Mars Projects

Exploration of Planets Past, Present, and Future Habitability

Wednesday, January 07 2009 - 3:59 pm, PST
Planetary habitability is the measure of a planet's (or a satellite’s) potential to develop and sustain life. While life beyond the Earth is still uncertain, planetary missions show that conditions for habitability (i.e. water, energy, nutrients) were met in the past, and still possibly today in specific environments on Mars and on several moons of the outer solar system. Central to our investigation is the notion that habitability evolves with time. For instance, some planets could have been habitable in the past and may not be anymore; the Earth, that is not only habitable but has developed life, has seen its broad range of habitats change over geological times through climate cycles and planetary-scale catastrophes (e.g., asteroid and comet impacts) that were followed sometimes by near complete extinctions and the redistribution of habitats and dominant species. Currently, Global Warming is showing how rapidly habitats and species can disappear following climate change. Yet, humanity’s ability to explore and understand its environment can have positive consequences, which is in the case of our planet, to reduce human-induced biodiversity loss, and for other planets, to explore and engineer apparently sterile worlds (e.g., the Moon and Mars) to make them habitable and productive for future generations.

Revealing the Clays on Mars

Friday, August 15 2008 - 10:38 am, PDT
Phyllosilicates have been identified in numerous outcrops on Mars in Mars Express/OMEGA and MRO/CRISM images of the highlands and may be a component of Martian TES data as well.


Geochemical and Astrobiological Studies on Martian Aqueous Solutions at Subzero Temperatures

Friday, August 01 2008 - 4:43 pm, PDT
Study of aqueous minerals on Mars and testing of a novel methodology to search for traces of current and past life in these minerals.

Mars Surface Processes, Exploration and Educational Outreach

Monday, May 19 2008 - 9:58 am, PDT
This project provides support for selecting the Mars landing site, the HiRISE team, and the GFA project.


Planetary Science and Exploration Investigations in Terrestrial Analog Environments

Wednesday, May 07 2008 - 10:53 am, PDT
The investigation of physical, chemical, geologic, hydrologic, and microbiologic features, settings, and processes in extreme environments on Earth that may serve as analogs for extraterrestrial planetary environments.

Investigation of Planetary Scale Atmospheric Dynamics Through Analysis of Data From Mars Global Surveyor

Wednesday, April 02 2008 - 10:00 am, PDT
Investigation into the large-scale dynamics of the Martian atmosphere and identification of seasonal variations.

Mars Polar Ice Grain Size Mapping Using CRISM

Tuesday, April 01 2008 - 3:57 pm, PDT
Mapping of the seasonal presence of H2O and CO2 at the Martian poles.

Recent Climate Shifts Circulation Patterns, and Climate Driven Erosion Recorded in the Morphology of Southern Hemisphere Sand Dunes of Mars

Tuesday, February 26 2008 - 4:48 pm, PST
A study of the impact of water during climate changes on Mars, erosion, and the formation of dunes.