that they were likely to be carbonate-free before falling to Earth.

  16. Identifying Fossil Biosignatures and Minerals in Mars Analog Materials Using Time-Resolved Raman Spectroscopy

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Shkolyar, S.; Farmer, J.; Alerstam, E.; Maruyama, Y.; Blacksberg, J.

    2013-12-01

    Mars sample return has been identified as a top priority in the planetary science decadal survey. A Mars sample selection and caching mission would be the likely first step in this endeavor. Such a mission would aim to select and prioritize for return to Earth aqueously formed geological samples present at a selected site on Mars, based upon their potential for biosignature capture and preservation. If evidence of past life exists and is found, it is likely to come via the identification of fossilized carbonaceous matter of biological origin (kerogen) found in the selected samples analyzed in laboratories after return to Earth. Raman spectroscopy is considered one of the primary techniques for analyzing materials in situ and selecting the most promising samples for Earth return. We have previously performed a pilot study to better understand the complexities of identifying kerogen using Raman spectroscopy. For the study, we examined a variety of Mars analog materials representing a broad range of mineral compositions and kerogen maturities. The study revealed that kerogen identification in many of the most promising lithologies is often impeded by background fluorescence that originates from long (>10 ns to ms) and short (<1 ns) lifetime fluorophores in both the mineral matrixes and preserved organic matter in the samples. This work explores the potential for time-gated Raman spectroscopy to enable clear kerogen and mineral identifications in such samples. The JPL time-resolved Raman system uses time gating to reduce background fluorescence. It uses a custom-built SPAD (single photon avalanche diode) detector, featuring a 1-ns time-gate, and electronically variable gate delay. Results for a range of fluorescent samples show that the JPL system reduces fluorescence, allowing the identification of both kerogen and mineral components more successfully than with conventional Raman systems. In some of the most challenging samples, the detection of organic matter is

  17. Diagenetic analogs to hematite regions on Mars: examples from Jurassic sandstones of southern Utah, USA

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Beitler, Brenda; Chan, Marjorie A.; Parry, William T.; Ormo, Jens O.; Komatsu, Goro

    2004-11-01

    enhance the diagenetic precipitation of cements. In addition to elucidating a complex history of fluid flow in Utah subsurface, analysis of these concretions can help us to better understand the recently discovered hematite concretions on Mars. The NASA Mars Exploration Rover (MER), Opportunity has discovered spherical nodules in Meridiani Planum, that have been identified to be predominately hematite in composition5,6. These Mars concretions bear a remarkable resemblance to hematite-cemented concretions in sandstones of southern Utah. Hematite is one of few minerals currently found on Mars that can be genetically linked directly to water-related processes7. Although the general process of chemical precipitation has been proposed, diagenetic concretionary precipitation, or ferruginization, has been previously overlooked as a potential formation mechanism. This terrestrial analog in Utah has important implications for biomediated precipitation and for subsurface and potentially atmospheric chemical conditions on Mars.

  18. Evolution of halophiles: A terrestrial analog for life in Brines on Mars

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mancinelli, R.

    2003-04-01

    regarding the survival of halophiles in permafrost, in evaporites and freeze thaw cycles suggest that these types of organisms may serve as a terrestrial analog to the last vestiges of life on Mars.

  19. The Mar Chiquita Lake: An indicator of intraplate deformation in the central plain of Argentina

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mon, Ricardo; Gutiérrez, Adolfo Antonio

    2009-10-01

    The Mar Chiquita saline lake is located in the lowest part of one of the largest endorreic saline basins of South America. With a surface area of 6000-6500 km 2, the lake is located in a tectonic depression with an asymmetric cross section. The Sierras Pampeanas foothills, (with altitudes near 1500 m) are to the west and a 100-m topographic high (San Guillermo high) is to the east whose western border is bounded by a buried Middle Pleistocene fault (the Tostado-Selva Fault). The main tributary of the lake is the Dulce River, which flows from north to south. The southward flow of the river was impeded by an obstacle that closed the Dulce Valley, generating the Mar Chiquita Lake. The megafans of the Primero, Segundo, and Tercero Rivers deposited a large amount of sediment against the faulted border of the San Guillermo high, generating an obstacle that impeded the normal flow of the rivers and diverted the Dulce and the Salado Rivers to their present positions. Precise data concerning the age of the impounding of Mar Chiquita does not exist, but lacustrine conditions are undoubtedly younger than the uplift of the San Guillermo high, which occurred in the Middle Pleistocene. The well-preserved dry valley of the Dulce River, located southward of Mar Chiquita, is still visible in satellite images and confirms the youth of the impounding. The observations introduced in this paper allow us to understand the origin of a significant feature of the central plains of South America. The generation of Mar Chiquita Lake and upstream wetlands produced a pronounced environmental change in the arid Chaco-Pampeana Plain, which favored human life by introducing changes in vegetation and fauna.

  20. Using analog field and sample data to understand remote data of Mars

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wright, Shawn

    2015-04-01

    The primary geologic processes on Mars are basaltic volcanism, sedimentation, impact cratering, and alteration. All potentially create amorphous materials and complex mineralogies, and these must be measured by rovers sent to Mars to characterize the geology. This paper addresses the field measurements and sample analyses of a terrestrial analog impact crater to interpret rover and perhaps orbital data of Mars. Motivation: OMEGA and CRISM have shown alteration minerals in Martian ejecta blankets. These phyllosilicates may represent altered crust that was excavated, and only exposed, by the impact, or could represent ejecta that was altered in part during impact or fractured/fragmented material that was altered at higher rate than surrounding terrain after ejecta emplacement. Study Site and Geologic History: Lonar Crater, India is a young (~570 ka), ~1.8 km impact site emplaced in ~65 Ma Deccan basalt, which is an excellent analog material for Mars with ~45-50% labradorite and ~35% augite/pigeonite before lower flows were altered and then excavated and/or shocked. Pre-impact stratigraphy was not complex: 3 flows of fresh basalt overlying 3 flows of aqueously-altered basalt, and both are found as impact breccia clasts in a ~8 m thick lithic (unshocked, "throw out") and ~1 m suevite (all ranges of shock pressure, "fall out") breccia units in the ejecta. Two geologic histories for shocked clasts in the Lonar suevite breccia are compared: 1.) the alteration of impactites (impact glasses and melts) of a range of shock pressures ("post-impact alteration"), which likely increase the rate of alteration and affects the order of alteration where compared to pristine, igneous minerals, and 2.) the existence of altered basalt protoliths ("pre-impact alteration") now vitrified as in-situ breccia clasts or float. Both of these geologic histories and their alteration pathways are compared to those of unshocked fresh and unshocked altered basalts found in the lithic breccia and

  1. Geologic Features of Yardangs in Qaidam Basin and Analog Study with Mars

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wang, J.; Xiao, L.; Zhao, J.; Huang, J.

    2015-12-01

    Qaidam Basin is the largest inland sedimentary basin in the north of the Tibet Plateau since the Cenozoic. According to remote sensing data, there are some mega uplifts lying NE-SW. These mega uplifts shows concentric elliptical shape in satellite images. Combining with field geological surveys, we believe these uplifts are mega yardangs. We have measured their length (l), width (w), and calculated the aspect ratio (R). The variation ranges of l, w and R are 14.18-67km, 5.5-16.5km and 2.32:1-6.09:1, with mean values are 31.3km, 8.86km and 3.56:1. In terms of R, 42.9% yardangs are 2:1 - 3:1, 23.8% yardangs are 3:1 - 4:1, 23.8% yardangs are 4:1 - 5:1, and the last are greater than 5:1. Their mean value is 3.59:1. The trend of mega yardangs are NW-SE. 45.5% of them are between 301°and 310°. Their mean trend value is 301.2°, which has a 10°angle different with local prevailing wind direction. Over the mega yardangs, there develops lots of small yardangs with various shapes. Their trends are similar with mega yardangs. We have collected some details data of morphology and samples, in order to find their relationship, and discuss the origin of yardangs and palaeoenvironment. Multisource remote sensing data indicate yardangs on Mars. We hope to do some analog study with mars. It may help us to better understanding the origin of yardangs and palaeoenvironment on mars.

  2. Redox Stratification of an Ancient Lake in Gale Crater, Mars

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hurowitz, J. A.; Grotzinger, J. P.; Fischer, W. W.; McLennan, S. M.; Milliken, R. E.; Stein, N.; Vasavada, A. R.; Blake, D. F.; DeHouck, E.; Eigenbrode, J. L.; Fairen, A. G.; Frydenvang, J.; Gellert, R.; Grant, J. A.; Gupta, S.; Herkenhoff, K. E.; Ming, D. W.; Rampe, E. B.; Schmidt, M. E.; Siebach, K. L.; Stack-Morgan, K.; Sumner, D. Y.; Wiens, R. C.

    2017-10-01

    The geochemistry, mineralogy, and sedimentology of mudstones studied by MSL-Curiosity indicate redox stratification of the lake within Gale crater and place new constraints on the habitability of the ancient Martian surface.

  3. Fast-Turnoff Transient Electromagnetic (TEM) Field Study at the Mars Analog Site of Rio Tinto, Spain

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Jernsletten, J. A.

    2005-03-01

    This report describes a Fast-Turnoff Transient Electromagnetic (TEM) study at the Peña de Hierro ("Berg of Iron") field area of the Mars Analog Research and Technology Experiment (MARTE), near the towns Rio Tinto and Nerva, Andalucia region, Spain.

  4. Gullies on Mars: Clues to Their Formation Timescale from Possible Analogs from Devon Island, Nunavut, Arctic Canada

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    McKay, C. P.; Lee, P.; Matthews, J.

    2002-01-01

    The origin and evolution of the youthful gully features on Mars remain enigmatic. Field investigations of possible analogs from Devon Island, Arctic, suggest that the terrestrial features are <104 years old and result from melting of surface ice. Additional information is contained in the original extended abstract.

  5. Airborne Radar Study of Soil Moisture at a Mars Analog Site: Tohachi Wash/Little Colorado River

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Doggett, T. C.; Greeley, R.; Baker, V.; Chien, S.; Davies, A. G.; Dohm, J. M.; Ferré, T. P. A.; Hinnell, A.; Rucker, D.; Williams, K.

    2004-03-01

    We studied the response of multi-band quad-polarized synthetic aperture radar to soil moisture at a Mars analog site, finding significant correlation for surface moisture at L-VV on a smooth surface and no correlation for deeper depth or rougher surface.

  6. McMurdo Dry Valleys, Antarctica - A Mars Phoenix Mission Analog

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Tamppari, L. K.; Anderson, R. M.; Archer, D.; Douglas, S.; Kounaves, S. P.; McKay, C. P.; Ming, Douglas W.; Moore, Q.; Quinn, J. E.; Smith, P. H.; Stroble, S.; Zent, A. P.

    2010-01-01

    The Phoenix mission (PHX; May 25 - Nov. 2, 2008) studied the north polar region of Mars (68deg N) to understand the history of water and potential for habitability. Phoenix carried with it a wet chemistry lab (WCL) capable of determining the basic solution chemistry of the soil and the pH value, a thermal and evolved-gas analyzer capable of determining the mineralogy of the soil and detecting ice, microscopes capable of seeing soil particle shapes, sizes and colors at very high resolution, and a soil probe (TECP) capable of detecting unfrozen water in the soil. PHX coincided with an international effort to study the Earth s polar regions named the International Polar Year (IPY; 2007-2008). The best known Earth analog to the Martian high-northern plains, where Phoenix landed, are the McMurdo Dry Valleys (MDV), Antarctica (Fig. 1). Thus, the IPY afforded a unique opportunity to study the MDV with the same foci - history of water and habitability - as PHX. In austral summer 2007, our team took engineering models of WCL and TECP into the MDV and performed analgous measurements. We also collected sterile samples and analyzed them in our home laboratories using state-of-the-art tools. While PHX was not designed to perform biologic analyses, we were able to do so with the MDV analog samples collected.

  7. Spectral identification of chemisorbed CO2 and application to Mars analog materials

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Zent, A. P.; Roush, T. L.

    1992-01-01

    The goal of this work is to identify the spectral signature of chemisorbed CO2, to test the efficacy of carbonate formation on Mars-analog materials via CO2 chemisorption, and to identify the surface-chemical characteristics of good chemisorbents, with the intent of assessing the possible geochemical importance of CO2 chemisorption as a quasipermanent CO2 sink in the Martian environment. Our approach is to search for infrared spectral bands that result from chemisorption of CO2 molecules onto chemical reagents and Mars-analog materials, and to identify the salient differences in adsorbents that favor strong, permanent CO2 chemisorption. The total amount of CO2 in the early Martian atmosphere, and consequent surface temperatures, are unknown. A CO2 greenhouse may not have been an adequate mechanism under any circumstances; however, it if were, then most of that CO2 must still be in the near-surface environment; no escape mechanism that could remove it after the decline of channeling has been identified. The only plausible reservoir is carbonate, and there are various remote sensing techniques that can be used to search for it. We are investigating CO2 chemisorption as a permanent CO2 sink, and to aid in interpretation of remotely sensed IR spectra of Mars. A common effect reported in CO2 adsorption studies is the formation of a layer of carbonate or bicarbonate anions on adsorbents that have OH- groups available on their surfaces. Inorganic hydroxyls occur on phyllosilicates, amorphous silicates, metal oxides and hydroxides; it is the most abundant and reactive surface functional group on the surfaces of terrestrial silicates. The process responsible for the reaction is chemisorption. Chemisorption is distinguished from physical adsorption in that there is a transfer of electrons between species, and the formation of a chemical bond. The heat of chemisorption is typically of the same order as heats of chemical reaction (i.e., a few hundred to a few thousand k

  8. Impact of Diagenesis on Biosignature Preservation Potential in Playa Lake Evaporites in Verde Formation, Arizona: Implications for Mars Exploration

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Shkolyar, S.; Farmer, J. D.

    2015-12-01

    Major priorities for Mars science include assessing the preservation potential and impact of diagenesis on biosignature preservation in aqueous sedimentary environments. We address these priorities with field and lab studies of playa evaporites of the Verde Formation (upper Pliocene) in Arizona. Evaporites studied include bottom-nucleated halite and displacive growth gypsum in magnesite-rich mudstone. These lithotypes are potential analogs for ancient lacustrine habitable environments on Mars. This study aimed to understand organic matter preservation potential under different diagenetic histories. Methods combined outcrop-scale field observations and lab analyses, including: (1) thin-section petrography to understand diagenetic processes and paragenesis; (2) X-ray powder diffraction to obtain bulk mineralogy; (3) Raman spectroscopy to identify and place phases (and kerogenous fossil remains) within a microtextural context; (4) Total Organic Carbon (TOC) analyses to estimate weight percentages of preserved organic carbon for each subfacies endmember; and (5) electron microprobe to create 2D kerogen maps semi-quantifying kerogen preservation in each subfacies. Results revealed complex diagenetic histories for each evaporite subfacies and pathways for organic matter preservation. Secondary gypsum grew displacively within primary playa lake mudstones during early diagenesis. Mudstones then experienced cementation by Mg-carbonates. Displacive-growth gypsum was sometimes dissolved, forming crystal molds. These molds were later either infilled by secondary sulfates or recrystallized to gypsum pseudomorphs with minor phases present (i.e., glauberite). These observations helped define taphonomic models for organic matter preservation in each subfacies. This work has the potential to inform in situ target identification, sampling strategies, and data interpretations for future Mars Sample Return missions (e.g., sample caching strategies for NASA's Mars 2020 mission).

  9. Ophiolites and Gas Seeps as Terrestrial Analogs for Methane Origin and Degassing on Mars

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Schoell, M.; Etiope, G.

    2010-12-01

    If confirmed, the recently-discovered methane (CH4) plume on Mars, in the Northern Summer of 2003, would reflect an emission of ~ 19 x103 tonnes y-1 and possibly even ~ 57 x104 tonnes y-1. Serpentinization in ophiolitic rocks is one of the main processes that are inferred for the origin of methane on Mars. Ophiolites or, hydrated mineral-bearing rocks in general on Earth could serve as analogs. So far, however, most of these “analog” studies focused on mineralogical and microbiological processes associated to ophiolitic environments. Analog studies specifically dealing with methane emissions to the Earth’s surface are missing. One of the observations of Mars methane is the transient release of large amounts of methane in a relatively short period, probably a few months. This would imply the existence of a mechanism of gas accumulations in the subsurface and episodic release to the surface. Such release mechanisms may be similar to certain weak and intermittent gas seeps or small mud volcanoes on Earth, rather than to steady, continuous degassing of methane from mineral reactions. Currently, it is not clear whether low-temperature serpentinization can be an abiogenic methane “kitchen” where methane might be generated fast enough to sustain vigorous and long-lasting seeps. In cases of fluxes of the order of several tonnes per year, a pressurized accumulation must exist. In case of lower fluxes, probably gas accumulations are not necessary and low temperature serpentinization can be fast enough to charge episodic seeps. These concepts are fundamental to our understanding of potential sources for the martian methane, and they need to be studied with the support of analog seepage data on Earth. Two examples are presented: (1) a case of terrestrial abiogenic CH4 seepage from ophiolitic rocks at the “eternal fires of Chimaera” in Turkey. Estimated flux data from the abiogenic gas seep of Chimaera in Turkey (>20 tonnes of CH4 per year) suggest a great

  10. Saline Playas on Qinghai-Tibet Plateau as Mars Analog for the Formation-Preservation of Hydrous Salts and Biosignatures

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wang, A.; Zheng, M.; Kong, F.; Sobron, P.; Mayer, D. P.

    2010-12-01

    Qinghai-Tibet (QT) Plateau has the highest average elevation on Earth (~ 4500 m, about 50-60% of atmospheric pressure at sea-level). The high elevation induces a tremendous diurnal (and seasonal) temperature swing caused by high level of solar irradiation during the day and low level of atmospheric insulation during the evening. In addition, the Himalaya mountain chain (average height >6100 m) in the south of the QT Plateau largely blocks the pathway of humid air from the Indian Ocean, and produces a Hyperarid region (Aridity Index, AI ~ 0.04), the Qaidam Basin (N32-35, E90-100) at the north edge of the QT Plateau. Climatically, the low P, T, large ΔT, high aridity, and high UV radiation all make the Qaidam basin to be one of the most similar places on Earth to Mars. Qaidam basin has the most ancient playas (up to Eocene) and the lakes with the highest salinity on QT Plateau. More importantly, Mg-sulfates appear in the evaporative salts within the most ancient playas (Da Langtang) at the northwest corner of Qaidam basin, which mark the final stage of the evaporation sequence of brines rich in K, Na, Ca, Mg, Fe, C, B, S, and Cl. The evaporation minerals in the saline playas of Qaidam basin, their alteration and preservation under hyperarid conditions can be an interesting analog for the study of Martian salts and salty regolith. We conducted a field investigation at Da Langtan playa in Qaidam basin, with combined remote sensing (ASTER on board of NASA’s Terra satellite, 1.656, 2.167, 2.209, 2.62, 2.336, 2.40 µm), in situ sensing of a portable NIR spectrometer (WIR, 1.25-2.5 µm continuous spectral range), and the laboratory analyses of collected samples from the field (ASD spectrometer, 0.4 -2.5 µm, and Laser Raman spectroscopy). The results indicate that the materials contributing the high albedo layers in playa deposits are carbonate-gypsum-bearing surface soils, salt-clay-bearing exhaumed Pleistocene deposits, dehydrated Na-sulfates, hydrous Mg

  11. An Igneous Origin for Features of a Candidate Crater-Lake System in Western Memnonia, Mars

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Leverington, D. W.; Maxwell, T. A.

    2004-01-01

    The association of channels, inner terraces, and delta-like features with Martian impact craters has previously been interpreted as evidence in favor of the past existence of crater lakes on Mars. However, examination of a candidate crater-lake system in western Memnonia suggests instead that its features may have formed through igneous processes involving the flow and ponding of lava. Accumulations of material in craters and other topographic lows throughout much of the study region have characteristics consistent with those of volcanic deposits, and terraces found along the inner flanks of some of these craters are interpreted as having formed through drainage or subsidence of volcanic materials. Channels previously identified as inlets and outlets of the crater-lake system are interpreted instead as volcanic rilles. These results challenge previous interpretations of terrace and channel features in the study region and suggest that candidate crater lakes located elsewhere should be reexamined.

  12. An Igneous Origin for Features of a Candidate Crater-Lake System in Western Memnonia, Mars

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Leverington, D. W.; Maxwell, T. A.

    2004-01-01

    The association of channels, inner terraces, and delta-like features with Martian impact craters has previously been interpreted as evidence in favor of the past existence of crater lakes on Mars. However, examination of a candidate crater-lake system in western Memnonia suggests instead that its features may have formed through igneous processes involving the flow and ponding of lava. Accumulations of material in craters and other topographic lows throughout much of the study region have characteristics consistent with those of volcanic deposits, and terraces found along the inner flanks of some of these craters are interpreted as having formed through drainage or subsidence of volcanic materials. Channels previously identified as inlets and outlets of the crater-lake system are interpreted instead as volcanic rilles. These results challenge previous interpretations of terrace and channel features in the study region and suggest that candidate crater lakes located elsewhere should be reexamined.

  13. Lessons from studies of impact crater hydrothermal processes in terrestrial analogs and their implications for impact craters on Mars

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Newsom, H. E.

    2011-12-01

    ), producing alteration zones that are spatially limited. For Mars therefore, where will evidence of impact hydrothermal processes be found? A) Extensive hydrothermal alteration requires large craters (>20 km diam.), with heat from basement uplift, and the presence of shocked and melted material in crater fill and ejecta. B) Assuming water is available from precipitation, ice, or groundwater, hydrothermal fluids can be generated in impact melt sheets, melt-bearing ejecta, and central uplifts. C) Hydrothermal fluids can contribute to the formation of impact crater lakes with accompanying precipitation of evaporites and alteration of materials on the lake floors. D) Hydrothermal fluids derived from hot central uplifts and melt sheets may also migrate into porous megabreccias and faulted rocks associated with crater walls and central uplifts leading to formation or precipitation of alteration minerals. C) Outside of large craters or basins, alteration of melt-bearing ejecta can occur if the ejecta is relatively thick (> 100 m), and water is available. In conclusion, based on terrestrial analog studies, impact hydrothermal processes are a plausible explanation for the alteration phases observed in association with Martian craters.

  14. Evolved Gas Analysis and X-Ray Diffraction of Carbonate Samples from the 2009 Arctic Mars Analog Svalbard Expedition: Implications for Mineralogical Inferences from the Mars Science Laboratory

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    McAdam, A. C.; Mahaffy, P. R.; Blake, D. F.; Ming, D. W.; Franz, H. B.; Eigenbrode, J. L.; Steele, A.

    2010-01-01

    The 2009 Arctic Mars Analog Svalbard Expedition (AMASE) investigated several geologic settings using methodologies and techniques being developed or considered for future Mars missions, such as the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL), ExoMars, and Mars Sample Return (MSR). AMASE-related research comprises both analyses conducted during the expedition and further analyses of collected samples using laboratory facilities at a variety of institutions. The Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instrument suite, which will be part of the Analytical Laboratory on MSL, consists of a quadrupole mass spectrometer (QMS), a gas chromatograph (GC), and a tunable laser spectrometer (TLS). An Evolved Gas Analysis Mass Spectrometer (EGA-MS) was used during AMASE to represent part of the capabilities of SAM. The other instrument included in the MSL Analytical Laboratory is CheMin, which uses X-Ray Diffraction (XRD) and X-Ray Fluorescence (XRF) to perform quantitative mineralogical characterization of samples. Field-portable versions of CheMin were used during the AMASE 2009. Here, we discuss the preliminary interpretation of EGA and XRD analyses of selected AMASE carbonate samples and implications for mineralogical interpretations from MSL. Though CheMin will be the primary mineralogical tool on MSL, SAM EGA could be used to support XRD identifications or indicate the presence of volatile-bearing minerals which may be near or below XRD detection limits. Data collected with instruments in the field and in comparable laboratory setups (e.g., the SAM breadboard) will be discussed.

  15. RIS4E at Kilauea's December 1974 (D1974) Flow: Establishing the D1974 Flow as an Ideal Mars Analog

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Young, K. E.; Bleacher, J. E.; Rogers, D.; McAdam, A.; Garry, W. B.; Scheidt, S. P.; Carter, L. M.; Glotch, T. D.

    2015-12-01

    The Kīlauea December 1974 (D1974) flow was emplaced from a series of en echelon fissures southwest of Kīlauea Caldera. In 6.5 hours the D1974 flow was emplaced over the Keanakāko`i ash member as a rapidly emplaced sheet flow. This flow has previously been used as a location for radar roughness studies due to the exposure of abrupt changes in surface texture ranging between smooth pāhoehoe, rubbly and slabby lavas and ´áā lava. When viewed in visible remote sensing images, this flow field displays dark and light toned areas that reveal sinuous patterns, streamlined islands, and rafted lava slabs and plates. The flow is an ideal location to study lava textures, textural relationships and the formation of non-traditional channels and associated features as analogs to characterizing the formation of channel networks on the flanks of martian volcanoes or rilles in the lunar mare. The D1974 flow is also positioned downwind from Kīlauea Caldera along the volcano's SW rift zone. D1974 lavas flowed across older, active fumaroles and have since been exposed to acid fog, rain, and other plume related processes. In 2008 the Kīlauea Caldera experienced an explosive event along the wall of Halemáumáu and has since displayed an active lava lake, thereby elevating the flow's exposure to processes related to volcanic gasses. Alteration products have therefore formed both in and around the older fumaroles (at the solfatara site) as well as being deposited as thin coatings over the entire length of the flow. These products are reminiscent of sulfate-rich materials that have been identified on Mars by several groups. Though these martian deposits have been identified and analyzed, their formation mechanism remains somewhat ambiguous. The D1974 flow represents an ideal analog with which to test various formation scenarios using a variety of field portable technologies, designed to analyze the alteration products in situ (thereby preserving their initial structures and

  16. Ultramafic Terranes and Associated Springs as Analogs for Mars and Early Earth

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Blake, David; Schulte, Mitch; Cullings, Ken; DeVincezi, D. (Technical Monitor)

    2002-01-01

    Putative extinct or extant Martian organisms, like their terrestrial counterparts, must adopt metabolic strategies based on the environments in which they live. In order for organisms to derive metabolic energy from the natural environment (Martian or terrestrial), a state of thermodynamic disequilibrium must exist. The most widespread environment of chemical disequilibrium on present-day Earth results from the interaction of mafic rocks of the ocean crust with liquid water. Such environments were even more pervasive and important on the Archean Earth due to increased geothermal heat flow and the absence of widespread continental crust formation. The composition of the lower crust and upper mantle of the Earth is essentially the-same as that of Mars, and the early histories of these two planets are similar. It follows that a knowledge of the mineralogy, water-rock chemistry and microbial ecology of Earth's oceanic crust could be of great value in devising a search strategy for evidence of past or present life on Mars. In some tectonic regimes, cross-sections of lower oceanic crust and upper mantle are exposed on land as so-called "ophiolite suites." Such is the case in the state of California (USA) as a result of its location adjacent to active plate margins. These mafic and ultramafic rocks contain numerous springs that offer an easily accessible field laboratory for studying water/rock interactions and the microbial communities that are supported by the resulting geochemical energy. A preliminary screen of Archaean biodiversity was conducted in a cold spring located in a presently serpentinizing ultramafic terrane. PCR and phylogenetic analysis of partial 16s rRNA, sequences were performed on water and sediment samples. Archaea of recent phylogenetic origin were detected with sequences nearly identical to those of organisms living in ultra-high pH lakes of Africa.

  17. Biotoxicity of Mars soils: 2. Survival of Bacillus subtilis and Enterococcus faecalis in aqueous extracts derived from six Mars analog soils

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Schuerger, Andrew C.; Ming, Doug W.; Golden, D. C.

    2017-07-01

    The search for an extant microbiota on Mars depends on exploring sites that contain transient or permanent liquid water near the surface. Examples of possible sites for liquid water may be active recurring slope lineae (RSL) and fluid inclusions in ice or salt deposits. The presence of saline fluids on Mars will act to depress the freezing points of liquid water to as low as ‒60 °C, potentially permitting the metabolism and growth of halophilic microorganisms to temperatures significantly below the freezing point of pure water at 0 °C. In order to predict the potential risks of forward contamination by Earth microorganisms to subsurface sites on Mars with liquid brines, experiments were designed to characterize the short-term survival of two bacteria in aqueous soil solutions from six analog soils. The term ''soil'' is used here to denote any loose, unconsolidated matrix with no implications for the presence or absence of organics or biology. The analog soils were previously described (Schuerger et al., 2012, Planetary Space Sci., 72, 91-101), and represented crushed Basalt (benign control), Salt, Acid, Alkaline, Aeolian, and Phoenix analogs on Mars. The survival rates of spores of Bacillus subtilis and vegetative cells of Enterococcus faecalis were tested in soil solutions from each analog at 24, 0, or ‒70 °C for time periods up to 28 d. Survival of dormant spores of B. subtilis were mostly unaffected by incubation in the aqueous extracts of all six Mars analogs. In contrast, survival rates of E. faecalis cells were suppressed by all soil solutions when incubated at 24 °C but improved at 0 and ‒70 °C, except for assays in the Salt and Acid soil solutions in which most cells were killed. Results suggest that Earth microorganisms that form spores may persist in liquid brines on Mars better than non-spore forming species, and thus, spore-forming species may pose a potential forward contamination risk to sites with liquid brines.

  18. Contemporaneous deposition of phyllosilicates and sulfates: Using Australian acidic saline lake deposits to describe geochemical variability on Mars

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Baldridge, A.M.; Hook, S.J.; Crowley, J.K.; Marion, G.M.; Kargel, J.S.; Michalski, J.L.; Thomson, B.J.; de Souza, Filho C.R.; Bridges, N.T.; Brown, A.J.

    2009-01-01

    Studies of the origin of the Martian sulfate and phyllosilicate deposits have led to the hypothesis that there was a marked, global-scale change in the Mars environment from circum-neutral pH aqueous alteration in the Noachian to an acidic evaporitic system in the late Noachian to Hesperian. However, terrestrial studies suggest that two different geochemical systems need not be invoked to explain such geochemical variation.Western Australian acidic playa lakes have large pH differences separated vertically and laterally by only a few tens of meters, demonstrating how highly variable chemistries can coexist over short distances in natural environments. We suggest diverse and variable Martian aqueous environments where the coetaneous formation of phyllosilicates and sulfates at the Australian sites are analogs for regions where phyllosilicates and sulfates coexist on Mars. In these systems, Fe and alkali earth phyllosilicates represent deep facies associated with upwelling neutral to alkaline groundwater, whereas aluminous phyllosilicates and sulfates represent near-surface evaporitic facies formed from more acidic brines. Copyright 2009 by the American Geophysical Union.

  19. Contemporaneous deposition of phyllosilicates and sulfates: Using Australian acidic saline lake deposits to describe geochemical variability on Mars

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Baldridge, A. M.; Hook, S. J.; Crowley, J. K.; Marion, G. M.; Kargel, J. S.; Michalski, J. L.; Thomson, B. J.; de Souza Filho, C. R.; Bridges, N. T.; Brown, A. J.

    2009-10-01

    Studies of the origin of the Martian sulfate and phyllosilicate deposits have led to the hypothesis that there was a marked, global-scale change in the Mars environment from circum-neutral pH aqueous alteration in the Noachian to an acidic evaporitic system in the late Noachian to Hesperian. However, terrestrial studies suggest that two different geochemical systems need not be invoked to explain such geochemical variation. Western Australian acidic playa lakes have large pH differences separated vertically and laterally by only a few tens of meters, demonstrating how highly variable chemistries can coexist over short distances in natural environments. We suggest diverse and variable Martian aqueous environments where the coetaneous formation of phyllosilicates and sulfates at the Australian sites are analogs for regions where phyllosilicates and sulfates coexist on Mars. In these systems, Fe and alkali earth phyllosilicates represent deep facies associated with upwelling neutral to alkaline groundwater, whereas aluminous phyllosilicates and sulfates represent near-surface evaporitic facies formed from more acidic brines.

  20. Classification and analysis of candidate impact crater-hosted closed-basin lakes on Mars

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Goudge, Timothy A.; Aureli, Kelsey L.; Head, James W.; Fassett, Caleb I.; Mustard, John F.

    2015-11-01

    We present a new catalog of 205 candidate closed-basin lakes contained within impact craters across the surface of Mars. These basins have an inlet valley that incises the crater rim and flows into the basin but no visible outlet valley, and are considered candidate closed-basin lakes; the presence of a valley flowing into a basin does not necessitate the formation of a standing body of water. The major geomorphic distinction within our catalog of candidate paleolakes is the length of the inlet valley(s), with two major classes - basins with long (>20 km) inlet valleys (30 basins), and basins with short (<20 km) inlet valleys (175 basins). We identify 55 basins that contain sedimentary fan deposits at the mouths of their inlet valleys, of which nine are fed by long inlet valleys and 46 are fed by short inlet valleys. Analysis of the mineralogy of these fan deposits suggests that they are primarily composed of detrital material. Additionally, we find no evidence for widespread evaporite deposit formation within our catalog of candidate closed-basin lakes, which we conclude is indicative of a general transience for any lakes that did form within these basins. Morphometric characteristics for our catalog indicate that as an upper limit, these basins represent a volume of water equivalent to a ∼1.2 m global equivalent layer (GEL) of water spread evenly across the martian surface; this is a small fraction of the modern water ice reservoir on Mars. Our catalog offers a broader context within which results from the Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity rover can be interpreted, as Gale crater is a candidate closed-basin lake contained within our catalog. Gale is also one of 12 closed-basin lakes fed by both long and short inlet valleys, and so in situ analyses by Curiosity can shed light on the relative importance of these two types of inlets for any lacustrine activity within the basin.

  1. Subsurface Salts in Antarctic Dry Valley Soils as Analogs for Mars

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Englert, P. A.; Bishop, J. L.; Gibson, E. K.; Koeberl, C.

    2012-12-01

    The Antarctic Dry Valleys represent a unique analog for Mars as they are extremely cold and dry deserts. The chemistry of sediment and soil samples from Taylor and Wright Valleys were analyzed (e.g. Bishop et al. 2001; Englert et al. 2012) showing that elevated salt levels are present a few cm below the surface (e.g. Gibson et al. 1983). SO42-, Cl-, and NO32- anions were detected in these samples and gypsum was found by XRD. Salt concentrations are compared with SiO2 abundance for 4 samples collected at different depths in a soil pit from the Wright Valley (Figure 1). Reflectance spectra of these 4 samples (Figure 2) are compared with spectra of salt minerals (selected sulfates-gold,green; phosphates-brown, nitrates-pink and perchlorates-purple). Gypsum plus montmorillonite or hydrated silica appear to be present in most samples based on the spectral features. Additional hydrated salt components could be contributing to the 2.44 μm band and the 2.09 μm shoulder. The sulfur values for some surface and shallow depth samples are similar in magnitude to Mars Exploration Rover soil and rock sulfur abundances. Prospect Mesa pit #1 and Don Juan Pond area samples have concentrations as high as 2.2% and 6.2% S (15.5% SO3 equivalent). Figure 1. Figure 2: Reflectance spectra of 4 soil pit samples compared to spectra of Al/Si-OH species (montmorillonite and opal) and salts.

  2. Field trial of a dual-wavelength fluorescent emission (L.I.F.E.) instrument and the Magma White rover during the MARS2013 Mars analog mission.

    PubMed

    Groemer, Gernot; Sattler, Birgit; Weisleitner, Klemens; Hunger, Lars; Kohstall, Christoph; Frisch, Albert; Józefowicz, Mateusz; Meszyński, Sebastian; Storrie-Lombardi, Michael; Bothe, Claudia; Boyd, Andrea; Dinkelaker, Aline; Dissertori, Markus; Fasching, David; Fischer, Monika; Föger, Daniel; Foresta, Luca; Frischauf, Norbert; Fritsch, Lukas; Fuchs, Harald; Gautsch, Christoph; Gerard, Stephan; Goetzloff, Linda; Gołebiowska, Izabella; Gorur, Paavan; Groemer, Gerhard; Groll, Petra; Haider, Christian; Haider, Olivia; Hauth, Eva; Hauth, Stefan; Hettrich, Sebastian; Jais, Wolfgang; Jones, Natalie; Taj-Eddine, Kamal; Karl, Alexander; Kauerhoff, Tilo; Khan, Muhammad Shadab; Kjeldsen, Andreas; Klauck, Jan; Losiak, Anna; Luger, Markus; Luger, Thomas; Luger, Ulrich; McArthur, Jane; Moser, Linda; Neuner, Julia; Orgel, Csilla; Ori, Gian Gabriele; Paternesi, Roberta; Peschier, Jarno; Pfeil, Isabella; Prock, Silvia; Radinger, Josef; Ragonig, Christoph; Ramirez, Barbara; Ramo, Wissam; Rampey, Mike; Sams, Arnold; Sams, Elisabeth; Sams, Sebastian; Sandu, Oana; Sans, Alejandra; Sansone, Petra; Scheer, Daniela; Schildhammer, Daniel; Scornet, Quentin; Sejkora, Nina; Soucek, Alexander; Stadler, Andrea; Stummer, Florian; Stumptner, Willibald; Taraba, Michael; Tlustos, Reinhard; Toferer, Ernst; Turetschek, Thomas; Winter, Egon; Zanella-Kux, Katja

    2014-05-01

    Abstract We have developed a portable dual-wavelength laser fluorescence spectrometer as part of a multi-instrument optical probe to characterize mineral, organic, and microbial species in extreme environments. Operating at 405 and 532 nm, the instrument was originally designed for use by human explorers to produce a laser-induced fluorescence emission (L.I.F.E.) spectral database of the mineral and organic molecules found in the microbial communities of Earth's cryosphere. Recently, our team had the opportunity to explore the strengths and limitations of the instrument when it was deployed on a remote-controlled Mars analog rover. In February 2013, the instrument was deployed on board the Magma White rover platform during the MARS2013 Mars analog field mission in the Kess Kess formation near Erfoud, Morocco. During these tests, we followed tele-science work flows pertinent to Mars surface missions in a simulated spaceflight environment. We report on the L.I.F.E. instrument setup, data processing, and performance during field trials. A pilot postmission laboratory analysis determined that rock samples acquired during the field mission exhibited a fluorescence signal from the Sun-exposed side characteristic of chlorophyll a following excitation at 405 nm. A weak fluorescence response to excitation at 532 nm may have originated from another microbial photosynthetic pigment, phycoerythrin, but final assignment awaits development of a comprehensive database of mineral and organic fluorescence spectra. No chlorophyll fluorescence signal was detected from the shaded underside of the samples.

  3. Fluvial Channel Networks as Analogs for the Ridge-forming Unit, Sinus Meridiani, Mars

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wilkinson, M. J.; Dubois, J. B.

    2010-12-01

    Fluvial models have been generally discounted as analogs for the younger layered rock units of Sinus Meridiani. A fluvial model based on the large fluvial fan provides a possibly close analog for various features of the sinuous ridges of the etched, ridge-forming unit (RFU) in particular. The close spacing of the RFU ridges, their apparently chaotic orientations, and their organization in dense networks all appear unlike classical stream channel patterns. However, drainage patterns on large fluvial fans—low-angle, fluvial aggradational features, 100s of km long, documented worldwide by us—provide parallels. Some large fan characteristics resemble those of classical floodplains, but many differences have been demonstrated. One major distinction relevant to the RFU is that channel landscapes of large fans can dominate large areas (1.2 million km2 in one S. American study area). We compare channel morphologies on large fans in the southern Sahara Desert with ridge patterns in Sinus Meridiani (fig 1). Stream channels are the dominant landform on large terrestrial fans: they may equate to the ubiquitous, sinuous, elongated ridges of the RFU that cover areas region wide. Networks of convergent/divergent and crossing channels may equate to similar features in the ridge networks. Downslope divergence is absent in channels of terrestrial upland erosional landscapes (fig. 1, left), whereas it is common to both large fans (fig. 1, center) and RFU ridge patterns (fig 1, right—downslope defined as the regional NW slope of Sinus Meridiani). RFU ridge orientation, judged from those areas apparently devoid of impact crater control, is broadly parallel with the regional slope (arrow, fig. 1, right), as is mean orientation of major channels on large fans (arrow, fig. 1, center). High densities per unit area characterize fan channels and martian ridges—reaching an order of magnitude higher than those in uplands just upstream of the terrestrial study areas—fig. 1. In concert

  4. Debris Flow Gullies at the Great Kobuk Sand Dunes, Alaska: Implications for Analogous Features on Mars

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hooper, D. M.; Dinwiddie, C. L.; Mcginnis, R. N.; Smart, K. J.; Roberts, M.

    2011-12-01

    Debris flows with fresh-appearing gullies or erosion tracks occur on the slopes of several mid- to high-latitude dune fields in both Martian hemispheres. These features originate in alcoves near dune crests, become channelized down lee faces, and terminate with depositional fans. They bear a striking resemblance to small meltwater-induced debris flows observed on the lee slopes of large dunes at the 67 degrees N latitude Great Kobuk Sand Dunes (GKSD), Kobuk Valley National Park, Alaska. The high-latitude, cold-climate GKSD are an optimal terrestrial system within which to conduct a Mars analog study focused on understanding the integrated factors that cause alluvial debris flows to initiate on the lee slopes of aeolian dunes. Debris flow processes in the GKSD are activated by seasonal thawing and consist of a mixture of sand and liquid water cascading down the dune slipface. A distinguishing environmental attribute that separates cold-climate dune fields from temperate and warm-climate dune fields is the seasonal and prolonged occurrence of snow and ice. Cold region dunes often include niveo-aeolian deposits composed of interbedded sand, snow, and ice. The GKSD are variably affected by snowcover for ~70% of each year, which likely has direct analogy to hydrocryospheric factors that influence debris flow development on Mars. Melting and/or sublimation of snow and ice during warm periods cause distinctive morphologic and sedimentologic phenomena ascribed as denivation features or forms, including spongy and hummocky surfaces, tensional cracks, deformed strata, slumping, and compressional structures. We observed small debris flows, niveo-aeolian deposits, and denivation features in the GKSD during fieldwork in March 2010. Wind-transported sand and snow accumulated on the lee slopes of large transverse, longitudinal, and barchanoid dunes. Snow banks with intercalated sand layers are especially prominent and thickest near the top of westward-facing lee slopes at the

  5. Perchlorate and Volatiles in the Brine of Lake Vida (antarctica): Implication for the Analysis of Mars Sediments

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kenig, F. P. H.; Chou, L.; McKay, C.; Jackson, W. A.; Doran, P. T.; Murray, A. E.; Fritsen, C. H.

    2015-12-01

    A cold (-13.4 °C), saline (188 psu) evaporative brine is encapsulated in the thick (> 27 m) ice of Lake Vida (McMurdo Dry Valleys, Antarctica). The Lake Vida brine (LVBr), which contains abundant dissolved organic carbon (48.2 mmol/L), support an active but slow microbial community. LVBr contains oxychlorines with 50 μg/L of perchlorate and 11 μg/L of chlorate. The McMurdo Dry Valleys have often been considered as a good Mars analog. The oxychlorine-rich brine of Lake Vida constitutes a potential equivalent to perchlorate-rich preserved saline liquid water on Mars. We report here on the artifacts created by oxychlorines upon analysis of volatiles and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) of LVBr by direct immersion (DI) and head space (HS) solid phase micro extraction (SPME) gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GCMS). We compare analytical blanks to a standard containing 40 μg/L of perchlorate and to actual LVBr sample runs. All blanks, perchlorate blanks and samples were analyzed using two types of SPME fibers, CarboxenTM/polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) and divinylbenzene (DVB)/ PDMS. The similarities and differences between our results and those obtained by the Sample Analysis at Mars instruments of the rover Curiosity are discussed. The volatiles evolved from LVBr upon analysis with DI- and HS-SPME GCMS are dominated by CO2, dichloromethane, HCl, and volatile organic sulfur compounds (VOSCs, such as DMS, DMDS). The volatiles also include oxygenated compounds such as acids and ketones, aromatic compounds, hydrocarbons, chlorinated compounds (dominated by dichloromethane). Apart from the VOSCs, short chain hydrocarbons and some functionalized compounds derived from the brine itself, all compounds observed are artifacts formed upon oxychlorine breakdown in the injector of the GCMS. The distribution of aromatic compounds seems to be directly dependant on the type of SPME fiber used. The perchlorate blanks show a clear pattern of carbon limitation, likely affecting the

  6. Hematite ``Blueberry`` Concretion Doublet and Triplets on Mars: Iron Oxide Twin Analogs From Utah

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Chan, M. A.; Parry, W. T.; Park, A. S.

    2005-12-01

    Spherical concretions on Earth and Mars comprise a record of diagenetic history that may not otherwise be preserved in the more common host rock. Hematite spherules of Meridiani Planum show some joined forms of twos and threes. Joined iron oxide concretions making doublets and triplets also occur in the Jurassic Navajo Sandstone of southern Utah, and can serve as an analog to understanding why joined forms occur on Mars. The geometries of in situ Utah examples suggest two processes for creating connected forms. In one concretion growth mechanism, occasional coalescing of single forms may result from the growth of doublets or triplets in overly close proximity (typically less than 15% of a population). Joined concretions of roughly equal sizes can be aligned in a row; unequal size concretions take on the shapes of ``snowmen``, or attached ``satellites``. Where cementation is pervasive, individual concretions may grow and coalesce into a lumpy layer or cemented mass along preferential flow paths or preferential nucleation sites. In the second mechanism, nearly all (more than 75%) of the concretions form doublets that are conjoined. The occurrence of dominant twins indicates that these concretions are not coincidental as in the first mechanism. Dominant twin concretions occur regularly and evenly throughout fairly homogeneous host rock. More unusual twins show additional small twin warts suggesting duplicated nucleation and precipitation. Normally, iron oxide concretion precipitation begins when the oxide saturation reaches a precipitation threshold. Precipitation produces chemical gradients, and competition between reaction and diffusion rates determines the spacing between concretions. These factors in combination with reactant supply, competitive growth phenomena and a complex self-organizing processes may contribute to development of internal structure with varying layers of iron-depleted zones to resistant iron-cemented shells. The pervasive nature of sandstone

  7. Combustion of organic matter in Mars analogs using SAM-like techniques

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Stern, J. C.; McAdam, A.; Mahaffy, P. R.; Steele, A.

    2012-12-01

    The combustion experiment on the Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) suite on Curiosity will heat a sample of Mars regolith in the presence of oxygen and measure the carbon isotopic composition (δ13C) of the evolved CO2 using the Tunable Laser Spectrometer (TLS). The degree to which the δ13C of the sample is representative of any organic carbon present depends on a) whether complete combustion has been achieved, and b) the simultaneous presence of inorganic, or mineralogical carbon in the sample, and our ability to quantify its contribution to the bulk δ13C. To optimize and characterize combustion of a variety of organic molecules in a range of rock matrices, combustion experiments simulating those to be performed on SAM were conducted at NASA Goddard. CO2 gas generated by heating Mars analogs in a SAM-like oven in the presence of oxygen on a laboratory breadboard was captured and analyzed via IRMS for δ13C. These values were compared to bulk and total organic carbon (TOC) abundance and δ13C values using commercial flash combustion EA- IRMS techniques to determine whether quantitative conversion of reduced carbon to CO2 was achieved. Factors contributing to incomplete combustion and isotopic fractionation include structural complexity of reduced organics, their thermal decomposition temperatures, and mineral-organic associations. An additional consideration must be made for unintentional combustion by oxidizing salts (perchlorates), which may partially or totally oxidize reduced organic compounds to CO2, depending on soil perchlorate concentration, sample matrix, and how refractory the organics are. Thus, to investigate the oxidizing potential of a salt known to exist on the Martian surface, laboratory breadboard experiments heating simple and complex organics in the presence of Mg perchlorate were performed using a SAM-like oven coupled to a Hiden Mass Spectrometer and gas collection manifold. Samples were heated in the absence and presence of Mg perchlorate to

  8. Autonomous, Computer-Based Behavioral Health Countermeasure Evaluation at HI-SEAS Mars Analog.

    PubMed

    Anderson, Allison P; Fellows, Abigail M; Binsted, Kim A; Hegel, Mark T; Buckey, Jay C

    Living in an isolated, confined environment (ICE) can induce conflict, stress, and depression. Computer-based behavioral health countermeasures are appealing for training and treatment in ICEs because they provide confidentiality and do not require communication with the outside environment. We evaluated the Virtual Space Station (VSS), a suite of interactive computer-delivered psychological training and treatment programs, at the Hawaii Space Exploration Analog and Simulation (HI-SEAS) III expedition. Six subjects (3 male, 3 female) spent 8 mo in group-isolation and used the Conflict, Stress, and Depression modules in the VSS. Survey evaluations, data collected within the program, and postdeployment interviews were collected. This crew dealt with behavioral health issues common to ICEs. The VSS proved to be a valuable resource and was used both as intended, and in unanticipated ways, to help maintain behavioral health. The Conflict and Stress Modules were rated as highly acceptable (1.8 on a 7-point Likert scale). The crew identified a total of 13 stressors and worked on 9 problems through the VSS. Opinions about the modules were highly individualized. Crewmembers identified exercises in the VSS that were applicable and not applicable to their needs. Additional content to improve the program was identified. Autonomous, confidential training and treatment for behavioral health issues will need to be a critical component of long duration spaceflight travel. This work provides an evaluation of such a tool in a relevant ICE. Anderson AP, Fellows AM, Binsted KA, Hegel MT, Buckey JC. Autonomous, computer-based behavioral health countermeasure evaluation at HI-SEAS Mars analog. Aerosp Med Hum Perform. 2016; 87(11):912-920.

  9. Glacial and Periglacial Chemical Weathering on Mars: New Results and New Questions from Field Analog Studies and Mars Remote Sensing

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Horgan, B.; Scudder, N.; Rutledge, A.; Ackiss, S.

    2016-09-01

    Ice has been a powerful physical weather agent on Mars through geologic time, however, it is less well understood how much chemical weathering ice has caused on Mars, and how the mode of alteration has changed with the climate over time.

  10. Authigenic phyllosilicates in modern acid saline lake sediments and implications for Mars

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Story, Stacy; Bowen, Brenda Beitler; Benison, Kathleen Counter; Schulze, Darrell G.

    2010-12-01

    Aluminum- and Fe/Mg-phyllosilicates are considered important geochemical indicators in terrestrial and Martian sedimentary systems. Traditionally, Al-phyllosilicates are characterized as forming and remaining stable under conditions of low to moderate pH, while Fe/Mg-phyllosilicates are considered representative of only dilute and moderate to high pH conditions. However, we have observed Al- and Fe/Mg-phyllosilicates in acid saline lake sediments in Western Australia. Phyllosilicate formation mechanisms in these lake systems include direct precipitation from lake waters, early diagenetic precipitation from shallow groundwaters, and deposition/alteration of detrital grains. X-ray diffraction analysis of silt- and clay-size sediments from two acid saline lakes in Western Australia indicates the presence of several complex mineral assemblages with extreme spatial heterogeneity that reflects the complex geochemistry of these lakes. These assemblages include unique combinations of authigenic and/or detrital phyllosilicates (e.g., kaolinite, smectite, and palygorskite-sepiolite), sulfates (e.g., alunite, jarosite, and gypsum), Fe-oxides (e.g., hematite and goethite), and other silicates (e.g., mullite and heulandite-clinoptilolite). Observations of Fe/Mg-phyllosilicates found in acid saline sediments in southern Western Australia suggest their degradation under conditions of low pH (2.5-5.4) is slowed by the high salinity (5-25%) of the lake and shallow groundwaters. The occurrence of both Al- and Fe/Mg-phyllosilicates in these acid saline lake sediments suggests that environmental interpretations based on the occurrence of phyllosilicates require additional consideration of their spatial distribution and association with other minerals. Moreover, the similarity between the diverse mineral assemblages in these terrestrial acid saline systems and those on Mars indicates similar conditions may have existed on Mars.

  11. Hellas as a Possible Site of Ancient Ice-Covered Lakes on Mars

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Moore, Jeffrey M.; Wilhelms, Don E.; DeVincenzi, Donald (Technical Monitor)

    2002-01-01

    Based on topographic, morphologic, and stratigraphic evidence, we propose that ancient water-laid sediment is the dominant component of deposits within Hellas Planitia, Mars. Multiply layered sediment is manifested by alternating benches and scarps visible in Mars Orbiting Camera narrow-angle (MOC NA) images. Viking Orbiter camera and MOC NA images were used to map contacts and stratigraphically order the different materials units within Hellas. Mar's Orbiting Laser Altimeter (MOLA) data reveal that the contacts of these sedimentary units, as well as a number of scarps or other abrupt changes in landscape texture, trace contours of constant elevation for thousands of km, and in one case all around the basin. Channels, consensually interpreted to be cut by water, lead into the basin. MOLA results indicate that the area encompassed by greater Hellas' highest closed contour is nearly one-fifth that of the entire northern plains, making the Hellas 'drainage' area much larger than previously reported. If lakes formed under climatic conditions similar to the modern Martian climate, they would develop thick ice carapaces, then the lakes would eventually sublimate away. Two units within Hellas exhibit a reticulate or honeycomb pattern we speculate are impressions made by lake-lowered ice blocks grounding into initially soft mud.

  12. Hellas as a possible site of ancient ice-covered lakes on Mars

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Moore, Johnnie N.; Wilhelms, D.E.

    2001-01-01

    Based on topographic, morphologic, and stratigraphic evidence, we propose that ancient water-laid sediment is the dominant component of deposits within Hellas Planitia, Mars. Multiple-layered sediment is manifested by alternating benches and scarps visible in Mars orbiting camera narrow-angle (MOC NA) images. Viking Orbiter camera and MOC NA images were used to map contacts and stratigraphically order the different materials units within Hellas. Mars orbiting laser altimeter (MOLA) data reveal that the contacts of these sedimentary units, as well as a number of scarps or other abrupt changes in landscape texture, trace contours of constant elevation for thousands of km, and in one case all around the basin. Channels, consensually interpreted to be cut by water, lead into the basin. MOLA results indicate that the area encompassed by greater Hellas' highest closed contour is nearly one-fifth that of the entire northern plains, making the Hellas "drainage" area much larger than previously reported. If lakes formed under climatic conditions similar to the modern Martian climate, they would develop thick ice carapaces, then the lakes would eventually sublimate away. Two units within Hellas exhibit a reticulate or honeycomb pattern, which we speculate are impressions made by lake-lowered ice blocks grounding into initially soft mud.

  13. Comparing Time Domain Electromagnetics (TEM) and Early-Time TEM for Mapping Highly Conductive Groundwater in Mars Analog Environments

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Jernsletten, J. A.

    2005-05-01

    Introduction: The purpose of this study is to evaluate the use of (diffusive) Time Domain Electromagnetics (TEM) for sounding of subsurface water in conductive Mars analog environments. To provide a baseline for such studies, I show data from two field studies: 1) Diffusive sounding data (TEM) from Pima County, Arizona; and 2) Shallower sounding data using the Fast-Turnoff TEM method from Peña de Hierro in the Rio Tinto region of Spain. The latter is data from work conducted under the auspices of the Mars Analog Research and Technology Experiment (MARTE). Pima County TEM Survey: A TEM survey was carried out in Pima County, Arizona, in January 2003. Data was collected using 100 m Tx loops and a ferrite-cored magnetic coil Rx antenna, and processed using commercial software. The survey used a 16 Hz sounding frequency, which is sensitive to slightly salty groundwater. Prominent features in the data from Arizona are the ~500 m depth of investigation and the ~120 m depth to the water table, confirmed by data from four USGS test wells surrounding the field area. Note also the conductive (~20-40 ω m) clay-rich soil above the water table. Rio Tinto Fast-Turnoff TEM Survey: During May and June of 2003, a Fast-Turnoff (early time) TEM survey was carried out at the Peña de Hierro field area of the MARTE project, near the town of Nerva, Spain. Data was collected using 20 m and 40 m Tx loop antennae and 10 m loop Rx antennae, with a 32 Hz sounding frequency. Data from Line 4 (of 16) from this survey, collected using 40 m Tx loops, show ~200 m depth of investigation and a conductive high at ~90 m depth below Station 20 (second station of 10 along this line). This is the water table, matching the 431 m MSL elevation of the nearby pit lake. The center of the "pileup" below Station 60 is spatially coincident with the vertical fault plane located here. Data from Line 15 and Line 14 of the Rio Tinto survey, collected using 20 m Tx loops, achieve ~50 m depth of investigation and

  14. Synthetic (Hydrothermal) Hematite-Rich Mars-Analog Spherules from Acid-Sulfate Brines: Implications for Formation and Diagenesis of Hematite Spherules in Outcrops at Meridiani Planum, Mars

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Golden, D. C.; Ming, D. W.; Morris, R. V.; Graff, T. G.

    2008-01-01

    The Thermal Emission Spectrometer (TES) onboard the Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) orbiter discovered a large area at Meridiani Planum (MP) covered with the Fe-oxide hematite (alpha-Fe2O3) [1,2]. This discovery and favorable landing site characteristics led to selection of MP as the landing site for the Opportunity Mars Exploration Rover (MER) [3]. The Athena science payload onboard the Opportunity rover identified hematite-rich spherules (mean spherule diameter approx.4.2+/-0.8 mm) embedded in S-rich outcrop rock and also as lag deposits of whole and broken spherules [4,5,6,7,8,9]. Although the chemical and mineralogical compositions of spherules are not fully constrained, Moessbauer spectrometer (MB) Miniature Thermal Emission Spectrometer (Mini-TES) and chemical analyses from the Alpha Particle X-Ray Spectrometer (APXS) are consistent with a hematite mineralogical composition and an oxide bulk chemical composition consisting of Fe2O3. MGS-TES, also provides an important constraint that emission from the hematite-rich spherules is dominated by emission along the crystallographic c-axis [1,2,10,11]. The formation of hematite-rich spherules with similar chemical, mineralogical, morphological, and crystallographic properties to the MP spherules is rare on Earth, to date, only two natural analogs have been proposed; one from Utah (Navaho Concretions) and the other from Mauna Kea, Hawaii [12,13]. In this study, we synthesized in the laboratory hematite-rich spherules using conditions that may have existed on Early Mars [14] and compared their properties to those for MP hematite spherules of Mars and the analog spherules from Utah and Mauna Kea in order to assess their relative merit as MP hematite spherule analogs. Such comparisons yield clues to the formation pathway for MP spherules.

  15. Integration of In-Situ Resource Utilization into lunar/Mars exploration through field analogs

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sanders, Gerald B.; Larson, William E.

    2011-01-01

    results of four analog field tests (Moses Lake in 6/08, Mauna Kea in 11/08, Flagstaff in 9/09, and Mauna Kea in 1/10) that have begun the process of integrating ISRU into robotic and human exploration systems and missions, and propose future ISRU-related analog field test activities that can be performed in collaboration with non-US space agencies.

  16. Integration of In-Situ Resource Utilization Into Lunar/Mars Exploration Through Field Analogs

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sanders, Gerald

    the results of four analog field tests (Moses Lake in 6/08, Mauna Kea in 11/08, Flagstaff in 9/09, and Mauna Kea in 1/10) that have begun the process of integrating ISRU into robotic and human exploration systems and missions, and propose future ISRU-related analog field test activities that can be performed in collaboration with international space agencies.

  17. Deposition, exhumation, and paleoclimate of an ancient lake deposit, Gale crater, Mars.

    PubMed

    Grotzinger, J P; Gupta, S; Malin, M C; Rubin, D M; Schieber, J; Siebach, K; Sumner, D Y; Stack, K M; Vasavada, A R; Arvidson, R E; Calef, F; Edgar, L; Fischer, W F; Grant, J A; Griffes, J; Kah, L C; Lamb, M P; Lewis, K W; Mangold, N; Minitti, M E; Palucis, M; Rice, M; Williams, R M E; Yingst, R A; Blake, D; Blaney, D; Conrad, P; Crisp, J; Dietrich, W E; Dromart, G; Edgett, K S; Ewing, R C; Gellert, R; Hurowitz, J A; Kocurek, G; Mahaffy, P; McBride, M J; McLennan, S M; Mischna, M; Ming, D; Milliken, R; Newsom, H; Oehler, D; Parker, T J; Vaniman, D; Wiens, R C; Wilson, S A

    2015-10-09

    The landforms of northern Gale crater on Mars expose thick sequences of sedimentary rocks. Based on images obtained by the Curiosity rover, we interpret these outcrops as evidence for past fluvial, deltaic, and lacustrine environments. Degradation of the crater wall and rim probably supplied these sediments, which advanced inward from the wall, infilling both the crater and an internal lake basin to a thickness of at least 75 meters. This intracrater lake system probably existed intermittently for thousands to millions of years, implying a relatively wet climate that supplied moisture to the crater rim and transported sediment via streams into the lake basin. The deposits in Gale crater were then exhumed, probably by wind-driven erosion, creating Aeolis Mons (Mount Sharp). Copyright © 2015, American Association for the Advancement of Science.

  18. Deposition, exhumation, and paleoclimate of an ancient lake deposit, Gale crater, Mars

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Grotzinger, J.P.; Gupta, S.; Malin, M.C.; Rubin, D.M.; Schieber, J.; Siebach, K.; Sumner, D.Y.; Stack, K.M.; Vasavada, A.R.; Arvidson, R.E.; Calef, F.; Edgar, Lauren; Fischer, W.F.; Grant, J.A.; Griffes, J.L.; Kah, L.C.; Lamb, M.P.; Lewis, K.W.; Mangold, N.; Minitti, M.E.; Palucis, M.C.; Rice, M.; Williams, R.M.E.; Yingst, R.A.; Blake, D.; Blaney, D.; Conrad, P.; Crisp, J.A.; Dietrich, W.E.; Dromart, G.; Edgett, K.S.; Ewing, R.C.; Gellert, R.; Hurowitz, J.A.; Kocurek, G.; Mahaffy, P.G.; McBride, M.J.; McLennan, S.M.; Mischna, M.A.; Ming, D.; Milliken, R.E.; Newsom, H.; Oehler, D.; Parker, T.J.; Vaniman, D.; Wiens, R.C.; Wilson, S.A.

    2015-01-01

    The landforms of northern Gale crater on Mars expose thick sequences of sedimentary rocks. Based on images obtained by the Curiosity rover, we interpret these outcrops as evidence for past fluvial, deltaic, and lacustrine environments. Degradation of the crater wall and rim probably supplied these sediments, which advanced inward from the wall, infilling both the crater and an internal lake basin to a thickness of at least 75 meters. This intracrater lake system probably existed intermittently for thousands to millions of years, implying a relatively wet climate that supplied moisture to the crater rim and transported sediment via streams into the lake basin. The deposits in Gale crater were then exhumed, probably by wind-driven erosion, creating Aeolis Mons (Mount Sharp).

  19. Deposition, exhumation, and paleoclimate of an ancient lake deposit, Gale crater, Mars

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Grotzinger, J. P.; Gupta, S.; Malin, M. C.; Rubin, D. M.; Schieber, J.; Siebach, K.; Sumner, D. Y.; Stack, K. M.; Vasavada, A. R.; Arvidson, R. E.; Calef, F.; Edgar, L.; Fischer, W. F.; Grant, J. A.; Griffes, J.; Kah, L. C.; Lamb, M. P.; Lewis, K. W.; Mangold, N.; Minitti, M. E.; Palucis, M.; Rice, M.; Williams, R. M. E.; Yingst, R. A.; Blake, D.; Blaney, D.; Conrad, P.; Crisp, J.; Dietrich, W. E.; Dromart, G.; Edgett, K. S.; Ewing, R. C.; Gellert, R.; Hurowitz, J. A.; Kocurek, G.; Mahaffy, P.; McBride, M. J.; McLennan, S. M.; Mischna, M.; Ming, D.; Milliken, R.; Newsom, H.; Oehler, D.; Parker, T. J.; Vaniman, D.; Wiens, R. C.; Wilson, S. A.

    2015-10-01

    The landforms of northern Gale crater on Mars expose thick sequences of sedimentary rocks. Based on images obtained by the Curiosity rover, we interpret these outcrops as evidence for past fluvial, deltaic, and lacustrine environments. Degradation of the crater wall and rim probably supplied these sediments, which advanced inward from the wall, infilling both the crater and an internal lake basin to a thickness of at least 75 meters. This intracrater lake system probably existed intermittently for thousands to millions of years, implying a relatively wet climate that supplied moisture to the crater rim and transported sediment via streams into the lake basin. The deposits in Gale crater were then exhumed, probably by wind-driven erosion, creating Aeolis Mons (Mount Sharp).

  20. Small Valleys Networks on Mars: The Glacial Meltwater Channel Networks of Devon Island, Nunavut Territory, Arctic Canada, as Possible Analogs

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Lee, Pascal; Rice, James W., Jr.

    1999-01-01

    Small valley networks are perhaps the clearest evidence for episodes of sustained fluid erosion by water on Mars. While small valley formation has occurred even in Amazonian times, notably on the flanks of some volcanoes, most small valley networks on Mars are associated with the heavily cratered Noachian terrains and are thought to be as old as these terrains. We discuss here the recent identification of glacial meltwater channel networks on Devon Island, Nunavut Territory, Arctic Canada, as possible analogs for many small valley networks seen on Mars. A meltwater channel network interpretation for the martian networks may help solve critical problems plaguing more classical interpretations of their origin such as surface runoff following precipitation or groundwater release, including the need for warm climatic conditions. Additional information is contained in the original extended abstract.

  1. Small Valleys Networks on Mars: The Glacial Meltwater Channel Networks of Devon Island, Nunavut Territory, Arctic Canada, as Possible Analogs

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Lee, Pascal; Rice, James W., Jr.

    1999-01-01

    Small valley networks are perhaps the clearest evidence for episodes of sustained fluid erosion by water on Mars. While small valley formation has occurred even in Amazonian times, notably on the flanks of some volcanoes, most small valley networks on Mars are associated with the heavily cratered Noachian terrains and are thought to be as old as these terrains. We discuss here the recent identification of glacial meltwater channel networks on Devon Island, Nunavut Territory, Arctic Canada, as possible analogs for many small valley networks seen on Mars. A meltwater channel network interpretation for the martian networks may help solve critical problems plaguing more classical interpretations of their origin such as surface runoff following precipitation or groundwater release, including the need for warm climatic conditions. Additional information is contained in the original extended abstract.

  2. Catastrophic ice lake collapse in Aram Chaos, Mars

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Roda, Manuel; Kleinhans, Maarten G.; Zegers, Tanja E.; Oosthoek, Jelmer H. P.

    2014-07-01

    Hesperian chaotic terrains have been recognized as the source of outflow channels formed by catastrophic outflows. Four main scenarios have been proposed for the formation of chaotic terrains that involve different amounts of water and single or multiple outflow events. Here, we test these scenarios with morphological and structural analyses of imagery and elevation data for Aram Chaos in conjunction with numerical modeling of the morphological evolution of the catastrophic carving of the outflow valley. The morphological and geological analyses of Aram Chaos suggest large-scale collapse and subsidence (1500 m) of the entire area, which is consistent with a massive expulsion of liquid water from the subsurface in one single event. The combined observations suggest a complex process starting with the outflow of water from two small channels, followed by continuous groundwater sapping and headward erosion and ending with a catastrophic lake rim collapse and carving of the Aram Valley, which is synchronous with the 2.5 Ga stage of the Ares Vallis formation. The water volume and formative time scale required to carve the Aram channels indicate that a single, rapid (maximum tens of days) and catastrophic (flood volume of 9.3 × 104 km3) event carved the outflow channel. We conclude that a sub-ice lake collapse model can best explain the features of the Aram Chaos Valley system as well as the time scale required for its formation.

  3. Microbial succession in an inflated lunar/Mars analog habitat during a 30-day human occupation.

    PubMed

    Mayer, Teresa; Blachowicz, Adriana; Probst, Alexander J; Vaishampayan, Parag; Checinska, Aleksandra; Swarmer, Tiffany; de Leon, Pablo; Venkateswaran, Kasthuri

    2016-06-02

    For potential future human missions to the Moon or Mars and sustained presence in the International Space Station, a safe enclosed habitat environment for astronauts is required. Potential microbial contamination of closed habitats presents a risk for crewmembers due to reduced human immune response during long-term confinement. To make future habitat designs safer for crewmembers, lessons learned from characterizing analogous habitats is very critical. One of the key issues is that how human presence influences the accumulation of microorganisms in the closed habitat. Molecular technologies, along with traditional microbiological methods, were utilized to catalog microbial succession during a 30-day human occupation of a simulated inflatable lunar/Mars habitat. Surface samples were collected at different time points to capture the complete spectrum of viable and potential opportunistic pathogenic bacterial population. Traditional cultivation, propidium monoazide (PMA)-quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR), and adenosine triphosphate (ATP) assays were employed to estimate the cultivable, viable, and metabolically active microbial population, respectively. Next-generation sequencing was used to elucidate the microbial dynamics and community profiles at different locations of the habitat during varying time points. Statistical analyses confirm that occupation time has a strong influence on bacterial community profiles. The Day 0 samples (before human occupation) have a very different microbial diversity compared to the later three time points. Members of Proteobacteria (esp. Oxalobacteraceae and Caulobacteraceae) and Firmicutes (esp. Bacillaceae) were most abundant before human occupation (Day 0), while other members of Firmicutes (Clostridiales) and Actinobacteria (esp. Corynebacteriaceae) were abundant during the 30-day occupation. Treatment of samples with PMA (a DNA-intercalating dye for selective detection of viable microbial population) had a

  4. A Mars Analog for Wet-Based Glacial Alteration of Volcanic Terrains: Thermal Infrared Remote Sensing at Three Sisters, Oregon, U.S.A.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rutledge, A. M.; Scudder, N. A.; Horgan, B.; Rampe, E. B.

    2016-09-01

    This study characterizes wet-based glacial weathering products at a volcanic Mars analog site using thermal infrared remote sensing. Decorrelation stretches are used to examine the geographic relationships between compositional units.

  5. Modeling aluminum-silicon chemistries and application to Australian acidic playa lakes as analogues for Mars

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Marion, G.M.; Crowley, J.K.; Thomson, B.J.; Kargel, J.S.; Bridges, N.T.; Hook, S.J.; Baldridge, A.; Brown, A.J.; Ribeiro da Luz, B.; de Souza, Filho C.R.

    2009-01-01

    Recent Mars missions have stimulated considerable thinking about the surficial geochemical evolution of Mars. Among the major relevant findings are the presence in Meridiani Planum sediments of the mineral jarosite (a ferric sulfate salt) and related minerals that require formation from an acid-salt brine and oxidizing environment. Similar mineralogies have been observed in acidic saline lake sediments in Western Australia (WA), and these lakes have been proposed as analogues for acidic sedimentary environments on Mars. The prior version of the equilibrium chemical thermodynamic FREZCHEM model lacked Al and Si chemistries that are needed to appropriately model acidic aqueous geochemistries on Earth and Mars. The objectives of this work were to (1) add Al and Si chemistries to the FREZCHEM model, (2) extend these chemistries to low temperatures (<0 ??C), if possible, and (3) use the reformulated model to investigate parallels in the mineral precipitation behavior of acidic Australian lakes and hypothetical Martian brines. FREZCHEM is an equilibrium chemical thermodynamic model parameterized for concentrated electrolyte solutions using the Pitzer approach for the temperature range from <-70 to 25 ??C and the pressure range from 1 to 1000 bars. Aluminum chloride and sulfate mineral parameterizations were based on experimental data. Aluminum hydroxide and silicon mineral parameterizations were based on Gibbs free energy and enthalpy data. New aluminum and silicon parameterizations added 12 new aluminum/silicon minerals to this Na-K-Mg-Ca-Fe(II)-Fe(III)-Al-H-Cl-Br-SO4-NO3-OH-HCO3-CO3-CO2-O2-CH4-Si-H2O system that now contain 95 solid phases. There were similarities, differences, and uncertainties between Australian acidic, saline playa lakes and waters that likely led to the Burns formation salt accumulations on Mars. Both systems are similar in that they are dominated by (1) acidic, saline ground waters and sediments, (2) Ca and/or Mg sulfates, and (3) iron

  6. Modeling aluminum-silicon chemistries and application to Australian acidic playa lakes as analogues for Mars

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Marion, G. M.; Crowley, J. K.; Thomson, B. J.; Kargel, J. S.; Bridges, N. T.; Hook, S. J.; Baldridge, A.; Brown, A. J.; Ribeiro da Luz, B.; de Souza Filho, C. R.

    2009-06-01

    Recent Mars missions have stimulated considerable thinking about the surficial geochemical evolution of Mars. Among the major relevant findings are the presence in Meridiani Planum sediments of the mineral jarosite (a ferric sulfate salt) and related minerals that require formation from an acid-salt brine and oxidizing environment. Similar mineralogies have been observed in acidic saline lake sediments in Western Australia (WA), and these lakes have been proposed as analogues for acidic sedimentary environments on Mars. The prior version of the equilibrium chemical thermodynamic FREZCHEM model lacked Al and Si chemistries that are needed to appropriately model acidic aqueous geochemistries on Earth and Mars. The objectives of this work were to (1) add Al and Si chemistries to the FREZCHEM model, (2) extend these chemistries to low temperatures (<0 °C), if possible, and (3) use the reformulated model to investigate parallels in the mineral precipitation behavior of acidic Australian lakes and hypothetical Martian brines. FREZCHEM is an equilibrium chemical thermodynamic model parameterized for concentrated electrolyte solutions using the Pitzer approach for the temperature range from <-70 to 25 °C and the pressure range from 1 to 1000 bars. Aluminum chloride and sulfate mineral parameterizations were based on experimental data. Aluminum hydroxide and silicon mineral parameterizations were based on Gibbs free energy and enthalpy data. New aluminum and silicon parameterizations added 12 new aluminum/silicon minerals to this Na-K-Mg-Ca-Fe(II)-Fe(III)-Al-H-Cl-Br-SO 4-NO 3-OH-HCO 3-CO 3-CO 2-O 2-CH 4-Si-H 2O system that now contain 95 solid phases. There were similarities, differences, and uncertainties between Australian acidic, saline playa lakes and waters that likely led to the Burns formation salt accumulations on Mars. Both systems are similar in that they are dominated by (1) acidic, saline ground waters and sediments, (2) Ca and/or Mg sulfates, and (3) iron

  7. Gas cluster ion beam for the characterization of organic materials in submarine basalts as Mars analogs

    SciTech Connect

    Sano, Naoko Barlow, Anders J.; Cumpson, Peter J.; Purvis, Graham W. H.; Abbott, Geoffrey D.; Gray, Neil N. D.

    2016-07-15

    The solar system contains large quantities of organic compounds that can form complex molecular structures. The processing of organic compounds by biological systems leads to molecules with distinctive structural characteristics; thus, the detection and characterization of organic materials could lead to a high degree of confidence in the existence of extra-terrestrial life. Given the nature of the surface of most planetary bodies in the solar system, evidence of life is more likely to be found in the subsurface where conditions are more hospitable. Basalt is a common rock throughout the solar system and the primary rock type on Mars and Earth. Basalt is therefore a rock type that subsurface life might exploit and as such a suitable material for the study of methods required to detect and analyze organic material in rock. Telluric basalts from Earth represent an analog for extra-terrestrial rocks where the indigenous organic matter could be analyzed for molecular biosignatures. This study focuses on organic matter in the basalt with the use of surface analysis techniques utilizing Ar gas cluster ion beams (GCIB); time of flight secondary ion mass spectrometry (ToF-SIMS), and x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS), to characterize organic molecules. Tetramethylammonium hydroxide (TMAH) thermochemolysis was also used to support the data obtained using the surface analysis techniques. The authors demonstrate that organic molecules were found to be heterogeneously distributed within rock textures. A positive correlation was observed to exist between the presence of microtubule textures in the basalt and the organic compounds detected. From the results herein, the authors propose that ToF-SIMS with an Ar GCIB is effective at detecting organic materials in such geological samples, and ToF-SIMS combined with XPS and TMAH thermochemolysis may be a useful approach in the study of extra-terrestrial organic material and life.

  8. A Volcanic Origin for Sinuous and Branching Channels on Mars: Evidence from Hawaiian Analogs

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Bleacher, Jacob E.; deWet, Andrew; Garry, W. Brent; Zimbelman, James R.

    2012-01-01

    following the eruption. The lateral margins of the proximal sheet, past which all lava flowed to feed the extensive channel, currently display a thickness of < 20 cm. Were this area covered by a dust layer, as is the Tharsis region on Mars, the margins would be difficult to identify. The Pohue Bay flow forms a lava tube. Open roof sections experienced episodes of overflow and spill out. In several places the resultant surface flows appear to have moved as sheet flows that inundated the preexisting meter scale features. Here the flows developed pathways around topographic highs, and in so doing accreted lava onto those features. The results are small islands within the multiple branched channels that display steep, sometimes overhanging walls. None of these features alone proves that the martian channel networks are the result of volcanic processes, but analog studies such as these are the first step towards identifying which morphologies are truly diagnostic of fluvial and volcanic channels.

  9. Water Dynamics, Ice Stability, and Salts in Victoria Valley Soils, Antarctica: An Instructive Analog for Mars

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hagedorn, B.; Sletten, R. S.; Hallet, B.

    2006-12-01

    Typical of many hyper arid soils of the Dry Valleys of Antarctica, soils in Victoria Valley contain ~10% ice (at 0.3 m depth) and ~0.4% salt, mostly calcium and sodium sulfates and chlorides, making them excellent analogs to Martian soils. Vapor diffusion models designed to investigate ground ice dynamics on Mars are not entirely satisfactory because they lead to the unrealistic expectation that soils in Antarctica should be ice free within a 1000 years of being saturated with ice, and yet even ancient soils characteristically contain abundant ice near the surface. Validation of these diffusion models has been limited because of the paucity of field based climate and soil climate data. Moreover the models ignore the significant effects of snow cover, surface melt water and salts on vapor fluxes. To better understand the presence and stability of the shallow subsurface ice we are exploring the effect of snow cover and salts on vapor fluxes. Ice stability was investigated using high-resolution climate and soil temperature data from 2002 to 2005. According to the vapor diffusion model ice sublimates at an average rate of 0.22 mm a-1, corresponding to an ice recession of ~1.3 mm a-1 for soil with 10% ice content. Some of the water vapor is transported to the atmosphere; however, some water vapor accumulates at depth in the soil. Furthermore, snow cover during the summer may substantially reduce annual ice loss. Stable isotopes (δ18O & δD) in ice along a 1.6m vertical soil profile reveal a deuterium excess (-13 to -77 ‰) with the greatest enrichment of heavy isotopes at the top of the ice cement and decreasing with depth to form a concave-down profile. This isotopic profile was interpreted using a quantitative model of H2O transport in perennially frozen soil, including the advection-dispersion of heavy isotope- enriched surface water into the ice-cement. It suggests an average infiltration rate of 0.7 mm a-1 of brine if 2.5% of the H2O present is unfrozen, a

  10. Characterization of an Antarctic Mars Analog Soil and Implications for Martian Weathering Processes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    McAdam, A. C.; Leshin, L. A.; Sharp, T. G.; Harvey, R. P.; Farquhar, J.

    2005-12-01

    Terrestrial analogs can be used to gain insight into potential martian weathering processes and the role of water in the near-surface environment. We are investigating the mineralogy and chemical properties of a fine size fraction of a soil weathered from the Ferrar Dolerite. The soil was collected near Lewis Cliff in the Transantarctic Mountains. The Ferrar exhibits mineralogical similarities to martian basaltic lithologies, as represented by the shergottites [Harvey, 2001]. Production of fines from this parent rock in the cold, arid Antarctic makes the fines a promising Mars analog material. The analog soil fines have been studied with SEM/EDS, IR spectroscopy, XRD, TEM, and Mössbauer spectroscopy. XRD-derived semi-quantitative mineral abundances reveal that the Antarctic fines contain ~30% primary phases (plagioclase feldspar, pyroxenes, a small amount of quartz) and ~70% secondary phases (clays and clay-like mineraloids, zeolites, and ~50% calcium sulfates). The fines' thermal IR spectrum revealed silicate, bound water and sulfate features, consistent with the XRD-derived mineralogy. The significant amount of secondary phases present indicate that even in the Earth's coldest, driest environment, there is enough water and energy to weather some primary minerals. Atmospheric sulfate aerosols may have been important in producing the fines' abundant sulfate salts. Oxygen isotope studies of Antarctic Dry Valleys sulfates have revealed a Δ17O anomaly, which suggests the sulfates are not just from sea salt (Δ17O =0) but also from atmospheric oxidation of gaseous sulfur compounds (e.g. marine biogenic dimethylsulfide) [e.g. Bao et al., 2000]. The anomaly implies that atmospheric sulfur aerosols interact with rocks and soils in Antarctica, similar to the acid fog model for martian weathering [e.g. Banin et al. 1997]. We have obtained an average Δ17O value of +1.67±0.05‰ for the sulfates in the Antarctic fines being investigated here. This indicates that, in this

  11. Integration of In-Situ Resource Utilization Into Lunar/Mars Exploration Through Field Analogs

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Sanders, Gerald B.; Larson, William E.

    2010-01-01

    vehicles and surface propulsive hoppers. While concepts and even laboratory work on evaluating and developing ISRU techniques such as oxygen extraction from lunar regolith have been going on since before the Apollo 11 Moon landing, no ISRU system has ever flown in space, and only recently have ISRU technologies been developed at a scale and at a system level that is relevant to actual robotic and human mission applications. Because ISRU hardware and systems have never been demonstrated or utilized before on robotic or human missions, architecture and mission planners and surface system hardware developers are hesitant to rely on ISRU products and services that are critical to mission and system implementation success. To build confidence in ISRU systems for future missions and assess how ISRU systems can best influence and integrate with other surface system elements, NASA, with international partners, are performing analog field tests to understand how to take advantage of ISRU capabilities and benefits with the minimum of risk associated with introducing this game-changing approach to exploration. This paper will describe and review the results of four analog field tests (Moses Lake in 6/08, Mauna Kea in 11/08. Flagstaff in 9/09; and Mauna Kea in 1/10) that have begun the process of integrating ISRU into robotic and human exploration systems and missions, and propose future ISRU-related analog field test activities that can be performed in collaboration with international space agencies.

  12. Isotopic and Geochemical Investigation of Two Distinct Mars Analog Environments Using Evolved Gas Techniques in Svalbard, Norway

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Stern, Jennifer Claire; Mcadam, Amy Catherine; Ten Kate, Inge L.; Bish, David L.; Blake, David F.; Morris, Richard V.; Bowden, Roxane; Fogel, Marilyn L.; Glamoclija, Mihaela; Mahaffy, Paul R.; hide

    2013-01-01

    The 2010 Arctic Mars Analog Svalbard Expedition (AMASE) investigated two distinct geologic settings on Svalbard, using methodologies and techniques to be deployed on Mars Science Laboratory (MSL). AMASErelated research comprises both analyses conducted during the expedition and further analyses of collected samples using laboratory facilities at a variety of institutions. The Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instrument suite on MSL includes pyrolysis ovens, a gas-processing manifold, a quadrupole mass spectrometer (QMS), several gas chromatography columns, and a Tunable Laser Spectrometer (TLS). An integral part of SAM development is the deployment of SAM-like instrumentation in the field. During AMASE 2010, two parts of SAM participated as stand-alone instruments. A Hiden Evolved Gas Analysis- Mass Spectrometer (EGA-QMS) system represented the EGA-QMS component of SAM, and a Picarro Cavity Ring Down Spectrometer (EGA-CRDS), represented the EGA-TLS component of SAM. A field analog of CheMin, the XRD/XRF on MSL, was also deployed as part of this field campaign. Carbon isotopic measurements of CO2 evolved during thermal decomposition of carbonates were used together with EGA-QMS geochemical data, mineral composition information and contextual observations made during sample collection to distinguish carbonates formation associated with chemosynthetic activity at a fossil methane seep from abiotic processes forming carbonates associated with subglacial basaltic eruptions. Carbon and oxygen isotopes of the basalt-hosted carbonates suggest cryogenic carbonate formation, though more research is necessary to clarify the history of these rocks.

  13. Outcrop-Scale Hyperspectral Studies of a Lacustrine-Volcanic Mars Analog: Examination with a Mars 2020-like Instrument Suite

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Martin, P.; Ehlmann, B. L.; Blaney, D. L.; Bhartia, R.; Allwood, A.

    2015-12-01

    Using the recently developed Ultra Compact Imaging Spectrometer (UCIS) (0.4-2.5 μm) to generate outcrop-scale infrared images and compositional maps, a Mars-relevant field site near China Ranch in the Mojave Desert has been surveyed and sampled to analyze the synergies between instruments in the Mars 2020 rover instrument suite. The site is broadly comprised of large lacustrine gypsum beds with fine-grained gypsiferous mudstones and interbedded volcanic ashes deposited in the Pleistocene, with a carbonate unit atop the outcrop. Alteration products such as clays and iron oxides are pervasive throughout the sequence. Mineralogical mapping of the outcrop was performed using UCIS. As the 2020 rover will have an onboard multispectral camera and IR point spectrometer, Mastcam-Z and SuperCam, this process of spectral analysis leading to the selection of sites for more detailed investigation is similar to the process by which samples will be selected for increased scrutiny during the 2020 mission. The infrared image is resampled (spatially and spectrally) to the resolutions of Mastcam-Z and SuperCam to simulate data from the Mars 2020 rover. Hand samples were gathered in the field (guided by the prior infrared compositional mapping), capturing samples of spectral and mineralogical variance in the scene. After collection, a limited number of specimens were chosen for more detailed analysis. The hand samples are currently being analyzed using JPL prototypes of the Mars 2020 arm-mounted contact instruments, specifically PIXL (Planetary Instrument for X-ray Lithochemistry) and SHERLOC (Scanning Habitable Environments with Raman & Luminescence). The geologic story as told by the Mars 2020 instrument data will be analyzed and compared to the full suite of data collected by hyperspectral imaging and terrestrial techniques (e.g. XRD) applied to the collected hand samples. This work will shed light on the potential uses and synergies of the Mars 2020 instrument suite, especially

  14. The Search for Water and Other Volatile-bearing Phases on Mars: Mauna Kea Volcano as an Analog

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Ming, D. W.; Lauer, H. V., Jr.; Golden, D. C.; Morris, R. V.

    2003-01-01

    Over the past 5 years, we have conducted field studies on the summit cones of Mauna Kea Volcano in Hawaii. Basaltic materials on several of these summit cones have been significantly altered by hydrothermal activity, whereas other summit cones have not undergone extensive aqueous alteration. These summit cones provide an important environment to study analogs of Martian surface alteration materials and analog surface processes (i.e., hydrothermal alteration, palagonitization. In on-going research, we have characterized the thermal and evolved gas behaviors of volatile-bearing reference minerals at reduced pressures in support of TEGA. We have expanded those studies to characterize the thermal and evolved gas behaviors of Mauna Kea samples as an analog for Mars surface materials. These samples were chosen for two reasons. First, many have chemical and spectral properties similar to what we see from remote sensing data from the Martian surface. Second, these samples have a range of mineralogical and chemical properties, ranging from simple to very complex; hence it will be challenging to characterize their thermal and evolved gas behaviors and to provide a context for their geological evolution. However, these types of studies are absolutely critical to understanding relevant geologic processes on Mars during robotic missions to the surface.

  15. Population dynamics of Aedes albifasciatus (Diptera: Culicidae) south of Mar Chiquita Lake, central Argentina.

    PubMed

    Gleiser, R M; Gorla, D E; Schelotto, G

    2000-01-01

    Spatial and temporal changes in the abundance of adult female Aedes (Ochlerotatus) albifasciatus (Macquart) were studied using CDC miniature light traps at 7 sites along an 80-km transect parallel to the southern shore of Mar Chiquita Lake (central Argentina) during the rainy seasons between 1994 and 1997. Abundance was greatest and most variable at sites near larval habitats. Rainfall and an index combining rainfall and temperature predicted adult female abundance near larval habitats 7-15 d in advance. The spatial distribution of population abundance seemed to be influenced strongly by local factors, because temporal change at sampling sites located >10 km apart was asynchronous.

  16. The Geology of the Ka'u Desert, Hawaii as a Mars Analog

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Craddock, R. A.; Irwin, R. P.; Williams, R.; Swanson, D.; Howard, A. D.; Quantin, C.; Kuzmin, R.; Zimbelman, J. R.

    2005-12-01

    The Ka'u Desert is located on the western flank of Kilauea volcano on the Big Island of Hawaii. It is a desert because it receives little annual rainfall (about 150 mm/yr) but also because it is subjected to constant outgassing from Kilauea, which creates a harsh, acidic environment. Near the summit of Kilauea the Ka'u Desert is characterized by the Keanakako'i tephra deposit, which is several meters deep thinning out to a discontinuous deposit 1.5 km (1 mile) towards the center of the desert. The deposit itself has been incised by a number of gullies that are flat-floored and terminate in a series of amphitheater-shaped plunge pools. Most of the interior desert contains undulating weathered lava flows, extensive deposits of sand, and several more recent lava flows and volcanic edifices. The southern portion of the desert is bounded by the Hilina Pali fault scarp, which is 500 m (1,500 ft) above the nearby Pacific Ocean and contains a complex series of outwash plains, alluvial fans, and debris flows. We will present a summary of the geology of the Ka'u Desert. Contrary to published interpretations, we will present evidence that the Keanakako'i was not emplaced by two separate catastrophic eruption events but rather by two distinct eruption episodes that included multiple eruption events often interrupted by long hiatuses. Despite the morphology of the gullies contained on the Keanakako'i we will present evidence that the gullies were formed exclusively by surface runoff and not groundwater sapping, including quantitative estimates about the large amounts of discharge that occur during extreme storms. We will also present analyses of the sand deposits and determine the likely provenance of these materials. For the first time, we will also describe alluvial fans and mass wasting features on Hilina Pali and show evidence that they are part of poorly integrated channel system that originates in the Keanakako'i tephra. The Ka'u Desert represents a good Mars analog

  17. Analysis of the hydrological response of a saline closed lake to recent climate changes in South America (Lake Mar Chiquita, Argentina)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Troin, Ms.

    2009-04-01

    Analysis of the hydrological response of a saline closed lake to recent climate changes in South America (Lake Mar Chiquita, Argentina) Magali Troin1, Christine Vallet-Coulomb1, Florence Sylvestre1, Eduardo Piovano2 (1) CEREGE UMR6635, CNRS/IRD/UPCAM, Europôle méditerranéen de l'Arbois BP 80 13545 Aix-en-Provence cedex 4 (2) CICTERRA-CIGeS, Universidad Nacional de Córdoba, Av. Velez Sarsfield 1611, X5016GCA - Córdoba, Argentina. Lake Mar Chiquita (30°54'S-62°51'W) is a highly variable closed saline lake (≈ 6000 km²) located at the west of the Parana-Plata Basin. It lies in the Pampean plains of central Argentina, an extensive area of mesic forests and grasslands. Its terminal position, collecting streamflows from a 37570 km2 catchment, induces a drastic response to hydro-climatic variations due to a cumulative effect. During the 70's important hydrological changes occurred in South America and the lake water-level rose dramatically. . Historical and instrumental data, combined with sedimentological, isotopic, and diatom analysis revealed that Mar Chiquita is an ideal site for recording high- and low-frequency changes in its hydrological budget. Therefore, this lake can be considered as a regional and temporal integrator of its catchment water balance. The lake response to climatic and environmental changes includes both rainfall-runoff processes occurring in the lake catchment, and the specific hydrological behaviour of the lake system which is rather linked to the order of magnitude of variation of each component. The objectives of this work are to provide a quantified climatic interpretation of lake variations reconstructed for the last centuries and to determine mechanisms and magnitude of past changes. A mass balance model was used to assess Lake Mar Chiquita response (lake level and water salinity) to climatic and hydrological changes. The results of the model calibration over the 1967-2006 period revealed a significant contribution of the northern

  18. Mars

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Kieffer, Hugh H. (Editor); Jakosky, Bruce M. (Editor); Snyder, Conway W. (Editor); Matthews, Mildred S. (Editor)

    1992-01-01

    The present volume on Mars discusses visual, photographic and polarimetric telescopic observations, spacecraft exploration of Mars, the origin and thermal evolution of Mars, and the bulk composition, mineralogy, and internal structure of the planet. Attention is given to Martian gravity and topography, stress and tectonics on Mars, long-term orbital and spin dynamics of Mars, and Martian geodesy and cartography. Topics addressed include the physical volcanology of Mars, the canyon system on planet, Martian channels and valley networks, and ice in the Martian regolith. Also discussed are Martian aeolian processes, sediments, and features, polar deposits of Mars, dynamics of the Martian atmosphere, and the seasonal behavior of water on Mars.

  19. The Role of the Photogeologic Mapping in the Morocco 2013 Mars Analog Field Simulation (Austrian Space Forum)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Losiak, Anna; Orgel, Csilla; Moser, Linda; MacArthur, Jane; Gołębiowska, Izabela; Wittek, Steffen; Boyd, Andrea; Achorner, Isabella; Rampey, Mike; Bartenstein, Thomas; Jones, Natalie; Luger, Ulrich; Sans, Alejandra; Hettrich, Sebastian

    2013-04-01

    The MARS2013 mission: The Austrian Space Forum together with multiple scientific partners will conduct a Mars analog field simulation. The project takes place between 1st and 28th of February 2013 in the northern Sahara near Erfoud. During the simulation a field crew (consisting of suited analog astronauts and a support team) will conduct several experiments while being managed by the Mission Support Center (MSC) located in Innsbruck, Austria. The aim of the project is to advance preparation of the future human Mars missions by testing: 1) the mission design with regard to operational and engineering challenges (e.g., how to work efficiently with introduced time delay in communication between field team and MSC), 2) scientific instruments (e.g., rovers) and 3) human performance in conditions analogous to those that will be encountered on Mars. The Role of Geological Mapping: Remote Science Support team (RSS) is responsible for processing science data obtained in the field. The RSS is also in charge of preparing a set of maps to enable planning activities of the mission (including the development of traverses) [1, 2]. The usage of those maps will increase the time-cost efficiency of the entire mission. The RSS team members do not have any prior knowledge about the area where the simulation is taking place and the analysis is fully based on remote sensing satellite data (Landsat, GoogleEarth) and a digital elevation model (ASTER GDEM)from the orbital data. The maps design: The set of maps (covering area 5 km X 5 km centered on the Mission Base Camp) was designed to simplify the process of site selection for the daily traverse planning. Additionally, the maps will help to accommodate the need of the field crew for the increased autonomy in the decision making process, forced by the induced time delay between MSC and "Mars". The set of provided maps should allow the field team to orientate and navigate in the explored areas as well as make informed decisions about

  20. Forsterite dissolution rates in Mg-sulfate-rich Mars-analog brines and implications of the aqueous history of Mars

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Albright Olsen, Amanda; Hausrath, Elisabeth M.; Rimstidt, J. Donald

    2015-03-01

    High salinity brines, although rare on Earth's surface, may have been important in the geologic history of Mars. Increasing evidence suggests the importance of liquid brines in multiple locations on Mars. In order to interpret the effect of high ionic strength brines on olivine dissolution, which is widely present on Mars, 47 new batch reactor experiments combined with 35 results from a previous study conducted at 25°C from 1 < pH < 4 in magnesium sulfate, sodium sulfate, magnesium nitrate, and potassium nitrate solutions with ionic strengths as high as 12 m show that very high ionic strength brines have an inhibitory effect of forsterite dissolution rates. Multiple linear regression analysis of the data suggests that the inhibition in dissolution rates is due to decreased water activity at high ionic strengths. Regression models also show that mMg up to 4 m and mSO4 up to 3 m have no effect on forsterite dissolution rates. The effect of decreasing dissolution rates with decreasing aH2O is consistent with the idea that water acts as a ligand that participates in the dissolution process. Less available water to participate in the dissolution reaction results in a slower dissolution rate. Multiple linear regression analysis of the data produces the rate equation log r = -6.81 - 0.52pH + 3.26log aH2O. Forsterite in dilute solutions with a water activity of one dissolves twice as fast as those in brines with a water activity of 0.8.

  1. Acid-Sulfate Weathering of Basalts at Cerro Negro Volcano, Nicaragua: An Early Mars Analog

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Marcucci, E. C.; Hynek, B. M.; McCollom, T. M.; Rogers, K. L.

    2010-03-01

    Cerro Negro, Nicaragua is a high temperature, low pH, S-rich environment, proposed to explain some acid-sulfate weathering on Mars. Simultaneously, we are analyzing field samples, laboratory experiments, theoretical modeling, and microbial studies.

  2. Acid-Sulfate Weathering of Cerro Negro Basalt: An Early Mars Analog

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Marcucci, E. C.; Hynek, B. M.; McCollom, T. M.

    2012-05-01

    Understanding the weathering in an acidic volcanic environment gives insights into paleoconditions that formed the sulfates we see on Mars today. A series of experiments and models show the main secondary minerals and controls on their formation.

  3. Noble Gas Analysis for Mars Robotic Missions: Evaluating K-Ar Age Dating for Mars Rock Analogs and Martian Shergottites

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Park, J.; Ming, D. W.; Garrison, D. H.; Jones, J. H.; Bogard, D. D.; Nagao, K.

    2009-01-01

    The purpose of this noble gas investigation was to evaluate the possibility of measuring noble gases in martian rocks and air by future robotic missions such as the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL). The MSL mission has, as part of its payload, the Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instrument, which consists of a pyrolysis oven integrated with a GCMS. The MSL SAM instrument has the capability to measure noble gas compositions of martian rocks and atmosphere. Here we suggest the possibility of K-Ar age dating based on noble gas release of martian rocks by conducting laboratory simulation experiments on terrestrial basalts and martian meteorites. We provide requirements for the SAM instrument to obtain adequate noble gas abundances and compositions within the current SAM instrumental operating conditions, especially, a power limit that prevents heating the furnace above approx.1100 C. In addition, Martian meteorite analyses from NASA-JSC will be used as ground truth to evaluate the feasibility of robotic experiments to constrain the ages of martian surface rocks.

  4. Mineralogical and Geochemical Analyses of Antarctic Lake Sediments: A Reflectance and Moessbauer Spectroscopy Study with Applications for Remote Sensing on Mars

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Froeschl, Heinz; Lougear, Andre; Trautwein, Alfred X.; Newton, Jason; Doran, Peter T.; Koerner, Wilfried; Koeberl, Christian; Bishop, Janice (Technical Monitor); DeVincenzi, Donald L. (Technical Monitor)

    2000-01-01

    Lakebottom sediments from the Dry Valleys region of Antarctica have been analyzed here in order to study the influence of water chemistry on the mineralogy and geochemistry of these sediments, as well as to evaluate techniques for remote spectral identification of potential biomarker minerals on Mars. Lakes from the Dry Valleys region of Antarctica have been investigated as possible analogs for extinct lake environments on early Mars. Sediment cores were collected in the present study from perennially ice-covered Lake Hoare in the Taylor Valley. These sediments were taken from a core in an oxic region of the lake and another core in an anoxic zone. Differences between the two cores were observed in the sediment color, Fe(II)/Fe(III) ratio, the presence of pyrite, the abundance of Fe, S and some trace elements, and the C, N and S isotope fractionation patterns. The results of visible-infrared reflectance spectroscopy (0.3-25 microns) Mossbauer spectroscopy (77 and 4 K) and X-ray diffraction are combined to determine the mineralogy and composition of these samples. The sediments are dominated by plagioclase, K-feldspar, quartz and pyroxene. Algal mats grow on the bottom of the lake and organic material has been found throughout the cores. Calcite is abundant in some layers of the aerobic core (shallow region) and pyrite is abundant in some layers of the anaerobic core (deep region). Analysis of the spectroscopic features due to organics and carbonates with respect to the abundance of organic C and carbonate contents was performed in order to select optimal spectral bands for remote identification of these components in planetary regoliths. Carbonate bands near 4 and 6.8 microns (approx.2500 and 1500/cm) were detected for carbonate abundances as low as 0.1 wt.% CO2. Organic features at 3.38, 3.42 and 3.51 microns (2960, 2925 and 2850/cm) were detected for organic C abundances as low as 0.06 wt.% C. The d13C trends show a more complex organic history for the anaerobic

  5. Lava Flow Alteration at Craters of the Moon, Idaho, as an Analog for Microbial Habitat on Mars

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kobs-Nawotniak, S. E.; Hughes, S. S.; Elphic, R. C.; Sehlke, A.; Haberle, C. W.; Brady, A. L.; Payler, S.; Cockell, C. S.; Lim, D. S. S.

    2016-12-01

    Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve (COTM), Idaho is host to lava flows with comparable composition and texture to those observed on Mars. As part of the Biologic Analog Science Associated with Lava Terrains (BASALT) project, we investigated the relationship between alteration style and gradient scales in three young ( 2000 y.b.p.) lava flows at COTM. Alteration of volcanic substrate is known to improve microbial habitability. As such, our investigation seeks to identify and characterize microbial habitat analogs potentially representative of Noachian and Amazonian Mars. Alteration in these flows is dominantly the result of two processes; (1) syn-emplacement degassing and (2) sub-aerial interaction with eolian material and meteoric water. Syn-emplacement alteration products are dominated by hematite and goethite along with various clays and zeolites. These products are concentrated where heat persists during and following emplacement (e.g. proximal to eruptive and non-eruptive vents and in areas exhibiting significant textural transitions, possibly related to degassing concentrated along disrupted surfaces). The syn-eruptive alteration zones display mineralogical variation across cm-scales, and occur as patchy zones spanning multiple meters. Post-emplacement, ambient meteoric alteration is characterized by carbonates, zeolites and clays concentrated along fractures and within vesicles. Owing to their deposition along fractures, these alteration zones may be less than a millimeter thick, but span multiple meters. Our multidisciplinary team of geologists, microbiologists and organic geochemists seek to identify associations of alteration styles and microbial habitability.

  6. Suited versus unsuited analog astronaut performance using the Aouda.X space suit simulator: the DELTA experiment of MARS2013.

    PubMed

    Soucek, Alexander; Ostkamp, Lutz; Paternesi, Roberta

    2015-04-01

    Space suit simulators are used for extravehicular activities (EVAs) during Mars analog missions. Flight planning and EVA productivity require accurate time estimates of activities to be performed with such simulators, such as experiment execution or traverse walking. We present a benchmarking methodology for the Aouda.X space suit simulator of the Austrian Space Forum. By measuring and comparing the times needed to perform a set of 10 test activities with and without Aouda.X, an average time delay was derived in the form of a multiplicative factor. This statistical value (a second-over-second time ratio) is 1.30 and shows that operations in Aouda.X take on average a third longer than the same operations without the suit. We also show that activities predominantly requiring fine motor skills are associated with larger time delays (between 1.17 and 1.59) than those requiring short-distance locomotion or short-term muscle strain (between 1.10 and 1.16). The results of the DELTA experiment performed during the MARS2013 field mission increase analog mission planning reliability and thus EVA efficiency and productivity when using Aouda.X.

  7. The influence of slope morphology on gullies: Terrestrial gullies in Lake George as analogues for Mars

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hobbs, S. W.; Paull, D. J.; Clarke, J. D. A.

    2013-06-01

    Terrestrial gullies provide a useful benchmark to compare martian gully forms against. We compare pole and equator facing gullies in an unnamed crater located in the martian southern mid-latitudes with gullies located on the Lake George escarpment south of Gearys Gap, New South Wales, Australia. Our investigations showed gully morphology at both sites is greatly influenced by thickness of readily erodable regolith, local slope and the presence or absence of bedrock exposures in the gullies. We found that the martian pole-facing gullies are the most similar to those of Lake George and both systems are therefore likely to have been eroded by liquid water. Although the martian gullies possessed much greater volumes of eroded sediment, they had not eroded to underlying bedrock. This contrasts with the smaller Lake George gully channels where numerous bedrock exposures, observed during our survey, affected their slope and overall morphology. Similarly, although dominated by dry processes, multiple bedrock exposures are present within the equator facing martian gullies affecting their cross sectional area and hence sediment transport. The studied sites all showed significant influence from initial slope angles, indicating that interpretation of gully forms such as slopes below the angle of repose, curved profiles and sinuosity must be placed in context of local environments. This analysis can be applied to other regions of Mars and Earth and provide a greater understanding of how geomorphologic processes operate on both worlds.

  8. Pleistocene Lake Bonneville and Eberswalde Crater of Mars: Quantitative Methods for Recognizing Poorly Developed Lacustrine Shorelines

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Jewell, P. W.

    2014-12-01

    The ability to quantify shoreline features on Earth has been aided by advances in acquisition of high-resolution topography through laser imaging and photogrammetry. Well-defined and well-documented features such as the Bonneville, Provo, and Stansbury shorelines of Late Pleistocene Lake Bonneville are recognizable to the untrained eye and easily mappable on aerial photos. The continuity and correlation of lesser shorelines must rely quantitative algorithms for processing high-resolution data in order to gain widespread scientific acceptance. Using Savitsky-Golay filters and the geomorphic methods and criteria described by Hare et al. [2001], minor, transgressive, erosional shorelines of Lake Bonneville have been identified and correlated across the basin with varying degrees of statistical confidence. Results solve one of the key paradoxes of Lake Bonneville first described by G. K. Gilbert in the late 19th century and point the way for understanding climatically driven oscillations of the Last Glacial Maximum in the Great Basin of the United States. Similar techniques have been applied to the Eberswalde Crater area of Mars using HRiSE DEMs (1 m horizontal resolution) where a paleolake is hypothesized to have existed. Results illustrate the challenges of identifying shorelines where long term aeolian processes have degraded the shorelines and field validation is not possible. The work illustrates the promises and challenges of indentifying remnants of a global ocean elsewhere on the red planet.

  9. Field Study of Mars Analog Materials in Spitsbergen (Norway) Using a Portable X-ray Diffraction Instrument

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sarrazin, P. C.; Brunner, W.; Blake, D. F.; Steele, A.; Midtkandal, I.; Amundsen, H.

    2007-12-01

    NASA's Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) is the next major landed Mars mission scheduled for Launch in 2009. MSL is primarily a geological mission intended to assess if past environments on Mars could have supported life. An X-ray diffraction instrument called CheMin is part of the MSL rover science payload. CheMin was developed and is managed by NASA Ames Research Center and the flight system is currently being built at JPL. A miniature portable instrument was developed for NASA ARC by inXitu, Inc. (California) to support the CheMin Science Team with a tool that can easily be deployed on terrestrial Mars analog terrains. The instrument will be used to practice with field mineralogical analysis in preparation for the operational phase of the mission. The instrument is called mini-CheMin for its reduced size (45x32x12cm) and weight (14.5kg) compared to previous CheMin prototypes. Mini-CheMin was deployed in Spitsbergen in August 2007 as part of the science payload of the Arctic Mars Analog Svalbard Expedition (AMASE). The instrument was used for a variety of field tests, including two rover operation simulations. XRD data of sufficient quality for mineral identification and semi-quantitative analysis could be obtained in as little as a few minutes. XRF data, through limited in energy range to 3 - 8 keV, was very useful in restricting the search space for mineral identification with complex samples. In one of the deployment sites, a carbonate rich hot spring, a sample collected and analyzed in situ was found to be composed of mainly calcite with a minor amount of monohydrocalcite. Samples collected from this site and later analyzed with mini-CheMin onboard the expedition ship did not show any monohydrocalcite, the phase having been dehydrated to calcite by conventional laboratory sample preparation methods. This illustrates the benefit of in situ field mineralogical analysis for which samples can be analyzed in their pristine mineralogical makeup.

  10. The human story of Crew 173- capturing a Mars analog mission

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Shaw, Niamh; Musilova, Michaela; Pons Lorente, Arnau; Sisaid, Idriss; Naor, Roy; Blake, Richard

    2017-04-01

    An international crew of six scientists, engineers, artists and entrepreneurs with different space specialisations were selected by the Mars Society to take part in a Martian simulation in January 2017. An ambitious outreach and media strategy was developed, aimed at communicating the benefits of missions to Mars to the public and to capture the public's interest by telling the human story of the crew's mission. Entitled Crew 173 Team PRIMA, they entered the Mars Desert Research Station in the Utah Desert and conducted research in 3D printing, hydroponics, geology and astronomy. Both the scientific and community experience of this mission was documented through still image, video, audio, diary and daily journalling by the resident artist of the mission, Niamh Shaw. The full experience of the crew was documented (before, during and after the expedition), to capture each individual experience of the crew and the human experience of isolation of future human space missions.

  11. Lonar Crater, India: An Analog for Mars in the Field and in the Laboratory

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wright, S. P.

    2016-09-01

    Fieldwork at Lonar Crater benefits impact studies; lab/sample data of shocked and altered basalts provide analogs for SNCs and rovers. Mission concepts can be evaluated in ejecta. Recent discoveries include shocked soil, shocked baked zones, and spall.

  12. Sensing Biosignatures Within Rocks of the Atacama Desert — An Analog for Mars Environments

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gnanaprakasa, T. J.; Domanik, K.; DiRuggiero, J.; Zega, T. J.

    2016-05-01

    We have been investigating potential biosignatures and mineral microstructure alteration of rocks from the Atacama desert in Chile. These materials represent martian analogs and are known to contain colonizing bacteria, to establish biosignatures.

  13. Fluidized-sediment pipes in Gale crater, Mars, and possible Earth analogs

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Rubin, David M.; Fairen, A.G.; Frydenvang, J.; Gasnault, O.; Gelfenbaum, Guy R.; Goetz, W.; Grotzinger, J.P.; Le Mouélic, S.; Mangold, N.; Newsom, H.; Oehler, D. Z.; Rapin, W.; Schieber, J.; Wiens, R.C.

    2017-01-01

    Since landing in Gale crater, the Mars Science Laboratory rover Curiosity has traversed fluvial, lacustrine, and eolian sedimentary rocks that were deposited within the crater ∼3.6 to 3.2 b.y. ago. Here we describe structures interpreted to be pipes formed by vertical movement of fluidized sediment. Like many pipes on Earth, those in Gale crater are more resistant to erosion than the host rock; they form near other pipes, dikes, or deformed sediment; and some contain internal concentric or eccentric layering. These structures provide new evidence of the importance of subsurface aqueous processes in shaping the near-surface geology of Mars.

  14. Using Mars Mission Analogs and Authentic Experiences to Stimulate STEM Learning in K-14 Students

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Klug, S. L.; Grigsby, B.; Valderrama, P.; Watt, K.

    2005-12-01

    Today, in many of the classrooms across our nation, K-12 educators are finding it more difficult to engage their students in the subjects that will help them to succeed to a more productive way of life - science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). Finally, add to this formidable task a diverse set of learners (demographically and skill level) of an average classroom and the constraints of high stakes testing. Quite a challenge, indeed! The Arizona State University (ASU) Mars Education Program, in partnership with the Jet Propulsion Laboratory Mars Public Engagement Team have created programming, curriculum, and activities that help to bridge the gap between STEM learning and student interest. Starting with the Standards in the STEM areas - the areas which teachers are tasked to teach already, our team has modeled the STEM-based curriculum after the way that NASA's Mars team conducts their work and research. There is much challenge in the statement "Science for All Americans" when it comes to applying it equally to all classrooms across the U.S. To make sure that these curricular materials and hands-on experiences are available to any teacher and student, the ASU Mars Education Program has adopted a "high-tech, low-tech, and no-tech" approach. In other words, materials and programming have to be available and doable with whatever capabilities a classroom might possess. Using this approach, successful examples of Mars-based educational materials include Marsbound and the Mars Student Imaging Project. The Marsbound simulation is based on National Technology Standards and seemingly low tech. However, the simplicity of this simulation is quickly forgotten as it follows the familiar NASA scenario of building a mission to Mars with engineering constraints. Student teams use a set of equipment cards and a playmat (both available at no cost) to build their mission and balance it according to the constraints given. Students soon realize there is a lot of complexity to

  15. Visible-near-infrared reflectance spectroscopy of volcanic acid-sulfate alteration in Nicaragua: Analogs for early Mars

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Marcucci, Emma C.; Hynek, Brian M.; Kierein-Young, Kathryn S.; Rogers, K. L.

    2013-10-01

    Acid-sulfate weathering at Nicaraguan hydrothermal sites Cerro Negro, Momotombo, and Telica volcanoes and Hervidores de San Jacinto mudpots was characterized as an analog for similar processes that likely operated on early Mars. In situ mineralogical analyses were conducted with a field portable visible near-infrared spectrometer for comparison to similar Martian data sets. Three classes of alteration minerals were identified: sulfates (gypsum and natroalunite), oxides/hydroxides (hematite and goethite), and phyllosilicates (kaolinite/halloysite, montmorillonite, and saponite), as well as elemental sulfur and hydrated silica phases. Our sites had similar suites of minerals, but frequencies varied with location. The results of this field campaign allow inferences regarding the paleo-environmental conditions that were likely present at similar relic hydrothermal sites identified on Mars. In particular, sulfates and phyllosilicates could have coevolved under hydrothermal conditions at Noctis Labyrinthus as is seen in Nicaragua. Fe/Mg smectites were detected in areas with pH of 3-4. Alunite spectra at Terra Sirenum demonstrated mineral mixing effects on spectroscopy. Mineral mixing can cause uncertainties in spectral identification due to a dominant spectrum, such as iron minerals, masking another or the suppression of weaker bands. When viewed from orbit, our field sites would likely be dominated by hydrated silica and Mars sites, such as one in Syrtis Major, could have a more diverse mineralogy than the data reveal. Concentrated amorphous silica, such as at Gusev crater, can result from acidic fumarolic activity, while Mg sulfates may indicate a lack of reworking by water. This field spectroscopy study helps confirm and provide insight into hydrothermal processes on ancient Mars.

  16. Iron (Oxyhydr)Oxide Biosignatures in the Brushy Basin Member of the Jurassic Morrison Formation, Colorado Plateau, USA: Analog for Martian Diagenetic Iron

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Potter-McIntyre, S. L.; Chan, M. A.; McPherson, B. J.

    2012-03-01

    Iron precipitates in modern microbial mats compared with iron cements in Jurassic alkaline saline lake sediments show that morphological and chemical biosignatures are present and preserved in oxidized, evaporative environments analogous to Mars.

  17. Differentiating Hydrothermal, Pedogenic, and Glacial Weathering in a Cold Volcanic Mars-Analog Environment

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Scudder, N. A.; Horgan, B.; Havig, J.; Rutledge, A.; Rampe, E. B.; Hamilton, T.

    2016-01-01

    Although the current cold, dry environment of Mars extends back through much of its history, its earliest periods experienced significant water- related surface activity. Both geomorphic features (e.g., paleolakes, deltas, and river valleys) and hydrous mineral detections (e.g., clays and salts) have historically been interpreted to imply a "warm and wet" early Mars climate. More recently, atmospheric modeling studies have struggled to produce early climate conditions with temperatures above 0degC, leading some studies to propose a "cold and icy" early Mars dominated by widespread glaciation with transient melting. However, the alteration mineralogy produced in subglacial environments is not well understood, so the extent to which cold climate glacial weathering can produce the diverse alteration mineralogy observed on Mars is unknown. This summer, we will be conducting a field campaign in a glacial weathering environment in the Cascade Range, OR in order to determine the types of minerals that these environments produce. However, we must first disentangle the effects of glacial weathering from other significant alteration processes. Here we attempt a first understanding of glacial weathering by differentiating rocks and sediments weathered by hydrothermal, pedogenic, and glacial weathering processes in the Cascades volcanic range.

  18. Survival of Halophilic Archaea in the Stratosphere as a Mars Analog: A Transcriptomic Approach

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    DasSarma, S.; DasSarma, P.; Laye, V.; Harvey, J.; Reid, C.; Shultz, J.; Yarborough, A.; Lamb, A.; Koske-Phillips, A.; Herbst, A.; Molina, F.; Grah, O.; Phillips, T.

    2016-05-01

    On Earth, halophilic Archaea tolerate multiple extreme conditions similar to those on Mars. In order to study their survival, we launched live cultures into Earth’s stratosphere on helium balloons. The effects on survival and transcriptomes were interrogated in the lab.

  19. Nucleic Acid Extraction from Synthetic Mars Analog Soils for in situ Life Detection.

    PubMed

    Mojarro, Angel; Ruvkun, Gary; Zuber, Maria T; Carr, Christopher E

    2017-08-01

    Biological informational polymers such as nucleic acids have the potential to provide unambiguous evidence of life beyond Earth. To this end, we are developing an automated in situ life-detection instrument that integrates nucleic acid extraction and nanopore sequencing: the Search for Extra-Terrestrial Genomes (SETG) instrument. Our goal is to isolate and determine the sequence of nucleic acids from extant or preserved life on Mars, if, for example, there is common ancestry to life on Mars and Earth. As is true of metagenomic analysis of terrestrial environmental samples, the SETG instrument must isolate nucleic acids from crude samples and then determine the DNA sequence of the unknown nucleic acids. Our initial DNA extraction experiments resulted in low to undetectable amounts of DNA due to soil chemistry-dependent soil-DNA interactions, namely adsorption to mineral surfaces, binding to divalent/trivalent cations, destruction by iron redox cycling, and acidic conditions. Subsequently, we developed soil-specific extraction protocols that increase DNA yields through a combination of desalting, utilization of competitive binders, and promotion of anaerobic conditions. Our results suggest that a combination of desalting and utilizing competitive binders may establish a "universal" nucleic acid extraction protocol suitable for analyzing samples from diverse soils on Mars. Key Words: Life-detection instruments-Nucleic acids-Mars-Panspermia. Astrobiology 17, 747-760.

  20. Habitability: where lo look for life? Halophilic habitats: earth analogs to study Mars and Europá s habitability

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gómez, F.; Gómez-Elvira, J.; Rodríguez, N.; Caballero Castrejón, J. F.; Amils, R.; Rodríguez-Manfredi, J. A.

    2009-04-01

    Current Mars exploration is producing a considerable amount of information which requires comparison with terrestrial analogs in order to interpret and evaluate compatibility with possible extinct and/or extant life on the planet. The first astrobiological mission specially designed to detect life on Mars, the Viking missions, thought life unlikely, considering the amount of UV radiation bathing the surface of the planet, the resulting oxidative conditions, and the lack of adequate atmospheric protection. The necessity of the Europa surface exploration comes from the idea of a water ocean existence in its interior. Europa surface presents evidence of an active geology showing many tectonic features that seems to be connected with some liquid interior reservoir. Life needs several requirements for its establishment but, the only sine qua nom elements is the water, taking into account our experience on Earth extreme ecosystems The discovery of extremophiles on Earth widened the window of possibilities for life to develop in the universe, and as a consequence on Mars. The compilation of data produced by the ongoing missions (Mars Global Surveyor, Mars Odyssey, Mars Express and Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity) offers a completely different view: signs of an early wet Mars and rather recent volcanic activity. The discovery of important accumulations of sulfates, and the existence of iron minerals like jarosite, goethite and hematite in rocks of sedimentary origin has allowed specific terrestrial models related with this type of mineralogy to come into focus. Río Tinto (Southwestern Spain, Iberian Pyritic Belt) is an extreme acidic environment, product of the chemolithotrophic activity of microorganisms that thrive in the massive pyrite-rich deposits of the Iberian Pyritic Belt. The high concentrations of ferric iron and sulfates, products of the metabolism of pyrite, generate a collection of minerals, mainly gypsum, jarosite, goethite and hematites, all of which

  1. Exploration for Evidence of Habitable Environments and Life on Mars Can Benefit from Research in Analog Environments

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Des Marais, D. J.

    2014-12-01

    Analog studies help to understand the processes that might sustain any habitable environments on Mars and the attributes of organisms that might have inhabited them. These studies must consider key differences between Mars and Earth, for example, the ways that tectonics, impacts, hydrologic cycles, and aeolian processes have interacted to shape climate, the conditions in the near subsurface, and the processes that can preserve any evidence of any past habitable environments and life. Key questions include the following: How can we characterize Martian geochemical cycles of biogenic elements? What is the minimum chemical water activity of Mars-relevant aqueous solutions that might sustain the propagation by life as we know it? Can life persist inside rocks that have been altered isochemically at relatively low water/rock values? What are the minimum combinations of free energy and power needed to sustain life in Mars-relevant environments? Given the pervasive harsh conditions at the Martian surface, where and how can we seek evidence of any extant life? What kinds of nonbiological features that mimic biosignatures might be produced in potentially habitable Martian environments? Which methods can most effectively resolve Earthly contamination from potential Martian biosignatures in situ? What biosignatures might be produced by subsurface life and how can they be distinguished from abiotic features? How might we recognize evidence of any "life as we DON'T know it?" For future landing site selection, how can remotely sensed features be related more effectively to key attributes of habitable environments such as past availability and persistence of water, potential sources of biochemical energy, and favorable environmental conditions? Which Martian processes and environments are most favorable for preservation of evidence of any past environments and biosignatures? How can deposits that might be favorable for preservation be found and characterized from orbit? How can

  2. Topographic Roughness of Hawaiian Volcanic Terrains: A Scale-Dependent Analysis of a Potential Mars Landing Site Analog

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Morris, A. R.; Anderson, F.; Mouginis-Mark, P.; Haldemann, A.

    2006-12-01

    The roughness of a natural surface is often defined by the topography of the surface at scales of a few tens of meters or less and can be quantitatively described by self-affine, or fractal, statistics. To ensure the safety of rovers and scientific instruments on Mars, these scales are of critical importance during landing site selection and rover traverse operations. Published work on terrestrial and Martian topography datasets has demonstrated that statistical values such as the Hurst exponent can be used in conjunction with other statistical measures such as RMS slope to understand the relationship between scale-dependent roughness characteristics and the morphology of a surface. We seek to understand the effects of dataset resolution on the interpretation of various volcanic surfaces on Kilauea volcano, with applications to rover traverse navigation on remote, planetary surfaces. Extensive Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) coverage of the summit of Kilauea volcano, Hawaii, (30 cm posting, 1 m DEM, 2 cm vertical resolution) provides an opportunity for simulating higher resolution Martian topography data such as will be obtained from photoclinometry and stereo imaging using the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO). Using the method of calculating fractal statistics described in detail by previous authors, we develop two-dimensional maps of the Hurst exponent of Martian analog flows in Hawaii to understand the effects of limited resolution topographic and imaging data on the interpretation of volcanic features on the surface of Mars. In addition to the LiDAR data, we use high resolution topographic data generated from controlled stereo imaging of volcanic surfaces within Kilauea caldera to provide a detailed view of sub-meter surface roughness of the young volcanic terrains covered by the LiDAR data. To obtain the stereo data, we moved a 12.8 mega- pixel digital camera, pointed perpendicular to the

  3. Mineralization and Potential for Fossilization of an Extremotolerant Bacterium Isolated from a Past Mars Analog Environment

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gaboyer, F.; Bohmeier, M.; Foucher, F.; Le Milbeau, C.; Gautret, P.; Richard, A.; Sauldubois, A.; Guegan, R.; Westall, F.

    2016-05-01

    To better characterize the preservation of biomarkers during microbial fossilization, we mineralized a bacterial strain isolated from a cold-acidic-oligotrophic lake in SiO2 and CaSO4 and studied it using SEM, TEM, FT-IR, Raman, GC-MS or Rock-Eval.

  4. Properties of Subsurface Soil Cores from Four Geologic Provinces Surrounding Mars Desert Research Station, Utah: Characterizing Analog Martian Soil in a Human Exploration Scenario

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Stoker, C. R.; Clarke, J. D. A.; Direito, S.; Foing, B.

    2011-01-01

    The DOMEX program is a NASA-MMAMA funded project featuring simulations of human crews on Mars focused on science activities that involve collecting samples from the subsurface using both manual and robotic equipment methods and analyzing them in the field and post mission. A crew simulating a human mission to Mars performed activities focused on subsurface science for 2 weeks in November 2009 at Mars Desert Research Station near Hanksville, Utah --an important chemical and morphological Mars analog site. Activities performed included 1) survey of the area to identify geologic provinces, 2) obtaining soil and rock samples from each province and characterizing their mineralogy, chemistry, and biology; 3) site selection and reconnaissance for a future drilling mission; 4) deployment and testing of Mars Underground Mole, a percussive robotic soil sampling device; and 5) recording and analyzing how crew time was used to accomplish these tasks. This paper summarizes results from analysis of soil cores

  5. Multimatrix measurement of persistent organic pollutants in Mar Chiquita, a continental saline shallow lake.

    PubMed

    Ballesteros, M L; Miglioranza, K S B; Gonzalez, M; Fillmann, G; Wunderlin, D A; Bistoni, M A

    2014-08-15

    RAMSAR sites are determined by specific characteristics of the environment in terms of ecological productivity as well services for human development, but they are also one of the most threatened ecosystems. Thus, the objective of this work was to evaluate the dynamic of Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs) in different biotic and abiotic matrixes of the RAMSAR site (wetlands with international importance), Mar Chiquita Lake. Sampling was performed according to land use (agricultural, urban, and industrial) at two stations: Laguna del Plata and Campo Mare. POPs were analyzed in superficial water (Sw), suspended particulate material (SPM), bottom sediment (Bs) and fish tissues (Odontesthes bonariensis). Organochlorine pesticides (OCPs), polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) were analyzed by GC-ECD. HCHs, Endosulfans, DDTs, PCBs and PBDEs were found in all matrixes at both stations. The high persistence and transport processes are responsible for the occurrence of HCHs, DDTs and PCBs in Bs, SPM and fish tissues, even many years after their prohibition. PBDEs showed lower levels according to the scarcity of punctual sources in the area. Endosulfan showed variable amounts in agreement with application periods since this pesticide was used until a few years ago in this area. Finally, PCB levels overpassed the acceptable daily intake for human consumption being a risk for human health Thus, the present report confirms the occurrence of POPs in Mar Chiquita lake, alerting on the contribution of agricultural and urban pollutants in a RAMSAR site. Current results also raise concerns on biomagnification processes through the food web. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

  6. Laboratory reflectance spectra of clay minerals mixed with Mars analog materials: Toward enabling quantitative clay abundances from Mars spectra

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Roush, Ted L.; Bishop, Janice L.; Brown, Adrian J.; Blake, David F.; Bristow, Thomas F.

    2015-09-01

    Quantitative estimates of clay minerals on the martian surface, via remote sensing observations, provide constraints on activity, timing, duration, and extent of aqueous processes and the geochemical environment in martian history. We describe an analytical study to begin enabling quantitative estimates of phyllosilicates when mixed with martian analog materials. We characterize the chemistry, mineralogy, particle size distribution, and reflectance spectra of the end-member materials: saponite, montmorillonite, pyroxene, and palagonitic soil. Reflectance spectra were obtained for physical mixtures of saponite and montmorillonite with pyroxene, and saponite with palagonitic soil. We analyzed the diagnostic phyllosilicate spectral signatures in the 2.2-2.4 μm wavelength region in detail for the mixtures. This involved fitting the observed ∼2.3 or ∼2.2 μm band depth, associated with the presence of saponite and montmorillonite, respectively, as a function of the abundance of these materials in the mixtures. Based upon the band depth of the spectral features we find that 3-5 wt.% of the clay minerals in the mixture with pyroxene can be recognized and at 25 wt.% their presence is indisputable in the mixtures. When the saponite is mixed with the lower albedo palagonitic soil, its presence is clearly distinguishable via the 1.4 and 2.3 μm features at 25 wt.% abundance. These relationships, between abundance and band depth, provide an ability to quantitatively address the amount of these materials in mixtures. The trends described here provide guidance for estimating the presence of phyllosilicates in matrices on the martian surface.

  7. Field Characterization of the Mineralogy and Organic Chemistry of Carbonates from the 2010 Arctic Mars Analog Svalbard Expedition by Evolved Gas Analysis

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    McAdam, A. C.; Ten Kate, I. L.; Stern, J. C.; Mahaffy, P. R.; Blake, D. F.; Morris, R. V.; Steele, A.; Amundson, H. E. F.

    2011-01-01

    The 2010 Arctic Mars Analog Svalbard Expedition (AMASE) investigated two geologic settings using methodologies and techniques being developed or considered for future Mars missions, such as the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL), ExoMars, and Mars Sample Return. The Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) [1] instrument suite, which will be on MSL, consists of a quadrupole mass spectrometer (QMS), a gas chromatograph (GC), and a tunable laser mass spectrometer (TLS); all will be applied to analyze gases created by pyrolysis of samples. During AMASE, a Hiden Evolved Gas Analysis-Mass Spectrometer (EGA-MS) system represented the EGA-MS capability of SAM. Another MSL instrument, CheMin, will use x-ray diffraction (XRD) and x-ray fluorescence (XRF) to perform quantitative mineralogical characterization of samples [e.g., 2]. Field-portable versions of CheMin were used during AMASE. AMASE 2010 focused on two sites that represented biotic and abiotic analogs. The abiotic site was the basaltic Sigurdfjell vent complex, which contains Mars-analog carbonate cements including carbonate globules which are excellent analogs for the globules in the ALH84001 martian meteorite [e.g., 3, 4]. The biotic site was the Knorringfjell fossil methane seep, which featured carbonates precipitated in a methane-supported chemosynthetic community [5]. This contribution focuses on EGA-MS analyses of samples from each site, with mineralogy comparisons to CheMin team results. The results give insight into organic content and organic-mineral associations, as well as some constraints on the minerals present.

  8. Nucleic Acid Extraction from Synthetic Mars Analog Soils for in situ Life Detection

    PubMed Central

    Mojarro, Angel; Ruvkun, Gary; Zuber, Maria T.

    2017-01-01

    Abstract Biological informational polymers such as nucleic acids have the potential to provide unambiguous evidence of life beyond Earth. To this end, we are developing an automated in situ life-detection instrument that integrates nucleic acid extraction and nanopore sequencing: the Search for Extra-Terrestrial Genomes (SETG) instrument. Our goal is to isolate and determine the sequence of nucleic acids from extant or preserved life on Mars, if, for example, there is common ancestry to life on Mars and Earth. As is true of metagenomic analysis of terrestrial environmental samples, the SETG instrument must isolate nucleic acids from crude samples and then determine the DNA sequence of the unknown nucleic acids. Our initial DNA extraction experiments resulted in low to undetectable amounts of DNA due to soil chemistry–dependent soil-DNA interactions, namely adsorption to mineral surfaces, binding to divalent/trivalent cations, destruction by iron redox cycling, and acidic conditions. Subsequently, we developed soil-specific extraction protocols that increase DNA yields through a combination of desalting, utilization of competitive binders, and promotion of anaerobic conditions. Our results suggest that a combination of desalting and utilizing competitive binders may establish a “universal” nucleic acid extraction protocol suitable for analyzing samples from diverse soils on Mars. Key Words: Life-detection instruments—Nucleic acids—Mars—Panspermia. Astrobiology 17, 747–760. PMID:28704064

  9. WISDOM GPR investigations in a Mars-analog environment during the SAFER rover operation simulation

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Dorizon, S.; Ciarletti, V.; Plettemeier, D.; Vieau, A.-J.; Benedix, W.-S.; Mütze, M.; Hassen-Kodja, R.; Humeau, O.

    2014-04-01

    The WISDOM (Water Ice Subsurface Deposits Observations on Mars) Ground Penetrating Radar has been selected to be onboard the ExoMars 2018 rover mission [1]. This instrument will investigate the Martian shallow subsurface and provide the geological context of the mission, by characterizing the subsurface in terms of structure, stratigraphy and potential buried objects. It will also quantify the geoelectrical properties of the medium, which are directly related to its nature, its water or salts content and its hardness [2]. WISDOM data will provide important clues to guide the drilling operations to location of potential exobiological interest. A prototype available in LATMOS, France, is currently tested in a wide range of natural environments. In this context, the WISDOM team participated in the SAFER (Sample Acquisition Field Experiment with a Rover) field trial that occurred from 7th to 13th October 2013 in the Atacama Desert, Chile. Designed to gather together scientists and engineers in a context of a real Martian mission with a rover, the SAFER trial was the opportunity to use three onboard ExoMars instruments, namely CLUPI (Close- UP Imager), PANCAM (Panoramic Camera) and WISDOM, to investigate the chosen area. We present the results derived from WISDOM data acquired over the SAFER trial site to characterize the shallow subsurface of the area.

  10. Experimentally Shocked and Altered Basalt: VNIR Spectra of Mars Analog Materials

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Bell, M. S.

    2017-01-01

    Major occurrences of hydrous alteration minerals on Mars have been found in Noachian impact craters formed in basaltic targets and detected using visible/near infrared (VNIR) spectroscopy. Until recently phyllosilicates were detected only in craters in the southern hemisphere. However, it has been reported that at least nine craters in the northern plains apparently excavated thick layers of lava and sediment to expose phyllosilicates as well and two Hesperian-aged impact craters, Toro and Majuro, bear evidence of phyllosilicates in the southern highlands. Turner et al. 2015 reported that hydrated minerals were identified in three Amazonian aged complex impact craters, located at 52.42degN, 39.86degE in the Ismenius Lacus quadrangle, at 8.93degN, 141.28degE in Elysium, and within Stokes crater. These discoveries indicate that Mars was globally altered by water throughout its past but do not fully constrain formation conditions for phyllosilicate occurrences which have important implications for the evolution of the surface and biological potential of Mars.

  11. Nucleic Acid Extraction from Synthetic Mars Analog Soils for in situ Life Detection

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mojarro, Angel; Ruvkun, Gary; Zuber, Maria T.; Carr, Christopher E.

    2017-08-01

    Biological informational polymers such as nucleic acids have the potential to provide unambiguous evidence of life beyond Earth. To this end, we are developing an automated in situ life-detection instrument that integrates nucleic acid extraction and nanopore sequencing: the Search for Extra-Terrestrial Genomes (SETG) instrument. Our goal is to isolate and determine the sequence of nucleic acids from extant or preserved life on Mars, if, for example, there is common ancestry to life on Mars and Earth. As is true of metagenomic analysis of terrestrial environmental samples, the SETG instrument must isolate nucleic acids from crude samples and then determine the DNA sequence of the unknown nucleic acids. Our initial DNA extraction experiments resulted in low to undetectable amounts of DNA due to soil chemistry-dependent soil-DNA interactions, namely adsorption to mineral surfaces, binding to divalent/trivalent cations, destruction by iron redox cycling, and acidic conditions. Subsequently, we developed soil-specific extraction protocols that increase DNA yields through a combination of desalting, utilization of competitive binders, and promotion of anaerobic conditions. Our results suggest that a combination of desalting and utilizing competitive binders may establish a "universal" nucleic acid extraction protocol suitable for analyzing samples from diverse soils on Mars.

  12. Were Chloride-Bearing Lakes on Mars Fed by Deep-Sourced Groundwater?

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Melwani Daswani, M.; Kite, E. S.

    2016-12-01

    Chloride (probably halite)-bearing deposits have been identified by orbital spectroscopy in paleolakes and other geological settings on Mars. The origin of the saline fluids that formed the deposits remains largely unconstrained; chloride-rich inverted channels suggest surface runoff-fed ponds, alternatively, the abundance of chloride ( 10-25 wt. %) and absence of associated evaporites (carbonates, sulfates) are consistent with late-stage groundwater upwelling. We use HiRISE DTMs and THEMIS decorrelation stretched images to map a set of chloride-bearing deposits and calculate their volume, and a geochemical reaction-transport modeling code (CHIM-XPT) to test possible sources of the chlorine: groundwater chlorine would derive from deep igneous chlorapatite in basalt, whereas chlorine in surface runoff would derive mainly from volcanic Cl-phases deposited on top of Mars soil/dust. For a short duration (< 1 Mars yr) warming event (above freezing point), chlorapatite dissolution cannot provide sufficient Cl- to satisfy mass balance. High water-to-rock ratios (W/R) are also ruled out because sulfates would be transported into the lakes and precipitate close to or with the chlorides. If the source of chlorine was the weathering of volcanic Cl-phases (e.g. perchlorate), long warm events are not required, since the volcanic Cl-phases only reside in the top-most meters of soil/dust. For a 1.4 ×1011 kg NaCl deposit near Miyamoto Crater in Meridiani Planum, surface water in equilibrium with a possible early Hesperian pHCl = 1.2 × 10-4 bar atmosphere would have been too dilute ( 4 × 10-3 g Cl L-1) to form the deposit. However, chlorapatite weathering across the 1.2 ×109 m2 basin could form the deposit but the depth of weathering required ( 15 m) would be inconsistent with seasonal melting.

  13. Part 2: Sedimentary geology of the Valles, Marineris, Mars and Antarctic dry valley lakes

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Nedell, Susan S.

    1987-01-01

    Detailed mapping of the layered deposits in the Valles Marineris, Mars from high-resolution Viking orbiter images revealed that they from plateaus of rhythmically layered material whose bases are in the lowest elevations of the canyon floors, and whose tops are within a few hundred meters in elevation of the surrounding plateaus. Four hypotheses for the origin of the layered deposits were considered: that they are eolian deposits; that they are remnants of the same material as the canyon walls; that they are explosive volcanic deposits; or that they were deposited in standing bodies of water. There are serious morphologic objections to each of the first three. The deposition of the layered deposits in standing bodies of water best explains their lateral continuity, horizontality, great thickness, rhythmic nature, and stratigraphic relationships with other units within the canyons. The Martian climatic history indicated that any ancient lakes were ice covered. Two methods for transporting sediment through a cover of ice on a martian lake appear to be feasible. Based on the presently available data, along with the theoretical calculations presented, it appears most likely that the layered deposits in the Valles Marineris were laid down in standing bodies of water.

  14. Mars surface weathering products and spectral analogs: Palagonites and synthetic iron minerals

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Golden, D. C.; Ming, D. W.; Morris, R. V.; Lauer, H. V., Jr.

    1992-01-01

    There are several hypotheses regarding the formation of Martian surface fines. These surface fines are thought to be products of weathering processes occurring on Mars. Four major weathering environments of igneous rocks on Mars have been proposed; (1) impact induced hydrothermal alterations; (2) subpermafrost igneous intrusion; (3) solid-gas surface reactions; and (4) subaerial igneous intrusion over permafrost. Although one or more of these processes may be important on the Martian surface, one factor in common for all these processes is the reaction of solid or molten basalt with water (solid, liquid, or gas). These proposed processes, with the exception of solid-gas surface reactions, are transient processes. The most likely product of transient hydrothermal processes are layer silicates, zeolites, hydrous iron oxides and palagonites. The long-term instability of hydrous clay minerals under present Martian conditions has been predicted; however, the persistence of such minerals due to slow kinetics of dehydration, or entrapment in permafrost, where the activity of water is high, can not be excluded. Anhydrous oxides of iron (e.g., hematite and maghemite) are thought to be stable under present Martian surface conditions. Oxidative weathering of sulfide minerals associated with Martian basalts has been proposed. Weathering of sulfide minerals leads to a potentially acidic permafrost and the formation of Fe(3) oxides and sulfates. Weathering of basalts under acidic conditions may lead to the formation of kaolinite through metastable halloysite and metahalloysite. Kaolinite, if present, is thought to be a thermodynamically stable phase at the Martian surface. Fine materials on Mars are important in that they influence the surface spectral properties; these fines are globally distributed on Mars by the dust storms and this fraction will have the highest surface area which should act as a sink for most of the absorbed volatiles near the surface of Mars. Therefore

  15. Mars surface weathering products and spectral analogs: Palagonites and synthetic iron minerals

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Golden, D. C.; Ming, D. W.; Morris, R. V.; Lauer, H. V., Jr.

    1992-01-01

    There are several hypotheses regarding the formation of Martian surface fines. These surface fines are thought to be products of weathering processes occurring on Mars. Four major weathering environments of igneous rocks on Mars have been proposed; (1) impact induced hydrothermal alterations; (2) subpermafrost igneous intrusion; (3) solid-gas surface reactions; and (4) subaerial igneous intrusion over permafrost. Although one or more of these processes may be important on the Martian surface, one factor in common for all these processes is the reaction of solid or molten basalt with water (solid, liquid, or gas). These proposed processes, with the exception of solid-gas surface reactions, are transient processes. The most likely product of transient hydrothermal processes are layer silicates, zeolites, hydrous iron oxides and palagonites. The long-term instability of hydrous clay minerals under present Martian conditions has been predicted; however, the persistence of such minerals due to slow kinetics of dehydration, or entrapment in permafrost, where the activity of water is high, can not be excluded. Anhydrous oxides of iron (e.g., hematite and maghemite) are thought to be stable under present Martian surface conditions. Oxidative weathering of sulfide minerals associated with Martian basalts has been proposed. Weathering of sulfide minerals leads to a potentially acidic permafrost and the formation of Fe(3) oxides and sulfates. Weathering of basalts under acidic conditions may lead to the formation of kaolinite through metastable halloysite and metahalloysite. Kaolinite, if present, is thought to be a thermodynamically stable phase at the Martian surface. Fine materials on Mars are important in that they influence the surface spectral properties; these fines are globally distributed on Mars by the dust storms and this fraction will have the highest surface area which should act as a sink for most of the absorbed volatiles near the surface of Mars. Therefore

  16. Models for Facies and Compositional Variations in Gale Crater lake sediments, Mars

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Grotzinger, J. P.

    2016-12-01

    The Murray formation, Gale crater, Mars contains one major depositional facies - laminated mudstone - deposited in a lake; and minor additional facies - ripple cross laminated and trough cross bedded sandstones - representing subaqueous delta foreslope, fluvial, or eolian environments. The persistence of fine lamination, locally with scour and drape truncation surfaces, and absence of desiccation cracks, prism cracks, intraclasts, displacive evaporite crystals and nodules all suggest a perennial lake formed at depths great enough to avoid seasonal desiccation. Possible eolian and fluvial deposits would indicate base level lowering during longer-term lake level oscillation. Two compositional facies are observed based on elemental and mineralogic data, a hematite-sulfate (HS) facies and magnetite-silica (MS) facies. The HS facies comprises the lower few meters of stratigraphy exposed in the foothills of Mt Sharp, and transitions upward without any major change in the physical facies into the MS facies which persists through 10 meters up to higher levels in the Murray formation. Thinning of lamination from 2 mm to 0.5 mm coincides with the compositional facies transition. At the highest stratigraphic levels studied by Curiosity hematitic rocks are encountered again but lack significant sulfates that are not associated with later diagenesis; physical facies are a mixture of finely laminated mudstones and trough crossbedded fine sandstones. Two models best fit the physical and compositional data. In the first case, variations in the composition of fine clastic detritus delivered to the lake via marginal sediment plumes, coupled with redox oscillations in the composition of authigenic minerals precipitated from the lake. In the second model, originally reduced sediments of either detrital or authigenic origin are oxidized during burial diagenesis related to circulation of oxidizing groundwaters, converting reduced species, e.g. magnetite and sulfides, to hematite and Fe

  17. Wound Healing and Mucosal Immunity During Short Mars Analog Environment Mission: Salivary Biomarkers and Its Clinical Implications

    PubMed Central

    Rai, Balwant; Kaur, Jasdeep; Foing, Bernard. H.

    2012-01-01

    Objective: Wound healing in an extreme environment with micro-gravity is not well characterized, despite the likelihood that the increasing use of manned spaceflight as a research and commercial enterprise raises the probability of traumatic injury in this state. Hence, this study was conducted to determine the impact of the isolated environment of the Mars Desert Research Station on mucosal immunity and wound healing. Materials and Methods: Two punch biopsy wounds were placed on the hard palate of two crewmembers. The first wound was made during summer vacation, whereas the second was placed on the contra-lateral side 3 days before the Mars analog mission began. Thus, each crewmember served as his/her own control. Two independent methods were used to assess healing. A ten-item perceived stress scale, salivary cortisol, Immunoglobulin A, IgG and IgM were measured. Results: There were significant differences in the proportion of the wound size healed between vacation and the mission. Salivary IgA, IgM, IgG and cortisol levels showed significant differences between vacation and mission. Conclusion: These data suggest that stress can have significant consequences for wound healing. The effects of stress on wound repair could have important clinical implications, including for recovery from surgery. PMID:25610211

  18. Wound healing and mucosal immunity during short Mars analog environment mission: salivary biomarkers and its clinical implications.

    PubMed

    Rai, Balwant; Kaur, Jasdeep; Foing, Bernard H

    2012-08-01

    Wound healing in an extreme environment with micro-gravity is not well characterized, despite the likelihood that the increasing use of manned spaceflight as a research and commercial enterprise raises the probability of traumatic injury in this state. Hence, this study was conducted to determine the impact of the isolated environment of the Mars Desert Research Station on mucosal immunity and wound healing. Two punch biopsy wounds were placed on the hard palate of two crewmembers. The first wound was made during summer vacation, whereas the second was placed on the contra-lateral side 3 days before the Mars analog mission began. Thus, each crewmember served as his/her own control. Two independent methods were used to assess healing. A ten-item perceived stress scale, salivary cortisol, Immunoglobulin A, IgG and IgM were measured. There were significant differences in the proportion of the wound size healed between vacation and the mission. Salivary IgA, IgM, IgG and cortisol levels showed significant differences between vacation and mission. These data suggest that stress can have significant consequences for wound healing. The effects of stress on wound repair could have important clinical implications, including for recovery from surgery.

  19. Experimental Tests of Micro-concretion Nucleation in Porous Media: A Laboratory Analog for Formation of Hematite Concretions on Mars

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Barge, L. M.; Petruska, J.

    2009-04-01

    We present the results of diffusion experiments in combined glass bead and gel media that produced silver chromate precipitates under a variety of conditions. Precipitates took various forms including finger fluid fronts, rhythmic (Liesegang) bands, and mm-size spheroidal "concretions". The silver chromate spherules produced in our experiments are morphologically similar to spheroidal HFO "mini-concretions" that are commonly found in the Jurassic Navajo Sandstone, Utah (USA), which are considered a terrestrial analog for the hematite concretions ("blueberries") discovered at Meridiani Planum, Mars (Chan et al. 2004, Nature). Like the Utah and Martian concretions, the spherules formed in our experiments exhibit a self-organized distribution, lack of an obvious macro nucleus, and ability to form "twin" morphologies. In all cases, the spheroidal precipitates nucleated under diffusion-controlled conditions, and some growth occurred although advection was not present. Other forms of precipitate such as periodic banding and fluid fronts were produced in our experiments as well, which also resemble types of iron mineral precipitation that are observed in the Navajo Sandstone, although thus far only spheroidal self-organized precipitates are seen on Mars. The presence of self-organized precipitates in the Utah and Martian environments most likely resulted from nucleation in a diffusion-controlled environment, and the specific morphology of iron oxide precipitates in porous and permeable systems is likely determined by chemical and physical parameters of the fluid environment in which they precipitated. Although the chemical conditions in our precipitation experiments are obviously very different from what would be expected in the Navajo Sandstone or on Mars, we show in this work how the morphology of self-organized mineral precipitates in a porous/permeable medium is affected by specific physical and chemical parameters.

  20. Testing the Snowpack Hypothesis for Gully Formation on Mars: Utilization of the Antarctic Dry Valleys (ADV) as a Terrestrial Analog

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Morgan, G. A.

    2007-12-01

    The identification of young gullies on Mars suggests that liquid water has flowed across the martian surface during the recent climatic regime which has otherwise been considered to have been cold and dry. Research into the martian gullies suggest that water flow was concurrent with periods of higher obliquity, yet, no consensus has been reached regarding whether the water which eroded the gullies originated within internal confined aquifers or was sourced from surface/near-surface snow and ice deposits. We undertook research into gully formation in the ADV, a hyper-arid very cold polar desert which is considered the closest terrestrial analog to current Martian conditions. Our research identified two water sources: 1) perennial snow/ice deposits within the gully alcoves. 2). Annual accumulations of windblown snow trapped within the channels themselves. The melt produced by each source was found to be a function of: the local microclimatic zone, lithology, slopes and elevation. We also classified and mapped a range of meso-scale features (m to 10s of m scale) that can be compared to landforms identifiable within HiRISE images in order to further constrain gully formation processes and potential levels of recent activity on Mars. The exchange of salts between the runoff within the gullies and the surrounding ADV soils may also provide further insights into the generation of brines within polar deserts; this has important ramification regarding their development on Mars and the extent to which the freezing point can be depressed. Our findings demonstrate how gully erosion can take place in the absence of aquifer-fed sapping and within a region of low precipitation and thus provides further support for a surface source of water for the martian gullies. These results also underline the significance of snowmelt as a source of water for both ADV hydrological systems and ecosystems.

  1. Dielectric and Hardness Measurements of Martian Analog Rocks in Support of the WISDOM Radar on ExoMars

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    ElShafie, A.; Heggy, E.; Ciarletti, V.; Clifford, S. M.

    2011-12-01

    The success of the WISDOM (Water Ice and Subsurface Deposit Observation On Mars) radar in supporting the ExoMars drill to targets of opportunities and for maintaining optimal drilling capabilities is based on the complementarily of the two experiments in assessing the shallow subsurface physical properties. The dielectric properties as inverted from WISDOM wide-band ground penetrating radar radargrams, will be used to assess the ground mechanical properties as rock hardness, density and porosity which are crucial inputs for optimizing drilling operations. The main purpose of this research is to perform dielectric permittivity and hardness measurements for Martian analog rocks as a function of the Martian surface environmental parameters in an attempt to correlate between the physical and mechanical properties (i.e. dielectric constant and rock hardness) for volcanic rocks and permafrost simulating the case of the most upper layers of the Martian regolith. The implication for optimizing ExoMars drilling and sampling activities based on this correlation between the physical and mechanical properties will be discussed. We considered eight different types of volcanic rocks, for which we measured both the permittivity at the frequency band 200 to 1500 MHz and hardness over the range R= 10 to 100 using Schmidt hammer hardness tester. Based on our experimental results, the dielectric constant and hardness values ranged from (ɛ = 1.91 to 8.09) and (R = 12.8 to 68) at the density of (ρ = 0.78 to 3 gm cm-3) for pumice and flood basalt respectively. Dielectric constant and rock hardness are found to increase with increasing sample density which implied a direct linear correlation between dielectric constant and rock hardness. The drill penetration rate of the previously described samples is predicted and correlated to the dielectric constant. An inverse relation between dielectric constant and drill penetration rate is concluded.

  2. Exploration of a Subsurface Biosphere in a Volcanic Massive Sulfide: Results of the Mars Analog Rio Tinto Drilling Experiment

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Stoker, C. R.; Stevens, T.; Amils, R.; Fernandez, D.

    2005-12-01

    Biological systems on Earth require three key ingredients-- liquid water, an energy source, and a carbon source, that are found in very few extraterrestrial environments. Previous examples of independent subsurface ecosystems have been found only in basalt aquifers. Such lithotrophic microbial ecosystems (LME) have been proposed as models for steps in the early evolution of Earth's biosphere and for potential biospheres on other planets where the surface is uninhabitable, such as Mars and Europa.. The Mars Analog Rio Tinto Experiment (MARTE) has searched in a volcanic massive sulfide deposit in Rio Tinto Spain for a subsurface biosphere capable of living without sunlight or oxygen and found a subsurface ecosystem driven by the weathering of the massive sulfide deposit (VMS) in which the rock matrix provides sufficient resources to support microbial metabolism, including the vigorous production of H2 by water-rock interactions. Microbial production of methane and sulfate occurred in the sulfide orebody and microbial production of methane and hydrogen sulfide continued in an anoxic plume downgradient from the sulfide ore. Organic carbon concentrations in the parent rock were too low to support microbes. The Rio Tinto system thus represents a new type of subsurface ecosystem with strong relevance for exobiological studies. Commercial drilling was used to reach the aquifer system at 100 m depth and conventional laboratory techniques were used to identify and characterize the biosphere. Then, the life search strategy that led to successful identification of this biosphere was applied to the development of a robotic drilling, core handling, inspection, subsampling, and life detection system built on a prototype planetary lander that was deployed in Rio Tinto Spain in September 2005 to test the capability of a robotic drilling system to search for subsurface life. A remote science team directed the simulation and analyzed the data from the MARTE robotic drill. The results

  3. Lost Jim Lava Flow, Seward Peninsula, Alaska as an analog for lava-ice interactions on Mars

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Marcucci, E.; Hamilton, C.; Herrick, R. R.

    2015-12-01

    On Mars, volcanism within Elysium Planitia may have occurred as recently as ~10 million years ago, which associated lava flows being emplaced with ice-bearing permafrost. On Earth, there are few active volcanic regions that are cold enough to support permafrost, but the Seward Peninsula in Alaska is a prime location to study recent volcano-ice interactions. In the early 2000s, J.E. Beget and J.S. Kargel explored two areas in Alaska that exhibit features characteristic of explosive volcanism that may be the result of lava-ice interaction. These locations include the Lost Jim Lava Flow (65°29'N, 163°17'W) and several large maars (66°23'N, 164°29'W). The work presented here focuses on the Lost Jim Lava Flow, emanating from Lost Jim Cone and flowing West and North. The flow was erupted 1000-2000 years ago, covers ~225 km2, and ranges 3-30 m in thickness. Previous fieldwork identified pits along the margins of the flow that were interpreted to be collapse features (i.e., thermokarst) that formed as ground-ice beneath the lava melted due to heat transfer from the overlaying lava flow. This investigation utilizes stereo photogrammetry to generate high-resolution digital terrain models (DTMs) of these flow features to assess if these pits are indeed the products of thermokarstification, or if they are lava-rise pits formed by lava flow inflation. The DTMs were generated from ALOS PRISM data and DigitalGlobe Worldview 1 and 2 panchromatic satellite images taken as stereo-pairs or -triplets. With these new models the extent and morphology of the flow and pits will be categorized across the entire flow. These results are also compared to young lava flows on Mars, which may have experienced lava-ice interactions. Understanding the expression of such interactions on Earth may aid in the identification and interpretation of analogous eruptions on Mars.

  4. Gullies on Mars: Origin by Snow and Ice Melting and Potential for Life Based on Possible Analogs from Devon Island, High Arctic

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Lee, Pascal; Cockell, Charles S.; McKay, Christopher P.

    2004-01-01

    Gullies on Devon Island, High Arctic, which form by melting of transient surface ice and snow covers and offer morphologic and contextual analogs for gullies reported on Mars are reported to display enhancements in biological activity in contrast to surrounding polar desert terrain.

  5. Gullies on Mars: Origin by Snow and Ice Melting and Potential for Life Based on Possible Analogs from Devon Island, High Arctic

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Lee, Pascal; Cockell, Charles S.; McKay, Christopher P.

    2004-01-01

    Gullies on Devon Island, High Arctic, which form by melting of transient surface ice and snow covers and offer morphologic and contextual analogs for gullies reported on Mars are reported to display enhancements in biological activity in contrast to surrounding polar desert terrain.

  6. Rock Abrasion and Ventifact Formation on Mars from Field Analog, Theoretical, and Experimental Studies

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Bridges, N. T.; Laity, J. E.

    2001-01-01

    Rocks observed by the Viking Landers and Pathfinder Lander/Sojourner rover exhibit a suite of perplexing rock textures. Among these are pits, spongy textures, penetrative flutes, lineaments, crusts, and knobs Fluvial, impact, chemical alteration, and aeolian mechanisms have been proposed for many of these. In an effort to better understand the origin and characteristics of Martian rock textures, abraded rocks in the Mojave Desert and other regions have been studied. We find that most Martian rock textures, as opposed to just a few, bear close resemblance to terrestrial aeolian textures and can most easily be explained by wind, not other, processes. Flutes, grooves, and some pits on Mars are consistent with abrasion by saltating particles, as described previously. However, many other rock textures probably also have an aeolian origin. Sills at the base of rocks that generally lie at high elevations, such as Half Dome, are consistent with such features on Earth that are related to moats or soil ramps that shield the basal part of the rock from erosion. Crusts consisting of fluted fabrics, such as those on Stimpy and Chimp, are similar to fluted crusts on Earth that spall off over time. Knobby and lineated rocks are similar to terrestrial examples of heterogeneous rocks that differentially erode. The location of specific rock textures on Mars also gives insight into their origin. Many of the most diagnostic ventifacts found at the Pathfinder site are located on rocks that lie near the crests or the upper slopes of ridges. On Earth, the most active ventifact formation occurs on sloped or elevated topography, where windflow is accelerated and particle kinetic energy and flux are increased. Integrated 0 together, these observations point to significant aeolian 0 modification of rocks on Mars and cast doubt on whether many primary textures resulting from other processes are preserved. Experimental simulations of abrasion in the presence of abundant sand indicate that

  7. Rock Abrasion and Ventifact Formation on Mars from Field Analog, Theoretical, and Experimental Studies

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Bridges, N. T.; Laity, J. E.

    2001-01-01

    Rocks observed by the Viking Landers and Pathfinder Lander/Sojourner rover exhibit a suite of perplexing rock textures. Among these are pits, spongy textures, penetrative flutes, lineaments, crusts, and knobs Fluvial, impact, chemical alteration, and aeolian mechanisms have been proposed for many of these. In an effort to better understand the origin and characteristics of Martian rock textures, abraded rocks in the Mojave Desert and other regions have been studied. We find that most Martian rock textures, as opposed to just a few, bear close resemblance to terrestrial aeolian textures and can most easily be explained by wind, not other, processes. Flutes, grooves, and some pits on Mars are consistent with abrasion by saltating particles, as described previously. However, many other rock textures probably also have an aeolian origin. Sills at the base of rocks that generally lie at high elevations, such as Half Dome, are consistent with such features on Earth that are related to moats or soil ramps that shield the basal part of the rock from erosion. Crusts consisting of fluted fabrics, such as those on Stimpy and Chimp, are similar to fluted crusts on Earth that spall off over time. Knobby and lineated rocks are similar to terrestrial examples of heterogeneous rocks that differentially erode. The location of specific rock textures on Mars also gives insight into their origin. Many of the most diagnostic ventifacts found at the Pathfinder site are located on rocks that lie near the crests or the upper slopes of ridges. On Earth, the most active ventifact formation occurs on sloped or elevated topography, where windflow is accelerated and particle kinetic energy and flux are increased. Integrated 0 together, these observations point to significant aeolian 0 modification of rocks on Mars and cast doubt on whether many primary textures resulting from other processes are preserved. Experimental simulations of abrasion in the presence of abundant sand indicate that

  8. Precision Topography of Pluvial Features in Nevada as Analogs for Possible Pluvial Landforms on Mars

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zimbelman, J. R.; Garry, W. B.; Irwin, R. P.

    2009-12-01

    Topographic measurements with better than 2 cm horizontal and 4 cm vertical precision were obtained for pluvial features in Nevada using a Trimble R8 Differential Global Positioning System (DGPS), making use of both real-time kinematic and post-processed kinematic techniques. We collected ten transects across shorelines in the southern end of Surprise Valley, near the California border in NW Nevada, on April 15-17, 2008, plus five transects of shorelines and eight transects of a wavecut scarp in Long Valley, near the Utah border in NE Nevada, on May 5-7, 2009. Each transect consists of topographic points keyed to field notes and photographs. In Surprise Valley, the highstand shoreline was noted at 1533.4 m elevation in 8 of the 10 transects, and several prominent intermediate shorelines could be correlated between two or more transects. In Long Valley, the well preserved highstand shoreline elevation of 1908.7 m correlated (within 0.6 m) to the base of the wavecut scarp along a horizontal distance of 1.2 km. These results demonstrate that adherence to a geopotential elevation level is one of the strongest indicators that a possible shoreline feature is the result of pluvial processes, and that elevation levels of features can be clearly detected and documented with precise topographic measurements. The High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) is returning images of Mars that show potential shoreline features in remarkable detail (e.g., image PSP_009998_2165, 32 cm/pixel, showing a possible shoreline in NW Arabia). Our results from studying shorelines in Nevada will provide a basis for evaluating the plausibility of possible shoreline features on Mars, the implications of which are significant for the overall history of Mars.

  9. Analytical Protocols for Analysis of Organic Molecules in Mars Analog Materials

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Mahaffy, Paul R.; Brinkerhoff, W.; Buch, A.; Demick, J.; Glavin, D. P.

    2004-01-01

    A range of analytical techniques and protocols that might be applied b in situ investigations of martian fines, ices, and rock samples are evaluated by analysis of organic molecules m Mars analogues. These simulants 6om terrestrial (i.e. tephra from Hawaii) or extraterrestrial (meteoritic) samples are examined by pyrolysis gas chromatograph mass spectrometry (GCMS), organic extraction followed by chemical derivatization GCMS, and laser desorption mass spectrometry (LDMS). The combination of techniques imparts analysis breadth since each technique provides a unique analysis capability for Certain classes of organic molecules.

  10. Thermokarst lakes and ponds on Mars in the very recent (late Amazonian) past

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Soare, Richard J.; Osinski, Gordon R.; Roehm, Charlotte L.

    2008-07-01

    The history of water is fundamental to understanding the geological evolution of Mars and to questions concerning the possible development of life on the Red Planet. Today, Mars is cold and dry; its regolith is permanently frozen and except under highly localised and transient conditions, liquid water is unstable at the surface. Intriguingly, we have identified geological features that could be markers of very late-Amazonian "wet" or ice-rich periglacial processes in Utopia and western Elysium Planitiae: 1. rimless, flat-floored and lobate, sometimes scalloped, depressions that are suggestive of terrestrial alases (evaporated/drained thermokarst lakes); 2. small-sized polygonal patterned-ground (perhaps formed by thermal-contraction cracking and possibly underlain by ice wedges); and, 3. circular/near-circular raised-rim depressions (consistent in morphology and scale with pingo-scars) that are nested in rimless depressions. In terrestrial cold-climate, non-glacial environments, landscape assemblages of this type occur only in the presence of ice-rich permafrost. Commenting upon the origin of the putative periglacial features on Mars, most workers have suggested that sublimation and not evaporation has been the dominant process. By contrast, we propose that two key characteristics of the rimless depressions - inner terraces and orthogonally-oriented polygons - are markers of stable, ponded water and its slow loss by evaporation or drainage. If the raised-rim landforms are pingo scars, then this also points to boundary conditions that are supportive of stable liquid water. With regard to the relative age of the features described above, previous work identified some lobate depressions superposed on crater-rim gullies in the region ( Soare et al., 2007). Gullies could be amongst the youngest geological features on Mars; superposed depressions point to an origin that is more youthful than the gullies. In turn, as some raised-rim landforms are superposed on rimless

  11. Insights from a Geophysical and Geomorphological Mars Analog Field Study at the Great Kobuk Sand Dunes, Northwestern Alaska

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    McGinnis, R. N.; Dinwiddie, C. L.; Stillman, D.; Bjella, K.; Hooper, D. M.; Grimm, R. E.

    2010-12-01

    Terrestrial dune systems are used as natural analogs to improve understanding of the processes by which planetary dunes form and evolve. Selected terrestrial analogs are often warm-climate dune fields devoid of frozen volatiles, but cold-climate dunes offer a better analog for polar dunes on Mars. The cold-climate Great Kobuk Sand Dunes (GKSD) of Kobuk Valley National Park, Alaska, are a high-latitude, slowly migrating analog for polar, inter- and intracrater dune fields on Mars. The 67°N latitude, 62 km2 GKSD consist of moderately well sorted, fine-grained sands deposited within the Kobuk River valley ~50 km north of the Arctic Circle and ~160 km inland from Kotzebue Sound. Winds at the GKSD are influenced significantly by complex surrounding topography, an influence that is similar to many high-latitude inter- and intracrater dune fields on Mars. Average annual temperature and precipitation at the GKSD are -5°C and 430 mm. The dune field is generally resistant to atmospheric forcing (wind) for a significant portion of the year because of snowcover, similar to the effect that seasonal CO2 and H2O frost mantling have on Martian polar dunes. The dune field, which ranges in elevation from 33 to 170 m above mean sea level, consists of sand sheets as well as climbing and reversing barchanoid, transverse, longitudinal, and star dunes. Several tributaries to the Kobuk River bound and dissect the GKSD, producing cutbank exposures and alcoves that reveal internal structure. We report results from our detailed geophysical and geomorphological site characterization field study, which was conducted near peak freeze conditions from March 15 through April 2, 2010. We used multifrequency ground-penetrating radar (25, 50, 100, 250, 500, 1000 MHz) and capacitively coupled resistivity methods to image the internal structure of representative dunes, and performed ground truthing using a sampling auger, natural exposures, and Real-Time Kinematic Differential GPS. Data from twenty

  12. Reflectance spectroscopy of ferric sulfate-bearing montmorillonites as Mars soil analog materials.

    PubMed

    Bishop, J L; Pieters, C M; Burns, R G; Edwards, J O; Mancinelli, R L; Fröschl, H

    1995-09-01

    Spectroscopic analyses have shown that smectites enhanced in the laboratory with additional ferric species exhibit important similarities to those of the soils on Mars. Ferrihydrite in these chemically treated smectites has features in the visible to near-infrared region that resemble the energies and band strengths of features in reflectance spectra observed for several bright regions on Mars. New samples have been prepared with sulfate as well, because S was found by Viking to be a major component in the surface material on Mars. A suite of ferrihydrite-bearing and ferric sulfate-bearing montmorillonites, prepared with variable Fe3+ and S concentrations and variable pH conditions, has been analyzed using reflectance spectroscopy in the visible and infrared regions, Mössbauer spectroscopy at room temperature and 4 K, differential thermal analysis, and X-ray diffraction. These analyses support the formation of ferrihydrite of variable crystallinity in the ferrihydrite-bearing montmorillonites and a combination of schwertmannite and ferrihydrite in the ferric sulfate-bearing montmorillonites. Small quantities of poorly crystalline or nanophase forms of other ferric materials may also be present in these samples. The chemical formation conditions of the ferrihydrite-bearing and ferric sulfate-bearing montmorillonites influence the character of the low temperature Mössbauer sextets and the visible reflectance spectra. An absorption minimum is observed at 0.88-0.89 micrometers in spectra of the ferric sulfate-bearing samples, and at 0.89-0.92 micrometers in spectra of the ferrihydrate-bearing montmorillonites. Mössbauer spectra of the ferric sulfate-bearing montmorillonites indicate variable concentrations of ferrihydrite and schwertmannite in the interlaminar spaces and along grain surfaces. Dehydration under reduced atmospheric pressure conditions induces a greater effect on the adsorbed and interlayer water in ferrihydrite-bearing montmorillonite than on the

  13. Reflectance spectroscopy of ferric sulfate-bearing montmorillonites as Mars soil analog materials

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Bishop, J. L.; Pieters, C. M.; Burns, R. G.; Edwards, J. O.; Mancinelli, R. L.; Froschl, H.

    1995-01-01

    Spectroscopic analyses have shown that smectites enhanced in the laboratory with additional ferric species exhibit important similarities to those of the soils on Mars. Ferrihydrite in these chemically treated smectites has features in the visible to near-infrared region that resemble the energies and band strengths of features in reflectance spectra observed for several bright regions on Mars. New samples have been prepared with sulfate as well, because S was found by Viking to be a major component in the surface material on Mars. A suite of ferrihydrite-bearing and ferric sulfate-bearing montmorillonites, prepared with variable Fe3+ and S concentrations and variable pH conditions, has been analyzed using reflectance spectroscopy in the visible and infrared regions, Mossbauer spectroscopy at room temperature and 4 K, differential thermal analysis, and X-ray diffraction. These analyses support the formation of ferrihydrite of variable crystallinity in the ferrihydrite-bearing montmorillonites and a combination of schwertmannite and ferrihydrite in the ferric sulfate-bearing montmorillonites. Small quantities of poorly crystalline or nanophase forms of other ferric materials may also be present in these samples. The chemical formation conditions of the ferrihydrite-bearing and ferric sulfate-bearing montmorillonites influence the character of the low temperature Mossbauer sextets and the visible reflectance spectra. An absorption minimum is observed at 0.88-0.89 micrometers in spectra of the ferric sulfate-bearing samples, and at 0.89-0.92 micrometers in spectra of the ferrihydrate-bearing montmorillonites. Mossbauer spectra of the ferric sulfate-bearing montmorillonites indicate variable concentrations of ferrihydrite and schwertmannite in the interlaminar spaces and along grain surfaces. Dehydration under reduced atmospheric pressure conditions induces a greater effect on the adsorbed and interlayer water in ferrihydrite-bearing montmorillonite than on the water

  14. Reflectance spectroscopy of ferric sulfate-bearing montmorillonites as Mars soil analog materials

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Bishop, J. L.; Pieters, C. M.; Burns, R. G.; Edwards, J. O.; Mancinelli, R. L.; Froschl, H.

    1995-01-01

    Spectroscopic analyses have shown that smectites enhanced in the laboratory with additional ferric species exhibit important similarities to those of the soils on Mars. Ferrihydrite in these chemically treated smectites has features in the visible to near-infrared region that resemble the energies and band strengths of features in reflectance spectra observed for several bright regions on Mars. New samples have been prepared with sulfate as well, because S was found by Viking to be a major component in the surface material on Mars. A suite of ferrihydrite-bearing and ferric sulfate-bearing montmorillonites, prepared with variable Fe3+ and S concentrations and variable pH conditions, has been analyzed using reflectance spectroscopy in the visible and infrared regions, Mossbauer spectroscopy at room temperature and 4 K, differential thermal analysis, and X-ray diffraction. These analyses support the formation of ferrihydrite of variable crystallinity in the ferrihydrite-bearing montmorillonites and a combination of schwertmannite and ferrihydrite in the ferric sulfate-bearing montmorillonites. Small quantities of poorly crystalline or nanophase forms of other ferric materials may also be present in these samples. The chemical formation conditions of the ferrihydrite-bearing and ferric sulfate-bearing montmorillonites influence the character of the low temperature Mossbauer sextets and the visible reflectance spectra. An absorption minimum is observed at 0.88-0.89 micrometers in spectra of the ferric sulfate-bearing samples, and at 0.89-0.92 micrometers in spectra of the ferrihydrate-bearing montmorillonites. Mossbauer spectra of the ferric sulfate-bearing montmorillonites indicate variable concentrations of ferrihydrite and schwertmannite in the interlaminar spaces and along grain surfaces. Dehydration under reduced atmospheric pressure conditions induces a greater effect on the adsorbed and interlayer water in ferrihydrite-bearing montmorillonite than on the water

  15. Remote Sensing of Terrestrial Analogs for Evaporite Basins on Mars: Analysis of Groundtruth

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Baldridge, A. M.; Farmer, J. D.; Moersch, J. E.

    2001-12-01

    The presence or absence of evaporite basins on Mars has important implications for the role that liquid water has played in shaping the planet's climatic history. Orbital investigations of surface mineralogy are crucial to this exploration effort. With the exception of a few specular hematite sites, the Thermal Emission Spectrometer (TES) now orbiting Mars has yet to find significant mineralogical evidence of hydrously altered minerals. This is may reflect the coarse spatial resolution of TES (3km/pixel), a limitation that will be addressed later this year by the Thermal Emission Imaging Spectrometer (THEMIS), which will map much of the planet at an improved spatial resolution of 100 meters/pixel. To better understand the limitations of TES and THEMIS in detecting evaporite minerals, Moersch and Farmer (2000) have conducted a spectral study of the Badwater Basin, Death Valley, CA. Thresholds for detecting sulfates and carbonates were examined using high resolution MODIS/ASTER Airborne Simulator (MASTER) data, degraded to TES and THEMIS spatial resolutions. To assess the validity of this spectrally based approach we subsequently performed a quantitative ground truth study of surface mineralogy in the Badwater Basin. In this report we review the results of our analysis based on thin section petrography, X-ray diffraction, electron microprobe and laboratory thermal emission spectrometer analysis. Our results indicate that the interpretation of spectral data in the Badwater Basin is confounded by a variety of factors, including overlaps of the spectral absorption features of different minerals, especially within natural mixtures of sulfates and silicates. X-ray diffraction data and thin section analysis confirm that the samples indeed contain complex mixtures of evaporites and silicate minerals. Comparisons of laboratory and MASTER spectra with mineralogic abundances based on point counting of thin sections, indicate that the detection limits for evaporite minerals is

  16. Olivine and Carbonate Globules in ALH84001: A Terrestrial Analog, and Implications for Water on Mars

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Treiman, A. H.

    2005-01-01

    Carbonate globules in ALH84001 are associated with small olivine grains an unexpected finding because the olivines equilibrated at high T while the carbonate is chemically zoned and unequilibrated. A possible explanation comes from a terrestrial analog on Spitsbergen (Norway), where some carbonate globules grew in cavities left by aqueous dissolution of olivine. For ALH84001, the same process may have acted, with larger olivines dissolved out and smaller ones shielded inside orthopyroxene. Carbonate would have been deposited in holes where the olivine had been. Later shocks crushed remaining void space, and mobilized feldspathic glass around the carbonates.

  17. Kinetic Fractionation of Stable Isotopes in Carbonates on Mars: Terrestrial Analogs

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Socki, Richard A.; Gibson, Everett K., Jr.; Golden, D. C.; Ming, Douglas W.; McKay, Gordon A.

    2003-01-01

    An ancient Martian hydrosphere consisting of an alkali-rich ocean would likely produce solid carbonate minerals through the processes of evaporation and/or freezing. We postulate that both (or either) of these kinetically-driven processes would produce carbonate minerals whose stable isotopic compositions are highly fractionated (enriched) with respect to the source carbon. Various scenarios have been proposed for carbonate formation on Mars, including high temperature formation, hydrothermal alteration, precipitation from evaporating brines, and cryogenic formation. 13C and 18O -fractionated carbonates have previously been shown to form kinetically under some of these conditions, ie.: 1) alteration by hydrothermal processes, 2) low temperature precipitation (sedimentary) from evaporating bicarbonate (brine) solutions, and 3) precipitation during the process of cryogenic freezing of bicarbonate-rich fluids. Here we examine several terrestrial field settings within the context of kinetically controlled carbonate precipitation where stable isotope enrichments have been observed.

  18. Thermally altered palagonitic tephra - A spectral and process analog to the soil and dust of Mars

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Bell, James F., III; Morris, Richard V.; Adams, John B.

    1993-01-01

    Six palagonitic soil samples (PH-1 through PH-6) which were collected at 30-cm intervals from a lava slab on Mauna Kea, Hawaii, are studied. The samples present an alteration sequence caused by heating during emplacement of molten lava over a preexisting tephra cone. Techniques employed include visible and near-IUR spectroscopy, Moessbauer spectroscopy, and magnetic analysis. The four samples closest to the slab (PH-1 through PH-4) were strongly altered in response to heating during its emplacement; their iron oxide mineralogy is dominated by nanophase ferric oxide. The sample adjacent to the slab (PH-1) has a factor of 3 less H2O and contains crystalline hematite and magnetite in addition to nanophase ferric oxide. It is argued that localized thermal alteration events may provide a volumetrically important mechanism for the palagonitization of basaltic glass and the production of crystalline ferric oxides on Mars.

  19. Thermally altered palagonitic tephra - A spectral and process analog to the soil and dust of Mars

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bell, J. F.; Morris, R. V.; Adams, J. B.

    1993-02-01

    Six palagonitic soil samples (PH-1 through PH-6) which were collected at 30-cm intervals from a lava slab on Mauna Kea, Hawaii, are studied. The samples present an alteration sequence caused by heating during emplacement of molten lava over a preexisting tephra cone. Techniques employed include visible and near-IUR spectroscopy, Moessbauer spectroscopy, and magnetic analysis. The four samples closest to the slab (PH-1 through PH-4) were strongly altered in response to heating during its emplacement; their iron oxide mineralogy is dominated by nanophase ferric oxide. The sample adjacent to the slab (PH-1) has a factor of 3 less H2O and contains crystalline hematite and magnetite in addition to nanophase ferric oxide. It is argued that localized thermal alteration events may provide a volumetrically important mechanism for the palagonitization of basaltic glass and the production of crystalline ferric oxides on Mars.

  20. Thermally altered palagonitic tephra - A spectral and process analog to the soil and dust of Mars

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Bell, James F., III; Morris, Richard V.; Adams, John B.

    1993-01-01

    Six palagonitic soil samples (PH-1 through PH-6) which were collected at 30-cm intervals from a lava slab on Mauna Kea, Hawaii, are studied. The samples present an alteration sequence caused by heating during emplacement of molten lava over a preexisting tephra cone. Techniques employed include visible and near-IUR spectroscopy, Moessbauer spectroscopy, and magnetic analysis. The four samples closest to the slab (PH-1 through PH-4) were strongly altered in response to heating during its emplacement; their iron oxide mineralogy is dominated by nanophase ferric oxide. The sample adjacent to the slab (PH-1) has a factor of 3 less H2O and contains crystalline hematite and magnetite in addition to nanophase ferric oxide. It is argued that localized thermal alteration events may provide a volumetrically important mechanism for the palagonitization of basaltic glass and the production of crystalline ferric oxides on Mars.

  1. Rocky 7 prototype Mars rover field geology experiments 1. Lavic Lake and sunshine volcanic field, California

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Arvidson, R. E.; Acton, C.; Blaney, D.; Bowman, J.; Kim, S.; Klingelhofer, G.; Marshall, J.; Niebur, C.; Plescia, J.; Saunders, R.S.; Ulmer, C.T.

    1998-01-01

    Experiments with the Rocky 7 rover were performed in the Mojave Desert to better understand how to conduct rover-based, long-distance (kilometers) geological traverses on Mars. The rover was equipped with stereo imaging systems for remote sensing science and hazard avoidance and 57Fe Mo??ssbauer and nuclear magnetic resonance spectrometers for in situ determination of mineralogy of unprepared rock and soil surfaces. Laboratory data were also obtained using the spectrometers and an X ray diffraction (XRD)/XRF instrument for unprepared samples collected from the rover sites. Simulated orbital and descent image data assembled for the test sites were found to be critical for assessing the geologic setting, formulating hypotheses to be tested with rover observations, planning traverses, locating the rover, and providing a regional context for interpretation of rover-based observations. Analyses of remote sensing and in situ observations acquired by the rover confirmed inferences made from orbital and simulated descent images that the Sunshine Volcanic Field is composed of basalt flows. Rover data confirmed the idea that Lavic Lake is a recharge playa and that an alluvial fan composed of sediments with felsic compositions has prograded onto the playa. Rover-based discoveries include the inference that the basalt flows are mantled with aeolian sediment and covered with a dense pavement of varnished basalt cobbles. Results demonstrate that the combination of rover remote sensing and in situ analytical observations will significantly increase our understanding of Mars and provide key connecting links between orbital and descent data and analyses of returned samples. Copyright 1998 by the American Geophysical Union.

  2. Mineralogy of Rock Flour in Glaciated Volcanic Terrains: An Analog for a Cold and Icy Early Mars

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Rampe, E. B.; Horgan, B.; Scudder, N.; Smith, R. J.; Rutledge, A. M.

    2017-01-01

    Geomorphological and mineralogical data from early Martian surfaces indicate liquid water was present on ancient Mars. The relative surface temperatures, however, remain a subject of debate. Was early Mars warm and wet or cold and icy with punctuated periods of warmth and ice melt? By characterizing the mineralogy and geochemistry of modern icy mafic terrains on Earth, we can search for these characteristics in early Martian terrains to better constrain the early Martian climate. Here, we describe the mineralogy of glacial flour in a modern glaciated volcanic terrain in Oregon, USA. We are particularly interested in secondary phases that form in these environments, and we hypothesize that poorly crystalline phases may preferentially form in these terrains because of the low temperatures and the seasonality of melt water production. A description of the mineralogy of the moraines, the composition of the amorphous materials, and the geochemistry of the glacial melt waters are presented elsewhere. Glacial flour is made up of silt- and clay-sized particles that form from the physical weathering of rock underlying a wet-based glacier as the glacier slides over it. Flour is usually transported from underneath a glacier by melt water streams. The geochemistry of glacial melt water streams has been studied extensively and has been used to infer weathering reactions within glacial systems. However, the mineralogy of these environments, especially on mafic volcanic terrains, is not well studied. Rock flour is a ubiquitous physical weathering product in glaciated terrains and, therefore, affects microbial habitats, stream and lake chemistry, and chemical weathering processes. and by studying the mineralogy of glacial flour, we can better understand geochemical and microbiological processes in subglacial and proglacial terrains.

  3. Terrestrial Analogs for Clay Minerals at Yellowknife Bay, Gale Crater, Mars

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Treiman, Allan H; Morris, Richard V.; Bristow, Thomas; Ming, Douglas W.; Achillies, Cherie; Bish, David L.; Blake, David; Vaniman, David; Chipera, Steve

    2013-01-01

    Sediments of the Sheepbed unit, Gale Crater, were analyzed by the CheMin X-ray diffraction instrument on the Curiosity Rover. The sediments consist of typical basalt minerals (Fe-forsterite, augite, pigeonite, plagioclase), as well as Fe oxide/hydroxides, Fesulfides, amorphous material, and a phyllosilicate. The phyllosilicate has a broad 001 peak at approx 1.0 nm, consistent with a poorly ordered smectite. However, in the absence of diagnostic tests possible on Earth, its identity is not clear. The position of the 06L diffraction band is generally used to distinguish dioctahedral from trioctahedral smectite, but it is beyond CheMin's range of 2 Theta. The measured position of the 02L diffraction band (approx 22.5deg 2 Theta by CheMin), implies that the smectite is trioctahedral. The exact position and shape of the 02L band is determined by the cations in the 'M' sites of the smectite; to constrain those cations, we sought analogs among terrestrial smectites, emphasizing those developed from basaltic precursors. A potential analog for the Sheepbed smectite is 'griffithite,' a variety of trioctahedral smectite in altered basalt of the Topanga formation, Griffith Park, Los Angeles. 'Griffithite' has an 02L diffraction band that is close in position and shape to that of the Sheepbed smectite, although 'griffithite' has a very sharp 001 peak, indicating a high degree of layer ordering not seen in the Sheepbed smectite. A typical chemical formula for 'griffithite,' determined by electron microprobe, is (Ca0.59 Na0.03) (Mg4.28 Fe1.83) (Si6.64 Al1.36) O20 (OH)4, normalized to Si+Al=8. This formula is consistent with a fully trioctahedral Fe-Mg smectite with Ca and Na as interlayer cations. In the Topanga basalt, four types of 'griffithite' are present: fine-grained, filling cracks and vesicles; coarse-grained, filling vesicles; coarse-grained, replacing olivine phenocrysts; and coarse-grained, replacing glassy mesostasis. The fine-grained 'griffithite' formed first, and

  4. Cryogenic Origin for Mars Analog Carbonates in the Bockfjord Volcanic Complex Svalbard (Norway)

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Amundsen, H. E. F.; Benning, L.; Blake, D. F.; Fogel, M.; Ming, D.; Skidmore, M.; Steele, A.

    2011-01-01

    The Sverrefjell and Sigurdfjell eruptive centers in the Bockfjord Volcanic Complex (BVC) on Svalbard (Norway) formed by subglacial eruptions ca. 1 Ma ago. These eruptive centers carry ubiquitous magnesian carbonate deposits including dolomitemagnesite globules similar to those in the Martian meteorite ALH84001. Carbonates in mantle xenoliths are dominated by ALH84001 type carbonate globules that formed during quenching of CO2-rich mantle fluids. Lava hosted carbonates include ALH84001 type carbonate globules occurring throughout lava vesicles and microfractures and massive carbonate deposits associated with vertical volcanic vents. Massive carbonates include < or equal 5 cm thick magnesite deposits protruding downwards into clear blue ice within volcanic vents and carbonate cemented lava breccias associated with volcanic vents. Carbonate cements comprise layered deposits of calcite, dolomite, huntite, magnesite and aragonite associated with ALH84001 type carbonate globules lining lava vesicles. Combined Mossbauer, XRD and VNIR data show that breccia carbonate cements at Sverrefjell are analog to Comanche carbonates at Gusev crater.

  5. Fluvial Channel Networks as Analogs for the Ridge-Forming Unit, Sinus Meridiani, Mars

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Wilkinson, M. J.; du Bois, J. B.

    2010-01-01

    Fluvial models have been generally discounted as analogs for the younger layered rock units of Sinus Meridiani. A fluvial model based on the large fluvial fan provides a possibly close analog for various features of the sinuous ridges of the etched, ridge-forming unit (RFU) in particular. The close spacing of the RFU ridges, their apparently chaotic orientations, and their organization in dense networks all appear unlike classical stream channel patterns. However, drainage patterns on large fluvial fans low-angle, fluvial aggradational features, 100s of km long, documented worldwide by us provide parallels. Some large fan characteristics resemble those of classical floodplains, but many differences have been demonstrated. One major distinction relevant to the RFU is that channel landscapes of large fans can dominate large areas (1.2 million km2 in one S. American study area). We compare channel morphologies on large fans in the southern Sahara Desert with ridge patterns in Sinus Meridiani (fig 1). Stream channels are the dominant landform on large terrestrial fans: they may equate to the ubiquitous, sinuous, elongated ridges of the RFU that cover areas region wide. Networks of convergent/divergent and crossing channels may equate to similar features in the ridge networks. Downslope divergence is absent in channels of terrestrial upland erosional landscapes (fig. 1, left), whereas it is common to both large fans (fig. 1, center) and RFU ridge patterns (fig 1, right downslope defined as the regional NW slope of Sinus Meridiani). RFU ridge orientation, judged from those areas apparently devoid of impact crater control, is broadly parallel with the regional slope (arrow, fig. 1, right), as is mean orientation of major channels on large fans (arrow, fig. 1, center). High densities per unit area characterize fan channels and martian ridges reaching an order of magnitude higher than those in uplands just upstream of the terrestrial study areas fig. 1. In concert with

  6. Unusually high stable carbon isotopic values of methane from low organic carbon Mars analog hypersaline environments

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kelley, C. A.; Poole, J. A.; Tazaz, A.; Chanton, J.; Bebout, B.

    2010-12-01

    Motivated by the Mars rovers’ findings of past hypersaline environments and the discovery of methane in the atmosphere of Mars, we examined methanogenesis in hypersaline ponds in Baja California Sur and in the Don Edwards National Wildlife Refuge in northern California. Methane-rich bubbles were observed to be released from below gypsum/halite crusts in these environments. The stable carbon isotopic composition of these bubbles ranged from about -30 to -40 ‰. Methane with these relatively high isotopic values would typically be considered non-biogenic, however incubations of crust and sediments samples over time resulted in the production of methane. We therefore undertook a series of measurements aimed at understanding the isotopic composition of methane in these environments. The concentrations and isotopic composition of the particulate organic carbon (POC) in these environments were measured. POC content was low (relative to most methane-producing sedimentary environments), generally less than 1%, and always less than 2% of the total mass. The isotopic composition of the POC ranged from -13 to -22 ‰. To determine the substrates used by the methanogens, 13C-labeled trimethylamine (TMA), monomethylamine, methanol, acetate and bicarbonate were added to incubation vials and the methane produced was monitored for 13C content. The main substrates used by the methanogens in these hypersaline environments were the non-competitive substrates, the methylamines and methanol. When unlabeled, but isotopically known, TMA was added to incubation vials in varying concentrations, the isotopic composition of the methane produced also varied. Little, if any, difference in the isotopic composition between the TMA and methane occurred at the lowest TMA concentration (10 µM final concentration). The lowest methane δ13C values (and so greatest fractionation between methane and TMA) occurred when the most TMA was added (1000 µM final concentration). This change in the

  7. Silica coatings in the Ka'u Desert, Hawaii, a Mars analog terrain: A micromorphological, spectral, chemical, and isotopic study

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Chemtob, Steven M.; Jolliff, Bradley L.; Rossman, George R.; Eiler, John M.; Arvidson, Raymond E.

    2010-04-01

    High-silica materials have been observed on Mars, both from orbit by the CRISM spectrometer and in situ by the Spirit rover at Gusev Crater. These observations potentially imply a wet, geologically active Martian surface. To understand silica formation on Mars, it is useful to study analogous terrestrial silica deposits. We studied silica coatings that occur on the 1974 Kilauea flow in the Ka'u Desert, Hawaii. These coatings are typically composed of two layers: a ˜10 μm layer of amorphous silica, capped by a ˜1 μm layer of Fe-Ti oxide. The oxide coating is composed of ˜100 nm spherules, suggesting formation by chemical deposition. Raman spectroscopy indicates altered silica glass as the dominant phase in the silica coating and anatase and rutile as dominant phases in the Fe-Ti coating; jarosite also occurs within the coatings. Oxygen isotopic contents of the coatings were determined by secondary ion mass spectrometry (Cameca 7f and NanoSIMS). The measured values, δ18OFe-Ti = 14.6 ± 2.1‰, and δ18Osilica = 12.1 ± 2.2‰ (relative to SMOW), are enriched in 18O relative to the basalt substrate. The observations presented are consistent with a residual formation mechanism for the silica coating. Acid-sulfate solutions leached away divalent and trivalent cations, leaving a silica-enriched layer behind. Micrometer-scale dissolution and reprecipitation may have also occurred within the coatings. Chemical similarities between the Hawaiian samples and the high-silica deposits at Gusev suggest that the Martian deposits are the product of extended periods of similar acid-sulfate leaching.

  8. Effects of Mars Regolith Analogs, UVC radiation, Temperature, Pressure, and pH on the Growth and Survivability of Methanogenic Archaea and Stable Carbon Isotope Fractionation: Implications for Surface and Subsurface Life on Mars

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Sinha, Navita

    Mars is one of the suitable bodies in our solar system that can accommodate extraterrestrial life. The detection of plumes of methane in the Martian atmosphere, geochemical evidence, indication of flow of intermittent liquid water on the Martian surface, and geomorphologies of Mars have bolstered the plausibility of finding extant or evidence of extinct life on its surface and/or subsurface. However, contemporary Mars has been considered as an inhospitable planet for several reasons, such as low atmospheric surface pressure, low surface temperature, and intense DNA damaging radiation. Despite the hostile conditions of Mars, a few strains of methanogenic archaea have shown survivability in limited surface and subsurface conditions of Mars. Methanogens, which are chemolithoautotrophic non-photosynthetic anaerobic archaea, have been considered ideal models for possible Martian life forms for a long time. The search for biosignatures in the Martian atmosphere and possibility of life on the Martian surface under UVC radiation and deep subsurface under high pressure, temperature, and various pHs are the motivations of this research. Analogous to Earth, Martian atmospheric methane could be biological in origin. Chapter 1 provides relevant information about Mars' habitability, methane on Mars, and different strains of methanogens used in this study. Chapter 2 describes the interpretation of the carbon isotopic data of biogenic methane produced by methanogens grown on various Mars analogs and the results provide clues to determine ambiguous sources of methane on Mars. Chapter 3 illustrates the sensitivity of hydrated and desiccated cultures of halophilic and non-halophilic methanogens to DNA-damaging ultraviolet radiations, and the results imply that UVC radiation may not be an enormous constraint for methanogenic life forms on the surface of Mars. Chapters 4, 5, and 6 discuss the data for the survivability, growth, and morphology of methanogens in presumed deep subsurface

  9. Pu'u Poli'ahu, Mauna Kea: A Possible Analog for the Hematite Bearing Layer Located in Gale Crater, Mars.

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Adams, M. E.

    2014-01-01

    Hyperspectral data detected by the Compact Reconnaissance Imaging Spectrometer for Mars (CRISM) on board Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) indicated the presence of a hematite bearing ridge on Mount Sharp situated in the Gale Crater, Mars. [Fraeman]. The presence of this mineral in high concentrations is indicative of possible aqueous origins. [Fraeman] In 2012, Curiosity Rover landed in Gale Crater on Mars. Curiosity's mission is to determine Mars' habitability and is equipped with an advanced suite of scientific instruments that are capable of conducting analyses on rocks and soil. The hematite bearing ridge on Mount Sharp is thought to be a good candidate of study for Curiosity. To better understand this type of terrain, the study of analog sites similar in geologic setting is of great importance. One site thought to be a comparable analog is a cinder cone called Pu'u Poli'ahu located on the summit of Mauna Kea, Hawai?i. Poli'ahu is unique among the tephra cones of Mauna Kea because it is thought to have formed in subaqueous conditions approximately 170,000 to 175,000 years ago. [Porter] Consequently located on the inner flanks of Poli'ahu is a rock outcrop that contains hematite. Samples were collected from the outcrop and characterized using the following instruments: Digital Microscope, Panalytical X-ray diffraction (XRD), and scanning electron microscope (SEM). The initial preparation of the rocks involved documenting each sample by creating powdered samples, thick sections, and photo documentation.

  10. Yungay Atacama, Chile, and University Valley, Antarctica, as Mars analogs, based on aridity as indicated by soil salt profiles and other characteristics

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kounaves, S. P.; Douglas, S.

    2010-12-01

    The Atacama desert in Chile and the McMurdo Dry Valleys (MDV) in Antarctica are considered to be two of the most arid deserts on Earth and thus are often used as Mars analogs for a variety of studies and instrument testing. Two regions within each of these, the Yunguy (Atacama) and University Valley (MDV) have especially been the focus of recent analog investigations. Both regions are comprised of soils that have accumulated an influx of atmospheric and marine salts. Some of these salts are influenced by the local biogeochemical environment and often display lower solubility. Two anions however, nitrate and perchlorate, are highly soluble species that represent proxies for the movement of water through the soil column either in bulk or thin films. An examination of these salt profiles in the upper and lower MDVs, and Yunguy, in the first case a relatively continuous and smooth distribution, while in the latter cases more chaotic and heterogeneous, suggests that University Valley has been subjected to little if any aqueous activity compared to Yungay or lower elevation MDVs. Even though Atacama possess some desirable Mars analog properties, the salt-profile-based aridity, the presence of dry permafrost, diffusion-controlled ice-table, cryoturbation, and comparatively pristine environment, endows the high elevation MDVs with unique and most Mars-like properties of any terrestrial analog site available.

  11. Terrestrial Analogs to Wind-Related Features at the Viking and Pathfinder Landing Sites on Mars

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Greeley, Ronald; Bridges, Nathan T.; Kuzmin, Ruslan O.; Laity, Julie E.

    2002-01-01

    Features in the Mojave Desert and Iceland provide insight into the characteristics and origin of Martian wind-related landforms seen by the Viking and Pathfinder landers. The terrestrial sites were chosen because they exhibit diverse wind features that are generally well understood. These features have morphologies comparable to those on Mars and include origins by deposition and erosion, with erosional processes modifying both soils and rocks. Duneforms and drifts are the most common depositional features seen at the Martian landing sites and indicate supplies of sand-sized particles blown by generally unidirectional winds. Erosional features include lag deposits, moat-like depressions around some rocks, and exhumed soil horizons. They indicate that wind can deflate at least some sediments and that this process is particularly effective where the wind interacts with rocks. The formation of ripples and wind tails involves a combination of depositional and erosional processes. Rock erosional features, or ventifacts, are recognized by their overall shapes, erosional flutes, and characteristic surface textures resulting from abrasion by windblown particles. The physics of saltation requires that particles in ripples and duneforms are predominantly sand-sized (60-2000 microns). The orientations of duneforms, wind tails, moats, and ventifacts are correlated with surface winds above particle threshold. Such winds are influenced by local topography and are correlated with winds at higher altitudes predicted by atmospheric models.

  12. Contrasting oxidative stress response mechanisms in novel strains of Bacillus isolated from the Mars-analog, Mojave Desert

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lera, M.; Marcu, O.

    2011-12-01

    Environmental conditions that limit the presence of life include ionizing radiation, extreme temperatures, and lack of water. These environments are common in our solar system and may contribute to the lack of apparent life. However, analogous environments here on Earth are host to a multitude of thriving microbial life. In order for microbes to survive in dry deserts, they must be must be able to adapt to transient diurnal and seasonal changes in the environment (water, temperature). To uncover response strategies to environmental stress that may prevent cellular damage and ensure adaptation and survival, two distinct, novel strains of Bacillus were isolated from the Mojave Desert (a Mars analog due to its arid conditions and high incidence of ultraviolet light) and classified by their partial 16S RNA gene sequences. These species, despite being closely related, exhibited radically different phenotypes and contrasting strategies for mitigating stress. The two strains had different growth rates, metabolic capacities and sporulation onset times when challenged by crowding and heat-shock. In response to hydrogen peroxide challenge, the intracellular levels of catalase activity, a peroxide-scavenging enzyme, differed for each strain, and were surprisingly lower than that of a non-desert control species of Bacillus. DNA repair mechanisms were more active in one strain than the other, and one isolate responded with an increase in expression of longevity gene orthologs involved in stress response. After multiple rounds of culturing, the peroxide degradation capacity, as well as the growth and sporulation rates remained constant for each strain, which suggests these are permanent features of each strain rather than transient responses. Taken together, these data uncover a diverse arsenal of response mechanisms employed by closely related species to combat stress. These adaptations may provide environmental-niche specificity and the diversity of life even in a scarce

  13. Evaluating mineralogy at terrestrial analogs for early Mars: Detection and characterization of clays with XRD and investigation of iron substitution in natroalunite

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Beckerman, Laura Grace

    The Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) Curiosity rover is equipped with CheMin, the first x-ray diffraction (XRD) instrument on Mars, for in situ mineralogy as part of its mission to seek evidence of past habitability at Gale Crater. Detection and characterization of hydrated minerals like clays and sulfates provides crucial insight into Mars' early geochemistry. For example, clays are often interpreted as having formed in lacustrine environments at neutral pHs, while sulfates such as jarosite are evidence of acid sulfate alteration. However, CheMin's inability to remove non-clay minerals and to preferentially orient samples may pose significant challenges to clay detection and characterization at Gale Crater. To evaluate the effect of particle size separation (<0.2 microm), removal of non-clay minerals, preferred orientation, and ethylene glycol solvation on XRD analyses of clays, we used both a CheMin analog instrument and a traditional laboratory XRD to identify clays in acid sulfate altered basalt from Mars analog sites in Costa Rica. We detected kaolinite in four of the fourteen samples studied, one of which also contained montmorillonite. Kaolinite was not detected in two samples with the analog instrument prior to clay isolation. These results suggest that CheMin may miss detection of some clays at Gale Crater, which could affect interpretations of early Mars' habitability. Mistaking iron-rich natroalunite (Na[Al,Fe]3(SO4) 2(OH)6) for jarosite (KFe3(SO4) 2(OH)6) could also impact interpretations of early Mars, as natroalunite can form over a broader range of pH, water:rock ratios, and redox conditions than can jarosite. To determine if iron-rich natroalunite is a common alteration product at Mars analog sites, we assessed iron content in natroalunite from Costa Rica. We detected up to 30% iron substitution in natroalunite at diverse geochemical settings. We also evaluated the feasibility of using XRD or Raman spectroscopy for in situ iron-rich natroalunite

  14. Mars

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    McKay, Christopher P.; Cuzzi, Jeffrey N. (Technical Monitor)

    1995-01-01

    There is direct geomorphological evidence that in the past Mars had large amounts of liquid water on its surface. Atmospheric models would suggest that this early period of hydrological activity was associated with the presence of a thick atmosphere and warmer temperatures. It is possible that at some time in the future we might recreate a habitable climate on Mars, returning it to the life-bearing state it may have enjoyed early in its history. Our studies of Mars are still in a preliminary state but everything we have learned suggests that it may be possible to restore Mars to a habitable climate. Mars' current scientific value is indisputable but it is certainly true that extensive exploration followed by a careful and studied program of introducing life would yield an even greater scientific harvest. The scientific knowledge gained by studying the ways in which a biosphere could be introduced on Mars may inform us as to the preservation of the one on Earth.

  15. Investigation of Reversing Sand Dunes at the Bruneau Dunes, Idaho, as Analogs for Features on Mars

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Zimbelman, J. R.; Scheidt, S. P.

    2012-12-01

    The Bruneau Dunes in south-central Idaho include several large reversing sand dunes located within a cut-off meander of the Snake River. These dunes include the largest single-structured sand dune present in North America. Wind records from the Remote Automated Weather Station (RAWS) installation at the Mountain Home Air Force Base, which is ~21 km NW of the Bruneau Dunes, have proved to be very helpful in assessing the regional wind patterns at this section of the western Snake River Plains province; a bimodal wind regime is present, with seasonal changes of strong (sand-moving) winds blowing from either the northwest or the southeast. During April of 2011, we obtained ten precision topographic surveys across the southernmost reversing dune using a Differential Global Positioning System (DGPS). The DGPS data document the shape of the dune going from a low, broad sand ridge at the southern distal end of the dune to the symmetrically shaped 112-m-high central portion of the dune, where both flanks of the dune consist of active slopes near the angle of repose. These data will be useful in evaluating the reversing dune hypothesis proposed for enigmatic features on Mars called Transverse Aeolian Ridges (TARs), which could have formed either as large mega-ripples or small sand dunes. The symmetric profiles across TARs with heights greater than 1 m are more consistent with measured profiles of reversing sand dunes than with measured profiles of mega-ripples (whose surfaces are coated by large particles ranging from coarse sand to gravel, moved by saltation-induced creep). Using DGPS to monitor changes in the three-dimensional location of the crests of the reversing dunes at the Bruneau Dunes should provide a means for estimating the likely timescale for changes of TAR crests if the Martian features are indeed formed in the same manner as reversing sand dunes on Earth.

  16. Silica in a Mars analog environment: Ka u Desert, Kilauea Volcano, Hawaii

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Seelos, K.D.; Arvidson, R. E.; Jolliff, B.L.; Chemtob, S.M.; Morris, R.V.; Ming, D. W.; Swayze, G.A.

    2010-01-01

    Airborne Visible/Near-Infrared Imaging Spectrometer (AVIRIS) data acquired over the Ka u Desert are atmospherically corrected to ground reflectance and used to identify the mineralogic components of relatively young basaltic materials, including 250-700 and 200-400 year old lava flows, 1971 and 1974 flows, ash deposits, and solfatara incrustations. To provide context, a geologic surface units map is constructed, verified with field observations, and supported by laboratory analyses. AVIRIS spectral endmembers are identified in the visible (0.4 to 1.2 ??m) and short wave infrared (2.0 to 2.5 ??m) wavelength ranges. Nearly all the spectral variability is controlled by the presence of ferrous and ferric iron in such minerals as pyroxene, olivine, hematite, goethite, and poorly crystalline iron oxides or glass. A broad, nearly ubiquitous absorption feature centered at 2.25 ??m is attributed to opaline (amorphous, hydrated) silica and is found to correlate spatially with mapped geologic surface units. Laboratory analyses show the silica to be consistently present as a deposited phase, including incrustations downwind from solfatara vents, cementing agent for ash duricrusts, and thin coatings on the youngest lava flow surfaces. A second, Ti-rich upper coating on young flows also influences spectral behavior. This study demonstrates that secondary silica is mobile in the Ka u Desert on a variety of time scales and spatial domains. The investigation from remote, field, and laboratory perspectives also mimics exploration of Mars using orbital and landed missions, with important implications for spectral characterization of coated basalts and formation of opaline silica in arid, acidic alteration environments. Copyright 2010 by the American Geophysical Union.

  17. Debris-Covered Glaciers in Antarctica: Analogs for Viscous-Flow Features on Mars

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Marchant, D. R.; Phillips, W. M.; Schaefer, J.; Fastook, J.; Landis, G.

    2007-12-01

    The McMurdo Dry Valleys (MDV) are generally classified as a hyper-arid, cold-polar desert. Subtle variations in climate parameters throughout the region result in considerable differences in the distribution, origin, and morphology of buried ice. In the coastal thaw zone, near-surface buried ice experiences seasonal melt and may have formed where pore water from surface snowmelt freezes underground (segregation ice). Characteristic landforms associated with this type of buried ice include thermokarst, shallow planar slides, and solifluction. In contrast, in the coldest and driest regions of the MDV, the stable upland zone, there is insufficient meltwater to produce extensive segregation ice. Rather, widespread buried ice in this zone is typically glacier ice. Temperature data indicate that ice remains frozen in this zone if buried beneath ~15 cm of debris. The Mullins-valley debris-covered glacier, which lies within the stable upland zone, contains ancient glacier ice beneath a thin layer of sublimation till. Four independent dating techniques confirm that the glacier age ranges from ~10 ka near the valley head, to >8 Ma at its diffuse terminus in central Beacon Valley. The dating methods include cosmogenic-nuclide analyses of surface boulders; horizontal ice-flow velocities as determined from synthetic aperture radar interferometry; 40Ar/39Ar analyses of in-situ ash fall in relict polygon troughs at the till surface; and numerical ice-flow models. Age results so derived are in accord with measured variations in ancient community DNA extracted from pristine ice samples along the length of the glacier. Multi- channel seismic and ground-penetrating radar surveys demonstrate that the ice is relatively clean and that it averages from ~45 m to ~150 m thick. Morphologic comparisons of the Mullins Valley debris-covered glacier are used to shed light on the origin and modification of near-surface ice on Mars.

  18. Debris flows on the Great Kobuk Sand Dunes, Alaska: Implications for analogous processes on Mars

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hooper, Donald M.; Dinwiddie, Cynthia L.

    2014-02-01

    We observed niveo-aeolian deposits, denivation features, and small meltwater-induced debris flows that had formed at the Great Kobuk Sand Dunes, northwestern interior Alaska in late March 2010. This high-latitude, cold-climate dune field is being studied as a planetary analog to improve our understanding of factors that may trigger debris flows on the lee slopes of martian aeolian dunes. Debris flows consisted of a sand and liquid water mixture that cascaded down the lee slopes of two barchanoid dunes on days when measured ground surface temperatures were below freezing. We hypothesize that relatively dark sand on snow caused local hot spots where solar radiation could be absorbed by the sand and conducted into the underlying snow, enabling meltwater to form and sand to be mobilized. This investigation provides insights into the interactions between niveo-aeolian deposition, slope aspect and insolation, thawing, and initiation of alluvial processes. These debris flows are morphologically similar to those associated with seasonal gullies or erosion tracks visible on the slopes of mid- to high-latitude dune fields in both martian hemispheres. Localized heating and thawing at scales too small for orbital sensors to identify may yield martian debris flows at current climate conditions.

  19. Multidisciplinary approach of the hyperarid desert of Pampas de La Joya in southern Peru as a new Mars-like soil analog

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Valdivia-Silva, Julio E.; Navarro-González, Rafael; Ortega-Gutierrez, Fernando; Fletcher, Lauren E.; Perez-Montaño, Saúl; Condori-Apaza, Reneé; McKay, Christopher P.

    2011-04-01

    The distribution of living organisms, organic matter, and chemical properties in Mars-like environments on Earth can be used as a model to guide the investigation of possible habitable environments on Mars. This work aims to demonstrate that the place known informally as the "Mar de Cuarzo" (Sea of Quartz) in the Pampas de La Joya desert southern Peru (between 16°S and 17°S latitude), contains soils with characteristics similar to those found on the Martian surface. Using a multidisciplinary approach, we studied the environmental data, geology, organic matter content, oxidant activity, and microbiology of this area. Our data show that (1) Mar de Cuarzo is a hyper arid area with a lower concentration of organic matter than those found in the Mars-like soils from Yungay area (Atacama Desert in Chile), while at the same time having, comparable extreme environmental conditions, and very low levels of microorganisms. (2) The detrital components of the soils come essentially from the Andean volcanic chain and local outcrops of Precambrian gneisses and Cretaceous granitic batholiths. (3) The presence of microclimates, geomorphological features, and the high influence of the "El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO)" allowed the formation of exotic and heterogeneous chemical deposits in these soils, including iron oxides, sulfates, and other evaporites. (4) Thermal volatilization in these soils (using methods similar to the Viking and Phoenix instruments) shows high oxidant activity. (5) Labeled release experiment (similar to the Viking instrument) shows high degradation of nutrients added in these soils. Altogether, the Mar de Cuarzo area in the Pampas de La Joya is an interesting place for astrobiological studies as a new analog to Mars, and for comparative analyses with other hyperarid analogs as Yungay.

  20. Using TEM for sounding conductive and deep groundwater in Mars analog environments: Comparing two field studies

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Jernsletten, J. A.

    2005-11-01

    A TEM survey was carried out in Pima County, Arizona, in January 2003. Data was collected using 100 m Tx loops and a ferrite-cored magnetic coil Rx antenna, using a 16 Hz sounding frequency, which is sensitive to slightly salty groundwater. Prominent features in the data are the ~500 m depth of investigation and the ~120 m depth to the water table, confirmed by data from four USGS test wells sur-rounding the field area. Note also the conductive (~20-40 Ωm) clay-rich soil above the water table. During May and June of 2003, a Fast-Turnoff (early time) TEM survey was carried out at the Peña de Hierro field area of the MARTE project, near the town of Nerva, Spain. Data was collected using 20 m and 40 m Tx loop antennae and 10 m loop Rx antennae, with a 32 Hz sounding frequency. Data from Line 4 (of 16) from this survey, collected using 40 m Tx loops, show ~200 m depth of investigation and a conduc-tive high at ~90 m depth below Station 20 (second station of 10 along this line). This is the water table, matching the 431 m MSL elevation of the nearby pit lake. Data from Line 15 and Line 14 of the Rio Tinto survey, collected using 20 m Tx loops, achieve ~50 m depth of investigation and show con-ductive highs at ~15 m depth below Station 50 (Line 15) and Station 30 (Line 14), interpreted as subsurface water flow under mine tailings matching surface flows seen coming out from under the tailings, and shown on maps. Both of the interpretations from Rio Tinto data (Line 4, and Lines 15 & 14) were confirmed by preliminary results from the MARTE ground truth drilling campaign carried out in September and October 2003. Drill Site 1 was moved ~50 m based on recommendations built on data from Line 15 and Line 14 of the Fast-Turnoff TEM survey.

  1. Mars Analog Research and Technology Experiment (MARTE): A Simulated Mars Drilling Mission to Search for Subsurface Life at the Rio Tinto, Spain

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Stoker, Carol; Lemke, Larry; Mandell, Humboldt; McKay, David; George, Jeffrey; Gomez-Alvera, Javier; Amils, Ricardo; Stevens, Todd; Miller, David

    2003-01-01

    The MARTE (Mars Astrobiology Research and Technology Experiment) project was selected by the new NASA ASTEP program, which supports field experiments having an equal emphasis on Astrobiology science and technology development relevant to future Astrobiology missions. MARTE will search for a hypothesized subsurface anaerobic chemoautotrophic biosphere in the region of the Tinto River in southwestern Spain while also demonstrating technology needed to search for a subsurface biosphere on Mars. The experiment is informed by the strategy for searching for life on Mars.

  2. Mars Analog Research and Technology Experiment (MARTE): A Simulated Mars Drilling Mission to Search for Subsurface Life at the Rio Tinto, Spain

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Stoker, Carol; Lemke, Larry; Mandell, Humboldt; McKay, David; George, Jeffrey; Gomez-Alvera, Javier; Amils, Ricardo; Stevens, Todd; Miller, David

    2003-01-01

    The MARTE (Mars Astrobiology Research and Technology Experiment) project was selected by the new NASA ASTEP program, which supports field experiments having an equal emphasis on Astrobiology science and technology development relevant to future Astrobiology missions. MARTE will search for a hypothesized subsurface anaerobic chemoautotrophic biosphere in the region of the Tinto River in southwestern Spain while also demonstrating technology needed to search for a subsurface biosphere on Mars. The experiment is informed by the strategy for searching for life on Mars.

  3. Sounding of Groundwater Through Conductive Media in Mars Analog Environments Using Transient Electromagnetics and Low Frequency GPR.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Jernsletten, J. A.; Heggy, E.

    2004-05-01

    INTRODUCTION: This study compares the use of (diffusive) Transient Electromagnetics (TEM) for sounding of subsurface water in conductive Mars analog environments to the use of (propagative) Ground-Penetrating Radar (GPR) for the same purpose. We show data from three field studies: 1) Radar sounding data (GPR) from the Nubian aquifer, Bahria Oasis, Egypt; 2) Diffusive sounding data (TEM) from Pima County, Arizona; and 3) Shallower sounding data using the Fast-Turnoff TEM method from Peña de Hierro in the Rio Tinto area, Spain. The latter is data from work conducted under the auspices of the Mars Analog Research and Technology Experiment (MARTE). POTENTIAL OF TEM: A TEM survey was carried out in Pima County, Arizona, in January 2003. Data was collected using 100 m Tx loops, a ferrite-cored magnetic coil Rx antenna, and a sounding frequency of 16 Hz. The dataset has ~500 m depth of investigation, shows a ~120 m depth to the water table (confirmed by several USGS test wells in the area), and a conductive (~20-40 Ω m) clay-rich soil above the water table. The Rio Tinto Fast-Turnoff TEM data was collected using 40 m Tx loops, 10 m Rx loops, and a 32 Hz sounding frequency. Note ~200 m depth of investigation and a conductive high at ~80 m depth (interpreted as water table). Data was also collected using 20 m Tx loops (10 m Rx loops) in other parts of the area. Note ~50 m depth of investigation and a conductive high at ~15 m depth (interpreted as subsurface water flow under mine tailings matching surface flows seen coming out from under the tailings, and shown on maps). Both of these interpretations were roughly confirmed by preliminary results from the MARTE ground truth drilling campaign carried out in September and October 2003. POTENTIAL OF GPR: A GPR experiment was carried out in February 2003 in the Bahria Oasis in the western Egyptian desert, using a 2 MHz monostatic GPR, mapping the Nubian Aquifer at depths of 100-900 m, beneath a thick layer of homogenous marine

  4. Mapping compositional and particle size variations across Silver Lake Playa: Relevance to analyses of Mars TIR data

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Petroy, S. B.; Arvidson, Raymond E.; Kahle, A. B.

    1991-01-01

    The high spectral and spatial resolution thermal infrared (TIR) data to be acquired from the upcoming Mars Observer-Thermal Emission Spectra (TES) mission will map the composition and texture of the Martian sediments. To prepare for these data, portions of two remote sensing experiments were conducted to test procedures for extracting surface property information from TIR data. Reported here is the continuing analysis of Thermal Infrared Multispectral Scanner (TIMS) data, field emission spectra, laboratory Fourier Transform Infrared (FTIR) reflectance spectra, and field observations with respect to the physical characteristics (composition, emissivity, etc.) of Silver Lake playa in southern California.

  5. Chemical signatures of life in modern stromatolites from Lake Alchichica, Mexico. Applications for the search of life on Mars

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Navarro, Karina F.; Navarro-Gonzalez, Rafael; Alcocer, Javier; Escobar, Elva; Morales, Pedro; Cienfuegos, Edith; Coll, Patrice; Raulin, Francois; Stalport, Fabien; Cabane, Michel; Person, Alain; McKay, Chris

    Stromatolites are one of the most important forms of fossil evidence for microbial life on early Earth (Schopf et al., 1971). They are formed when layers of microbial organisms at the shallow bottom of a lake or tide pool are periodically covered with sediment or precipitating salts (e.g. carbonate). The photosynthetic organisms that form the basis of the community must migrate through sediment toward the light in order to survive. If life emerged on Mars, it is possible that stromatolites were formed in lakes and marine lagoons. Recently the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter mapping found a regional rock layer with near-infrared spectral characteristics that are consistent with the presence of magnesium carbonate in the Nili Fossae region (Ehlmann et al., 2008). The Nili Fossae is a fracture in the surface of Mars that has been eroded and partly filled in by sediments and clay-rich ejecta from a nearby crater. It is located at 22° N, 75° E and has an elevation of 0.6 km. The carbonate-bearing rocks outcrops in the Nili Fossae region could have formed in (1) the subsurface by groundwater percolating through fractures in the ultramafic rock and altering olivine or (2) in shallow lakes from waters enriched in Mg2+ relative to other cations by percolation through ultramafic olivine-bearing rocks. In the latter scenario, it is possible that these carbonate outcrops could have been deposited in association with microbial activity. The purpose of this work is to chemically characterize a modern stromatolite by thermal volatization (TV), a method that has been widely used in past missions (Viking and Phoenix) and will also be used in future missions (Mars Science Laboratory and ExoMars) in the search for life on Mars. Alchichica is a volcanic crater lake situated in an enclosed basin within the El Seco Valley at 19° 24' 13" N, 97° 24' 0" W, and 2.345 km above sea level in Mexico. It has an area of 1.81 km2 , a mean depth of 38.5 m and a maximum depth of 64 m. The lake is

  6. Rainfall-runoff modeling of recent hydroclimatic change in a subtropical lake catchment: Laguna Mar Chiquita, Argentina

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Troin, Magali; Vallet-Coulomb, Christine; Piovano, Eduardo; Sylvestre, Florence

    2012-12-01

    SummaryThe 1970s abrupt lake level rise of Laguna Mar Chiquita in central Argentina was shown to be driven by an increase in the Rio Sali-Dulce discharge outflowing from the northern part of the lake catchment. This regional hydrological change was consistent with the 20th century hydroclimatic trends observed in southeastern South America. However, little is known about the impacts of climate or land cover changes on this regional hydrological change causing the sharp lake level rise. To address this question, the present study aims to provide an integrated basin-lake model. We used the physically-based SWAT model in order to simulate streamflow in the Sali-Dulce Basin. The ability of SWAT to simulate non-stationary hydrological conditions was evaluated by a cross-calibration exercise. Based on observed daily meteorological data over 1973-2004, two successive 9-year periods referred to as wet (P1976-1985 = 1205 mm/yr) and dry (P1986-1995 = 796 mm/yr) periods were selected. The calibration yielded similar Nash-Sutcliffe efficiencies (NSE) at the monthly time scale for both periods (NSEwet = 0.86; NSEdry = 0.90) supporting the model's ability to adapt its structure to changing climatic situations. The simulation was extended in scarce data conditions over 1931-1972 and the simulation of monthly discharge values was acceptable (NSE = 0.71). When precipitation in the model was increased until it reach the change observed in the 1970s (ΔP/P¯=22%), the resulting increase in streamflow was found to closely match the 1970s hydrological change (ΔQ/Q¯=45%). Sensitivity analyses revealed that the land cover changes had a minor impact on the 1970s hydrological changes in the Sali-Dulce Basin. Integrating the SWAT simulations within the lake model over 1973-2004 provided lake level variations similar to those obtained using observed discharge values. Over the longer period, going back to 1931, the main features of lake levels were still adequately reproduced, which

  7. Early SEI milestones - Underwater habitats and Antarctic research outposts as analogs for long duration spaceflight and lunar and Mars outposts

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Rummel, John D.; Wharton, Robert A.; Andersen, Dale T.; Mckay, Christopher P.

    1992-01-01

    The use of analog environments for space research is considered focusing on underwater habitats and Antarctic research sites as analogous settings to long-duration space flight. It is pointed out that the use of these earth analogs can provide engineers, scientists, and future crew members with critical 'mission' experience at a relatively low cost.

  8. Large Salt Dust Storms Follow a 30-Year Rainfall Cycle in the Mar Chiquita Lake (Córdoba, Argentina).

    PubMed

    Bucher, Enrique H; Stein, Ariel F

    2016-01-01

    Starting in 2006, a new source of intense salt dust storms developed in Mar Chiquita (Córdoba, Argentina), the largest saline lake in South America. Storms originate from vast mudflats left by a 30-year expansion-retreat cycle of the lake due to changes in the regional rainfall regime. The annual frequency of salt dust storms correlated with the size of the salt mudflats. Events were restricted to the coldest months, and reached up to 800 km from the source. Occurrence of dust storms was associated with specific surface colors and textures easily identifiable in satellite images. High-emission surfaces were characterized by the presence of sodium sulfate hydrous/anhydrous crystals (mirabilite and thenardite), and a superficial and variable water table, which may result in the periodic development of a characteristic "fluffy" surface derived from salt precipitation-dissolution processes. HYSPLIT model simulation estimates a deposition maximum near the sources (of about 2.5 kg/ha/yr), and a decreasing trend from the emission area outwards, except for the relative secondary maximum modeled over the mountain ranges in southern Bolivia and northern Argentina due to an orographic effect. The 2009 total deposition of salt dust generated in Mar Chiquita was estimated at 6.5 million tons.

  9. Large Salt Dust Storms Follow a 30-Year Rainfall Cycle in the Mar Chiquita Lake (Córdoba, Argentina)

    PubMed Central

    Stein, Ariel F.

    2016-01-01

    Starting in 2006, a new source of intense salt dust storms developed in Mar Chiquita (Córdoba, Argentina), the largest saline lake in South America. Storms originate from vast mudflats left by a 30-year expansion-retreat cycle of the lake due to changes in the regional rainfall regime. The annual frequency of salt dust storms correlated with the size of the salt mudflats. Events were restricted to the coldest months, and reached up to 800 km from the source. Occurrence of dust storms was associated with specific surface colors and textures easily identifiable in satellite images. High-emission surfaces were characterized by the presence of sodium sulfate hydrous/anhydrous crystals (mirabilite and thenardite), and a superficial and variable water table, which may result in the periodic development of a characteristic “fluffy” surface derived from salt precipitation-dissolution processes. HYSPLIT model simulation estimates a deposition maximum near the sources (of about 2.5 kg/ha/yr), and a decreasing trend from the emission area outwards, except for the relative secondary maximum modeled over the mountain ranges in southern Bolivia and northern Argentina due to an orographic effect. The 2009 total deposition of salt dust generated in Mar Chiquita was estimated at 6.5 million tons. PMID:27258088

  10. Mercury's Crater-Hosted Hollows: Chalcogenide Pryo-Thermokarst, and Permafrost Analogs on Earth, Mars, and Titan

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kargel, Jeffrey

    2013-04-01

    MESSENGER has acquired stunning images of pitted, light-toned and variegated light/dark terrains located primarily on the floors—probably impact-melt sheets—of many of Mercury's large craters. Termed "hollows", the pitted terrains are geomorphologically similar to some on Mars formed by sublimation of ice-rich permafrost and to lowland thermokarst on Earth formed by permafrost thaw; to "swiss cheese" terrain forming by sublimation of frozen CO2 at the Martian South Pole; and to suspected hydrocarbon thermokarst at Titan's poles. I shall briefly review some analogs on these other worlds. The most plausible explanation for Mercury's hollows is terrain degradation involving melting or sublimation of heterogeneous chalcogenide and sulfosalt mineral assemblages. I refer to these Mercurian features as pyrothermokarst; the etymological redundancy distinguishes the conditions and mineral agents from the ice-related features on Earth and Mars, though some of the physical processes may be similar. Whereas ice and sulfur have long been suspected and ice recently was discovered in permanently shadowed craters of Mercury's polar regions, the hollows occur down to the equator, where neither ice nor sulfur is plausible. The responsible volatiles must be only slightly volatile on the surface and/or in the upper crust of Mercury's low to middle latitudes at 400-800 K, but they must be capable of either melting or sublimating on geologically long time scales. Under prevailing upper crustal and surface temperatures, chalcophile-rich "permafrost" can undergo either desulfidation or melting reactions that could cause migration or volume changes of the permafrost, and hence lead to collapse and pitting. I propose the initial emplacement of crater-hosted chalcogenides, sulfosalts and related chalcophile materials such as pnictides, in impact-melt pools (involving solid-liquid and silicate-sulfide fractionation) and further differentiation by associated dry or humid fumaroles (solid

  11. Racetrack and Bonnie Claire: southwestern US playa lakes as analogs for Ontario Lacus, Titan

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lorenz, Ralph D.; Jackson, Brian; Hayes, Alex

    2010-03-01

    We note the geomorphological and meteorological processes at Racetrack Playa, Death Valley National Park, as analogs for those at Ontario Lacus on Titan. Although Ontario is ˜50× larger, the planforms of the two features are nearly identical, both are extremely flat, and are in environments where infrequent rainfall occurs against a climate, where evaporation exceeds precipitation. While the famous moving rocks on the Racetrack Playa may be exceptional on the Earth, the lower gravity and thicker atmosphere may render wind-induced rock transport comparatively common on Titan. Nearby Bonnie Claire Playa also provides field insights into the interpretation of remote sensing data from Titan.

  12. Methane-Burst Climate Scenarios for Early Mars Rivers and Lakes

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kite, E. S.; Gao, P.; Mischna, M.; Mayer, D. P.; Goldblatt, C.; Yung, Y.

    2017-10-01

    We found physically self-consistent methane burst climate scenarios that can match Mars paleolake data. If these bursts truly occurred, >(1–10)% of the clathrate stability zone on past Mars must have been occupied by CH4-clathrate. This is testable.

  13. Mars is the Earth's Only Nearby Early Life Analog, but the Moon is on the Path to Get There

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Schmitt, H. H.

    2017-02-01

    Mars provides a geological integration of the early solar system impacts recorded by the Moon and the contemporaneous water-rich pre-biotic period on Earth. Consideration of human missions to Mars needs to include a return to the Moon to stay.

  14. Lunar and Planetary Science XXXV: Mars

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    2004-01-01

    The session "Mars" included the following reports:Tentative Theories for the Long-Term Geological and Hydrological Evolution of Mars; Stratigraphy of Special Layers Transient Ones on Permeable Ones: Examples from Earth and Mars; Spatial Analysis of Rootless Cone Groups on Iceland and Mars; Summer Season Variability of the North Residual Cap of Mars from MGS-TES; Spectral and Geochemical Characteristics of Lake Superior Type Banded Iron Formation: Analog to the Martian Hematite Outcrops; Martian Wave Structures and Their Relation to Mars; Shape, Highland-Lowland Chemical Dichotomy and Undulating Atmosphere Causing Serious Problems to Landing Spacecrafts; Shear Deformation in the Graben Systems of Sirenum Fosssae, Mars: Preliminary Results; Components of Martian Dust Finding on Terrestrial Sedimentary Deposits with Use of Infrared Spectra; Morphologic and Morphometric Analyses of Fluvial Systems in the Southern Highlands of Mars; Light Pattern and Intensity Analysis of Gray Spots Surrounding Polar Dunes on Mars; The Volume of Possible Ancient Oceanic Basins in the Northern Plains of Mars MARSES: Possibilities of Long-Term Monitoring Spatial and Temporal Variations and Changes of Subsurface Geoelectrical Section on the Base; Results of the Geophysical Survey Salt/Water Interface and Groundwater Mapping on the Marina Di Ragusa, Sicily and Shalter Island, USA ;A Miniature UV-VIS Spectrometer for the Surface of Mars; Automatic Recognition of Aeolian Ripples on Mars; Absolute Dune Ages and Implications for the Time of Formation of Gullies in Nirgal Vallis, Mars; Diurnal Dust Devil Behaviour for the Viking 1 Landing Site: Sols 1 to 30; Topography Based Surface Age Computations for Mars: A Step Toward the Formal Proof of Martian Ocean Recession, Timing and Probability; Gravitational Effects of Flooding and Filling of Impact Basins on Mars; Viking 2 Landing Site in MGS/MOC Images South Polar Residual Cap of Mars: Features, Stratigraphy, and Changes.

  15. Lunar and Planetary Science XXXV: Mars

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    2004-01-01

    The session "Mars" included the following reports:Tentative Theories for the Long-Term Geological and Hydrological Evolution of Mars; Stratigraphy of Special Layers Transient Ones on Permeable Ones: Examples from Earth and Mars; Spatial Analysis of Rootless Cone Groups on Iceland and Mars; Summer Season Variability of the North Residual Cap of Mars from MGS-TES; Spectral and Geochemical Characteristics of Lake Superior Type Banded Iron Formation: Analog to the Martian Hematite Outcrops; Martian Wave Structures and Their Relation to Mars; Shape, Highland-Lowland Chemical Dichotomy and Undulating Atmosphere Causing Serious Problems to Landing Spacecrafts; Shear Deformation in the Graben Systems of Sirenum Fosssae, Mars: Preliminary Results; Components of Martian Dust Finding on Terrestrial Sedimentary Deposits with Use of Infrared Spectra; Morphologic and Morphometric Analyses of Fluvial Systems in the Southern Highlands of Mars; Light Pattern and Intensity Analysis of Gray Spots Surrounding Polar Dunes on Mars; The Volume of Possible Ancient Oceanic Basins in the Northern Plains of Mars MARSES: Possibilities of Long-Term Monitoring Spatial and Temporal Variations and Changes of Subsurface Geoelectrical Section on the Base; Results of the Geophysical Survey Salt/Water Interface and Groundwater Mapping on the Marina Di Ragusa, Sicily and Shalter Island, USA ;A Miniature UV-VIS Spectrometer for the Surface of Mars; Automatic Recognition of Aeolian Ripples on Mars; Absolute Dune Ages and Implications for the Time of Formation of Gullies in Nirgal Vallis, Mars; Diurnal Dust Devil Behaviour for the Viking 1 Landing Site: Sols 1 to 30; Topography Based Surface Age Computations for Mars: A Step Toward the Formal Proof of Martian Ocean Recession, Timing and Probability; Gravitational Effects of Flooding and Filling of Impact Basins on Mars; Viking 2 Landing Site in MGS/MOC Images South Polar Residual Cap of Mars: Features, Stratigraphy, and Changes.

  16. Physical Characteristics, Geologic Setting, and Possible Formation Processes of Spring Deposits on Mars Based on Terrestrial Analogs

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Crumpler, L. S.

    2003-01-01

    Spring formation is a predicted consequence of the interaction of former Martian aquifers with structures common to Mars, including basin margins, Tharsis structures, and other structural deformation characteristics. The arid environment and high abundance of water soluble compounds in the crust will have likewise encouraged spring deposit formation at spring sites. Such spring deposits may be recognized from morphological criteria if the characteristics of formation and preservation are understood. An important first step in the current Mars exploration strategy [10] is the detection of sites where there is evidence for past or present near-surface water on Mars. This study evaluates the large-scale morphology of spring deposits and the physical processes of their formation, growth, and evolution in terms that relate to (1) their identification in image data, (2) their formation, evolution, and preservation in the environment of Mars, and (3) their potential as sites of long-term or late stage shallow groundwater emergence at the surface of Mars.

  17. Magnetic properties of the ejecta blanket from the Chicxulub impact crater: Analog for robotic exploration of similar deposits on Mars

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kletetschka, G.; Wasilewski, P. J.; Ocampo, A.; Pope, K.

    2001-05-01

    A major focus in the search for fossil life on Mars is on recognition of the proper material on the surface. Heavily cratered surface suggests high concentration of fluidized ejecta deposits. Because magnetism of rocks is an easy measure for remote robotic tools we collected samples of ejecta blanket deposits in southern Mexico and throughout Belize as a Martian analog. The ejecta layer (spheroid bed) that blankets the preexisting Cretaceous dolomite units consists of green glassy fragments, pink and white spheroids (accretionary lapilli) and darker fragments of limestone. The spheroid bed is overlain by a coarse unit of pebbles, cobbles, and boulders, which in more distal locations is composed of a pebble conglomerate. Clasts in the conglomerate (Pooks Pebbles) have striated features consistent with hypervelocity collisions during impact. We examined the magnetic properties of individual fragments within the spheroid bed. Green glassy fragments are highly paramagnetic (0.2 to 0.3 Am2kg-1 at 2 Tesla field) with no ferromagnetic component detected. Pink spheroids are slightly paramagnetic (0.001 to 0.04 Am2kg-1 at 2 Tesla field) and commonly contain soft ferromagnetic component (saturation magnetization (Ms) = 0.02 to 0.03 Am2kg-1). White spheroids have more or less equal amount of paramagnetic and diamagnetic components (-0.08 to 0.03 Am2kg-1 at 2 Tesla field) and no apparent ferromagnetism. Darker fragments are diamagnetic (-0.05 to -0.02 Am2kg-1 at 2 Tesla field) with absence of ferromagnetism. Intense paramagnetic properties of the glass allow easy distinction of glass containing samples. Pink spheroids appear to contain the largest amount of ferromagnetic particles. Diamagnetic dark grains are most likely fragments of limestone. Pebbles from the conglomerate unit are dolomite and consequently diamagnetic. The diamagnetism was established with field magnetic susceptibility measurements. Pebbles have very small natural remanent magnetization (NRM). Thermal

  18. RIO Tinto Faulted Volcanosedimentary Deposits as Analog Habitats for Extant Subsurface Biospheres on Mars: A Synthesis of the MARTE Drilling Project Geobiology Results

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Fernandez-Remolar, D. C.; Prieto-Ballesteros, O.; Rodriquez, N.; Davila, F.; Stevens, T.; Amils, R.; Gomez-Elvira, J.; Stoker, C.

    2005-01-01

    Geochemistry and mineralogy on Mars surface characterized by the MER Opportunity Rover suggest that early Mars hosted acidic environments in the Meridiani Planum region [1, 2]. Such extreme paleoenvironments have been suggested to be a regional expression of the global Mars geological cycle that induced acidic conditions by sulfur complexation and iron buffering of aqueous solutions [3]. Under these assumptions, underground reservoirs of acidic brines and, thereby, putative acidic cryptobiospheres, may be expected. The MARTE project [4, 5] has performed a drilling campaign to search for acidic and anaerobic biospheres in R o Tinto basement [6] that may be analogs of these hypothetical communities occurring in cryptic habitats of Mars. This Rio Tinto geological region is characterized by the occurrence of huge metallic deposits of iron sulfides [7]. Late intensive diagenesis of rocks driven by a compressive regimen [8] largely reduced the porosity of rocks and induced a cortical thickening through thrusting and inverse faulting and folding. Such structures play an essential role in transporting and storing water underground as any other aquifers do in the Earth. Once the underground water reservoirs of the Ro Tinto basement contact the hydrothermal pyrite deposits, acidic brines are produced by the release of sulfates and iron through the oxidation of sulfides [9].

  19. An Unusual Inverted Saline Microbial Mat Community in an Interdune Sabkha in the Rub' Alkhali (the Empty Quarter), UAE: an Analog for Habitats on Present Mars

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    McKay, Christopher P.; Rask, Jon C.; Detweiler, Angela M.; Bebout, Brad M.; Everroad, R. Craig; Chanton, Jeffrey P.; Mayer, Marisa H.; Caraballo, Adrian A. L.; Kapili, Bennett

    2016-01-01

    Salt flats (sabkha) are a recognized habitat for microbial life in desert environments and as analogs for habitats for life on Mars. Here we report on the physical setting and microbiology of interdune sabkhas among the large dunes in the Rub' al Khali (the Empty Quarter) in Liwa Oasis, United Arab Emirates. The salt flats, composed of gypsum and halite, between the dunes are moistened by relatively fresh ground water from below. The result is a salinity gradient that is inverted compared to most salt flat communities with the hypersaline layer at the top and freshwater layers below. We describe and characterize a rich photosynthetically-based microbial ecosystem that is protected from the arid outside environment below the translucent salt crust. Gases collected from sediments under shallow ponds in the sabkha contain methane in concentrations as high as 3400 ppm. The salt layer provides environmental protection to the habitat below and could preserve biomarkers and other evidence for life in the salt after it dries out. Chloride-filled depressions have been identified on Mars and although the surface flow of water is unlikely on Mars today, ground water is possible. Such a near surface system with modern groundwater flowing under ancient salt deposits could be present on Mars and could be accessed by surface rovers.

  20. Gypsum-hosted endolithic communities of the Lake St. Martin impact structure, Manitoba, Canada: spectroscopic detectability and implications for Mars

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Rhind, T.; Ronholm, J.; Berg, B.; Mann, P.; Applin, D.; Stromberg, J.; Sharma, R.; Whyte, L. G.; Cloutis, E. A.

    2014-09-01

    There is increasing evidence that Mars may have once been a habitable environment. Gypsum is targeted in the search for Martian biosignatures because it can host extensive cryptoendolithic communities in extreme terrestrial environments and is widespread on Mars. In this study the viability of using different spectroscopy-based techniques to identify the presence of gypsum endolithic communities was investigated by analysing various cryptoendoliths collected from the Lake St. Martin impact crater (LSM), a Mars analogue site found in Manitoba, Canada. Concurrently, the cryptoendolithic microbial community structure present was also analysed to aid in assigning spectroscopic features to microbial community members. Two main morphologies of endolithic communities were collected from gypsum deposits at LSM: true cryptoendolithic communities and annular deposits on partially buried boulders and cobbles <1 cm below the soil surface. Endolithic communities were found to be visibly present only in gypsum with a high degree of translucency and could occur as deep as 3 cm below the exterior surface. The bacterial community was dominated by a phylum (Chloroflexi) that has not been previously observed in gypsum endoliths. The exterior surfaces of gypsum boulders and cobbles are devoid of spectroscopic features attributable to organic molecules and detectable by reflectance, Raman, or ultraviolet-induced fluorescence spectroscopies. However, exposed interior surfaces show unique endolithic signatures detectable by each spectroscopic technique. This indicates that cryptoendolithic communities can be detected via spectroscopy-based techniques, provided they are either partially or fully exposed and enough photon-target interactions occur to enable detection.

  1. Field and Geochemical Study of Table Legs Butte and Quaking Aspen Butte, Eastern Snake River Plain, Idaho: An Analog to the Morphology of Small Shield Volcanoes on Mars

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Brady, S. M.; Hughes, S. S.; Sakimoto, S. E. H.; Gregg, T. K. P.

    2004-01-01

    Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter (MOLA) data allows insight to Martian features in great detail, revealing numerous small shields in the Tempe region, consisting of low profiles and a prominent summit caps . Terrestrial examples of this shield morphology are found on the Eastern Snake River Plain (ESRP), Idaho. This plains-style volcanism [2] allows an analog to Martian volcanism based on topographic manifestations of volcanic processes . Recent studies link the slope and morphology of Martian volcanoes to eruptive process and style . The ESRP, a 400km long, 100km wide depression, is host to hundreds of tholeiitic basalt shields, which have low-profiles built up over short eruptive periods of a few months or years . Many of these smaller scale shields (basal diameters rarely exceed 5km) display morphology similar to the volcanoes in the Tempe region of Mars . Morphological variations within these tholeiitic shields are beautifully illustrated in their profiles.

  2. Field and Geochemical Study of Table Legs Butte and Quaking Aspen Butte, Eastern Snake River Plain, Idaho: An Analog to the Morphology of Small Shield Volcanoes on Mars

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Brady, S. M.; Hughes, S. S.; Sakimoto, S. E. H.; Gregg, T. K. P.

    2004-01-01

    Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter (MOLA) data allows insight to Martian features in great detail, revealing numerous small shields in the Tempe region, consisting of low profiles and a prominent summit caps . Terrestrial examples of this shield morphology are found on the Eastern Snake River Plain (ESRP), Idaho. This plains-style volcanism [2] allows an analog to Martian volcanism based on topographic manifestations of volcanic processes . Recent studies link the slope and morphology of Martian volcanoes to eruptive process and style . The ESRP, a 400km long, 100km wide depression, is host to hundreds of tholeiitic basalt shields, which have low-profiles built up over short eruptive periods of a few months or years . Many of these smaller scale shields (basal diameters rarely exceed 5km) display morphology similar to the volcanoes in the Tempe region of Mars . Morphological variations within these tholeiitic shields are beautifully illustrated in their profiles.

  3. Mars, Always Cold, Sometimes Wet: New Constraints on Mars Denudation Rates and Climate Evolution from Analog Studies at Haughton Crater, Devon Island, High Arctic

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Lee, Pascal; Boucher, M.; Desportes, C.; Glass, B. J.; Lim, D.; McKay, C. P.; Osinski, G. R.; Parnell, J.; Schutt, J. W.

    2005-01-01

    Analysis of crater modification on Mars and at Haughton Crater, Devon Island, High Arctic, which was recently shown to be significantly older than previously believed (Eocene age instead of Miocene) [1], suggest that Mars may have never been climatically wet and warm for geological lengths of time during and since the Late Noachian. Impact structures offer particularly valuable records of the evolution of a planet s climate and landscape through time. The state of exposure and preservation of impact structures and their intracrater fill provide clues to the nature, timing, and intensity of the processes that have modified the craters since their formation. Modifying processes include weathering, erosion, mantling, and infilling. In this study, we compare the modification of Haughton through time with that of impact craters in the same size class on Mars. We derive upper limits for time-integrated denudation rates on Mars during and since the Late Noachian. These rates are significantly lower than previously published and provide important constraints for Mars climate evolution.

  4. Sulfates on Mars as Markers of Aqueous Processes: An Integrated Multidisciplinary Study of Minerals, Mars Analog sites and Recent Mission Data

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Bishop, J. L.; Lane, M. D.; Dyar, M. D.; Brown, A. J.; Parente, M.

    2006-01-01

    Our analyses of sulfate minerals, analog sites, and Martian spectra and spectral images is focused on characterization of the Martian surface and in particular identification of aqueous processes there.

  5. Field investigation of dried lakes in western United States as an analogue to desiccation fractures on Mars

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    El-Maarry, M. R.; Watters, W. A.; Yoldi, Z.; Pommerol, A.; Fischer, D.; Eggenberger, U.; Thomas, N.

    2015-12-01

    Potential Desiccation Polygons (PDPs), tens to hundreds of meters in size, have been observed in numerous regions on Mars, particularly in ancient (>3 Gyr old) terrains of inferred paleolacustrine/playa geologic setting, and in association with hydrous minerals such as smectites. Therefore, a better understanding of the conditions in which large desiccation polygons form could yield unique insight into the ancient climate on Mars. Many dried lakebeds/playas in western United States display large (>50 m wide) desiccation polygons, which we consider to be analogues for PDPs on Mars. Therefore, we have carried out fieldwork in seven of these dried lakes in San Bernardino and the Death Valley National Park regions complemented with laboratory and spectral analysis of collected samples. Our study shows that the investigated lacustrine/playa sediments have (a) a soil matrix containing ~40-75% clays and fine silt (by volume) where the clay minerals are dominated by illite/muscovite followed by smectite, (b) carbonaceous mineralogy with variable amounts of chloride and sulfate salts, and significantly, (c) roughly similar spectral signatures in the visible-near-infrared (VIS-NIR) range. We conclude that the development of large desiccation fractures is consistent with water table retreat. In addition, the comparison of the mineralogical to the spectral observations further suggests that remote sensing VIS-NIR spectroscopy has its limitations for detailed characterization of lacustrine/playa deposits. Finally, our results imply that the widespread distribution of PDPs on Mars indicates global or regional climatic transitions from wet conditions to more arid ones making them important candidate sites for future in situ missions.

  6. FIDO Rover Trials, Silver Lake, California, in Preparation for the Mars Sample Return Mission

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Arvidson, R. E.; Squyres, S. W.; Baumgartner, E. T.; Blaney, D. L.; Haldemann, A. F.; Klingelhoefer, G.

    2000-01-01

    During field trials in the Mojave Desert, the Mars Sample Return (MSR) prototype rover, FIDO, simulated sampling and exploration activities with a science payload similar to what will be on the MSR rover, validating the mission operations approach.

  7. Mars Analog Rio Tinto Experiment (MARTE): 2003 Drilling Campaign to Search for a Subsurface Biosphere at Rio Tinto Spain

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Stoker, Carol; Dunagan, Stephen; Stevens, Todd; Amils, Ricardo; Gomez-Elvira, Javier; Fernandez, David; Hall, James; Lynch, Kennda; Cannon, Howard; Zavaleta, Jhony

    2004-01-01

    The MARTE (Mars Astrobiology Research and Technology Experiment) project, an ASTEP field experiment, is exploring for a hypothesized subsurface anaerobic chemoautotrophic biosphere in the region of the Tinto River- or Rio Tinto- in southwestern Spain. It is also demonstrating technology needed to search for a subsurface biosphere on Mars. The project has three primary objectives: (1) search for and characterize subsurface life at Rio Tinto along with the physical and chemical properties and sustaining energy sources of its environment, (2) perform a high fidelity simulation of a robotic Mars drilling mission to search for life, and (3) demonstrate the drilling, sample handling, and instrument technologies relevant to searching for life on Mars. The simulation of the robotic drilling mission is guided by the results of the aseptic drilling campaign to search for life at Rio Tinto. This paper describes results of the first phase of the aseptic drilling campaign.

  8. Mars Analog Rio Tinto Experiment (MARTE): 2003 Drilling Campaign to Search for a Subsurface Biosphere at Rio Tinto Spain

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Stoker, Carol; Dunagan, Stephen; Stevens, Todd; Amils, Ricardo; Gomez-Elvira, Javier; Fernandez, David; Hall, James; Lynch, Kennda; Cannon, Howard; Zavaleta, Jhony

    2004-01-01

    The MARTE (Mars Astrobiology Research and Technology Experiment) project, an ASTEP field experiment, is exploring for a hypothesized subsurface anaerobic chemoautotrophic biosphere in the region of the Tinto River- or Rio Tinto- in southwestern Spain. It is also demonstrating technology needed to search for a subsurface biosphere on Mars. The project has three primary objectives: (1) search for and characterize subsurface life at Rio Tinto along with the physical and chemical properties and sustaining energy sources of its environment, (2) perform a high fidelity simulation of a robotic Mars drilling mission to search for life, and (3) demonstrate the drilling, sample handling, and instrument technologies relevant to searching for life on Mars. The simulation of the robotic drilling mission is guided by the results of the aseptic drilling campaign to search for life at Rio Tinto. This paper describes results of the first phase of the aseptic drilling campaign.

  9. Geologic Mapping of Bakhuysen Crater, Mars: Analogies to the Ries Impact Ejecta with Insights into Martian Impact Melt

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Caudill, C. M.; Osinski, G. R.; Tornabene, L. L.

    2016-08-01

    In this study, we report the mapping and geologic interpretation of 150-km diameter Bakhuysen Crater, Mars, which supports previous work suggesting similar mechanisms of multi-unit ejecta emplacement on other comparable rocky bodies.

  10. Simulations of the Viking Gas Exchange Experiment using palagonite and Fe-rich montmorillonite as terrestrial analogs: implications for the surface composition of Mars.

    PubMed

    Quinn, R; Orenberg, J

    1993-10-01

    Simulations of the Gas Exchange Experiment (GEX), one of the Viking Lander Biology Experiments, were run using palagonite and Fe-rich montmorillonite as terrestrial analogs of the Martian soil. These terrestrial analogs were exposed to a nutrient solution of the same composition as that of the Viking Landers under humid (no contact with nutrient) and wet (intimate contact) conditions. The headspace gases in the GEX sample cell were sampled and then analyzed by gas chromatography under both humid and wet conditions. Five gases were monitored: CO2, N2, O2, Ar, and Kr. It was determined that in order to simulate the CO2 gas changes of the Viking GEX experiment, the mixture of soil analog mineral plus nutrient medium must be slightly (pH = 7.4) to moderately basic (pH = 8.7). This conclusion suggests constraints upon the composition of terrestrial analogs to the Mars soil; acidic components may be present, but the overall mixture must be basic in order to simulate the Viking GEX results.

  11. Ancient sedimentary structures in the <3.7 Ga Gillespie Lake Member, Mars, that resemble macroscopic morphology, spatial associations, and temporal succession in terrestrial microbialites.

    PubMed

    Noffke, Nora

    2015-02-01

    Sandstone beds of the <3.7 Ga Gillespie Lake Member on Mars have been interpreted as evidence of an ancient playa lake environment. On Earth, such environments have been sites of colonization by microbial mats from the early Archean to the present time. Terrestrial microbial mats in playa lake environments form microbialites known as microbially induced sedimentary structures (MISS). On Mars, three lithofacies of the Gillespie Lake Member sandstone display centimeter- to meter-scale structures similar in macroscopic morphology to terrestrial MISS that include "erosional remnants and pockets," "mat chips," "roll-ups," "desiccation cracks," and "gas domes." The microbially induced sedimentary-like structures identified in Curiosity rover mission images do not have a random distribution. Rather, they were found to be arranged in spatial associations and temporal successions that indicate they changed over time. On Earth, if such MISS occurred with this type of spatial association and temporal succession, they would be interpreted as having recorded the growth of a microbially dominated ecosystem that thrived in pools that later dried completely: erosional pockets, mat chips, and roll-ups resulted from water eroding an ancient microbial mat-covered sedimentary surface; during the course of subsequent water recess, channels would have cut deep into the microbial mats, leaving erosional remnants behind; desiccation cracks and gas domes would have occurred during a final period of subaerial exposure of the microbial mats. In this paper, the similarities of the macroscopic morphologies, spatial associations, and temporal succession of sedimentary structures on Mars to MISS preserved on Earth has led to the following hypothesis: The sedimentary structures in the <3.7 Ga Gillespie Lake Member on Mars are ancient MISS produced by interactions between microbial mats and their environment. Proposed here is a strategy for detecting, identifying, confirming, and differentiating

  12. A Search for Life in the Subsurface At Rio Tinto Spain, An Analog To Searching For Life On Mars.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Stoker, C. R.

    2003-12-01

    Most familiar life forms on Earth live in the surface biosphere where liquid water, sunlight, and the essential chemical elements for life are abundant. However, such environments are not found on Mars or anywhere else in the solar system. On Mars, the surface environmental conditions of pressure and temperature prevent formation of liquid water. Furthermore, conditions at the Martian surface are unfavorable to life due to intense ultraviolet radiation and strong oxidizing compounds that destroy organic compounds. However, subsurface liquid water on Mars has been predicted on theoretical grounds. The recent discovery of near surface ground ice by the Mars Odyssey mission, and the abundant evidence for recent Gully features observed by the Mars Global Surveyor mission strengthen the case for subsurface liquid water on Mars. Thus, the strategy for searching for life on Mars points to drilling to the depth of liquid water, bringing samples to the surface and analyzing them with instrumentation to detect in situ organisms and biomarker compounds. The MARTE (Mars Astrobiology Research and Technology Experiment) project is a field experiment focused on searching for a hypothesized subsurface anaerobic chemoautotrophic biosphere in the region of the Rio Tinto, a river in southwestern Spain while also demonstrating technology relevant to searching for a subsurface biosphere on Mars. The Tinto river is located in the Iberian Pyrite belt, one of the largest deposits of sulfide minerals in the world. The surface (river) system is an acidic extreme environment produced and maintained by microbes that metabolize sulfide minerals and produce sulfuric acid as a byproduct. Evidence suggests that the river is a surface manifestation of an underground biochemical reactor. Organisms found in the river are capable of chemoautotrophic metabolism using sulfide and ferric iron mineral substrates, suggesting these organisms could thrive in groundwater which is the source of the Rio Tinto

  13. Mesoscale raised rim depressions (MRRDs) on Earth: A review of the characteristics, processes, and spatial distributions of analogs for Mars

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Burr, Devon M.; Bruno, Barbara C.; Lanagan, Peter D.; Glaze, Lori S.; Jaeger, Windy L.; Soare, Richard J.; Wan Bun Tseung, Jean-Michel; Skinner, James A.; Baloga, Stephen M.

    2009-05-01

    Fields of mesoscale raised rim depressions (MRRDs) of various origins are found on Earth and Mars. Examples include rootless cones, mud volcanoes, collapsed pingos, rimmed kettle holes, and basaltic ring structures. Correct identification of MRRDs on Mars is valuable because different MRRD types have different geologic and/or climatic implications and are often associated with volcanism and/or water, which may provide locales for biotic or prebiotic activity. In order to facilitate correct identification of fields of MRRDs on Mars and their implications, this work provides a review of common terrestrial MRRD types that occur in fields. In this review, MRRDs by formation mechanism, including hydrovolcanic (phreatomagmatic cones, basaltic ring structures), sedimentological (mud volcanoes), and ice-related (pingos, volatile ice-block forms) mechanisms. For each broad mechanism, we present a comparative synopsis of (i) morphology and observations, (ii) physical formation processes, and (iii) published hypothesized locations on Mars. Because the morphology for MRRDs may be ambiguous, an additional tool is provided for distinguishing fields of MRRDs by origin on Mars, namely, spatial distribution analyses for MRRDs within fields on Earth. We find that MRRDs have both distinguishing and similar characteristics, and observation that applies both to their mesoscale morphology and to their spatial distribution statistics. Thus, this review provides tools for distinguishing between various MRRDs, while highlighting the utility of the multiple working hypotheses approach.

  14. Mesoscale Raised Rim Depressions (MRRDs) on Earth: A Review of the Characteristics, Processes, and Spatial Distributions of Analogs for Mars

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Burr, Devon M.; Bruno, Barbara C.; Lanagan, Peter D.; Glaze, Lori; Jaeger, Windy L.; Soare, Richard J.; Tseung, Jean-Michel Wan Bun; Skinner, James A. Jr.; Baloga, Stephen M.

    2008-01-01

    Fields of mesoscale raised rim depressions (MRRDs) of various origins are found on Earth and Mars. Examples include rootless cones, mud volcanoes, collapsed pingos, rimmed kettle holes, and basaltic ring structures. Correct identification of MRRDs on Mars is valuable because different MRRD types have different geologic and/or climatic implications and are often associated with volcanism and/or water, which may provide locales for biotic or prebiotic activity. In order to facilitate correct identification of fields of MRRDs on Mars and their implications, this work provides a review of common terrestrial MRRD types that occur in fields. In this review, MRRDs by formation mechanism, including hydrovolcanic (phreatomagmatic cones, basaltic ring structures), sedimentological (mud volcanoes), and ice-related (pingos, volatile ice-block forms) mechanisms. For each broad mechanism, we present a comparative synopsis of (i) morphology and observations, (ii) physical formation processes, and (iii) published hypothesized locations on Mars. Because the morphology for MRRDs may be ambiguous, an additional tool is provided for distinguishing fields of MRRDs by origin on Mars, namely, spatial distribution analyses for MRRDs within fields on Earth. We find that MRRDs have both distinguishing and similar characteristics, and observation that applies both to their mesoscale morphology and to their spatial distribution statistics. Thus, this review provides tools for distinguishing between various MRRDs, while highlighting the utility of the multiple working hypotheses approach.

  15. Mesoscale raised rim depressions (MRRDs) on Earth: A review of the characteristics, processes, and spatial distributions of analogs for Mars

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Burr, D.M.; Bruno, B.C.; Lanagan, P.D.; Glaze, L.S.; Jaeger, W.L.; Soare, R.J.; Wan, Bun Tseung J.-M.; Skinner, J.A.; Baloga, S.M.

    2009-01-01

    Fields of mesoscale raised rim depressions (MRRDs) of various origins are found on Earth and Mars. Examples include rootless cones, mud volcanoes, collapsed pingos, rimmed kettle holes, and basaltic ring structures. Correct identification of MRRDs on Mars is valuable because different MRRD types have different geologic and/or climatic implications and are often associated with volcanism and/or water, which may provide locales for biotic or prebiotic activity. In order to facilitate correct identification of fields of MRRDs on Mars and their implications, this work provides a review of common terrestrial MRRD types that occur in fields. In this review, MRRDs by formation mechanism, including hydrovolcanic (phreatomagmatic cones, basaltic ring structures), sedimentological (mud volcanoes), and ice-related (pingos, volatile ice-block forms) mechanisms. For each broad mechanism, we present a comparative synopsis of (i) morphology and observations, (ii) physical formation processes, and (iii) published hypothesized locations on Mars. Because the morphology for MRRDs may be ambiguous, an additional tool is provided for distinguishing fields of MRRDs by origin on Mars, namely, spatial distribution analyses for MRRDs within fields on Earth. We find that MRRDs have both distinguishing and similar characteristics, and observation that applies both to their mesoscale morphology and to their spatial distribution statistics. Thus, this review provides tools for distinguishing between various MRRDs, while highlighting the utility of the multiple working hypotheses approach. ?? 2008 Elsevier Ltd.

  16. Possible Analogs for Small Valleys on Mars at the Haughton Impact Crater Site, Devon Island, Canadian High Arctic

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Lee, P.; Rice, J. W., Jr.; Bunch, Theodore E.; Grieve, R. A. F.; McKay, C. P.; Schutt, J. W.; Zent, A. P.

    1999-01-01

    Small valleys are perhaps the clearest evidence for an aqueous past on Mars. While small valley formation has occurred even in Amazonian times, most small valleys on Mars are associated with the heavily cratered Noachian terrains. Martian small valleys are often cited as evidence for a putative warmer and wetter climate on Early Mars in which rain and subsequent surface runoff would have acted as significant erosional agents, but the morphology of many small valleys has at the same time been recognized as having several unusual characteristics, making their origin still enigmatic and climatic inferences from them uncertain. Meanwhile, martian climate modeling efforts have been facing difficulties over the past decades with the problem of making the early martian climate warm enough to achieve temperature above 273 K to allow rainfall and the sustained flow of liquid water at the martian surface.

  17. Briny lakes on early Mars? Terrestrial intracrater playas and Martian candidates

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Lee, P.

    1993-01-01

    Recently, salt-rich aqueous solutions have been invoked in the preterrestrial alteration of the Nakhla and Lafayette SNC meteorites. The findings substantiate the long-standing suspicion that salts are abundant on Mars and, more importantly, that brines have played a significant role in Martian hydrogeological history. Adding to the growing body of evidence, I report here on the identification of several unusual intracrater high-albedo features in the ancient cratered highlands of Mars, which I interpret as possible saline playas, or salt pans.

  18. Liquid Water Lakes on Mars Under Present-Day Conditions: Sustainability and Effects on the Subsurface

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Goldspiel, Jules M.

    2015-11-01

    Decades of Mars exploration have produced ample evidence that aqueous environments once existed on the surface. Much evidence supports groundwater emergence as the source of liquid water on Mars [1-4]. However, cases have also been made for rainfall [5] and snow pack melts [6].Whatever the mechanism by which liquid water is emplaced on the surface of Mars, whether from groundwater seeps, atmospheric precipitation, or some combination of sources, this water would have collected in local topographic lows, and at least temporarily, would have created a local surface water system with dynamic thermal and hydrologic properties. Understanding the physical details of such aqueous systems is important for interpreting the past and present surface environments of Mars. It is also important for evaluating potential habitable zones on or near the surface.In conjunction with analysis of surface and core samples, valuable insight into likely past aqueous sites on Mars can be gained through modeling their formation and evolution. Toward that end, we built a 1D numerical model to follow the evolution of small bodies of liquid water on the surface of Mars. In the model, liquid water at different temperatures is supplied to the surface at different rates while the system is subjected to diurnally and seasonally varying environmental conditions. We recently simulated cases of cold (275 K) and warm (350 K) water collecting in a small depression on the floor of a mid southern latitude impact crater. When inflows create an initial pool > 3 m deep and infiltration can be neglected, we find that the interior of the pool can remain liquid over a full Mars year under the present cold and dry climate as an ice cover slowly thickens [7]. Here we present new results for the thermal and hydrologic evolution of surface water and the associated subsurface region for present-day conditions when infiltration of surface water into the subsurface is considered.[1] Pieri (1980) Science 210.[2] Carr

  19. Reflectance spectra of sulfate-and carbonate-bearing Fe(3+)-doped montmorillonites as Mars soil analogs

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Bishop, Janice L.; Pieters, Carle M.; Burns, Roger G.

    1993-01-01

    Ferric smectites and ferrihydrite may be common alteration products of igneous lithologies on Mars, and experiments involving montmorillonite enriched with Fe(3+) support the likelihood of ferric smectites on Mars. Mossbauer spectroscopy has been used to identify ferrihydrite (Fe4(O,OH,H2O)12) as the primary ferric material in Fe(3+)-doped montmorillonite. Ferrihydrite is especially interesting due to its role as a precursor in the formation of hematite and goethite. Reflectance spectroscopy in the visible and infrared regions are coupled with Mossbauer spectroscopy in this study to characterize the ferric material in montmorillonites containing Fe(3+), as well as carbonates or sulfates, in the interlayer region.

  20. Don Juan Pond, Antarctica: near-surface CaCl(2)-brine feeding Earth's most saline lake and implications for Mars.

    PubMed

    Dickson, James L; Head, James W; Levy, Joseph S; Marchant, David R

    2013-01-01

    The discovery on Mars of recurring slope lineae (RSL), thought to represent seasonal brines, has sparked interest in analogous environments on Earth. We report on new studies of Don Juan Pond (DJP), which exists at the upper limit of ephemeral water in the McMurdo Dry Valleys (MDV) of Antarctica, and is adjacent to several steep-sloped water tracks, the closest analog for RSL. The source of DJP has been interpreted to be deep groundwater. We present time-lapse data and meteorological measurements that confirm deliquescence within the DJP watershed and show that this, together with small amounts of meltwater, are capable of generating brines that control summertime water levels. Groundwater input was not observed. In addition to providing an analog for RSL formation, CaCl(2) brines and chloride deposits in basins may provide clues to the origin of ancient chloride deposits on Mars dating from the transition period from "warm/wet" to "cold/dry" climates.

  1. Constraints on the history of open-basin lakes on Mars from the timing of volcanic resurfacing

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Goudge, T. A.; Mustard, J. F.; Head, J. W.; Fassett, C. I.

    2011-12-01

    A catalogue of 30 open-basin lakes on Mars [1] have been identified as volcanically resurfaced based on distinct morphology and mineralogy. Associated morphologies include: (1) smooth floor deposits with lobate margins; (2) high crater retention, especially at small crater sizes; (3) wrinkle ridges on the smooth floor deposits; (4) embayment of basin perimeters and older, stratigraphically underlying deposits; (5) "moat" structures surrounding the edge of the basin, suggesting subsidence of the volcanic fill [2]; (6) high thermal inertia based on THEMIS nighttime IR data [3]; and (7) roughness signatures characteristic of smooth, volcanic material [4]. In addition to studying the morphology of the open-basin lakes, the mineralogies of the floor deposits have been analyzed using orbital spectroscopy data returned from the CRISM and OMEGA instruments. This analysis reveals that these resurfaced basins contain strong mafic mineral signatures isolated to their interiors when clear spectroscopic signatures are visible. An analysis of the CRISM and OMEGA spectra reveal the presence of both olivine and pyroxene, based on distinct mineral absorptions at 1 and 2 μm, in many resurfaced basins; however, olivine appears to be the dominant mafic mineral in the majority of these units. These mineral signatures provide further evidence for the volcanic resurfacing of the studied open-basin lakes. Additionally, the studied open-basin lakes lack any evidence for mineralogical and morphologic features that would be expected for lava-water interaction. This indicates that these open-basin lakes were completely devoid of surficial water at the time of volcanic resurfacing. Ages for the resurfacing events have been determined through crater size-frequency distributions and indicate that the process of volcanic resurfacing occurred throughout the Hesperian and into the Amazonian, with the majority of basins being resurfaced in the earliest parts of the Hesperian, near the Noachian

  2. Evidence for a Noachian-Aged Ephemeral Lake in Gusev Crater, Mars

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Ruff, S. W.; Niles, P. B.; Alfano, F.; Clarke, A. B.

    2014-01-01

    Gusev crater was selected as the landing site for the Spirit rover because of the likelihood that it contained an ancient lake. Although outcrops rich in Mg-Fe carbonate dubbed Comanche were discovered in the Noachian-aged Columbia Hills, they were inferred to result from volcanic hydrothermal activity. Spirit encountered other mineral and chemical indicators of aqueous activity, but none was recognized as definitive evidence for a former lake in part because none was associated with obvious lacustrine sedimentary deposits. However, water discharge into Martian crater basins like Gusev may have been episodic, producing only small amounts of sediment and shallow ephemeral lakes. Evaporative precipitation from such water bodies has been suggested as a way of producing the Mg- and Fe-rich carbonates found in ALH84001 and carbonates and salts in some nakhlites a hypothesis we examine for the Comanche carbonate.

  3. Methane as a biomarker in the search for extraterrestrial life: Lessons learned from Mars analog hypersaline environments

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bebout, B.; Tazaz, A.; Kelley, C. A.; Poole, J. A.; Davila, A.; Chanton, J.

    2010-12-01

    Methane released from discrete regions on Mars, together with previous reports of methane determined with ground-based telescopes, has revived the possibility of past or even extant life near the surface on Mars, since 90% of the methane on Earth has a biological origin. This intriguing possibility is supported by the abundant evidence of large bodies of liquid water, and therefore of conditions conducive to the origin of life, early in the planet's history. The detection and analysis of methane is at the core of NASA’s strategies to search for life in the solar system, and on extrasolar planets. Because methane is also produced abiotically, it is important to generate criteria to unambiguously assess biogenicity. The stable carbon and hydrogen isotopic signature of methane, as well as its ratio to other low molecular weight hydrocarbons (the methane/(ethane + propane) ratio: C1/(C2 + C3)), has been suggested to be diagnostic for biogenic methane. We report measurements of the concentrations and stable isotopic signature of methane from hypersaline environments. We focus on hypersaline environments because spectrometers orbiting Mars have detected widespread chloride bearing deposits resembling salt flats. Other evaporitic minerals, e.g., sulfates, are also abundant in several regions, including those studied by the Mars Exploration Rovers. The presence of evaporitic minerals, together with the known evolution of the Martian climate, from warmer and wetter to cold and hyper-arid, suggest that evaporitic and hypersaline environments were common in the past. Hypersaline environments examined to date include salt ponds located in Baja California, the San Francisco Bay, and the Atacama Desert. Methane was found in gas produced both in the sediments, and in gypsum- and halite-hosted (endolithic) microbial communities. Maximum methane concentrations were as high as 40% by volume. The methane carbon isotopic (δ13C) composition showed a wide range of values, from about

  4. Habitability: where lo look for life? Habitability Index Earth analogs to study Mars and Europa`s habitability

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Gomez, F.; Amils, R.; Gomez-Elvira, J.

    2010-12-01

    The first astrobiological mission specially designed to detect life on Mars, the Viking missions, thought life unlikely, considering the amount of UV radiation bathing the surface of the planet, the resulting oxidative conditions, and the lack of adequate atmospheric protection. The necessity of the Europa surface exploration comes from the idea of a water ocean existence in its interior. Life needs several requirements for its establishment but, the only sine qua nom elements is the water, taking into account our experience on Earth extreme ecosystems The discovery of extremophiles on Earth widened the window of possibilities for life to develop in the universe, and as a consequence on Mars. The compilation of data produced by the ongoing missions (Mars Global Surveyor, Mars Odyssey, Mars Express and Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity) offers a completely different view: signs of an early wet Mars and rather recent volcanic activity. The discovery of important accumulations of sulfates, and the existence of iron minerals like jarosite, goethite and hematite in rocks of sedimentary origin has allowed specific terrestrial models related with this type of mineralogy to come into focus. Río Tinto (Southwestern Spain, Iberian Pyritic Belt) is an extreme acidic environment, product of the chemolithotrophic activity of microorganisms that thrive in the massive pyrite-rich deposits of the Iberian Pyritic Belt. The high concentrations of ferric iron and sulfates, products of the metabolism of pyrite, generate a collection of minerals, mainly gypsum, jarosite, goethite and hematites, all of which have been detected in different regions of Mars (Fernández-Remolar et al., 2004). But, where to look for life in other planetary bodies? Planet`s or Icy Moon`s surface are adverse for life. Some particular protective environments or elements should house the organic molecules and the first bacterial life forms (Gómez F. et al., 2007). Terrestrial analogues work could help us to

  5. Size-frequency distributions of rocks on Mars and Earth analog sites: Implications for future landed missions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Golombek, M.; Rapp, D.

    The size-frequency distribution of rocks at the Viking landing sites and a variety of rocky locations on the Earth that formed from a number of geologic processes all have the general shape of simple exponential curves, which have been combined with remote sensing data and models on rock abundance to predict the frequency of boulders potentially hazardous to future Mars landers and rovers. Rock data from the near field of the Viking landers where dimensions can be measured accurately in stereo images and estimates from the far field of Viking 1 have convex up curved shapes on log-log graphs of cumulative frequency per square meter or cumulative fractional area versus diameter. The rock data show a sharp drop-off at large diameters and a progressive approach to a plateau with decreasing diameter (approaching the total rock coverage), which can be fit well with simple exponential functions. Similar shaped size-frequency distributions of rocks are found at a wide variety of rocky surfaces on the Earth and can be fit well with simple exponential functions. This distribution is compatible with fracture and fragmentation theory, which provides a physical basis for its wide application. A combined fit to rock area data at both Viking sites was made with a general exponential function, in which the pre-exponential is the total area covered by rocks. Simple linear height versus diameter relationships were also derived from height-diameter ratios at the Viking sites, which suggest that rockier areas on Mars have higher standing rocks than less rocky areas. Height was then substituted into the general exponential function derived for diameter, yielding the cumulative fractional area of rocks versus height for any given total rock coverage on Mars. Results indicate that most of Mars is rather benign with regard to hazards from landing on large rocks. For total rock coverage of 8%, equivalent to modal rock coverage on Mars and the Viking 1 site without the outcrops, about 1% of

  6. Terrestrial analog field investigations to enable science and exploration studies of impacts and volcanism on the Moon, NEAs, and moons of Mars (Invited)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Heldmann, J. L.; Colaprete, A.; Cohen, B. A.; Elphic, R. C.; Garry, W. B.; Hodges, K. V.; Hughes, S. S.; Kim, K. J.; Lim, D.; McKay, C. P.; Osinski, G. R.; Petro, N. E.; Sears, D. W.; Squyres, S. W.; Tornabene, L. L.

    2013-12-01

    Terrestrial analog studies are a critical component for furthering our understanding of geologic processes on the Moon, near-Earth asteroids (NEAs), and the moons of Mars. Carefully chosen analog sites provide a unique natural laboratory with high relevance to the associated science on these solar system target bodies. Volcanism and impact cratering are fundamental processes on the Moon, NEAs, and Phobos and Deimos. The terrestrial volcanic and impact records remain invaluable for our understanding of these processes throughout our solar system, since these are our primary source of firsthand knowledge on volcanic landform formation and modification as well as the three-dimensional structural and lithological character of impact craters. Regarding impact cratering, terrestrial fieldwork can help us to understand the origin and emplacement of impactites, the history of impact bombardment in the inner Solar System, the formation of complex impact craters, and the effects of shock on planetary materials. Volcanism is another dominant geologic process that has significantly shaped the surface of planetary bodies and many asteroids. Through terrestrial field investigations we can study the processes, geomorphic features and rock types related to fissure eruptions, volcanic constructs, lava tubes, flows and pyroclastic deposits. Also, terrestrial analog studies have the advantage of enabling simultaneous robotic and/or human exploration testing in a low cost, low risk, high fidelity environment to test technologies and concepts of operations for future missions to the target bodies. Of particular interest is the importance and role of robotic precursor missions prior to human operations for which there is little to no actual mission experience to draw upon. Also critical to understanding new worlds is sample return, and analog studies enable us to develop the appropriate procedures for collecting samples in a manner that will best achieve the science objectives.

  7. Terrestrial Analog Field Investigations to Enable Science and Exploration Studies of Impacts and Volcanism on the Moon, NEAs, and Moons of Mars

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Heldmann, Jennifer Lynne; Colaprete, Anthony; Cohen, Barbara; Elphic, Richard; Garry, William; Hodges, Kip; Hughes, Scott; Kim, Kyeon; Lim, Darlene; McKay, Chris; hide

    2013-01-01

    Terrestrial analog studies are a critical component for furthering our understanding of geologic processes on the Moon, near-Earth asteroids (NEAs), and the moons of Mars. Carefully chosen analog sites provide a unique natural laboratory with high relevance to the associated science on these solar system target bodies. Volcanism and impact cratering are fundamental processes on the Moon, NEAs, and Phobos and Deimos. The terrestrial volcanic and impact records remain invaluable for our understanding of these processes throughout our solar system, since these are our primary source of firsthand knowledge on volcanic landform formation and modification as well as the three-dimensional structural and lithological character of impact craters. Regarding impact cratering, terrestrial fieldwork can help us to understand the origin and emplacement of impactites, the history of impact bombardment in the inner Solar System, the formation of complex impact craters, and the effects of shock on planetary materials. Volcanism is another dominant geologic process that has significantly shaped the surface of planetary bodies and many asteroids. Through terrestrial field investigations we can study the processes, geomorphic features and rock types related to fissure eruptions, volcanic constructs, lava tubes, flows and pyroclastic deposits. Also, terrestrial analog studies have the advantage of enabling simultaneous robotic and/or human exploration testing in a low cost, low risk, high fidelity environment to test technologies and concepts of operations for future missions to the target bodies. Of particular interest is the importance and role of robotic precursor missions prior to human operations for which there is little to no actual mission experience to draw upon. Also critical to understanding new worlds is sample return, and analog studies enable us to develop the appropriate procedures for collecting samples in a manner that will best achieve the science objectives.

  8. Crater Lakes on Mars: Development of Quantitative Thermal and Geomorphic Models

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Barnhart, C. J.; Tulaczyk, S.; Asphaug, E.; Kraal, E. R.; Moore, J.

    2005-01-01

    Impact craters on Mars have served as catchments for channel-eroding surface fluids, and hundreds of examples of candidate paleolakes are documented [1,2] (see Figure 1). Because these features show similarity to terrestrial shorelines, wave action has been hypothesized as the geomorphic agent responsible for the generation of these features [3]. Recent efforts have examined the potential for shoreline formation by wind-driven waves, in order to turn an important but controversial idea into a quantitative, falsifiable hypothesis. These studies have concluded that significant wave-action shorelines are unlikely to have formed commonly within craters on Mars, barring Earth-like weather for approx.1000 years [4,5,6].

  9. Possible Evidence for Iron Sulfates, Iron Sulfides, and Elemental Sulfur at Gusev Crater, Mars, from Mer, Crism, and Analog Data

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Morris, R. V.; Ming, D. W.; Yen, A.; Arvidson, R. E.; Gruener, J.; Humm, D.; Klingelhoefer, G.; Murchie, S.; Schroeder, C.; Seelos, F., IV; Squyres, S.; Wiseman, S.; Wolff, M.

    2007-01-01

    The Mossbauer (MB) spectrometers on the Mars Exploration Rovers (MER) Spirit (Gusev crater) and Opportunity (Meridiani Planum) have detected 14 Fe-bearing phases, and mineralogical assignments have been made for all except 3. Identified Fe2+-bearing phases are olivine, pyroxene, ilmenite, and troilite. Magnetite and chromite are present as mixed Fe(2+) and Fe(3+) phases. Identified Fe(3+) phase are jarosite, hematite, goethite, and nanophase ferric oxide (npOx). Fe(sup 0) (iron metal) is present as kamacite. Nanophase ferric oxide (npOx) is a generic name for octahedrally coordinated Fe(3+) alteration products that cannot be otherwise mineralogically assigned on the basis of MER data. On the Earth, npOx would include ferrihydrite, iddingsite, schwertmannite, akaganeite, and superparamagnetic hematite and goethite. The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter CRISM instrument, a visible, near-IR hyperspectral imager (approximately 0.35 to 4 micron) enables mineralogical examination of Mars with a tool that is sensitive to H2O and to M-OH (M = Al, Si, Fe, Mg, etc.) at spatial resolution of about 20 m/pixel. We examined a CRISM image of the MER region of Gusev crater (Columbia Hills and plains to the west), looking for spectral evidence of the aqueous process apparent from the MER analyses. We also searched for spectral constraints for the mineralogical composition of our unidentified Fe-bearing phases and the forms of npOx present on Mars. We also consider evidence from analogue samples that the precursor for the goethite detected by MB in Clovis Class rocks is an iron sulfide. We suggest that there is some indirect evidence that elemental sulfur might be present to different extents in Clovis Class rocks, the Fe3Sulfate-rich soils, and perhaps even typical (Laguna Class) surface soils.

  10. Detection of trace organics in Mars analog samples containing perchlorate by laser desorption/ionization mass spectrometry.

    PubMed

    Li, Xiang; Danell, Ryan M; Brinckerhoff, William B; Pinnick, Veronica T; van Amerom, Friso; Arevalo, Ricardo D; Getty, Stephanie A; Mahaffy, Paul R; Steininger, Harald; Goesmann, Fred

    2015-02-01

    Evidence from recent Mars missions indicates the presence of perchlorate salts up to 1 wt % level in the near-surface materials. Mixed perchlorates and other oxychlorine species may complicate the detection of organic molecules in bulk martian samples when using pyrolysis techniques. To address this analytical challenge, we report here results of laboratory measurements with laser desorption mass spectrometry, including analyses performed on both commercial and Mars Organic Molecule Analyzer (MOMA) breadboard instruments. We demonstrate that the detection of nonvolatile organics in selected spiked mineral-matrix materials by laser desorption/ionization (LDI) mass spectrometry is not inhibited by the presence of up to 1 wt % perchlorate salt. The organics in the sample are not significantly degraded or combusted in the LDI process, and the parent molecular ion is retained in the mass spectrum. The LDI technique provides distinct potential benefits for the detection of organics in situ on the martian surface and has the potential to aid in the search for signs of life on Mars.

  11. Analog experimental models of solidification of crystal-laden Kīlauea Iki lava lake, Hawai`i and implications for cumulate development.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Burnett, C. T.; Patwardhan, K.

    2016-12-01

    We present results from experimental models of Kīlauea Iki lava lake with the goal of reproducing the S-shaped vertical distribution profile of phenocrysts in the solidifying lava lake. In November-December 1959, lava from a two-week long eruption at the summit of Kīlauea Volcano flowed into the adjoining Kīlauea Iki crater filling it with a lake of lava approximately 640 m across and 135 m deep. The erupted picritic lava contained approximately 17 modal % olivine phenocrysts (Garcia, 2003). As the lava lake filled most of the phenocrysts sank towards the lower parts of the lake while some were captured in the upper crust. This resulted in an S-shaped vertical profile with an olivine-depleted (1-3 % olivine) upper part and an olivine-enriched (up to 40 % olivine) lower part (Helz, 1989). In our experiments, molten paraffin wax, extra-fine craft glitter, and aluminum foil pans/bowls are used as analogs for magma, olivine phenocrysts, and Kīlauea Iki pit crater respectively. A molten paraffin-glitter mixture at approximately 54°C is stirred/poured into the crater to create the lake, and then frozen. Cross-sections of the solidified lake are photographed and imported into ImageJ to analyze the final distribution of glitter particles at various depths. This distribution depends primarily upon the competition between settling rate vs. solidification time. Particle settling rate is controlled by glitter-paraffin density difference and paraffin viscosity. Solidification time varies with initial paraffin temperature, aspect ratio of the model lake, and ambient temperature. Vertical profiles of several solidified lava lake models reveal a glitter particle (phenocryst) distribution similar to the S-shaped characteristic profile recorded at Kīlauea Iki. In effect, our lava lake models recreate the dynamic process of emplacement of crystal-laden magma with subsequent settling of these crystals to produce a phenocryst-enriched layer near the bottom. A similar process

  12. Astrobiology in the Field: Studying Mars by Analogue Expeditions on Earth

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Conrad, Pamela G.

    2011-01-01

    We will present a strategy for how one prepares to engage in fieldwork on another planets by practicing in analogous environments on the Earth, including at Mono Lake. As an example, we will address the problem of how to study the habitability of an environment when you have no idea what kind of life might be there to exploit it. This will all be related to the upcoming launch of the Mars Science Laboratory to Mars in late November this year.

  13. Evolution of Lacustrine Environments on Mars and Their Significance: The Case for the Brazos Lakes and East Terra Meridiani Basins as Landing Sites for Surveyor 2001

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Cabrol, N. A.; Grin, E. A.

    1999-01-01

    Ancient Martian lacustrine environments must be considered as primary targets to explore on Mars. Terrestrial studies show that lakes are exceptional sites to keep the record of the evolution of climate, geology, water and life. Finding this record is also the principal objective of the Mars Surveyor Program. This record encompasses changes at local, regional and global scales. Lacustrine sediments provide critical information about all events occurring in the lake catchment area. They are also a locus of complex chemical processes, concentration for life and favorable sites for fossilization processes to take place. We proposed two candidate-sites in the Schiaparelli Crater region responding to this high-priority scientific objective at the June 1999 meeting in Buffalo, NY. The two sites are located in the Sinus Sabeus quadrangle, are well documented by MOC images, and are among the best evidence yet of a Martian past lacustrine activity. We develop their case as high-priority sites for the 01' mission.

  14. Orbital Evidence for Clay and Acidic Sulfate Assemblages on Mars and Mineralogical Analogs from Rio Tinto, Spain

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kaplan, H. H.; Milliken, R.; Fernandez-Remolar, D. C.; Amils, R.; Robertson, K.; Knoll, A. H.

    2015-12-01

    A suite of enigmatic near-infrared reflectance spectra with a 'doublet' absorption between 2.2 and 2.3 µm is observed in CRISM (Compact Reconnaissance Imaging Spectrometer for Mars) hyperspectral images over Ius and Melas Chasma on Mars. The doublet-bearing deposits are found alongside other hydrated minerals including clays, sulfates, and silica, but the mineral(s) responsible for the spectral signature has yet to be identified. Reflectance spectra of rocks and sediments at Rio Tinto, Spain exhibit similar absorptions at airborne, field, and lab spatial scales. Coupled X-ray diffraction and reflectance spectra of these terrestrial examples indicate the absorption arises from a mixture of jarosite, a ferric sulfate, and Al-phyllosilicates (illite/muscovite). Detailed analysis of CRISM data over Ius and Melas Chasma suggests that these deposits also contain mixtures of jarosite and Al-phyllosilicate, where the latter may include halloysite, kaolinite and/or montmorillonite in addition to illite/muscovite. This interpretation is supported because (1) the two absorptions in the doublet feature vary independently, implying the presence of two or more phases, (2) the position of the absorptions is consistent with Al-OH and Fe-OH vibrations in both the Rio Tinto and CRISM spectra and (3) Al-phyllosilicates and jarosite are identified separately in nearby regions. Multiple formation mechanisms are proposed based on stratigraphy in Ius Chasma, where the strength of absorptions varies within a single stratigraphic unit as well as between different units. Mechanisms include authigenic formation of jarosite, which would indicate locally acidic and oxidizing conditions, mixed with detrial Al-phyllosilicates, or authigenic formation of Al-phyllosilicates and jarosite. Each implies different conditions in terms of aqueous geochemistry, redox, and sediment transport. Results from the field, lab, and CRISM analysis will be presented to discuss how placing these spectral

  15. Orbital evidence for clay and acidic sulfate assemblages on Mars based on mineralogical analogs from Rio Tinto, Spain

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kaplan, Hannah H.; Milliken, Ralph E.; Fernández-Remolar, David; Amils, Ricardo; Robertson, Kevin; Knoll, Andrew H.

    2016-09-01

    Outcrops of hydrated minerals are widespread across the surface of Mars, with clay minerals and sulfates being commonly identified phases. Orbitally-based reflectance spectra are often used to classify these hydrated components in terms of a single mineralogy, although most surfaces likely contain multiple minerals that have the potential to record local geochemical conditions and processes. Reflectance spectra for previously identified deposits in Ius and Melas Chasma within the Valles Marineris, Mars, exhibit an enigmatic feature with two distinct absorptions between 2.2 and 2.3 μm. This spectral 'doublet' feature is proposed to result from a mixture of hydrated minerals, although the identity of the minerals has remained ambiguous. Here we demonstrate that similar spectral doublet features are observed in airborne, field, and laboratory reflectance spectra of rock and sediment samples from Rio Tinto, Spain. Combined visible-near infrared reflectance spectra and X-ray diffraction measurements of these samples reveal that the doublet feature arises from a mixture of Al-phyllosilicate (illite or muscovite) and jarosite. Analyses of orbital data from the Compact Reconnaissance Imaging Spectrometer for Mars (CRISM) shows that the martian spectral equivalents are also consistent with mixtures of Al-phyllosilicates and jarosite, where the Al-phyllosilicate may also include kaolinite and/or halloysite. A case study for a region within Ius Chasma demonstrates that the relative proportions of the Al-phyllosilicate(s) and jarosite vary within one stratigraphic unit as well as between stratigraphic units. The former observation suggests that the jarosite may be a diagenetic (authigenic) product and thus indicative of local pH and redox conditions, whereas the latter observation may be consistent with variations in sediment flux and/or fluid chemistry during sediment deposition.

  16. Spatial distribution of damage around faults in the Joe Lott Tuff Member of the Mount Belknap Volcanics, Utah: A mechanical analog for faulting in pyroclastic deposits on Mars

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Okubo, Chris H.

    2012-01-01

    Volcanic ash is thought to comprise a large fraction of the Martian equatorial layered deposits and much new insight into the process of faulting and related fluid flow in these deposits can be gained through the study of analogous terrestrial tuffs. This study identifies a set of fault-related processes that are pertinent to understanding the evolution of fault systems in fine-grained, poorly indurated volcanic ash by investigating exposures of faults in the Miocene-aged Joe Lott Tuff Member of the Mount Belknap Volcanics, Utah. The porosity and granularity of the host rock are found to control the style of localized strain that occurs prior to and contemporaneous with faulting. Deformation bands occur in tuff that was porous and granular at the time of deformation, while fractures formed where the tuff lost its porous and granular nature due to silicic alteration. Non-localized deformation of the host rock is also prominent and occurs through compaction of void space, including crushing of pumice clasts. Significant off-fault damage of the host rock, resembling fault pulverization, is recognized adjacent to one analog fault and may reflect the strain rate dependence of the resulting fault zone architecture. These findings provide important new guidelines for future structural analyses and numerical modeling of faulting and subsurface fluid flow through volcanic ash deposits on Mars.

  17. Subsurface Halophilic Microbial Communities in the Hyperarid Core of the Atacama Desert: An Analog for Possible Subsurface Life in Regolith on Mars

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Oren, A.; Warren-Rhodes, K.; Rainey, F. T.; Ewing, S.; McKay, C. P.

    2003-12-01

    The Atacama Desert in its driest portion provides an interesting analog for possible past or present life in the Martian regolith. In the hyperarid core of the Atacama, surface soils are virtually abiotic, with no plants and "near sterile" concentrations of heterotrophic bacteria (i.e., exceedingly low densities of approximately 100 colony forming units per gram soil). The dearth of microbial life at the surface is likely maintained through extremely low water availability, low organic content and the highly oxidizing nature of the soil. In marked contrast to the surface, however, extremely halophilic microorganisms exist in salt layers 1.2-1.5m below the surface. Mineralogical analyses indicate the layers are predominantly halite (70% NaCl) but also contain sodium nitrate (5% NaNO3). Culturing and polar lipid analyses suggest the halophiles are archaeal Halobacterium-like motile rods. Microclimate monitoring at 1m indicates a soil relative humidity of 20% which is stable year-round even during decadal rain events such as that experienced in July 2002. This suggests the layers are isolated from even significant moisture influxes at the surface. Although further research is necessary, important parallels exist between this Earthly desert analog and the possible existence and detection of subsurface life on Mars despite harsh abiotic conditions at the surface.

  18. Evidence for an ice sheet/frozen lake in Utopia Planitia, Mars

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Chapman, M. G.

    1993-01-01

    Previous workers noted evidence for a lacustrine basin in Utopia Planitia, Mars. Geomorphic features within the basin that collectively suggest that water or ice may once have been present include channels within the basin, channels peripheral to the basin, etched basin floor, 'thumbprint' terrain (whorled patterns), polygonal outlines, smooth floors (infilled), shoreline indicators (terraces, platforms, lineaments), and small cratered cones (pseudo craters or pingos). The authors interpret these data to suggest that the basin may have been the locus of a large paleolake in the northern lowlands of Mars. Alternatively, the area was proposed to be part of an ancient circumpolar ocean. The hypothetical paleolake was probably frozen to some depth. In fact, features now present at its boundaries suggest that the edges may have been frozen solid. Plains units at the southwestern boundary of Utopia Planitia show ridges that were compared with those that form at the mouths of Antarctic ice streams, thumbprint terrain, and young, high deposits having lobate margins that suggest mudflows. Thumbprint terrains were interpreted as recessional moraines, ice-pushed ridges, or subglacially eroded tunnel valleys with eroded eskers. At the east boundary of Utopia Planitia, geologic mapping at 1:500,000 scale of the Granicus Valles area (MTM quadrangles 30227, 30222, and 25227) indicates the presence of a basal scarp around the northwest flank of Elysium that formed the east boundary of an ancient ice sheet.

  19. Experimentally Shocked and Altered Basalt: Laboratory Analogs for Calibration of Mars Remote Sensing and In Situ Data

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Bell, M. S.

    2015-01-01

    Calcium phosphate (likely chloroapatite) is formed in the alteration experiments and is more abundant in the altered and shocked sample probably due to increased surface area exposed to alteration fluids resulting from shock damage in the form of both brittle and structural deformation to the starting material (Figs 1 & 3). Apatite forms in basic conditions so the closed system alteration experiment must be buffered by the basalt starting material to create a fluid chemistry environment evolving from neutral at the start to alkaline after 21 days at 160 degrees Centigrade. Plagioclase feldspar in the unshocked sample (Fig. 2) has undergone a solid-state transformation to maskelynite, a disordered phase that is not manifest in the X-ray diffraction pattern of the shocked sample (Fig.4). Olivine and ulvospinel that are present in the starting material can be detected by X-ray diffraction in the shocked and altered sample (Fig. 4). Tungsten from the sample holder used in the shock experiments dominates the X-ray diffraction pattern of the shocked and altered sample (Fig. 4). Samples were weighed after the alteration experiments to determine mass loss and predict the amount of material available for the planned analyses from the shock experiments. Within the constraints of these experiments, mass loss is negligible. The samples will next be characterized by Moessbauer and Vis-Near Infrared spectroscopy, the results of which will be compared to the Mars Exploration Rovers and Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter data sets respectively.

  20. Experimentally Shocked and Altered Basalt: Laboratory Analogs for Calibration of Mars Remote Sensing and In Situ Data

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Bell, M. S.

    2015-01-01

    Calciumphosphate (likely chloroapatite) is formed in the alteration experiments and is more abundant in the altered and shocked sample probably due to increased surface area exposed to alteration fluids resulting from shock damage in the form of both brittle and structural deformation to the starting material (Figs 1 & 3). Apatite forms in basic conditions so the closed system alteration experiment must be buffered by the basalt starting material to create a fluid chemistry environment evolving from neutral at the start to alkaline after 21 days at 160 C. Plagioclase feldspar in the unshocked sample (Fig. 2) has undergone a solid-state transformation to maskelynite, a disordered phase that is not manifest in the XRD pattern of the shocked sample (Fig.4). Olivine and ulvospinel that are present in the starting material can be detected by XRD in the shocked and altered sample (Fig. 4). Tungsten from the sample holder used in the shock experiments dominates the XRD pattern of the shocked and altered sample (Fig. 4). Samples were weighed after the alteration experiments to determine mass loss and predict the amount of material available for the planned analyses from the shock experiments. Within the constraints of these experiments, mass loss is negligible. The samples will next be characterized by Moessbauer and Vis-Near IR spectroscopy, the results of which will be compared to the Mars Exploration Rovers and Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter data sets respectively.

  1. Working hours, sleep, salivary cortisol, fatigue and neuro-behavior during Mars analog mission: five crews study.

    PubMed

    Rai, Balwant; Foing, Bernard H; Kaur, Jasdeep

    2012-05-16

    The buoyancy of humans in exploring extreme space environments has been established during missions to the moon. Long duration missions like mission to Mars however, requires humans to adapt to systemic and complex environments beyond the human body's capacity. Astronauts will encounter both physiological and psychological extremes during this trip. Very few studies are conducted on effect of long duration work and sleepiness on cognitive performance. So, this study was planned to find out effects of leadership responsibility, sleepiness and long duration working hours on cognitive performance. The 30 members (leadership: normal; 10:20) were selected from MDRS crews (Mars Desert Research Station, USA). Neurobehavioral test performance, self-ratings of fatigue and sleepiness, and salivary cortisol levels were evaluated during first day, mid and end day of mission. The leadership group did not show any signs of reduced test performance, even in elevated fatigue and sleepiness. The leadership group had faster reaction times on end of mission as compared to first and after 7 day of mission. Salivary cortisol levels were significantly higher in leadership group as compared to normal group. The results suggest that long duration work and sleepiness does not affect the cognitive performance of crew member. Further study is required while taking into account all factors and large sample size to prove this fact.

  2. X-Ray Amorphous Phases in Terrestrial Analog Volcanic Sediments: Implications for Amorphous Phases in Gale Crater, Mars

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Smith, R. J.; Horgan, B.; Rampe, E.; Dehouck, E.; Morris, R. V.

    2017-01-01

    X-ray diffraction (XRD) amorphous phases have been found as major components (approx.15-60 wt%) of all rock and soil samples measured by the CheMin XRD instrument in Gale Crater, Mars. The nature of these phases is not well understood and could be any combination of primary (e.g., glass) and secondary (e.g., allophane) phases. Amorphous phases form in abundance during surface weathering on Earth. Yet, these materials are poorly characterized, and it is not certain how properties like composition and structure change with formation environment. The presence of poorly crystalline phases can be inferred from XRD patterns by the appearance of a low angle rise (< or approx.10deg 2(theta)) or broad peaks in the background at low to moderate 2(theta) angles (amorphous humps). CheMin mineral abundances combined with bulk chemical composition measurements from the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) have been used to estimate the abundance and composition of the XRD amorphous materials in soil and rock samples on Mars. Here we apply a similar approach to a diverse suite of terrestrial samples - modern soils, glacial sediments, and paleosols - in order to determine how formation environment, climate, and diagenesis affect the abundance and composition of X-ray amorphous phases.

  3. Lake

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Wien, Carol Anne

    2008-01-01

    The lake is blue black and deep. It is a glaciated finger lake, clawed out of rock when ice retracted across Nova Scotia in a northerly direction during the last ice age. The lake is narrow, a little over a mile long, and deep, 90 to 190 feet in places according to local lore, off the charts in others. The author loves to swim there, with a sense…

  4. Mars Elysium Basin - Geologic/volumetric analysis of a young lake and exobiologic implications

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Scott, D. H.; Chapman, M. G.

    1991-01-01

    Geologic, physiographic, and topographic data on the Elysium Basin on the Martial lowland plains are used to determine the former volume of water in the basin and the sources of this water. The maximum extent of the paleolake was estimated to be about 2,000,000 sq km, with a water volume of 850,000 cu km or more, supplied to the basin from many sources in the highlands via inflow channels. The climatic and biological implications that the Elysium-Basin sea or lake might have had are discussed.

  5. Where on Mars Should We Search for Life?

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    McKay, Christopher P.; Cuzzi, Jeffrey N. (Technical Monitor)

    1996-01-01

    There is persuasive evidence that liquid water has been a significant geological processes on Mars. In particular, evidence suggests that one of the major epochs of liquid water on Mars was during and after the late heavy bombardment. During this time life originated on Earth and may have originated on Mars as well. Liquid water per se, independent of models for the temperature or atmospheric pressure, motivate the question of life. Promising sites for searching for evidence of life on Mars include dry lake beds, the ancient cratered terrain, and the South Polar permafrost. Life on Earth in environments that are analogous to those that might have provided the final refuge for life on Mars provide clues to where and how to search for evidence of past life.

  6. Practicability of In Situ K-Ar Age Dating by Martian Landers; A Study of Mars Analogs and Meteorites

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Park, Jisun; Ming, D. W.; Garrison, D. H.; Jones, J. H.; Bogard, D. D.

    2009-12-01

    Purpose of this noble gas investigation was to evaluate the feasibility of in situ K-Ar radiometric age dating of Martian surface rocks by future robotic missions, such as the Mars Science Laboratory(MSL), under constraints inherent to the Martian surface and lander design. The MSL Sample Analysis at Mars(SAM) instrument has the capability to measure noble gas compositions of Martain rocks and atmosphere. We evaluate requirements for SAM to obtain adequate noble gas abundances and compositions within the current instrumental operating conditions. In particular, maximum furnace temperature is limited to 1100ºC or lower due to power supply constraints. As a simulation experiment, we analyzed three Martian shergottites and terrestrial MORB, under the same conditions afforded SAM on the Martian surface. Our results suggest that SAM noble gas recoveries might be sufficient for K-Ar age determinations. Comparing these results with previous experiments performed on Martian meteorites at NASA-JSC, we can asses the capability of Mars lander designs with a variety of Martian rock types. The noble gas composition of Martian meteorites can be difficult to interpret due to the combined signals of in situ 40K decay, shock implanted 40Ar from Martian atmosphere[2,3], and 40Ar inherited from parent magma[4,5]. These components should also be considered in interpreting lander data. A possible advantage for landers is that K concentrations reported from the Martian surface are variable and possibly quite high, a desirable trait for K-Ar age dating. Spirit APXS reports 3000-7000ppm K for most locations but in some areas, concentrations as high as 25000ppm have been observed[6,7]. [1] Bogard (2009) MaPS44, 3-14; [2] Bogard and Johnson (1983) Science221,651-654 [3] Marti et al. (1995) Science267, 1981-1984; [4] Bogard and Park (2008) MAPS43, 1113-1126. [5] Bogard et al. (2009) MAPS44, 905-923. [6] Ming et al. (2006) JGR111, E02S12. [7] Ming D.W. et al. (2008) JGR113, E12S39.

  7. Spectral and chemical characterization of hyper-arid and hypo-thermal oxidation processes as an analog for Amazonian alteration on Mars

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Salvatore, M. R.; Mustard, J. F.; Head, J. W.; Marchant, D. R.; Cooper, R. F.; Wyatt, M. B.

    2012-12-01

    were remodeled using an endmember library modified to include the spectral signature of dolerite alteration rinds. This spectral component accounts for nearly 18% of the Surface Type 1 (ST1) spectrum and 33% of the Surface Type 2 (ST2) spectrum. These MER chemical and TES spectral datasets suggest that oxidation signatures significantly overprint basaltic low albedo regions on Mars and do not require invoking different rock types or more evolved alteration products to explain the observed compositional characteristics. The latitude dependence of the distribution of ST2 suggests a climatic influence, possibly related to the transient melting of small amounts of snow or frost during optimal climatic and orbital conditions [i.e., Head et al., 2011]. Alteration rind development on dolerites in the most hyper-arid and hypo-thermal region of the Antarctic Dry Valleys show comparable spectral and chemical characteristics to Amazonian surfaces on Mars. These observations suggest, as proposed by Bibring et al. [2006], that strong oxidation gradients were the primary driver of chemical alteration in the Amazonian era on Mars and are analogous to alteration processes in hyper-arid and hypo-thermal terrestrial landscapes.

  8. A New Method for Evaluating the Carbon Isotope Characteristics of Carbonate Formed Under Cryogenic Conditions Analogous to Mars

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Niles, P. B.; Socki, R. A.; Hredzak, P. L.

    2007-01-01

    The two upcoming robotic missions to Mars, Phoenix and MSL, will both have the capability of measuring the carbon isotopic composition of CO2 in the martian atmosphere, as well as possible CO2 trapped in carbonate minerals in the Martian soil. Results from orbital and landed missions now clearly indicate that no large scale deposits of carbonate materials exist at the surface. However, some results from orbital remote sensing have been interpreted to indicate that carbonate minerals are present as fine particles interspersed at low concentrations (approx. 2%) in the martian dust. One likely mechanism for the production of these carbonates is during the freezing of transient water near the surface. Large deposits of near surface ice and photographic evidence for flowing water on the surface suggest that transient melting and refreezing of H2O is an active process on Mars. Any exposure of these fluids to the CO2 rich atmosphere should al-low the production of HCO3- solutions. Carbonates are likely precipitates from these solutions during freezing as extensive CO2 degassing, driven by the fluid s decreasing volume, drives CO2 out. This rapid CO2 degassing increases the pH of the solution and drives carbonate precipitation. It has been shown in previous studies that this rapid CO2 degassing also results in a kinetic isotopic fractionation where the CO2 gas has a much lighter isotopic composition causing a large isotope enrichment of C-13 in the precipitated carbonate. This kinetic isotope enrichment may be very common in the current martian environment, and may be a very important factor in understanding the very high deltaC-13 values of carbonates found in the martian meteorites. However, while previous studies have succeeded in generally quantifying the magnitude of this effect, detailed studies of the consistency of this effect, and the freezing rates needed to produce it are needed to understand any carbon isotope analyses from carbonate minerals in the martian

  9. Interactions Between Snow-Adapted Organisms, Minerals and Snow in a Mars-Analog Environment, and Implications for the Possible Formation of Mineral Biosignatures

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hausrath, E.; Bartlett, C. L.; Garcia, A. H.; Tschauner, O. D.; Murray, A. E.; Raymond, J. A.

    2015-12-01

    Increasing evidence suggests that icy environments on bodies such as Mars, Europa, and Enceladus may be important potential habitats in our solar system. Life in icy environments faces many challenges, including water limitation, temperature extremes, and nutrient limitation. Understanding how life has adapted to withstand these challenges on Earth may help understand potential life on other icy worlds, and understanding the interactions of such life with minerals may help shed light on the detection of possible mineral biosignatures. Snow environments, being particularly nutrient limited, may require specific adaptations by the microbiota living there. Previous observations have suggested that associated minerals and microorganisms play an important role in snow algae micronutrient acquisition. Here, in order to interpret micronutrient uptake by snow algae, and potential formation of mineral biosignatures, we present observations of interactions between snow algae and associated microorganisms and minerals in both natural, Mars-analog environments, and laboratory experiments. Samples of snow, dust, snow algae, and microorganisms were collected from Mount Anderson Ridge, CA. Some samples were DAPI-stained and analyzed by epifluorescent microscopy, and others were freeze-dried and examined by scanning electron microscopy, synchrotron X-ray diffraction (XRD) and synchrotron X-ray fluorescence (XRF). Xenic cultures of the snow alga Chloromonas brevispina were also grown under Fe-limiting conditions with and without the Fe-containing mineral nontronite to determine impacts of the mineral on algal growth. Observations from epifluorescent microscopy show bacteria closely associated with the snow algae, consistent with a potential role in micronutrient acquisition. Particles are also present on the algal cell walls, and synchrotron-XRD and XRF observations indicate that they are Fe-rich, and may therefore be a micronutrient source. Laboratory experiments indicated

  10. The evolution of volcanic material on Mars: Preliminary results of sand-lavas relationships from the analogy with sandy lavas in Iceland

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Mangold, N.; Baratoux, D.; Arnalds, O.; Grégoire, M.; Platevoët, B.; Bardintzeff, J. M.; Chevrier, V.; Pinet, P.; Mathé, P. E.; Rochette, P.

    2004-12-01

    The surface of Mars is covered by volcanic rocks from few tens of millions years to 3.5 by old. The presence of water and atmosphere can strongly affect these rocks, by both chemical and mechanical erosion and transport. The interpretation of multispectral and hyperspectral data of Mars requires a better comprehension of these surface processes in order to understand if the spectral data still corresponds to the volcanic composition at the time of formation. Volcanic material in Iceland is a good analog for the studies of possible landforms resulting from the formation, transport and deposition of basaltic sand on Mars. Iceland is amongst the unique places on Earth with a cold environment, abundant basaltic rocks and sands, and the presence of palagonite, a possible typical constituent of the Martian soil. A first field campaign has been achieved in fall 2003, with the objectives of sites selection and chemical analysis of sands and lavas in order to establish the sources of sands, and the mineralogical and chemical evolution from lava to sands. The first site is close to Skjalbreidur volcano, south of Langjokull and is composed of weathered lava blocks, sands and gravels. The second sampling site is close to Eldborgir volcano, also south of Langjokull, weathered lava flows and sands are observed here. The third sampling site is around Hekla volcano. The results of the chemical analysis indicate different situations for the origin of sands. For the first two sites, major, minor and traces elements are correlated and indicate that the sands, which are basaltic in composition, are genetically related to the surrounding lava. The sands at Hekla volcano, andesitic in composition, indicate a contamination of material eroded from basaltic lava flow by a more silicic component erupted from Hekla. Sands coming from different sources, of possibly different chemical and mineralogical composition, and of different nature of eruption can easily mix each other which has

  11. Molecular and phenetic characterization of the bacterial assemblage of Hot Lake, WA, an environment with high concentrations of magnesium sulphate, and its relevance to Mars

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kilmer, Brian R.; Eberl, Timothy C.; Cunderla, Brent; Chen, Fei; Clark, Benton C.; Schneegurt, Mark A.

    2014-01-01

    Hot Lake (Oroville, WA) is an athalassohaline epsomite lake that can have precipitating concentrations of MgSO4 salts, mainly epsomite. Little biotic study has been done on epsomite lakes and it was unclear whether microbes isolated from epsomite lakes and their margins would fall within recognized halotolerant genera, common soil genera or novel phyla. Our initial study cultivated and characterized epsotolerant bacteria from the lake and its margins. Approximately 100 aerobic heterotrophic microbial isolates were obtained by repetitive streak-plating in high-salt media including either 10% NaCl or 2 M MgSO4. The collected isolates were all bacteria, nearly evenly divided between Gram-positive and Gram-negative clades, the most abundant genera being Halomonas, Idiomarina, Marinobacter, Marinococcus, Nesterenkonia, Nocardiopsis and Planococcus. Bacillus, Corynebacterium, Exiguobacterium, Kocuria and Staphylococcus also were cultured. This initial study included culture-independent community analysis of direct DNA extracts of lake margin soil using PCR-based clone libraries and 16S rRNA gene phylogeny. Clones assigned to Gram-positive bacterial clades (70% of total clones) were dominated by sequences related to uncultured actinobacteria. There were abundant Deltaproteobacteria clones related to bacterial sulphur metabolisms and clones of Legionella and Coxiella. These epsomite lake microbial communities seem to be divided between bacteria primarily associated with hyperhaline environments rich in NaCl and salinotolerant relatives of common soil organisms. Archaea appear to be in low abundance and none were isolated, despite near-saturated salinities. Growth of microbes at very high concentrations of magnesium and other sulphates has relevance to planetary protection and life-detection missions to Mars, where scant liquid water may form as deliquescent brines and appear as eutectic liquids.

  12. Molecular and Phenetic Characterization of the Bacterial Assemblage of Hot Lake, WA, an Environment with High Concentrations of Magnesium Sulfate, and Its Relevance to Mars

    PubMed Central

    Kilmer, Brian R.; Eberl, Timothy C.; Cunderla, Brent; Chen, Fei; Clark, Benton C.; Schneegurt, Mark A.

    2014-01-01

    Hot Lake (Oroville, WA) is an athalassohaline epsomite lake that can have precipitating concentrations of MgSO4 salts, mainly epsomite. Little biotic study has been done on epsomite lakes and it was unclear whether microbes isolated from epsomite lakes and their margins would fall within recognized halotolerant genera, common soil genera, or novel phyla. Our initial study cultivated and characterized epsotolerant bacteria from the lake and its margins. Approximately 100 aerobic heterotrophic microbial isolates were obtained by repetitive streak-plating in high-salt media including either 10% NaCl or 2 M MgSO4. The collected isolates were all bacteria, nearly evenly divided between Gram-positive and Gram-negative clades, the most abundant genera being Halomonas, Idiomarina, Marinobacter, Marinococcus, Nesterenkonia, Nocardiopsis, and Planococcus. Bacillus, Corynebacterium, Exiguobacterium, Kocuria, and Staphylococcus also were cultured. This initial study included culture-independent community analysis of direct DNA extracts of lake margin soil using PCR-based clone libraries and 16S rRNA gene phylogeny. Clones assigned Gram-positive bacterial clades (70% of total clones) were dominated by sequences related to uncultured actinobacteria. There were abundant Deltaproteobacteria clones related to bacterial sulfur metabolisms and clones of Legionella and Coxiella. These epsomite lake microbial communities seem to be divided between bacteria primarily associated with hyperhaline environments rich in NaCl and salinotolerant relatives of common soil organisms. Archaea appear to be in low abundance and none were isolated, despite near-saturated salinities. Growth of microbes at very high concentrations of magnesium and other sulfates has relevance to planetary protection and life-detection missions to Mars, where scant liquid water may form as deliquescent brines and appear as eutectic liquids. PMID:24748851

  13. Molecular and Phenetic Characterization of the Bacterial Assemblage of Hot Lake, WA, an Environment with High Concentrations of Magnesium Sulfate, and Its Relevance to Mars.

    PubMed

    Kilmer, Brian R; Eberl, Timothy C; Cunderla, Brent; Chen, Fei; Clark, Benton C; Schneegurt, Mark A

    2014-01-01

    Hot Lake (Oroville, WA) is an athalassohaline epsomite lake that can have precipitating concentrations of MgSO4 salts, mainly epsomite. Little biotic study has been done on epsomite lakes and it was unclear whether microbes isolated from epsomite lakes and their margins would fall within recognized halotolerant genera, common soil genera, or novel phyla. Our initial study cultivated and characterized epsotolerant bacteria from the lake and its margins. Approximately 100 aerobic heterotrophic microbial isolates were obtained by repetitive streak-plating in high-salt media including either 10% NaCl or 2 M MgSO4. The collected isolates were all bacteria, nearly evenly divided between Gram-positive and Gram-negative clades, the most abundant genera being Halomonas, Idiomarina, Marinobacter, Marinococcus, Nesterenkonia, Nocardiopsis, and Planococcus. Bacillus, Corynebacterium, Exiguobacterium, Kocuria, and Staphylococcus also were cultured. This initial study included culture-independent community analysis of direct DNA extracts of lake margin soil using PCR-based clone libraries and 16S rRNA gene phylogeny. Clones assigned Gram-positive bacterial clades (70% of total clones) were dominated by sequences related to uncultured actinobacteria. There were abundant Deltaproteobacteria clones related to bacterial sulfur metabolisms and clones of Legionella and Coxiella. These epsomite lake microbial communities seem to be divided between bacteria primarily associated with hyperhaline environments rich in NaCl and salinotolerant relatives of common soil organisms. Archaea appear to be in low abundance and none were isolated, despite near-saturated salinities. Growth of microbes at very high concentrations of magnesium and other sulfates has relevance to planetary protection and life-detection missions to Mars, where scant liquid water may form as deliquescent brines and appear as eutectic liquids.

  14. Erosion by catastrophic floods on Mars and Earth

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Baker, V. R.; Milton, D. J.

    1974-01-01

    The morphologic features of the large Martian channels are shown to be strikingly similar to those of the Channeled Scabland of eastern Washington, produced by the catastrophic breakout floods of Pleistocene Lake Missoula. If the analogy is correct, floods involving water discharges of millions of cubic meters per second and peak flow velocities of tens of meters per second, but perhaps lasting no more than a few days, may have occurred on Mars.

  15. Erosion by catastrophic floods on Mars and Earth

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Baker, V. R.; Milton, D. J.

    1974-01-01

    The morphologic features of the large Martian channels are shown to be strikingly similar to those of the Channeled Scabland of eastern Washington, produced by the catastrophic breakout floods of Pleistocene Lake Missoula. If the analogy is correct, floods involving water discharges of millions of cubic meters per second and peak flow velocities of tens of meters per second, but perhaps lasting no more than a few days, may have occurred on Mars.

  16. The Ice-Covered Lakes Hypothesis in Gale Crater: Implications for the Early Hesperian Climate

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Kling, Alexandre M.; Haberle, Robert M.; McKay, Christopher P.; Bristow, Thomas F.; Rivera-Hernandez, Frances

    2017-01-01

    Recent geological discoveries from the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL), including stream and lake sedimentary deposits, provide evidence that Gale crater may have intermittently hosted a fluviol-acustine environment during the Hesperian, with individual lakes lasting for a period of tens to hundreds of thousands of years. Estimates of the CO2 content of the atmosphere at the time the Gale sediments formed are far less than needed by any climate model to warm early Mars, given the low solar energy input available at Mars 3.5 Gya. We have therefore explored the possibility that the lakes in Gale during the Hesperian were perennially covered with ice using the Antarctic lakes as analogs.

  17. Designing remote operations strategies to optimize science mission goals: Lessons learned from the Moon Mars Analog Mission Activities Mauna Kea 2012 field test

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Yingst, R. A.; Russell, P.; ten Kate, I. L.; Noble, S.; Graff, T.; Graham, L. D.; Eppler, D.

    2015-08-01

    The Moon Mars Analog Mission Activities Mauna Kea 2012 (MMAMA 2012) field campaign aimed to assess how effectively an integrated science and engineering rover team operating on a 24-h planning cycle facilitates high-fidelity science products. The science driver of this field campaign was to determine the origin of a glacially-derived deposit: was the deposit the result of (1) glacial outwash from meltwater; or (2) the result of an ice dam breach at the head of the valley? Lessons learned from MMAMA 2012 science operations include: (1) current rover science operations scenarios tested in this environment provide adequate data to yield accurate derivative products such as geologic maps; (2) instrumentation should be selected based on both engineering and science goals; and chosen during, rather than after, mission definition; and (3) paralleling the tactical and strategic science processes provides significant efficiencies that impact science return. The MER-model concept of operations utilized, in which rover operators were sufficiently facile with science intent to alter traverse and sampling plans during plan execution, increased science efficiency, gave the Science Backroom time to develop mature hypotheses and science rationales, and partially alleviated the problem of data flow being greater than the processing speed of the scientists.

  18. Cuatro Ciénegas Basin an analog of precambrian Earth and possible early mars scenario. (Invited)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Souza, V.; Eguiarte, L. E.; Sierfert, J.

    2010-12-01

    Mol/l) inhibited the growth of algae and other opportunistic lineages, hence, the microbial mats is at CCB the base of the food web. Moreover, CCB pure gypsum and its extensive evaporites also represent a good model for Mars, a planet were intensive volcanisms in an ancient ocean originated similar deposits rich in sulfur and poor in phosphorites. Stromatolites at Cuatro Cienegas a time capsule to precambrian earth

  19. Don Juan Pond, Antarctica: Near-surface CaCl2-brine feeding Earth's most saline lake and implications for Mars

    PubMed Central

    Dickson, James L.; Head, James W.; Levy, Joseph S.; Marchant, David R.

    2013-01-01

    The discovery on Mars of recurring slope lineae (RSL), thought to represent seasonal brines, has sparked interest in analogous environments on Earth. We report on new studies of Don Juan Pond (DJP), which exists at the upper limit of ephemeral water in the McMurdo Dry Valleys (MDV) of Antarctica, and is adjacent to several steep-sloped water tracks, the closest analog for RSL. The source of DJP has been interpreted to be deep groundwater. We present time-lapse data and meteorological measurements that confirm deliquescence within the DJP watershed and show that this, together with small amounts of meltwater, are capable of generating brines that control summertime water levels. Groundwater input was not observed. In addition to providing an analog for RSL formation, CaCl2 brines and chloride deposits in basins may provide clues to the origin of ancient chloride deposits on Mars dating from the transition period from “warm/wet” to “cold/dry” climates. PMID:23378901

  20. Gravity anomaly at a Pleistocene lake bed in NW Alaska interpreted by analogy with Greenland's Lake Taserssauq and its floating ice tongue

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Barnes, D.F.

    1987-01-01

    A possible example of a very deep glacial excavation is provided by a distinctive gravity low located at the front of a valley glacier that once flowed into glacial Lake Aniuk (formerly Lake Noatak) in the western Brooks Range. Geologic and geophysical data suggest that sediments or ice filling a glacially excavated valley are the most probable cause of the 30-50 mGal anomaly. Reasonable choices of geometric models and density contrasts indicate that the former excavation is now filled with a buried-ice thickness of 700 m or sediment thicknesses greater than 1 km. No direct evidence of efficient excavation was observed in Greenland, but efficient glacial erosion behind a floating polar ice tongue could explain the excavation that caused the Alaskan gravity anomaly. -from Author

  1. A Series of Stacked and Entrenched Fan Deltas at Lake General Carrera/Buenos Aires (Chile/Argentina) as Terrestrial Analog to Understand the Entrenchment of Martian Deltas

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Di Achille, G.; Salese, F.

    2014-12-01

    The apparent lack of entrenchment on Martian fan deltas has been hitherto uniquely interpreted as evidence for fast disappearance of water and used to support the hypothesis of an abrupt climate change on Mars around 3.7-3.4 Ga. However, hi-res imagery and topography of several martian fan deltas show evidence of erosion and entrenchment in response to decreasing water level settings. Moreover, the boundary conditions for entrenchment have never been investigated from a quantitative point of view. To gain a quantitative understanding on fan delta entrenchment processes, we are studying (using remote sensing, modeling, and fieldwork campaigns) a series of seven stacked fan deltas formed at Lake General Carrera/Buenos Aires (Chile/Argentina). The uppermost deposit is located more than 400 m above the lowest delta presently forming at the current lake water level. The six raised deltas formed during highstands punctuating the overall 15000 yrs long retreat of the lake and are entirely entrenched thus allowing potential sampling over the entire thickness of the sedimentary sequences. These windows to the internal outcrops enable the assessment of water and sediment paleo-discharges (based on the analysis of the grain sizes) and to implement numerical simulations to reproduce the sedimentary deposits using numeric code such as Sedflux 2.0 (Hutton and Syvitski, 2008). The studied sedimentary assemblage offers the unique opportunity to place constraints on the fan deltas entrenchment with strong implications for the modeling of martian entrenched fans and thus for the understanding of the paleoclimate and paleohydrology during their terminal activity. We present the results of remote sensing study from satellite hi-res imagery and topography, numerical modeling, and from a survey field campaign. E. W. H. Hutton and J. P. M. Syvitski, Sedflux 2.0: An advanced process-response model that generates three-dimensional stratigraphy, Computers & Geosciences 34 (2008) 1319-1337.

  2. The Lakes and Seas of Titan

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Hayes, Alexander G.

    2016-06-01

    Analogous to Earth's water cycle, Titan's methane-based hydrologic cycle supports standing bodies of liquid and drives processes that result in common morphologic features including dunes, channels, lakes, and seas. Like lakes on Earth and early Mars, Titan's lakes and seas preserve a record of its climate and surface evolution. Unlike on Earth, the volume of liquid exposed on Titan's surface is only a small fraction of the atmospheric reservoir. The volume and bulk composition of the seas can constrain the age and nature of atmospheric methane, as well as its interaction with surface reservoirs. Similarly, the morphology of lacustrine basins chronicles the history of the polar landscape over multiple temporal and spatial scales. The distribution of trace species, such as noble gases and higher-order hydrocarbons and nitriles, can address Titan's origin and the potential for both prebiotic and biotic processes. Accordingly, Titan's lakes and seas represent a compelling target for exploration.

  3. Hyperspectral Imaging of a Chemosynthetic Seep System in the Panoche Hills, California: A Possible Terrestrial Analog for Mixed Carbonate-Silicate Deposits on Mars

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Schneider, E. J.; Moore, J. C.; Schwartz, H.; Silver, E.

    2004-12-01

    Chemosynthetic communities and carbonate substrate forming at cold seeps represent a unique ecosystem for studying life in extreme environments, such as Mars. Carbonate hardgrounds form due to the upward seepage of bicarbonate saturated fluid derived from methane oxidation. Carbonates can precipitate in the subsurface, resulting in high preservation potential. In the Panoche Hills of California, carbonate seep deposits contain fossilized chemosynthetic organisms and have negative carbon isotopic compositions, similar to other ancient cold seep deposits. The carbonates occur as mounds, concretions and pavements. The carbonate seep deposits of the Panoche Hills have been mapped in detail in the central portion of the field area and identified in the northern portion. These carbonates are well exposed, which make them good targets for remote sensing. Our remote sensing information is a 2 km by 8 km swath of HyMap hyperspectral data centered on the geologically well-mapped area. HyMap has 126 bands from visible to short wave infrared wavelengths (0.45 to 2.5 ƒYm). Carbonates have a diagnostic absorption feature at 2.34 ƒYm, within the range of HyMap¡¦s accuracy. Further, the carbonate seeps measure up to 10 meters across, and are detectable with HyMap¡¦s spatial resolution of 3-meter pixels. The methane derived carbonates of the Panoche Hills formed below the sediment-water interface and incorporated a significant amount of silicate minerals, complicating the spectral identification of carbonate. Spectra and GPS locations collected in the field provided data for comparison and helped to classify carbonates associated with siliciclastic material. A spectral library, based on field spectra, was used as input for classifying with ENVI remote sensing software. The successful inputs applied to the data set found potential unmapped carbonate localities as well as correct identification of previously mapped locations. Spectroscopic investigations on Mars suggest the

  4. Mars scouts: an overview

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Matousek, S.

    2001-01-01

    The Mars program institutes the Mars Scout Missions in order to address science goals in the program not otherwise covered in the baseline Mars plan. Mars Scout Missions will be Principle-Investigator (PI) led science missions. Analogous to the Discovery Program, PI led investigations optimize the use of limited resources to accomplish the best focused science and allow the flexibility to quickly respond to discoveries at Mars. Scout missions also require unique investments in technology and reliance upon Mars-based infrastructure such as telecom relay orbiters.

  5. Stress-driven speciation in novel strains of Bacillus isolated from a microbial community in the Mojave Desert, a Mars-analog

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Wan, J.; Lera, M.; Marcu, O.

    2012-12-01

    Microbial communities are composed of complex multispecies that coevolve within the constraints of the environment over time. In the harsh, desiccated regions of the Mojave Desert, a Mars-analog, the microbial community in the surface layer is exposed to daily and seasonal fluctuations in temperature, humidity, nutrients, and UV index. Strategies of adaptation to physical factors in a microbial microenvironment determine the limits of adaptation and survival to sudden climate changes, with implications for planetary habitability. Here we show that novel strains of Bacillus niacini and B. thuringiensis isolated from the top soil of the Mojave Desert are differentially adapted to selective pressures imposed by caloric restriction and oxidative stress and show distinct social interactions. Metabolic profiling using Biolog plates for all isolates showed drastically different "metabolic fingerprints," with some only able to utilize very specific carbon sources in contrast to others that were able to breakdown most sources but for only a limited time. The stress response to hydrogen peroxide was also differential, with catalase activity levels of the Bacillus species from Mojave being much lower than the control species of soil Bacillus, suggesting that their survival may depend on other microbes from the same community for protection from oxidative damage. We also investigated the social communication and interaction of the four strains by spatial microenvironment assays, and uncovered unusual swarming and swimming abilities through motility assays. The cooperation and conflict in the microbial population reflect adaptations to oxidative stress and caloric restriction, which can be the driving forces for differences in phenotypes, interactions, metabolic ability, and ultimately, speciation. This study supports the theory of codependencies of organisms in a community for protection or access to "public goods" for survival in a harsh, fluctuating environment, and

  6. Analog experiments on the formation of spiral troughs on the North Polar Ice cap of Mars : Layered deposits emplaced by cyclic steps on ice

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Yokokawa, M.; Izumi, N.; Naito, K.; Shimizu, H.; Yamada, T.; Greve, R.

    2012-12-01

    The spiral troughs observed on the Mars' North Polar Layered Deposits (NPLD) show intriguing features that contain a detailed stratigraphic record of surface processes in Mars' recent polar history. SHARAD radar data showed that the troughs have migrated as much as 65 km towards the north during the accumulation of the uppermost ~ 600 m of NPLD (Smith and Holt, 2010). Though they are suspected to have some relation with katabatic wind blowing on the ice cap, it has not been known how the spiral troughs are formed in detail. From their features, the spiral troughs may possibly be cyclic steps formed by a density current created by cooling of the atmosphere due to ice (Smith and Holt, 2010). Cyclic steps are spatially periodic bedforms where each wavelength is delineated by an upstream and downstream hydraulic jump. They migrate upstream keeping the same wavelength. Recently cyclic steps have been reported from various environments on the Earth, such as fluvial and deep-sea settings, and in various bed materials, such as bedrock, non-cohesive sediments, and cohesive sediments (e.g., Kostic et al., 2010). Smith et al (2011) have demonstrated that numerical simulation with a cyclic step model can show reasonable consistency with an observed migration rate. In this study, we have performed a series of physical experiments analogous to the formation of cyclic steps on ice by density currents. The experiments were conducted using the cold laboratory of the Institute of Low Temperature Science, Hokkaido University. In the case of Mars, sublimation by katabatic winds results in erosion in some places and in the other places, water included in the atmosphere blowing on ice is sublimated to become ice and deposited on the bed covered with ice. In order to model this process, we used a hydrophobic liquid that include water but do not freeze even below the ice point, i.e., mixture of silicon oil (20cS) and water (0.5 - 30 volume % of water) whose freezing point is -0.7 degrees

  7. Gully Formation and Climate Change in the Canadian Arctic: A Possible Analogue of Near-Rim, Impact-Crater Gullies in Utopia and Western Elysium Planitia, Mars

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Soare, R. J.; Osinski, G. R.

    2008-03-01

    Studying the origin and development of the Eskimo Lakes' low-arctic gullies may further our understanding of climate-driven periglacial processes on Earth and, we think, by analogy, of climate-driven periglacial processes and gully formation on Mars.

  8. Paleolakes on Mars

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Wharton, R. A. Jr; Crosby, J. M.; McKay, C. P.; Rice, J. W. Jr; Wharton RA, ,. J. r. (Principal Investigator)

    1995-01-01

    Observational evidence such as outflow channels and valley networks suggest that in the past there was flowing water on Mars. The images of fluvial features on Mars logically suggest that there must exist downstream locations in which the water pooled and the sediment load deposited (i.e. lakes). Sediments and morphological features associated with the martian paleolakes are believed to occur in Valles Marineris, and several large basins including Amazonis, Chryse and Elysium planitia. As Mars became progressively colder over geological time, any lakes on its surface would have become seasonally, and eventually perennially ice-covered. We know from polar lakes on Earth that ice-covered lakes can persist even when the mean annual temperature falls below freezing. Thus, the most recent lacustrine sediments on Mars were probably deposited in ice-covered lakes. While life outside of the Earth's atmosphere has yet to be observed, there is a general consensus among exobiologists that the search for extraterrestrial life should be based upon liquid water. The inference that there was liquid water on Mars during an earlier epoch is the primary motivation for considering the possibility of life during this time. It would be of enormous interest from both an exobiological and paleolimnological perspective to discover lakes or the evidence of former lakes on another planet such as Mars. Limnology would then become an interplanetary science.

  9. Paleolakes on Mars.

    PubMed

    Wharton, R A; Crosby, J M; McKay, C P; Rice, J W

    1995-01-01

    Observational evidence such as outflow channels and valley networks suggest that in the past there was flowing water on Mars. The images of fluvial features on Mars logically suggest that there must exist downstream locations in which the water pooled and the sediment load deposited (i.e. lakes). Sediments and morphological features associated with the martian paleolakes are believed to occur in Valles Marineris, and several large basins including Amazonis, Chryse and Elysium planitia. As Mars became progressively colder over geological time, any lakes on its surface would have become seasonally, and eventually perennially ice-covered. We know from polar lakes on Earth that ice-covered lakes can persist even when the mean annual temperature falls below freezing. Thus, the most recent lacustrine sediments on Mars were probably deposited in ice-covered lakes. While life outside of the Earth's atmosphere has yet to be observed, there is a general consensus among exobiologists that the search for extraterrestrial life should be based upon liquid water. The inference that there was liquid water on Mars during an earlier epoch is the primary motivation for considering the possibility of life during this time. It would be of enormous interest from both an exobiological and paleolimnological perspective to discover lakes or the evidence of former lakes on another planet such as Mars. Limnology would then become an interplanetary science.

  10. Active hematite concretion formation in modern acid saline lake sediments, Lake Brown, Western Australia

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bowen, Brenda Beitler; Benison, K. C.; Oboh-Ikuenobe, F. E.; Story, S.; Mormile, M. R.

    2008-04-01

    Concretions can provide valuable records of diagenesis and fluid-sediment interactions, however, reconstruction of ancient concretion-forming conditions can be difficult. Observation of modern hematite concretion growth in a natural sedimentary setting provides a rare glimpse of conditions at the time of formation. Spheroidal hematite-cemented concretions are actively precipitating in shallow subsurface sediments at Lake Brown in Western Australia. Lake Brown is a hypersaline (total dissolved solids up to 23%) and acidic (pH ˜ 4) ephemeral lake. The concretion host sediments were deposited between ˜ 1 and 3 ka, based on dating of stratigraphically higher and lower beds. These age constraints indicate that the diagenetic concretions formed < 3 ka, and field observations suggest that some are currently forming. These modern concretions from Lake Brown provide an example of very early diagenetic formation in acid and saline conditions that may be analogous to past conditions on Mars. Previously, the hematite concretions in the Burns formation on Mars have been interpreted as late stage diagenetic products, requiring long geologic time scales and multiple fluid flow events to form. In contrast, the Lake Brown concretions support the possibility of similar syndepositional to very early diagenetic concretion precipitation on Mars.

  11. Dynamic response to valley breeze circulation in Santa María del Oro, a volcanic lake in Mexico

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Serrano, David; Filonov, Anatoliy; Tereshchenko, Irina

    2002-07-01

    The paper discusses the dynamic response to valley breeze circulation in Santa Maria del Oro, a volcanic lake in Mexico. Hourly records of wind measurements were used to construct a hydrodynamical model of the level fluctuations of the lake's water as well as integrated drift currents. The calculations show that the valley breeze circulation stimulates barotropic seiches in the lake with a period of 2.6 minutes and maximal level in the southwest part up to 18 mm. The drift current form two circulating rings having an opposite directions: anticyclonical in northern part of the lake and cyclonical in the southern. At the external edge of these rings the current speed can reach 20 cm/s. The measurements have shown that most part of the year the lake is strongly stratified. The maximal vertical temperature gradients are over 1°C/m in November and August, in a layer of 17-20 m.

  12. MSATT Workshop on Chemical Weathering on Mars

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Burns, Roger (Editor); Banin, Amos (Editor)

    1992-01-01

    The topics covered with respect to chemical weathering on Mars include the following: Mars soil, mineralogy, spectroscopic analysis, clays, silicates, oxidation, iron oxides, water, chemical reactions, geochemistry, minerals, Mars atmosphere, atmospheric chemistry, salts, planetary evolution, volcanology, Mars volcanoes, regolith, surface reactions, Mars soil analogs, carbonates, meteorites, and reactivity.

  13. Kilometer-thick ice-sheets in the northern mid-latitudes of Mars in the Amazonian: Analogs from the East Antarctic Ice Sheet and the Dry Valleys

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Head, James W.; Marchant, David R.

    2008-09-01

    Introduction. The strong geomorphic similarities between lobate deposits on the northwest flank of the Tharsis Montes [1,2, 12-13] and along the dichotomy boundary between 30° and 50° [3] with terrestrial cold-based glaciers and glacial deposits has led to new hypotheses for geologically recent (Amazonian-age) low and mid-latitude glaciation on Mars [1,4]. A common theme among many of these studies has been to identify individual landscape elements on Mars and match them with terrestrial counterparts from cold polar deserts on Earth [5,6]. Here, we use the documented long-term history of outlet and alpine glaciers along the East Antarctic Ice Sheet in the Dry Valleys of Antarctica as a suitable analog for glaciation along the martian dichotomy boundary. As a guiding principle we note that, just as for terrestrial glacial landsystems, the most recent ice-related deposit/feature along the dichotomy boundary on Mars need not reflect the maximum in ice volume and/or ice configuration. The Antarctic Dry Valleys (ADV). A terrestrial analog for cold-based glaciation across steppedbedrock topography. To a first order, the large-scale bedrock geomorphology of the Antarctic Dry Valleys (Transantarctic mountain rift-margin upwarp) approximates the martian dichotomy boundary: the valleys occur within, and dissect, a series of broad, coast-facing escarpments (total relief of up to 3000 m) separated by isolated inselbergs. In the middle Miocene, sometime between 14.8 and 12.5 Ma [7, 8], all but the highest mountains in the Dry Valleys were overrun by a major expansion of East Antarctic ice. During this time, ice spilled across bedrock escarpments and flowed out across low-lying valleys toward the continental shelf. A modern-day counterpart for the maximum-overriding stage is seen inland of the ADV, where glacier ice still overrides stepped bedrock topography (Fig. 1). Ice expansion was triggered when the Antarctic cryosphere transitioned from relatively warm and wet (fostering

  14. The Lacustrine Upper Brushy Basin Member of the Morrison Formation, Four Corners Region, Usa: a Lithological and Mineralogical Terrestrial Analog for Gale Crater, Mars

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Potter-McIntyre, S. L.; Chan, M. A.; McPherson, B. J.

    2013-12-01

    The upper part of the Jurassic Brushy Basin Member of the Morrison Formation is an iron- and clay-rich volcaniclastic shale deposited in an ephemeral alkaline saline lake system. Sedimentary rocks exposed in Gale Crater consist of similar non-acidic clays, possibly of lacustrine origin. Three primary clastic lithofacies are present in both the Brushy Basin Member and at Gale Crater: silt-/claystone, sandstone, and conglomerate. Both the terrestrial and martian silt-/claystone lithofacies are interpreted as lacustrine depositional environments due to features such as parallel laminated and massive sedimentary structures. Vugs are present in the siltstone/claystone facies on both the Colorado Plateau and at Gale Crater. Fluvial features are also observed in both examples such as cross-bedded sandstones and imbricated conglomerates. Concretions are present in both the Colorado Plateau and Gale Crater units. The vugs in the Brushy Basin Member preserve algal forms with cellular elaboration and are interpreted as charophyte molds. Two distinct suites of elements (1. C, Fe, As, P and, 2. C, S, Se, P) are associated with the microbial fossils and may be potential markers for biosignatures. Vugs at Gale Crater are a potential target to investigate the possibility of preserved microbial (algal) life where early analyses show the presence of the elements capable of supporting life. The Brushy Basin Member is composed predominately of quartz, feldspars, zeolites and altered volcanic ash. The abundant clay minerals in both the terrestrial and martian examples are hypothesized to have formed due to partial alteration of volcanic minerals in alkaline fluid. Similarly, concretions present in the terrestrial unit exhibit a diverse range of mineralogies likely due to alkaline fluid chemistries interacting with reactive volcaniclastic sediments. Terrestrial concretion mineralogy is diverse even within an outcrop or stratigraphic horizon which suggests reactants to precipitate

  15. Sequence and relative timing of large lakes in Gale crater (Mars) after the formation of Mount Sharp

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Palucis, Marisa C.; Dietrich, William E.; Williams, Rebecca M. E.; Hayes, Alexander G.; Parker, Tim; Sumner, Dawn Y.; Mangold, Nicolas; Lewis, Kevin; Newsom, Horton

    2016-03-01

    The quantification of lake levels in Gale crater is important to define the hydrologic and climatic history experienced by the sedimentary deposits found by Curiosity. We propose that there were at least three major lake stands within Gale, each persisted >1000 years, and all occurred after Mount Sharp reached close to its current topographic form. Deltaic deposits off the southern rim of Gale, derived from incision of Farah Vallis, and corresponding deposits off the southern flank of Mount Sharp define the highest lake level, which had a mean depth of 700 m. Canyons similar in form to Farah Vallis enter into craters and/or the crustal dichotomy near Gale from the south, suggesting that the highest lake was supplied by a large-scale flow system. The next lake level, established after a period of drying and rewetting, is defined by four deltaic features, three sourced from Mount Sharp and one from the western rim of Gale, as well as the termination of gullies around the northern rim of Gale. This second lake level had a mean depth of 300 m. The presence of the gullies suggests more locally sourced water. Lake levels then rose another 100 m, as evidenced by two deltaic deposits derived from the rim of Gale and the termination of a second set of gullies. Post-lake, reduced hydrologic activity continued, evidenced by a time of fan building (including Peace Vallis). The sequence of events suggests an episodic shift through time from relatively wet regional conditions to a drier environment with local runoff.

  16. Clays and Carbonates in a Groundwater-Fed 3.8 Ga Martian Lake: Insights to Subsurface Habitability on Mars

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Michalski, Joseph; Niles, Paul

    2015-01-01

    On Earth, the deep biosphere remains a largely unexplored, but clearly important carbon reservoir. Results from some uplifted central peaks in craters on Mars indicate that substantial carbon was also present at depth and might have helped sustain a deep biosphere. In fact, many factors relevant to deep biosphere habitability are more favorable on Mars than on Earth (e.g. porosity of the crust, geothermal gradient). Future exploration of Mars should include landing sites where materials have been exhumed from depth by meteor impact or basins where subsurface fluids have emerged, carrying clues to subsurface habitability. One of the most astrobiologically interesting sites on Mars McLaughlin Crater, a 93 km-diameter impact crater that formed approximately 4 b.y. ago. On the floor of the crater is a stratigraphic section of subhorizontal, layered sedimentary rocks with strong spectroscopic evidence for Fe-rich clay minerals and Mg-rich carbonates, which we interpret as ancient lacustrine deposits. The fluids that formed these materials likely originated in the subsurface, based on the paucity of channels leading into the crater basin and the fact that this is one of the deepest basins on Mars - a good candidate to have experienced upwelling of subsurface fluids. Therefore, the deposits within McLaughlin crater provide insight into subsurface processes on Mars. In this presentation, we will discuss the habitability of the martian subsurface as well as the geology of McLaughlin Crater and the possibility to detect biomarkers at that site with a future landed mission.

  17. Clays and Carbonates in a Groundwater-fed 3.8 Ga Martian Lake: Insights to Subsurface Habitability on Mars

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Michalski, J. R.; Niles, P. B.

    2015-12-01

    On Earth, the deep biosphere remains a largely unexplored, but clearly important carbon reservoir. Results from some uplifted central peaks in craters on Mars indicate that substantial carbon was also present at depth and might have helped sustain a deep biosphere. In fact, many factors relevant to deep biosphere habitability are more favorable on Mars than on Earth (e.g. porosity of the crust, geothermal gradient). Future exploration of Mars should include landing sites where materials have been exhumed from depth by meteor impact or basins where subsurface fluids have emerged, carrying clues to subsurface habitability. One of the most astrobiologically interesting sites on Mars McLaughlin Crater, a 93 km-diameter impact crater that formed ~4 b.y. ago. On the floor of the crater is a stratigraphic section of subhorizontal, layered sedimentary rocks with strong spectroscopic evidence for Fe-rich clay minerals and Mg-rich carbonates, which we interpret as ancient lacustrine deposits. The fluids that formed these materials likely originated in the subsurface, based on the paucity of channels leading into the crater basin and the fact that this is one of the deepest basins on Mars - a good candidate to have experienced upwelling of subsurface fluids. Therefore, the deposits within McLaughlin crater provide insight into subsurface processes on Mars. In this presentation, we will discuss the habitability of the martian subsurface as well as the geology of McLaughlin Crater and the possibility to detect biomarkers at that site with a future landed mission.

  18. Jarosite and Alunite Cements in Jurassic Sandstones of Utah and Nevada, a Potential Analog for Stratified Sulfate Deposits on Early Mars

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    McCollom, T. M.; Potter-McIntyre, S. L.

    2017-10-01

    Jarosite and alunite in Jurassic sandstones are investigated to gain insights into occurrences of these minerals in stratified deposits on Mars. The deposits demonstrate that these minerals can persist for millions of years in aqueous environments.

  19. Cold-Based Glaciations on Mars: Landscapes of Glacial Selective Linear Erosion on Devon Island, Nunavut, Arctic Canada, as a Possible Analog

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Lee, Pascal

    2000-01-01

    The apparent selective nature of erosion on Mars is discussed in light of observations of landscapes of glacial selective linear erosion observed on Devon Island, Arctic Canada, and at other high-latitude sites on Earth. Emphasis is placed here on the creation of so-called landscapes of little or no glacial erosion following the disappearance of former dominantly coldbased ice covers. Possible implications for Mars are explored. Additional information can be found in the original extended abstract.

  20. Measured Fluid Flow in an Active H2O-CO2 Geothermal Well as an Analog to Fluid Flow in Fractures on Mars: Preliminary Report

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Kieffer, Susan W.; Brown, K. L.; Simmons, Stuart F.; Watson, Arnold

    2004-01-01

    Water in the Earth's crust generally contains dissolved gases such as CO2. Models for both 'Blue Mars' (H2O-driven processes) and 'White Mars' (CO2-driven processes) predict liquid H2O with dissolved CO2 at depth. The fate of dissolved CO2 as this mixture rises toward the surface has not been quantitatively explored. Our approach is a variation on NASA's 'Follow the Water' as we 'Follow the Fluid' from depth to the surface in hydrothermal areas on Earth and extrapolate our results to Mars. This is a preliminary report on a field study of fluid flow in a producing geothermal well. For proprietary reasons, the name and location of this well cannot be revealed, so we have named it 'Earth1' for this study.

  1. Terrestrial analogs for space exploration habitation systems

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Campbell, Paul D.; Brown, Jeri W.

    1992-01-01

    The Space Exploration Initiative (SEI) can use early earth-based analogs to simulate many aspects of space flight missions and system operation. These analogs can thus provide information supporting future missions to the moon and to Mars. A study was performed to investigate the potential of terrestrial analogs in simulating human space exploration missions. The study resulted in preliminary requirements and concepts for analog habitation systems, and further study in this area is necessary for SEI terrestrial analog development.

  2. Lunar and Planetary Science XXXV: Ancient Mars Water and Landforms

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    2004-01-01

    Titles in this section include: 1) Giant Lowland Polygons: Relics of an Ancient Martian Ocean? 2) Lake Shorelines: Earth Analogs for Hypothesized Martian Coastal Features; 3) Complex Evolution of Paleolacustrine Systems on Mars: An Example from the Holden Crater; 4) Geomorphology and Hydraulics of Ma'adim Vallis, Mars, During a Noachian/Hesperian Boundary Paleoflood; 5) Geologic Evolution of Dao Vallis, Mars; 6) Advances in Reconstructing the Geologic History of the Chryse Region Outflow Channels on Mars; 7) Ravi Vallis, Mars - Paleoflood Origin and Genesis of Secondary Chaos Zones; 8) Walla Walla Vallis and Wallula Crater: Two Recently Discovered Martian Features Record Aqueous History; 9) Tharsis Recharge: a Source of Groundwater for Martian Outflow Channels; 10) Factors Controlling Water Volumes and Release Rates in Martian Outflow Channels; 11) Significance of Confined Cavernous Systems for Outflow Channel Water Sources, Reactivation Mechanisms and Chaos Formation; 12) Systematic Differences in Topography of Martian and Terrestrial Drainage Basins; 13) Waves on Seas of Mars and Titan: Wind-Tunnel Experiments on Wind-Wave Generation in Extraterrestrial Atmospheres.

  3. Lunar and Planetary Science XXXV: Ancient Mars Water and Landforms

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    2004-01-01

    Titles in this section include: 1) Giant Lowland Polygons: Relics of an Ancient Martian Ocean? 2) Lake Shorelines: Earth Analogs for Hypothesized Martian Coastal Features; 3) Complex Evolution of Paleolacustrine Systems on Mars: An Example from the Holden Crater; 4) Geomorphology and Hydraulics of Ma'adim Vallis, Mars, During a Noachian/Hesperian Boundary Paleoflood; 5) Geologic Evolution of Dao Vallis, Mars; 6) Advances in Reconstructing the Geologic History of the Chryse Region Outflow Channels on Mars; 7) Ravi Vallis, Mars - Paleoflood Origin and Genesis of Secondary Chaos Zones; 8) Walla Walla Vallis and Wallula Crater: Two Recently Discovered Martian Features Record Aqueous History; 9) Tharsis Recharge: a Source of Groundwater for Martian Outflow Channels; 10) Factors Controlling Water Volumes and Release Rates in Martian Outflow Channels; 11) Significance of Confined Cavernous Systems for Outflow Channel Water Sources, Reactivation Mechanisms and Chaos Formation; 12) Systematic Differences in Topography of Martian and Terrestrial Drainage Basins; 13) Waves on Seas of Mars and Titan: Wind-Tunnel Experiments on Wind-Wave Generation in Extraterrestrial Atmospheres.

  4. Anaerobic Halo-Alkaliphilic Baterial Community of Athalassic, Hypersaline Mono Lake in California

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Pikuta, Elena V.; Hoover, Richard B.; Marsic, Damien; Ng, Joseph D.; Six, N. Frank (Technical Monitor)

    2002-01-01

    The microorganisms of soda Mono Lake and other similar athalassic hypersaline alkaline soda lakes are of significance to Astrobiology. The microorganisms of these regimes represent the best known terrestrial analogs for microbial life that might have inhabited the hypersaline alkaline lakes and evaporites confined within closed volcanic basins and impact craters during the late Noachian and early Hesperian epochs (3.6 - 4.2 Gya) of ancient Mars. We have investigated the anaerobic microbiota of soda Mono Lake in northern California. In this paper we discuss the astrobiological significance of these ecosystems and describe several interesting features of two novel new species of anaerobic halo-alkaliphilic bacteria (Spirochaeta americana, sp. nov. and Desulfonatronum paiuteum, sp. nov) that we have isolated from Mono Lake.

  5. Anaerobic Halo-Alkaliphilic Baterial Community of Athalassic, Hypersaline Mono Lake in California

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Pikuta, Elena V.; Hoover, Richard B.; Marsic, Damien; Ng, Joseph D.; Six, N. Frank (Technical Monitor)

    2002-01-01

    The microorganisms of soda Mono Lake and other similar athalassic hypersaline alkaline soda lakes are of significance to Astrobiology. The microorganisms of these regimes represent the best known terrestrial analogs for microbial life that might have inhabited the hypersaline alkaline lakes and evaporites confined within closed volcanic basins and impact craters during the late Noachian and early Hesperian epochs (3.6 - 4.2 Gya) of ancient Mars. We have investigated the anaerobic microbiota of soda Mono Lake in northern California. In this paper we discuss the astrobiological significance of these ecosystems and describe several interesting features of two novel new species of anaerobic halo-alkaliphilic bacteria (Spirochaeta americana, sp. nov. and Desulfonatronum paiuteum, sp. nov) that we have isolated from Mono Lake.

  6. Coordinated analyses of Antarctic sediments as Mars analog materials using reflectance spectroscopy and current flight-like instruments for CheMin, SAM and MOMA

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Bishop, Janice L.; Franz, Heather B.; Goetz, Walter; Blake, David F.; Freissinet, Caroline; Steininger, Harald; Goesmann, Fred; Brinckerhoff, William B.; Getty, Stephanie; Pinnick, Veronica T.; Mahaffy, Paul R.; Dyar, M. Darby

    2013-06-01

    Coordinated analyses of mineralogy and chemistry of sediments from the Antarctic Dry Valleys illustrate how data obtained using flight-ready technology of current NASA and ESA missions can be combined for greater understanding of the samples. Mineralogy was measured by X-ray diffraction (XRD) and visible/near-infrared (VNIR) reflectance spectroscopy. Chemical analyses utilized a quadrupole mass spectrometer (QMS) to perform pyrolysis-evolved gas analysis (EGA) and gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC/MS) both with and without derivatization, as well as laser desorption-mass spectrometry (LD/MS) techniques. These analyses are designed to demonstrate some of the capabilities of near-term landed Mars missions, to provide ground truthing of VNIR reflectance data acquired from orbit by the Compact Reconnaissance Imaging Spectrometer for Mars (CRISM) on MRO and to provide detection limits for surface-operated instruments: the Chemistry and Mineralogy (CheMin) and Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instrument suites onboard Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) and the Mars Organic Molecule Analyzer (MOMA) onboard ExoMars-2018. The new data from this study are compared with previous analyses of the sediments performed with other techniques. Tremolite was found in the oxic region samples for the first time using the CheMin-like XRD instrument. The NIR spectral features of tremolite are consistent with those observed in these samples. Although the tremolite bands are weak in spectra of these samples, spectral features near 2.32 and 2.39 μm could be detected by CRISM if tremolite is present on the martian surface. Allophane was found to be a good match to weak NIR features at ˜1.37-1.41, 1.92, and 2.19 μm in spectra of the oxic region sediments and is a common component of immature volcanic soils. Biogenic methane was found to be associated with calcite in the oxic region samples by the SAM/EGA instrument and a phosphoric acid derivative was found in the anoxic region sample using

  7. Coordinated Analyses of Antarctic Sediments as Mars Analog Materials Using Reflectance Spectroscopy and Current Flight-Like Instruments for CheMin, SAM and MOMA

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Bishop, Janice L.; Franz, Heather B.; Goetz, Walter; Blake, David F.; Freissinet, Caroline; Steininger, Harald; Goesmann, Fred; Brinckerhoff, William B.; Getty, Stephanie; Pinnick, Veronica T.; Mahaffy, Paul R.; Dyar, M. Darby

    2013-01-01

    Coordinated analyses of mineralogy and chemistry of sediments from the Antarctic Dry Valleys illustrate how data obtained using flight-ready technology of current NASA and ESA missions can be combined for greater understanding of the samples. Mineralogy was measured by X-ray diffraction (XRD) and visible/ near-infrared (VNIR) reflectance spectroscopy. Chemical analyses utilized a quadrupole mass spectrometer (QMS) to perform pyrolysis-evolved gas analysis (EGA) and gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC/MS) both with and without derivatization, as well as laser desorption-mass spectrometry (LD/MS) techniques. These analyses are designed to demonstrate some of the capabilities of near-term landed Mars missions, to provide ground truthing of VNIR reflectance data acquired from orbit by the Compact Reconnaissance Imaging Spectrometer for Mars (CRISM) on MRO and to provide detection limits for surface- operated instruments: the Chemistry and Mineralogy (CheMin) and Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instrument suites onboard Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) and the Mars Organic Molecule Analyzer (MOMA) onboard ExoMars-2018. The new data from this study are compared with previous analyses of the sediments performed with other techniques. Tremolite was found in the oxic region samples for the first time using the CheMin-like XRD instrument. The NIR spectral features of tremolite are consistent with those observed in these samples. Although the tremolite bands are weak in spectra of these samples, spectral features near 2.32 and 2.39 micrometers could be detected by CRISM if tremolite is present on the martian surface. Allophane was found to be a good match to weak NIR features at 1.37-1.41, 1.92, and 2.19 micrometers in spectra of the oxic region sediments and is a common component of immature volcanic soils. Biogenic methane was found to be associated with calcite in the oxic region samples by the SAM/EGA instrument and a phosphoric acid derivative was found in the anoxic

  8. Olivine-respiring bacteria isolated from the rock-ice interface in a lava-tube cave, a Mars analog environment.

    PubMed

    Popa, Radu; Smith, Amy R; Popa, Rodica; Boone, Jane; Fisk, Martin

    2012-01-01

    The boundary between ice and basalt on Earth is an analogue for some near-surface environments of Mars. We investigated neutrophilic iron-oxidizing microorganisms from the basalt-ice interface in a lava tube from the Oregon Cascades with perennial ice. One of the isolates (Pseudomonas sp. HerB) can use ferrous iron Fe(II) from the igneous mineral olivine as an electron donor and O(2) as an electron acceptor. The optimum growth temperature is ∼12-14°C, but growth also occurs at 5°C. Bicarbonate is a facultative source of carbon. Growth of Pseudomonas sp. HerB as a chemolithotrophic iron oxidizer with olivine as the source of energy is favored in low O(2) conditions (e.g., 1.6% O(2)). Most likely, microbial oxidation of olivine near pH 7 requires low O(2) to offset the abiotic oxidation of iron. The metabolic capabilities of this bacterium would allow it to live in near-surface, icy, volcanic environments of Mars in the present or recent geological past and make this type of physiology a prime candidate in the search for life on Mars.

  9. Olivine-Respiring Bacteria Isolated from the Rock-Ice Interface in a Lava-Tube Cave, a Mars Analog Environment

    PubMed Central

    Smith, Amy R.; Popa, Rodica; Boone, Jane; Fisk, Martin

    2012-01-01

    Abstract The boundary between ice and basalt on Earth is an analogue for some near-surface environments of Mars. We investigated neutrophilic iron-oxidizing microorganisms from the basalt-ice interface in a lava tube from the Oregon Cascades with perennial ice. One of the isolates (Pseudomonas sp. HerB) can use ferrous iron Fe(II) from the igneous mineral olivine as an electron donor and O2 as an electron acceptor. The optimum growth temperature is ∼12–14°C, but growth also occurs at 5°C. Bicarbonate is a facultative source of carbon. Growth of Pseudomonas sp. HerB as a chemolithotrophic iron oxidizer with olivine as the source of energy is favored in low O2 conditions (e.g., 1.6% O2). Most likely, microbial oxidation of olivine near pH 7 requires low O2 to offset the abiotic oxidation of iron. The metabolic capabilities of this bacterium would allow it to live in near-surface, icy, volcanic environments of Mars in the present or recent geological past and make this type of physiology a prime candidate in the search for life on Mars. Key Words: Extremophiles—Mars—Olivine—Iron-oxidizing bacteria—Redox. Astrobiology 12, 9–18. PMID:22165996

  10. Snow and Ice Melt Flow Features on Devon Island, Nunavut, Arctic Canada as Possible Analogs for Recent Slope Flow Features on Mars

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Lee, Pascal; Cockell, Charles S.; Marinova, Margarita M.; McKay, Christopher P.; Rice, James W., Jr.

    2001-01-01

    Based on morphologic and contextual analogs from Devon Island, Arctic Canada, the recent martian slope flow features reported by Malin and Edgett are reinterpreted as being due not necessarily to groundwater seepage but possibly to snow or ice melt. Additional information is contained in the original extended abstract.

  11. Snow and Ice Melt Flow Features on Devon Island, Nunavut, Arctic Canada as Possible Analogs for Recent Slope Flow Features on Mars

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Lee, Pascal; Cockell, Charles S.; Marinova, Margarita M.; McKay, Christopher P.; Rice, James W., Jr.

    2001-01-01

    Based on morphologic and contextual analogs from Devon Island, Arctic Canada, the recent martian slope flow features reported by Malin and Edgett are reinterpreted as being due not necessarily to groundwater seepage but possibly to snow or ice melt. Additional information is contained in the original extended abstract.

  12. Reflectance spectroscopy and geochemical analyses of Lake Hoare sediments, Antarctica: implications for remote sensing of the Earth and Mars.

    PubMed

    Bishop, J L; Koeberl, C; Kralik, C; Fröschl, H; Englert, P A; Andersen, D W; Pieters, C M; Wharton, R A

    1996-03-01

    Visible to infrared reflectance spectroscopic analyses (0.3-25 micromoles) have been performed on sediments from the Dry Valleys region of Antarctica. Sample characterization for these sediments includes extensive geochemical analyses and X-ray diffraction (XRD). The reflectance spectra and XRD indicate major amounts of quartz, feldspar, and pyroxene in these samples and lesser amounts of carbonate, mica, chlorite, amphibole, illite, smectite, and organic matter. Calcite is the primary form of carbonate present in these Lake Hoare sediments based on the elemental abundances and spectroscopic features. The particle size distribution of the major and secondary components influences their detection in mixtures and this sensitivity to particle size is manifested differently in the "volume scattering" and "surface scattering" infrared regions. The Christiansen feature lies between these two spectral regimes and is influenced by the spectral properties of both regions. For these mixtures the Christiansen feature was found to be dependent on physical parameters, such as particle size and sample texture, as well as the mineralogy. Semiquantitative spectroscopic detection of calcite and organic material has been tested in these quartz- and feldspar-rich sediments. The relative spectral band depths due to organics and calcite correlate in general with the wt% C from organic matter and carbonate. The amounts of organic matter and carbonate present correlate with high Br and U abundances and high Ca and Sr abundances, respectively. Variation in the elemental abundances was overall minimal, which is consistent with a common sedimentary origin for the forty-two samples studied here from Lake Hoare.

  13. Formation of Fe/mg Smectite Under Acidic Conditions from Synthetic Adirondack Basaltic Glass: an Analog to Fe/mg Smectite Formation on Mars

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Sutter, B.; Peretyazhko, T.; Morris, R. V.; Ming, D. W.

    2014-01-01

    Smectite has been detected as layered material hundreds of meters thick, in intracrater depositional fans, in plains sediments, and deposits at depth on Mars. If early Mars hosted a dense CO2 atmosphere, then extensive carbonate should have formed in the neutral/alkaline conditions expected for smectite formation. However, large carbonate deposits on Mars have not been discovered. Instead of neutral to moderately alkaline conditions, early Mars may have experienced mildly acidic conditions that allowed for Fe/Mg smectite formation but prevented widespread carbonate formation. The objective of this work is to demonstrate that Fe(II)/Mg saponite and nontronite can form in mildly acidic solutions (e.g., pH 4). Synthetic basaltic glass (< 53 microns) of Adirondack rock class composition was exposed to pH 4 (acetic acid buffer) and N2 purged (anoxic) solutions amended with 0 and 10 mM Mg or Fe(II). Basaltic glass in these solutions was heated to 200 C in batch reactors for 1, 7, and 14 days. X-ray diffraction analysis of reacted materials detected the presence of phyllosilicates as indicated by a approx. 15.03-15.23Angstroms (001) peak. Smectite was confirmed as the phyllosilicate after treatments with glycerol and KCl and heating to 550 C. Trioctahedral saponite was confirmed by the presence of a 4.58 to 4.63 Angstroms (02l) and 1.54Angstroms (060) peaks. Saponite concentration was highest, as indicated by XRD peak intensity, in the 10 mM Mg treatment followed by the 0 mM and then 10 mM Fe(II) treatments. This order of sapontite concentration suggests that Fe(II) additions may have a role in slowing the kinetics of saponite formation relative to the other treatments. Nontronite synthesis was attempted by exposing Adirondack basaltic glass to pH 4 oxic solutions (without N2 purge) at 200 C for 14 days. X-ray diffraction analysis indicated that mixtures of trioctahedral (saponite) and dioctahedral (nontronite) may have formed in these experiments based on the 02l and 060