Mars

Experimental determination of the effect of salts, regolith, and wind on the stability of water under Martian conditions

Many fundamental processes on Mars require an understanding of the temperature and pressure conditions at the Martian surface. In particular, the stability of liquid water is a key factor in formation of gully features, and is significant to the possibly for life on Mars. Dr. Chittenden will discuss her experimental work on the stability of water under martian conditions, performed at the University of Arkansas in the Mars planetary simulation chamber. Her results suggests concentrated brine water may remain liquid on the Martian surface longer than previously thought.

Google Earth, now with Mars!

Google, Inc., has released Google Earth 5.0 which contains a Mars 3D mode. Working with engineers at Google, we helped collect, parse, and organize the vast store of Mars geospatial data available to the public into a form that could be used by Google Earth. The Mars mode presents data acquired both from orbit and on the surface, presented fully integrated into the Google Earth geospatial browser.

Surface modifications by winds on Earth, Mars, Venus, and Titan

Windblown dunes, ripples, and erosional features are seen on Earth, Venus, and Titan, while on Mars these features are ubiquitous and reflect the dominant agent of surface modification. Although the fundamental process is similar, the environments on these planetary objects are substantially different. Simulations conducted in the Planetary Aeolian Laboratory at NASA-Ames, coupled with field work and modeling, enable analyses of wind-related features and processes on planetary surfaces.

The Weather on Mars

In this talk Dave Hinson will examine the weather on Mars using a combination of radio occultation data and wide-angle images obtained by Mars Global Surveyor during its final year of operation. These complementary observations provide a unique perspective on key atmospheric phenomena such as dust storms and winter weather systems (baroclinic eddies).

An Electromagnetic Sounder to Detect Subsurface Liquid Water on Mars: Field Test Results

Passive, low frequency electromagnetic soundings of the subsurface can identify salinated liquid water at depths ranging from tens of meters to ~10km in an environment such as Mars. With support from NASA planetary and Mars instrument programs, Greg Delory and his colleagues have developed an autonomous sensor platform that has demonstrated magnetotelluric soundings over one kilometer deep at field test sites in the upper Snake River Plain region of southeastern Idaho.

HiRISE views of Martian Strata and Slope Streaks

Ross will give a brief overview of the HiRISE instrument and then discuss how its high-resolution color imaging is contributing to an improved understanding of the geologic history of Mars as exposed in its layered outcrops. Ross will also discuss recent work regarding the enigmatic streaks observed on many slopes on Mars, and possible hypotheses regarding how these streaks change from dark to bright, and then fade away. 

Planetary Habitability of Mars and of Titan: A Tale of Two Worlds

Planetary geology provides critical information of other worlds, including their astrobiological potential.  By that term, I mean not only their specific potential to harbor life but their more general potential to tell us something about life.  As we expand our understanding of life – where it is, what it is, how it is – beyond Earth, geomorphology complements compositional data in giving us clues as to planet habitability.  Mars is a case in point: the earliest to most recent data show extensive geomorphic evidence of water, the sine qua non for all life that we know.  These remote and (r

Laboratory Studies of Water Ice Cloud formation under Martian Conditions

Water ice clouds are an important part of the martian hydrological cycle, influencing the water and energy budgets. Microphysical models can be used to study the connections between cloud formation and water distribution throughout the system (for example, as surface frost layers), but only if the intricacies of cloud formation and growth are understood and properly parameterized. To that end, we have performed laboratory studies of water ice nucleation on a variety of surrogate materials and have found that initiation of ice is more difficult than often presumed.

Rethinking the General Circulation of the Atmosphere of Mars

The paradigm for the general circulation of the Mars atmosphere is of a slow, overturning Hadley Cell with a seasonally-shifting rising branch that follows peak insolation. The Hadley cell is often cited as the dominant circulation responsible for the transport of dust, water, energy, and mass, although it has never been directly observed. Recent observations, over a decade of numerical modeling studies, and a glimpse back at Earth's circulation suggest that the simplistic notion of a Mars Hadley Cell is insufficient to describe the actual circulations responsible for transport.

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