Mars Projects

Exploration of Planets Past, Present, and Future Habitability

Friday, October 31 2014 - 12:35 pm, PDT
With this task, we pursue our research in sedimentology related to the Mars Exploration Rover (MER) mission (mission data and terrestrial analogs), which has now entered its third extended mission and the interpretation of orbital imagery focusing on the basin deposits of the martian highlands. Our objective is to characterize and map potential life habitats from the ground and orbit.

Mapping Summertime Evolution of Ice in the North and South Poles with CRISM

Friday, October 31 2014 - 12:26 pm, PDT
We propose to use data from the CRISM visible/near infrared (VNIR) mapping spectrometer to examine the spectral changes that take place in the north and south polar caps during summer. It is well known that the residual cap in the north is composed of water ice and in the south is composed of CO2 ice, but changes within the warm season are not yet understood. This proposal will augment recent work on CRISM observations of the springtime evolution and retreat of the seasonal cap of both hemispheres: (Brown et al. 2009 for south and Brown et al 2012 for north).

Polar water ice clouds and dust aerosols seasonal mapping using CRISM EPF data

Friday, October 31 2014 - 12:09 pm, PDT
We propose to use Compact Reconnaissance Imaging Spectrometer for Mars (CRISM) emission phase function (EPF) measurements in the Martian poles (regions poleward of 55° latitude) to map dust and water ice aerosols and surface albedos as a function of season using CRISM data.

Characterization of Martian Surface Mineralogy and Habitability

Friday, October 31 2014 - 12:04 pm, PDT
Characterization of the Martian surface via orbit and landed investigations is proposed here. We will be analyzing data collected by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) that is currently in orbit at Mars. We are also performing lab analyses that provide ground truthing for the MRO-CRISM data.

Investigating the Origin of Layered Outcrops in the Mawrth Vallis Region

Friday, October 31 2014 - 11:46 am, PDT
The Mawrth Vallis region contains one of the largest outcrops of layered material, largely dominated by phyllosilicate-bearing rocks and adorned by discordant layering and unusual textures. The goal of this project is to determine the origins of these layered outcrops and test whether sedimentary processes may have contributed to their formation.

Investigating the mineralogy at Libya Montes, Mars, determining if carbonates are present, and characterizing the geologic history of the Isidis Planitia region

Friday, October 31 2014 - 11:42 am, PDT
This project includes five coordinated tasks designed to investigate the composition, character and stratigraphy of the aqueous mineralogy at Libya Montes and revise our understanding of the valley networks along the southern edge of Isidis Basin and the dominant geologic processes that have governed the Isidis Planitia region.

Terrestrial Planet Geologic History Investigations

Friday, October 31 2014 - 11:24 am, PDT
PI Beyer proposes several scientific, mission support, and public outreach activities that include investigations on Mars, the Moon, the satellites of Jupiter and Saturn, and Pluto.

Analysis of Phoenix Optical Microscopy Images to Understand Soil Processes on Mars

Wednesday, May 18 2011 - 4:44 pm, PDT
We plan a systematic study of the Phoenix OM images with the objective of better understanding the geology producing these grain morphologies in the northern plains of Mars.

Mars Simulation Measurements (MSM): Survivability of Organic Molecules Adsorbed on or Occluded in Minerals under Ionizing Radiation

Friday, September 10 2010 - 2:37 pm, PDT
This proposal requests funds to determine the protective role of minerals on adsorbed organic molecules against radiation effect under conditions that simulate Mars environments. Organic material could have been delivered to Mars from space via meteorites, comets and small interplanetary dust particles. Endogenous formation of organic material may also be considered as a possibility.

Dune Morphology and Atmospheric Models: Implications for Present-Day Martian Aeolian Activity

Monday, August 16 2010 - 3:56 pm, PDT
It has long been unclear whether the many sand dune fields on Mars are actively evolving in the present climatic era. Recent evidence of sand avalanching and active sustained saltation has been identified in high resolution images. In particular, we report the first clear indications of ripple migration over dark dune slopes observed from orbit. We propose a comprehensive study that will specifically address this knowledge gap, via the careful analysis of high-resolution spacecraft imagery over the majority of the planet (between 60° N and 60° S). In fact, even the preliminary investigation of a small sampling of such imagery has already yielded evidence of recent sand avalanching on dark dune slip faces and the first clear indications of ripple migration (superposed on the dark dunes) observed from orbit. Such morphological indications provide unprecedented details of sustained saltation on Mars. This newly found activity refutes the commonly held belief that dunes on Mars are inactive in the present-day wind regime. Such a provocative topic deserves immediate, detailed study to determine how current dune activity provides unique ground truth for today's weather patterns on Mars.

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