Sample records for explore martian gully

  1. Using Wind Driven Tumbleweed Rovers to Explore Martian Gully Features (United States)

    Antol, Jeffrey; Woodard, Stanley E.; Hajos, Gregory A.; Heldmann, Jennifer L.; Taylor, Bryant D.


    Gully features have been observed on the slopes of numerous Martian crater walls, valleys, pits, and graben. Several mechanisms for gully formation have been proposed, including: liquid water aquifers (shallow and deep), melting ground ice, snow melt, CO2 aquifers, and dry debris flow. Remote sensing observations indicate that the most likely erosional agent is liquid water. Debate concerns the source of this water. Observations favor a liquid water aquifer as the primary candidate. The current strategy in the search for life on Mars is to "follow the water." A new vehicle known as a Tumbleweed rover may be able to conduct in-situ investigations in the gullies, which are currently inaccessible by conventional rovers. Deriving mobility through use of the surface winds on Mars, Tumbleweed rovers would be lightweight and relatively inexpensive thus allowing multiple rovers to be deployed in a single mission to survey areas for future exploration. NASA Langley Research Center (LaRC) is developing deployable structure Tumbleweed concepts. An extremely lightweight measurement acquisition system and sensors are proposed for the Tumbleweed rover that greatly increases the number of measurements performed while having negligible mass increase. The key to this method is the use of magnetic field response sensors designed as passive inductor-capacitor circuits that produce magnetic field responses whose attributes correspond to values of physical properties for which the sensors measure. The sensors do not need a physical connection to a power source or to data acquisition equipment resulting in additional weight reduction. Many of the sensors and interrogating antennae can be directly placed on the Tumbleweed using film deposition methods such as photolithography thus providing further weight reduction. Concepts are presented herein for methods to measure subsurface water, subsurface metals, planetary winds and environmental gases.

  2. Martian Gullies: Formation by CO2 Fluidification (United States)

    Cedillo-Flores, Y.; Durand-Manterola, H. J.


    Some of the geomorphological features in Mars are the gullies. Some theories developed tried explain its origin, either by liquid water, liquid carbon dioxide or flows of dry granular material. We made a comparative analysis of the Martian gullies with the terrestrial ones. We propose that the mechanism of formation of the gullies is as follows: In winter CO2 snow mixed with sand falls in the terrain. In spring the CO2 snow sublimate and gaseous CO2 make fluid the sand which flows like liquid eroding the terrain and forming the gullies. By experimental work with dry granular material, we simulated the development of the Martian gullies injecting air in the granular material. We present the characteristics of some terrestrial gullies forms at cold environment, sited at Nevado de Toluca Volcano near Toluca City, México. We compare them with Martian gullies choose from four different areas, to target goal recognize or to distinguish, (to identify) possible processes evolved in its formation. Also, we measured the lengths of those Martian gullies and the range was from 24 m to 1775 meters. Finally, we present results of our experimental work at laboratory with dry granular material.

  3. Comparision of the Martian Gullies With Terrestrial Ones (United States)

    Cedillo-Flores, Y.; Durand-Manterola, H. J.


    Some of the geomorphological features in Mars are the gullies. Some theories developed tried to explained its origin, either by liquid water, liquid carbon dioxide or flows of dry granular material. We made a comparative analysis of the Martian gullies with the terrestrial ones. We present the characteristics of some terrestrial gullies formed at cold enviroment, sited at the Nevado de Toluca volcanoe near Toluca City, Mexico. We compare them with Martian gullies, choisen from four different areas, to recognize possible processes evolved in its formation. Also, we measured the lenghts of those Martian gullies and their range was from 24 m 1775 m.

  4. Martian Gullies: H2O or CO2 snow? (United States)

    Yolanda, C.; Durand-Manterola, H. J.


    The theories proposed to try to explain the origin of the Martian gullies involve either liquid water, liquid carbon dioxide or flows of dry granular material. We propose another processes that can be favorable for the origin of the Martian gullies, with our model by gaseous fluidification of CO2. We propose that on the Martian slopes, CO2 snow and dust transported by winds, are accumulate. During the Martian spring, sublimation of carbonic snow starts because of heat and weigth of the frezze layer, causing that the material mixed its fluidifized and slide downslope by gravity. By experimental work with dry granular material, we simulated the development of the Martian gullies injecting air inside the granular material. We also present the characteristics of some terrestrial gullies forms at cold environment, sited at Nevado de Toluca Volcano near Toluca City, México. We compared them with some Martian gullies, to identify possible processes evolved in its formation. We measured the lengths of those Martian gullies and the range was from 24 meters to 1775 meters. Finally, we present results of our experimental work at laboratory with dry granular material and our field trip to Nevado de Toluca Volcano.

  5. Martian gullies: possible formation mechanism by dry granular material.. (United States)

    Cedillo-Flores, Y.; Durand-Manterola, H. J.

    section Some of the geomorphological features in Mars are the gullies Some theories developed tried explain its origin either by liquid water liquid carbon dioxide or flows of dry granular material We made a comparative analysis of the Martian gullies with the terrestrial ones We propose that the mechanism of formation of the gullies is as follows In winter CO 2 snow mixed with sand falls in the terrain In spring the CO 2 snow sublimate and gaseous CO 2 make fluid the sand which flows like liquid eroding the terrain and forming the gullies By experimental work with dry granular material we simulated the development of the Martian gullies injecting air in the granular material section We present the characteristics of some terrestrial gullies forms at cold environment sited at Nevado de Toluca Volcano near Toluca City M e xico We compare them with Martian gullies choose from four different areas to target goal recognize or to distinguish to identify possible processes evolved in its formation Also we measured the lengths of those Martian gullies and the range was from 24 m to 1775 meters Finally we present results of our experimental work at laboratory with dry granular material

  6. Gullies of Gorgonus Chaos (United States)


    (Released 11 June 2002) The Science This fractured surface belongs to a portion of a region called Gorgonum Chaos located in the southern hemisphere of Mars. Gorgonum Chaos is named after the Gorgons in ancient Greek mythology. The Gorgons were monstrous sisters with snakes for hair, tusks like boars and lolling tongues who lived in caves. As it turns out this is indeed a fitting name for this region of Mars because it contains a high density of gullies that 'snake' their way down the walls of the troughs located in this region of chaos. Upon closer examination one finds that these gullies and alluvial deposits, initially discovered by Mars Global Surveyor, are visible on the trough walls (best seen near the bottom of the image). These gullies appear to emanate from a specific layer in the walls. The gullies have been proposed to have formed by the subsurface release of water. The Story This fractured, almost spooky-looking surface belongs to a region called Gorgonum Chaos in the southern hemisphere of Mars. Chaos is a term used for regions of Mars with distinctive areas of broken terrain like the one seen above. This area of Martian chaos is named after the Gorgons in ancient Greek mythology. The Gorgons were monstrous sisters with snakes for hair, tusks like boars, and lolling tongues, who lived in caves. The Gorgons, including famous sister Medusa, could turn a person to stone, and their writhing, snakelike locks cause revulsion to this day. Given the afflicted nature of this contorted terrain, with all of its twisted, branching channels and hard, stony-looking hills in the top half of the image, this is indeed a fitting name for this region of Mars. The name also has great appeal, because the area contains a high density of gullies that 'snake' their way down the walls of the troughs located in this region of Martian chaos. Gullies are trenches cut into the land as accelerated streams of water (or another liquid) erode the surface. To see these, click on the

  7. Magnesium Based Rockets for Martian Exploration, Phase I (United States)

    National Aeronautics and Space Administration — We propose to develop Mg rockets for Martian ascent vehicle applications. The propellant can be acquired in-situ from MgO in the Martian regolith (5.1% Mg by mass)...

  8. Mission analysis for the Martian Moons Explorer (MMX) mission (United States)

    Campagnola, Stefano; Yam, Chit Hong; Tsuda, Yuichi; Ogawa, Naoko; Kawakatsu, Yasuhiro


    Mars Moon eXplorer (MMX) is JAXA's next candidate flagship mission to be launched in the early 2020s. MMX will explore the Martian moons and return a sample from Phobos. This paper presents the mission analysis work, focusing on the transfer legs and comparing several architectures, such as hybrid options with chemical and electric propulsion modules. The selected baseline is a chemical-propulsion Phobos sample return, which is discussed in detail with the launch- and return-window analysis. The trajectories are optimized with the jTOP software, using planetary ephemerides for Mars and the Earth; Earth re-entry constraints are modeled with simple analytical equations. Finally, we introduce an analytical approximation of the three-burn capture strategy used in the Mars system. The approximation can be used together with a Lambert solver to quickly determine the transfer Δ v costs.

  9. The mascots of Sable Gully

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Langan, K.


    Characteristic features and behaviour of the bottlenose whales (Hyperoodon ampullatus) of Nova Scotia's Sable Gully are discussed. The dolphin-like mammal shares the cold waters of the Sable Gully with up to 13 other species of cetaceans, as well as swordfish, sharks, tuna, seals and squid. The bottlenose whale has been very much in the news since 1996 when Sable Offshore Energy Inc announced its intention to drill for natural gas and petroleum on the Scotian Shelf, including areas that overlap the Sable Gully. The Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) with encouragement of the World Wildlife Federation evolved the 'Sable Gully Conservation Strategy' designed to protect the existing ecosystem. This article details the events that have taken place to date, actions taken by DFO and by the Nova Scotia Offshore Petroleum Board to ensure that only limited exploration activity takes place within the Gully. Nevertheless, boundaries are nonexistent in the marine world and pollution migrates easily in aquatic environments. The Ecology Action Centre in Halifax and teams of ocean scientists are keeping a watchful eye on developments. What ocean scientists can learn about changes in the ecosystem as a result of hydrocarbon exploration activities in the area surrounding the Sable Gully will determine the ultimate survival of the bottlenose whale population in the area

  10. Martian Surface Boundary Layer Characterization: Enabling Environmental Data for Science, Engineering and Human Exploration (United States)

    England, C.


    For human or large robotic exploration of Mars, engineering devices such as power sources will be utilized that interact closely with the Martian environment. Heat sources for power production, for example, will use the low ambient temperature for efficient heat rejection. The Martian ambient, however, is highly variable, and will have a first order influence on the efficiency and operation of all large-scale equipment. Diurnal changes in temperature, for example, can vary the theoretical efficiency of power production by 15% and affect the choice of equipment, working fluids, and operating parameters. As part of the Mars Exploration program, missions must acquire the environmental data needed for design, operation and maintenance of engineering equipment including the transportation devices. The information should focus on the variability of the environment, and on the differences among locations including latitudes, altitudes, and seasons. This paper outlines some of the WHY's, WHAT's and WHERE's of the needed data, as well as some examples of how this data will be used. Environmental data for engineering design should be considered a priority in Mars Exploration planning. The Mars Thermal Environment Radiator Characterization (MTERC), and Dust Accumulation and Removal Technology (DART) experiments planned for early Mars landers are examples of information needed for even small robotic missions. Large missions will require proportionately more accurate data that encompass larger samples of the Martian surface conditions. In achieving this goal, the Mars Exploration program will also acquire primary data needed for understanding Martian weather, surface evolution, and ground-atmosphere interrelationships.

  11. Assessing the Biohazard Potential of Putative Martian Organisms for Exploration Class Human Space Missions (United States)

    Warmflash, David; Larios-Sanz, Maia; Jones, Jeffrey; Fox, George E.; McKay, David S.


    Exploration Class missions to Mars will require precautions against potential contamination by any native microorganisms that may be incidentally pathogenic to humans. While the results of NASA's Viking biology experiments of 1976 have been generally interpreted as inconclusive for surface organisms, the possibility of native surface life has never been ruled out and more recent studies suggest that the case for biological interpretation of the Viking Labeled Release data may now be stronger than it was when the experiments were originally conducted. It is possible that, prior to the first human landing on Mars, robotic craft and sample return missions will provide enough data to know with certainty whether or not future human landing sites harbor extant life forms. However, if native life is confirmed, it will be problematic to determine whether any of its species may present a medical risk to astronauts. Therefore, it will become necessary to assess empirically the risk that the planet contains pathogens based on terrestrial examples of pathogenicity and to take a reasonably cautious approach to bio-hazard protection. A survey of terrestrial pathogens was conducted with special emphasis on those pathogens whose evolution has not depended on the presence of animal hosts. The history of the development and implementation of Apollo anticontamination protocol and recent recommendations of the NRC Space Studies Board regarding Mars were reviewed. Organisms can emerge in nature in the absence of indigenous animal hosts and both infectious and non-infectious human pathogens are theoretically possible on Mars. The prospect of Martian surface life, together with the existence of a diversity of routes by which pathogenicity has emerged on Earth, suggests that the possibility of human pathogens on Mars, while low, is not zero. Since the discovery and study of Martian life can have long-term benefits for humanity, the risk that Martian life might include pathogens should not

  12. Potential Antifreeze Compounds in Present-Day Martian Seepage Groundwater

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Jiin-Shuh Jean


    Full Text Available Is the recently found seepage groundwater on Mars pure H2O, or mixed with salts and other antifreeze compounds? Given the surface conditions of Mars, it is unlikely that pure water could either exist in its liquid state or have shaped Mars¡¦ fluid erosional landforms (gullies, channels, and valley networks. More likely is that Mars¡¦ seepage groundwater contains antifreeze and salt compounds that resist freezing and suppress evaporation. This model better accounts for Mars¡¦ enigmatic surface erosion. This paper suggests 17 antifreeze compounds potentially present in Martian seepage groundwater. Given their liquid state and physical properties, triethylene glycol, diethylene glycol, ethylene glycol, and 1,3-propylene glycol are advanced as the most likely candidate compounds. This paper also explores how a mixing of glycol or glycerol with salts in the Martian seepage groundwater may have lowered water¡¦s freezing point and raised its boiling point, with consequences that created fluid gully and channel erosion. Ethylene glycol and related hydrocarbon compounds have been identified in Martian and other interstellar meteorites. We suggest that these compounds and their proportions to water be included for detection in future explorations.

  13. The role of vegetation on gully erosion stabilization at a severely degraded landscape: A case study from Calhoun Experimental Critical Zone Observatory (United States)

    Bastola, S.; Dialynas, Y. G.; Bras, R. L.; Noto, L. V.; Istanbulluoglu, E.


    Gully erosion was evidence of land degradation in the southern Piedmont, site of the Calhoun Critical Zone Observatory (CCZO), during the cotton farming era. Understanding of the underlying gully erosion processes is essential to develop gully erosion models that could be useful in assessing the effectiveness of remedial and soil erosion control measures such as gully backfilling, revegetation, and terracing. Development and validation of process-based gully erosion models is difficult because observations of the formation and progression of gullies are limited. In this study, analytic formulations of the two dominant gullying processes, namely, plunge pool erosion and slab failure, are utilized to simulate the gullying processes in the 4-km2 Holcombe's Branch watershed. In order to calibrate parameters of the gully erosion model, gully features (e.g., depth and area) extracted from a high-resolution LiDAR map are used. After the calibration, the gully model is able to delineate the spatial extent of gullies whose statistics are in close agreement with the gullies extracted from the LiDAR DEM. Several simulations with the calibrated model are explored to evaluate the effectiveness of various gully remedial measures, such as backfilling and revegetation. The results show that in the short-term, the reshaping of the topographical surface by backfilling and compacting gullies is effective in slowing down the growth of gullies (e.g., backfilling decreased the spatial extent of gullies by 21-46% and decreased the average depth of gullies by up to 9%). Revegetation, however, is a more effective approach to stabilizing gullies that would otherwise expand if no gully remedial measures are implemented. Analyses of our simulations show that the gully stabilization effect of revegetation varies over a wide range, i.e., leading to 23-69% reduction of the spatial extent of gullies and up to 45% reduction in the depth of gullies, depending on the selection of plant species and

  14. Multi-agent gully processes: Evidence from the Monaro Volcanic Province, Australia and in Terra Cimmeria, Mars (United States)

    Hobbs, S. W.; Paull, D. J.; Clarke, J. D. A.; Roach, Ian C.


    Comparison of the similarities and differences between terrestrial and Martian hillside gullies promotes understanding of how surface processes operate on both planets. Here we tested the viability of subsurface flow of water as a process affecting gully evolution. We compared gullies within the Monaro Volcanic Province near Cooma, New South Wales, Australia, to gullies possessing strong structural control near Gasa Crater, Terra Cimmeria, Mars. Although cursory examination of the Monaro gullies initially suggested strong evidence for aquifer erosion, detailed field surveys showed the evidence to be ambiguous. Instead a complex regime of erosion dependent on multiple conditions and processes such as local geology, surface runoff, dry mass wasting, and animal activity emerged. We found the morphology of gullies near Gasa Crater to be consistent with erosion caused by liquid water, while also being heavily influenced by the local environment, including slope and geology. Additionally, erosion at the Martian site was not consistent with evidence of subsequent, smaller scale erosion and channel modification by dry mass wasting. Local conditions thus play an important role in gully evolution, further highlighting that processes forming Martian gullies may be more diverse than initially thought.

  15. Exploring the martian moons a human mission to Deimos and Phobos

    CERN Document Server

    von Ehrenfried, Manfred “Dutch”


    This book explores the once popular idea of 'Flexible Path' in terms of Mars, a strategy that would focus on a manned orbital mission to Mars's moons rather than the more risky, expensive and time-consuming trip to land humans on the Martian surface. While currently still not the most popular idea, this mission would take advantage of the operational, scientific and engineering lessons to be learned from going to Mars's moons first. Unlike a trip to the planet's surface, an orbital mission avoids the dangers of the deep gravity well of Mars and a very long stay on the surface. This is analogous to Apollo 8 and 10, which preceded the landing on the Moon of Apollo 11. Furthermore, a Mars orbital mission could be achieved at least five years, possibly 10 before a landing mission. Nor would an orbital mission require all of the extra vehicles, equipment and supplies needed for a landing and a stay on the planet for over a year. The cost difference between the two types of missions is in the order of tens of billi...

  16. Conceptual Design and Architecture of Mars Exploration Rover (MER) for Seismic Experiments Over Martian Surfaces (United States)

    Garg, Akshay; Singh, Amit


    Keywords: MER, Mars, Rover, Seismometer Mars has been a subject of human interest for exploration missions for quite some time now. Both rover as well as orbiter missions have been employed to suit mission objectives. Rovers have been preferentially deployed for close range reconnaissance and detailed experimentation with highest accuracy. However, it is essential to strike a balance between the chosen science objectives and the rover operations as a whole. The objective of this proposed mechanism is to design a vehicle (MER) to carry out seismic studies over Martian surface. The conceptual design consists of three units i.e. Mother Rover as a Surrogate (Carrier) and Baby Rovers (two) as seeders for several MEMS-based accelerometer / seismometer units (Nodes). Mother Rover can carry these Baby Rovers, having individual power supply with solar cells and with individual data transmission capabilities, to suitable sites such as Chasma associated with Valles Marineris, Craters or Sand Dunes. Mother rover deploys these rovers in two opposite direction and these rovers follow a triangulation pattern to study shock waves generated through firing tungsten carbide shells into the ground. Till the time of active experiments Mother Rover would act as a guiding unit to control spatial spread of detection instruments. After active shock experimentation, the babies can still act as passive seismometer units to study and record passive shocks from thermal quakes, impact cratering & landslides. Further other experiments / payloads (XPS / GAP / APXS) can also be carried by Mother Rover. Secondary power system consisting of batteries can also be utilized for carrying out further experiments over shallow valley surfaces. The whole arrangement is conceptually expected to increase the accuracy of measurements (through concurrent readings) and prolong life cycle of overall experimentation. The proposed rover can be customised according to the associated scientific objectives and further

  17. Exploring Fingerprints of the Extreme Thermoacidophile Metallosphaera sedula Grown on Synthetic Martian Regolith Materials as the Sole Energy Sources

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Denise Kölbl


    Full Text Available The biology of metal transforming microorganisms is of a fundamental and applied importance for our understanding of past and present biogeochemical processes on Earth and in the Universe. The extreme thermoacidophile Metallosphaera sedula is a metal mobilizing archaeon, which thrives in hot acid environments (optimal growth at 74°C and pH 2.0 and utilizes energy from the oxidation of reduced metal inorganic sources. These characteristics of M. sedula make it an ideal organism to further our knowledge of the biogeochemical processes of possible life on extraterrestrial planetary bodies. Exploring the viability and metal extraction capacity of M. sedula living on and interacting with synthetic extraterrestrial minerals, we show that M. sedula utilizes metals trapped in the Martian regolith simulants (JSC Mars 1A; P-MRS; S-MRS; MRS07/52 as the sole energy sources. The obtained set of microbiological and mineralogical data suggests that M. sedula actively colonizes synthetic Martian regolith materials and releases free soluble metals. The surface of bioprocessed Martian regolith simulants is analyzed for specific mineralogical fingerprints left upon M. sedula growth. The obtained results provide insights of biomining of extraterrestrial material as well as of the detection of biosignatures implementing in life search missions.

  18. Exploring Fingerprints of the Extreme Thermoacidophile Metallosphaera sedula Grown on Synthetic Martian Regolith Materials as the Sole Energy Sources. (United States)

    Kölbl, Denise; Pignitter, Marc; Somoza, Veronika; Schimak, Mario P; Strbak, Oliver; Blazevic, Amir; Milojevic, Tetyana


    The biology of metal transforming microorganisms is of a fundamental and applied importance for our understanding of past and present biogeochemical processes on Earth and in the Universe. The extreme thermoacidophile Metallosphaera sedula is a metal mobilizing archaeon, which thrives in hot acid environments (optimal growth at 74°C and pH 2.0) and utilizes energy from the oxidation of reduced metal inorganic sources. These characteristics of M. sedula make it an ideal organism to further our knowledge of the biogeochemical processes of possible life on extraterrestrial planetary bodies. Exploring the viability and metal extraction capacity of M. sedula living on and interacting with synthetic extraterrestrial minerals, we show that M. sedula utilizes metals trapped in the Martian regolith simulants (JSC Mars 1A; P-MRS; S-MRS; MRS07/52) as the sole energy sources. The obtained set of microbiological and mineralogical data suggests that M. sedula actively colonizes synthetic Martian regolith materials and releases free soluble metals. The surface of bioprocessed Martian regolith simulants is analyzed for specific mineralogical fingerprints left upon M. sedula growth. The obtained results provide insights of biomining of extraterrestrial material as well as of the detection of biosignatures implementing in life search missions.

  19. The Licancabur Project: Exploring the Limits of Life in the Highest Lake on Earth as an Analog to Martian Paleolakes (United States)

    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.


    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.

  20. Mapping gullies, dunes, lava fields, and landslides via surface roughness (United States)

    Korzeniowska, Karolina; Pfeifer, Norbert; Landtwing, Stephan


    Gully erosion is a widespread and significant process involved in soil and land degradation. Mapping gullies helps to quantify past, and anticipate future, soil losses. Digital terrain models offer promising data for automatically detecting and mapping gullies especially in vegetated areas, although methods vary widely measures of local terrain roughness are the most varied and debated among these methods. Rarely do studies test the performance of roughness metrics for mapping gullies, limiting their applicability to small training areas. To this end, we systematically explored how local terrain roughness derived from high-resolution Light Detection And Ranging (LiDAR) data can aid in the unsupervised detection of gullies over a large area. We also tested expanding this method for other landforms diagnostic of similarly abrupt land-surface changes, including lava fields, dunes, and landslides, as well as investigating the influence of different roughness thresholds, resolutions of kernels, and input data resolution, and comparing our method with previously published roughness algorithms. Our results show that total curvature is a suitable metric for recognising analysed gullies and lava fields from LiDAR data, with comparable success to that of more sophisticated roughness metrics. Tested dunes or landslides remain difficult to distinguish from the surrounding landscape, partly because they are not easily defined in terms of their topographic signature.

  1. Hydrogeological And Geotechnical Investigations Of Gully Erosion ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    Consequently, hydrogeological and geotechnical studies of gully erosion sites were carried out in order to provide information on the genesis and continual expansion of gullies in the area. The results indicate that gullies are located in the upper aquifer of the Benin Formation (Coastal Plain Sands). The estimated hydraulic ...

  2. Are the different gully morphologies due to different formation processes on the Kaiser dune field on Mars? (United States)

    Pasquon, K.; Gargani, J.; Nachon, M.; Conway, S. J.; Massé, M.; Jouannic, G.; Balme, M. R.; Costard, F.; Vincendon, M.


    Diverse gully morphologies are seen on Mars and differences are often neglected for simplification. Here we describe in detail the morphology and present-day activity of two gully-systems on the Kaiser dune field in the southern hemisphere of Mars. We then compare their activity with that of the morphologically distinct linear dune gullies present on the same dunes. The studied gully-systems have large depositional aprons (named "large apron gullies") and occur on dune faces oriented westward. They are active from mid-autumn to late winter (i.e. from Ls 50° to Ls 180°) coinciding with CO2 ice condensation/sublimation cycles. Sandy material collapses from the alcove flanks onto the alcove floor sporadically throughout this period. This accumulated sand is remobilized by punctuated mass flows which we estimate to be up to 7100 m3 in volume. These flows run out on to the apron and occur between Ls 120° and Ls 160°. These mass flow events occur when the number of "digitate flows" is at its seasonal maximum. Digitate flows are characterized by long-narrow zig-zagging low-albedo tracks and do not seem to transport appreciable sediment, and they can number in the hundreds. Small pits appear at their termini or midway along and sometimes these pits are re-deepened by subsequent flows. These events repeat every year and using volume balance calculations we find that the whole system could be built on a timescale of hundreds of martian ears. These large apron gullies differ in morphology and timing from the linear dune gullies. The linear dune gullies are active in late winter, or beginning of spring when the CO2 frost finally sublimates, which occurs after the activity of the large apron gullies. Due to the difference of orientation between large apron gullies and linear dune as well as timing, we infer that insolation, which may influence (i) the depth to ground ice, (ii) the amount of volatiles deposits, is the main cause their differences. Sediment transport by CO2

  3. Spectral characterization of volcanic rocks in the VIS-NIR for martian exploration (United States)

    De Angelis, Simone; Carli, Cristian; Manzari, Paola; De Sanctis, Maria Cristina; Capaccioni, Fabrizio


    Igneous effusive rocks cover much of the surface of Mars [1,2,3]. Initially only two types of lithologies were thought to constitute the Martian crust, i.e. a basaltic one and a more andesitic one [1,2], while more evolved lithologies were ruled out.Nevertheless a more complex situation is appearing in the last years. Recently several observations have highlighted the presence of evolved, acidic rocks. High-silica dacite units were identified in Syrtis Major caldera by thermal IR data [4]. Outcrops in Noachis Terra were interpreted as constituted of felsic (i.e. feldspar-rich) rocks essentially by the observation of a 1.3-µm spectral feature in CRISM data, attributed to Fe2+ in feldspars [5]. However different interpretations exist, invoking plagioclase-enriched basalts [6] rather than felsic products.The increasing of high-resolution and in-situ rover-based observations datasets and the changing of the initial paradigm justify a new systematic spectral study of igneous effusive rocks. In this work we focus on the spectral characterization of volcanic effusive rocks in the 0.35-2.5-µm range. We are carrying out measurements and spectral analyses on a wide ensemble of effusive samples, from mafic to sialic, with variable alkali contents, following the classification in the Total-Alkali-Silica diagram, and discussing the influence on spectral characteristics of different mineral assemblages and/or texture ([7], [8]). [1] Bandfield J.L., et al., Science, 287, 1626, 2000; [2] Christensen P.R., et al., J. Geophys. Res., 105, N.E4, 9609-9621, 2000; [3] Ehlmann B.L. & Edwards C.S., Annu. Rev. Earth Planet. Sci., 42, 291-315, 2014; [4] Christensen P.R., et al., Nature, 436, 504-509, 2005; [5] Wray J.J., et al., 44th LPSC, abs. n.3065, 2013; [6] Rogers A.D. & Nekvasil H., Geophys. Res. Lett., 42, 2619-2626, 2015; [7] Carli C. and Sgavetti M.,Icarus, 211, 1034-1048, 2011; [7] Carli C. et al., SGL, doi 10.1144/SP401.19, 2015.

  4. Formation of recent martian debris flows by melting of near-surface ground ice at high obliquity. (United States)

    Costard, F; Forget, F; Mangold, N; Peulvast, J P


    The observation of small gullies associated with recent surface runoff on Mars has renewed the question of liquid water stability at the surface of Mars. The gullies could be formed by groundwater seepage from underground aquifers; however, observations of gullies originating from isolated peaks and dune crests question this scenario. We show that these landforms may result from the melting of water ice in the top few meters of the martian subsurface at high obliquity. Our conclusions are based on the analogy between the martian gullies and terrestrial debris flows observed in Greenland and numerical simulations that show that above-freezing temperatures can occur at high obliquities in the near surface of Mars, and that such temperatures are only predicted at latitudes and for slope orientations corresponding to where the gullies have been observed on Mars.

  5. Title: Gully Erosion Mapping Using Remote Sensing Techniques in ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)


    results indicated a user's accuracy of 98.67% and 54% for non-gully and gully class .... for gully class and 150 for non-gully class) were generated using ERDAS ... soil (un-vegetated gully) is dependent on the moisture content, organic matter.

  6. Use of the vacuum ultraviolet spectral region for laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy-based Martian geology and exploration

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Radziemski, Leon; Cremers, David A.; Benelli, Katharine; Khoo, Cynthia; Harris, Ronny D.


    Several elements important to planetary geology (e.g. Br, C, Cl, P, S) and the human exploration of Mars (e.g. toxic elements such as As) have strong emission lines in the purge and vacuum ultraviolet (VUV) spectral region (100-200 nm). This spectral region has not been extensively studied for space applications using geological samples. We studied emissions from the laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS) plasma in this region using a sample chamber filled with 7 torr (930 Pa) of CO 2 to simulate the Martian atmosphere. Pressures down to 0.02 torr were also used to evaluate the effect of the residual CO 2 on the spectra and to begin investigating the use of VUV-LIBS for airless bodies such as asteroids and the Moon. Spectra were recorded using a 0.3-m vacuum spectrometer with an intensified CCD (ICCD) camera. The effects of time delay and laser energy on LIBS detection at reduced pressure were examined. The effect of ambient CO 2 on the detection of C in soil was also evaluated. Lines useful for the spectrochemical analysis of As, Br, C, Cl, P, and S were determined and calibration curves were prepared for these elements. Although LIBS is being developed for stand-off analysis at many meters distance, the experiments reported here were aimed at in-situ (close-up) analysis

  7. Volatiles and Isotopes and the Exploration of Ancient and Modern Martian Habitability with the Curiosity Rover (United States)

    Mhaffy, P. R.


    The Mars Science Laboratory Mission was designed to pave the way for the study of life beyond Earth through a search for a habitable environment in a carefully selected landing site on Mars. Its ongoing exploration of Gale Crater with the Curiosity Rover has provided a rich data set that revealed such an environment in an ancient lakebed [1]. Volatile and isotope measurements of both the atmosphere and solids contribute to our growing understanding of both modern and ancient environments.

  8. Developing a High Fidelity Martian Soil Simulant Based on MSL Measurements: Applications for Habitability, Exploration, and In-Situ Resource Utilization (United States)

    Cannon, K.; Britt, D. T.; Smith, T. M.; Fritsche, R. F.; Covey, S. D.; Batcheldor, D.; Watson, B.


    Powerful instruments, that include CheMin and SAM on the MSL Curiosity rover, have provided an unprecedented look into the mineral, chemical, and volatile composition of Martian soils. Interestingly, the bulk chemistry of the Rocknest windblown soil is a close match to similar measurements from the Spirit and Opportunity rovers, suggesting the presence of a global basaltic soil component. The Martian regolith is likely composed of this global soil mixed with locally to regionally derived components that include alteration products and evolved volcanic compositions. Without returned soil samples, researchers have relied on terrestrial simulants to address fundamental Mars science, habitability, in-situ resource utilization, and hardware for future exploration. However, these past simulants have low fidelity compared to actual Martian soils: JSC Mars-1a is an amorphous palagonitic material with spectral similarities to Martian dust, not soil, and Mojave Mars is simply a ground up terrestrial basalt chosen for its convenient location. Based on our experience creating asteroid regolith simulants, we are developing a high fidelity Martian soil simulant (Mars Global) designed ab initio to match the mineralogy, chemistry, and volatile contents of the global basaltic soil on Mars. The crystalline portion of the simulant is based on CheMin measurements of Rocknest and includes plagioclase, two pyroxenes, olivine, hematite, magnetite, anhydrite, and quartz. The amorphous portion is less well constrained, but we are re-creating it with basaltic glass, synthetic ferrihydrite, ferric sulfate, and carbonates. We also include perchlorate and nitrate salts based on evolved gas analyses from the SAM instrument. Analysis and testing of Mars Global will include physical properties (shear strength, density, internal friction angle), spectral properties, magnetic properties, and volatile release patterns. The simulant is initially being designed for NASA agricultural studies, but

  9. Electrostatic Precipitation of Dust in the Martian Atmosphere: Implications for the Utilization of Resources During Future Manned Exploration Missions (United States)

    Calle, Carlos I.; Clements, Judson S.; Thompson, Samuel M.; Cox, Nathan D.; Hogue, Michael D.; Johansen, Michael R.; Williams, Blakeley S.


    Future human missions to Mars will require the utilization of local resources for oxygen, fuel. and water. The In Situ Resource Utilization (ISRU) project is an active research endeavor at NASA to develop technologies that can enable cost effective ways to live off the land. The extraction of oxygen from the Martian atmosphere. composed primarily of carbon dioxide, is one of the most important goals of the Mars ISRU project. The main obstacle is the relatively large amount of dust present in the Martian atmosphere. This dust must be efficiently removed from atmospheric gas intakes for ISRU processing chambers. A common technique to achieve this removal on earth is by electrostatic precipitation, where large electrostatic fields are established in a localized region to precipitate and collect previously charged dust particles. This technique is difficult to adapt to the Martian environment, with an atmospheric pressure of about one-hundredth of the terrestrial atmosphere. At these low pressures. the corona discharges required to implant an electrostatic charge to the particles to be collected is extremely difficult to sustain and the corona easily becomes biopolar. which is unsuitable for particle charging. In this paper, we report on our successful efforts to establish a stable corona under Martian simulated conditions. We also present results on dust collecting efficiencies with an electrostatic precipitator prototype that could be effectively used on a future mission to the red planet

  10. The Mars Hopper: Development, Simulation and Experimental Validation of a Radioisotope Exploration Probe for the Martian Surface

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Nathan D. Jerred; Spencer Cooley; Robert C. O' Brien; Steven D. Howe; James E. O' Brien


    An advanced exploration probe has been proposed by the Center for Space Nuclear Research (CSNR) to acquire detailed data from the Martian surface and subsurface, ‘hop’ large distances to multiple sites in short periods of time and perform this task repeatedly. Although several similar flying vehicles have been proposed utilizing various power sources and complex designs, e.g. solar-electric and chemical-based, the CSNR’s Mars Hopper is based on a radioisotope thermal rocket (RTR) concept. The Mars Hopper’s design relies on the high specific energies [J/kg] of radioisotopes and enhances their low specific power [W/kg] through the use of a thermal capacitance material to store thermal energy over time. During operation, the RTR transfers the stored thermal energy to a flowing gas, which is then expanded through a converging-diverging nozzle, producing thrust. Between flights, the platform will have ample time to perform in-depth science at each location while the propellant tanks and thermal capacitor recharge. Recharging the propellant tanks is accomplished by sublimation freezing of the ambient CO2 atmosphere with a cryocooler, followed by heating and pressurization to yield a liquid storage state. The proposed Mars Hopper will undergo a ballistic flight, consuming the propellant in both ascent and descent, and by using multiple hopper platforms, information can be gathered on a global scale, enabling better resource resolution and providing valuable information for a possible Mars sample-return mission. The CSNR, collaborating with the Idaho National Laboratory (INL) and three universities (University of Idaho, Utah State University and Oregon State University), has identified key components and sub-systems necessary for the proposed hopper. Current project activities include the development of a lab-scale prototypic Mars Hopper and test facility, along with computational fluid dynamics (CFD)/thermal-hydraulic models to yield a better understanding of the

  11. Unusual Sediment Transportation Processes Under Low Pressure Environments and Implications For Gullies and Recurring Slope Lineae (RSL) (United States)

    Raack, J.; Herny, C.; Conway, S. J.; Balme, M. R.; Carpy, S.; Patel, M.


    Recently and presently active mass wasting features such as gullies and recurring slope lineae (RSL) are common on the surface of Mars, but their origin and triggering mechanisms are under intense debate. While several active mass wasting features have been linked to sublimation of CO2ice, dry granular flows (avalanches), or a combination of both effects, others have been more closely linked to liquid water or briny outflows (e.g. for RSL). However, liquid water on the surface of Mars is unstable under present-day low pressures and surface temperatures. Nevertheless, numerical modeling and remote sensing data have shown that maximum surface temperatures can exceed the frost point of water and that liquid water could exist on the surface of actual Mars in a transient state. But to explain the observed spatial extent of RSL and recent modification of gullies, it is estimated that relatively large amounts of liquid water are necessary. It is proving challenging to generate such quantities from the atmosphere. In this contribution we explore the potential effects of boiling water (boiling occurs at martian pressures slightly above the frost point of 273 K) on sediment transport. We will present the outcomes of a series of experiments under low surface and water temperatures (between 278 and 297 K, analogous to surface temperatures observed near RSL) and low pressures (between 8 and 11 mbar). We simulate sediment transport by boiling liquid water over a sloping bed of unconsolidated sediment. Our results reveal a suite of unusual and very reactive sediment transportation processes, which are not produced under terrestrial pressures. We will discuss the impact of these unusual sediment transport processes on estimates of water budgets for active mass wasting processes.

  12. Stope and Gully Support: Final report

    CSIR Research Space (South Africa)

    Roberts, MKC


    Full Text Available This project had two objectives namely: Develop a rationale for the design of stope support systems. Determine support resistance criteria for the support of stope gullies for both static and dynamic loading and develop improved support systems...

  13. Gully formation in terrestrial simple craters: Meteor Crater, USA and Lonar Crater, India (United States)

    Kumar, P.; Head, J. W.; Kring, D. A.


    Geomorphic features such as gullies, valley networks, and channels on Mars have been used as a proxy to understand the climate and landscape evolution of Mars. Terrestrial analogues provide significant insight as to how the various exogenic and endogenic processes might contribute to the evolution of these martian landscapes. We describe here a terrestrial example from Meteor Crater, which shows a spectacular development of gullies throughout the inner wall in response to rainwater precipitation, snow melting and groundwater discharge. As liquid water has been envisaged as one of the important agents of landscape sculpturing, Meteor Crater remains a useful landmark, where planetary geologists can learn some lessons. We also show here how the lithology and structural framework of this crater controls the gully distribution. Like many martian impact craters, it was emplaced in layered sedimentary rocks with an exceptionally well-developed centripetal drainage pattern consisting of individual alcoves, channels and fans. Some of the gullies originate from the rim crest and others from the middle crater wall, where a lithologic transition occurs. Deeply incised alcoves are well-developed on the soft sandstones of the Coconino Formation exposed on the middle crater wall, beneath overlying dolomite. In general, the gully locations are along crater wall radial fractures and faults, which are favorable locales of groundwater flow and discharge; these structural discontinuities are also the locales where the surface runoff from rain precipitation and snow melting can preferentially flow, causing degradation. Like martian craters, channels are well developed on the talus deposits and alluvial fans on the periphery of the crater floor. In addition, lake sediments on the crater floor provide significant evidence of a past pluvial climate, when groundwater seeped from springs on the crater wall. Caves exposed on the lower crater level may point to percolation of surface runoff

  14. Modeling the Contribution of Ephemeral Gully Erosion Under Different Soil Management in An Olive Orchard Microcatchment Using AnnAGNPS Model (United States)

    In Spain, few studies have been carried out to explore the erosion caused by processes other than interrill and rill erosion, such as gully and ephemeral gully erosion, especially because most of the available studies have evaluated the erosion at plot scale. A study about the en...

  15. MARs Tools for Interactive ANalysis (MARTIAN): Google Maps Tools for Visual Exploration of Geophysical Modeling on Mars (United States)

    Dimitrova, L. L.; Haines, M.; Holt, W. E.; Schultz, R. A.; Richard, G.; Haines, A. J.


    Interactive maps of surface-breaking faults and stress models on Mars provide important tools to engage undergraduate students, educators, and scientists with current geological and geophysical research. We have developed a map based on the Google Maps API -- an Internet based tool combining DHTML and AJAX, -- which allows very large maps to be viewed over the World Wide Web. Typically, small portions of the maps are downloaded as needed, rather than the entire image at once. This set-up enables relatively fast access for users with low bandwidth. Furthermore, Google Maps provides an extensible interactive interface making it ideal for visualizing multiple data sets at the user's choice. The Google Maps API works primarily with data referenced to latitudes and longitudes, which is then mapped in Mercator projection only. We have developed utilities for general cylindrical coordinate systems by converting these coordinates into equivalent Mercator projection before including them on the map. The MARTIAN project is available at We begin with an introduction to the Martian surface using a topography model. Faults from several datasets are classified by type (extension vs. compression) and by time epoch. Deviatoric stresses due to gravitational potential energy differences, calculated from the topography and crustal thickness, can be overlain. Several quantitative measures for the fit of the stress field to the faults are also included. We provide introductory text and exercises spanning a range of topics: how are faults identified, what stress is and how it relates to faults, what gravitational potential energy is and how variations in it produce stress, how the models are created, and how these models can be evaluated and interpreted. The MARTIAN tool is used at Stony Brook University in GEO 310: Introduction to Geophysics, a class geared towards junior and senior geosciences majors. Although this project is in its

  16. Preliminary results of the search for possible Martian landing sites to be considered for future European exploration missions (United States)

    Martin, P.


    The recently adopted European Space Policy aims at expanding and coordinating the role and activities of Europe's space actors with the purpose of increasing both scientific knowledge in selected space domains and the European presence in the Solar System, as well as optimising the relevant societal benefits. With our Moon and in particular Mars as primary targets of exploration goals for the Solar System, and following a number of very successful orbital missions performing detailed remote sensing and mapping of these planetary bodies, probe landings on the surface of the Moon and Mars represent the next stepping stone of the exploration of our close planetary environment. Along with developing the hardware capabilities required for Europe to reach such ambitious goals, it therefore becomes increasingly important to pinpoint with precision a number of landing sites well suited for the safety and scientific success of future robotic missions. Focusing on Mars, and although a number of candidate landing sites and associated catalogs with available scientific justification already exist, the results being obtained by orbiters such as Mars Express and Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter are fundamentally transforming our knowledge of the planet's surface, which in turns highlights the need to review, update and revise the candidate sites for future landing missions on Mars. Detailed investigations of possible future Martian landing sites for European missions are ongoing, based on the wealth of scientific data and high-resolution mapping products available. In order to support the identification of suitable sites, various mapping products (geological, hyperspectral and compositional) can be consolidated, and various areas of Mars identified in the recent scientific literature as primary targets for landing can be taken into account for further, refined assessment of their suitability for landing. Seasonal and climatic effects potentially influencing landing shall also be

  17. Martian surface

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Carr, M.H.


    The surface of Mars is characterized on the basis of reformatted Viking remote-sensing data, summarizing results published during the period 1983-1986. Topics examined include impact craters, ridges and faults, volcanic studies (modeling of surface effects on volcanic activity, description and interpretation of volcanic features, and calculations on lava-ice interactions), the role of liquid water on Mars, evidence for abundant ground ice at high latitudes, water-cycle modeling, and the composition and dynamics of Martian dust

  18. Morphological dynamics of gully systems in the subhumid Ethiopian Highlands

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Zegeye, Assefa D.; Langendoen, Eddy J.; Stoof, C.R.; Tilahun, Seifu A.; Dagnew, Dessalegn C.; Zimale, Fasikaw A.; Guzman, C.D.; Yitaferu, B.; Steenhuis, T.S.


    Gully expansion in the Ethiopian Highlands dissects vital agricultural lands with the eroded materials adversely impacting downstream resources, for example as they accumulate in reservoirs. While gully expansion and rehabilitation have been more extensively researched in the semiarid region of

  19. MetNet Network Mission for Martian Atmospheric Investigations (United States)

    Harri, A.-M.; Alexashkin, S.; Arrugeo, I.; Schmidt, W.; Vazquez, L.; Genzer, M.; Haukka, H.


    A new kind of planetary exploration mission for Mars called MetNet is being developed for martian atmospheric investigations. The eventual scope of the MetNet Mission is to deploy tens of small landers on the martian surface.

  20. Degradation of the Mitchell River fluvial megafan by alluvial gully erosion increased by post-European land use change, Queensland, Australia (United States)

    Shellberg, J. G.; Spencer, J.; Brooks, A. P.; Pietsch, T. J.


    Along low gradient rivers in northern Australia, there is widespread gully erosion into unconfined alluvial deposits of active and inactive floodplains. On the Mitchell River fluvial megafan in northern Queensland, river incision and fan-head trenching into Pleistocene and Holocene megafan units with sodic soils created the potential energy for a secondary cycle of erosion. In this study, rates of alluvial gully erosion into incipiently-unstable channel banks and/or pre-existing floodplain features were quantified to assess the influence of land use change following European settlement. Alluvial gully scarp retreat rates were quantified at 18 sites across the megafan using recent GPS surveys and historic air photos, demonstrating rapid increases in gully area of 1.2 to 10 times their 1949 values. Extrapolation of gully area growth trends backward in time suggested that the current widespread phase of gullying initiated between 1880 and 1950, which is post-European settlement. This is supported by young optically stimulated luminescence (OSL) dates of gully inset-floodplain deposits, LiDAR terrain analysis, historic explorer accounts of earlier gully types, and archival records of cattle numbers and land management. It is deduced that intense cattle grazing and associated disturbance concentrated in the riparian zones during the dry season promoted gully erosion in the wet season along steep banks, adjacent floodplain hollows and precursor gullies. This is a result of reduced native grass cover, increased physical disturbance of soils, and the concentration of water runoff along cattle tracks, in addition to fire regime modifications, episodic drought, and the establishment of exotic weed and grass species. Geomorphic processes operating over geologic time across the fluvial megafan predisposed the landscape to being pushed by land used change across an intrinsically close geomorphic threshold towards instability. The evolution of these alluvial gullies is discussed

  1. International Academy of Astronautics 5th cosmic study--preparing for a 21st century program of integrated, Lunar and Martian exploration and development (executive summary). (United States)

    Koelle, H H; Stephenson, D G


    This report is an initial review of plans for a extensive program to survey and develop the Moon and to explore the planet Mars during the 21st century. It presents current typical plans for separate, associated and fully integrated programs of Lunar and Martian research, exploration and development, and concludes that detailed integrated plans must be prepared and be subject to formal criticism. Before responsible politicians approve a new thrust into space they will demand attractive, defensible, and detailed proposals that explain the WHEN, HOW and WHY of each stage of an expanded program of 21st century space research, development and exploration. In particular, the claims of daring, innovative, but untried systems must be compared with the known performance of existing technologies. The time has come to supersede the present haphazard approach to strategic space studies with a formal international structure to plan for future advanced space missions under the aegis of the world's national space agencies, and supported by governments and the corporate sector. c2002 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.

  2. Tools for Ephemeral Gully Erosion Process Research (United States)

    Techniques to quantify ephemeral gully erosion have been identified by USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) as one of gaps in current erosion assessment tools. One reason that may have contributed to this technology gap is the difficulty to quantify changes in channel geometry to asses...

  3. Martian seismicity

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Goins, N.R.; Lazarewicz, A.R.


    During the Viking mission to Mars, the seismometer on Lander II collected approximately 0.24 Earth years of observations data, excluding periods of time dominated by wind-induced Lander vibration. The ''quiet-time'' data set contains no confirmed seismic events. A proper assessment of the significance of this fact requires quantitative estimates of the expected detection rate of the Viking seismometer. The first step is to calculate the minimum magnitude event detectable at a given distance, including the effects of geometric spreading, anelastic attenuation, seismic signal duration, seismometer frequency response, and possible poor ground coupling. Assuming various numerical quantities and a Martian seismic activity comparable to that of intraplate earthquakes, the appropriate integral gives an expected annual detection rate of 10 events, nearly all of which are local. Thus only two to three events would be expected in the observational period presently on hand and the lack of observed events is not in gross contradiction to reasonable expectations. Given the same assumptions, a seismometer 20 times more sensitive than the present instrument would be expected to detect about 120 events annually

  4. Dynamic modeling and mobility analysis of the transforming roving-rolling explorer (TRREx) as it Traverses Rugged Martian Terrain (United States)

    Edwin, Lionel E.; Mazzoleni, Andre P.


    All planetary surface exploration missions thus far have employed traditional rovers with a rocker-bogie suspension. These rovers can navigate moderately rough and flat terrain, but are not designed to traverse rugged terrain with steep slopes. The fact is, however, that the most scientifically interesting missions require exploration platforms with capabilities for navigating such types of rugged terrain. This issue motivates the development of new kinds of rovers that take advantage of the latest advances in robotic technologies to traverse rugged terrain efficiently. This work analyzes one such rover concept called the Transforming Roving-Rolling Explorer (TRREx) that is principally aimed at addressing the above issue. Biologically inspired by the way the armadillo curls up into a ball when threatened, and the way the golden wheel spider uses the dynamic advantages of a sphere to roll down hills when escaping danger, the TRREx rover can traverse like a traditional 6-wheeled rover over conventional terrain, but can also transform itself into a sphere, when necessary, to travel down steep inclines, or navigate rough terrain. This paper investigates the mobility of the TRREx when it is in its rolling mode, i.e. when it is a sphere and can steer itself through actuations that shift its center of mass to achieve the desired direction of roll. A mathematical model describing the dynamics of the rover in this spherical configuration is presented, and actuated rolling is demonstrated through computer simulation. Parametric analyzes that investigate the rover's mobility as a function of its design parameters are also presented. This work highlights the contribution of the spherical rolling mode to the enhanced mobility of the TRREx rover and how it could enable challenging surface exploration missions in the future.

  5. Badass gullies: Fluvio-mass-movement gully complexes in New Zealand's East Coast region, and potential for remediation (United States)

    Marden, Michael; Fuller, Ian C.; Herzig, Alexander; Betts, Harley D.


    This paper reviews gully erosion in the East Coast region of New Zealand's North Island and conceptualises fluvio-mass-movement gully complexes as badass gully systems. Tectonic setting and lithological control, with steep slopes and a climate influenced by tropical cyclones, predispose hill country in the East Coast region to gully erosion. The clearance of indigenous forest since the late 1800s has dramatically increased catchment erosion and paved the way for development of large-scale fluvio-mass-movement gully complexes. These features are a composite of fluvial and mass movement processes. They are conceptualised as 'badass' by not conforming to any existing gully model and by generating disproportionate results in East Coast catchment sediment cascades. Their remediation is discussed, but their nature means that prevention is better than a cure.

  6. Trends of the gully erosion development in the territory of the Republic of Tatarstan (United States)

    Medvedeva, R. A.


    Gully erosion is one of the most active geomorphic processes and one of the major cause of land degradation worldwide. The aim of the study was identifying the dynamics of gully erosion development in the Republic of Tatarstan. The interpretation of satellite images were used for evaluation of the modern dynamics of gullies. Two key indicators of gully erosion (length density and gully head density) were determined. Maps of modern gully erosion for a part of the Republic of Tatarstan were constructed.

  7. The Martian Oasis Detector (United States)

    Smith, P. H.; tomasko, M. G.; McEwen, A.; Rice, J.


    The next phase of unmanned Mars missions paves the way for astronauts to land on the surface of Mars. There are lessons to be learned from the unmanned precursor missions to the Moon and the Apollo lunar surface expeditions. These unmanned missions (Ranger, Lunar Orbiter, and Surveyor) provided the following valuable information, useful from both a scientific and engineering perspective, which was required to prepare the way for the manned exploration of the lunar surface: (1) high resolution imagery instrumental to Apollo landing site selection also tremendously advanced the state of Nearside and Farside regional geology; (2) demonstrated precision landing (less than two kilometers from target) and soft landing capability; (3) established that the surface had sufficient bearing strength to support a spacecraft; and (4) examination of the chemical composition and mechanical properties of the surface. The search for extinct or extant life on Mars will follow the water. However, geomorphic studies have shown that Mars has had liquid water on its surface throughout its geologic history. A cornucopia of potential landing sites with water histories (lakes, floodplains, oceans, deltas, hydrothermal regions) presently exist. How will we narrow down site selection and increase the likelihood of finding the signs of life? One way to do this is to identify 'Martian oases.' It is known that the Martian surface is often highly fractured and some areas have karst structures that support underground caves. Much of the water that formed the channels and valley networks is thought to be frozen underground. All that is needed to create the potential for liquid water is a near surface source of heat; recent lava flows and Martian meteorites attest to the potential for volcanic activity. If we can locate even one spot where fracturing, ice, and underground heat are co-located then we have the potential for an oasis. Such a discovery could truly excite the imaginations of both the

  8. Pedological perspective of gully erosion sites within Kendu ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    Gully erosion is a common feature in western Kenya, rendering large expanses of otherwise arable land uncultivable and uninhabitable. Gully erosion in the area was classified into two types: the Awach-type and the Sondu-type. The current study aimed at providing insight into physical and chemical properties of soil that ...

  9. Gully potential in soil-covered uranium waste impoundments

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Abt, S.R.; Hogan, S.A.; Johnson, T.L.


    Soil covers are routinely considered a design alternative to stabilize uranium waste impoundments. Gully intrusion into the cover is one of the greatest potential threats to the long-term stability of an impoundment. An investigation was conducted to estimate the maximum depth of gully intrusion, the approximate top width of the gully at the point of maximum incision, and the approximate location of the maximum intrusion. A large-scale laboratory study was conducted on seven embankments in which approximately 200 years of rainfall was simulated and the resulting gullies were documented. In addition, 11 gullies occurring in actual reclaimed impoundments were documented. An analysis of the laboratory and field data sets was performed in which the maximum depth of gully incision, top width of the gully, and location of the maximum gully incision were related to the pile height, tributary volume of runoff, and soil composition. These relations provide the designers with a means for assessing the cover design to meet the long-term stability of the waste

  10. The success of headwater rehabilitation towards gully erosion control (United States)

    Frankl, Amaury; Poesen, Jean; Nyssen, Jan


    The ill-management of headwaters has frequently shown to have adverse effects on both humans and the environment. Historical examples often refer to altered hydrological conditions and stream incision resulting from deforestation. Agricultural expansion and intensification - often accompanied with land reforms in the 20th century - also showed to severely impact the fluvial environment, with stream incision and gully erosion hazards increasingly affecting many headwater areas around the world. To counter this, many regions have adopted improved management schemes aiming at restoring the physical, biological and hydrological integrity of the soil- and landscape. In terms of hydrogeomorpology, the objective was to minimize dynamics to a lower level so that runoff, sediment and pollutant transfers do not cause danger to human life, environmental/natural resources deterioration or economic stress. Therefore, much attention was given to the rehabilitation and re-naturalization of headwater streams and gullies, which are the conduits of these transfers. This is done in both indirect and direct ways, i.e. reducing the delivery of runoff and sediment to the gullies and interventions in the incised channels. Although much has been published on gully erosion development and control, few studies assess the success of gully rehabilitation on the mid- to long term or confront results against the gully life-cycle. The latter refers to the rate law in fluvial geomorphology, whereby gully morphological changes (increases in length, area, volume) are initially rapid, followed by a much slower development towards a new equilibrium state. Here, we present a review of headwater rehabilitation measures and their success towards gully erosion control. By confronting this to the life-cycle of a gully, we also want to shed light on our understanding of when and where gully erosion control needs to be applied; making land management more efficient and effective. Keywords: land

  11. Gully erosion in Madagascar: causes and impacts (United States)

    Raveloson, Andrea; Székely, Balázs; Visnovitz, Ferenc


    Soil erosion has been recognized as the main cause of land degradation worldwide and gully erosion is currently considered as one of the most impressive and striking erosion type. This global environmental problem has numerous causes (both natural and anthropogenic) and inflict serious socio-economic problems all around the world. The present study aims to discuss the occurrence and environmental issues related to lavakization in Madagascar and its impact on landscape (badland formation), land use management, flora and fauna, infrastructures, soil properties and human life itself. We assembled and reviewed lavaka researches since 1953. Exact location of the field surveys, cited triggering factors and results of these scientific papers have been studied in detail and compared with our data collected using satellite imagery. Lavaka distribution was analyzed using GIS methods and the relation between their density and different factors was studied. An overview of the many contributing factors (climate, topography, geology, vegetation cover, fault systems, tectonism and land use including inappropriate cultivation and irrigation systems) is given in order to better understand lavaka formation, distribution and impacts. Synthesis of previous researches might help us define area susceptible to gully formation. This can be used to determine prevention priorities for farmers, to manage their lands sustainably. This is ILARG contribution 18.

  12. Prescribed burning effects on the hydrologic behavior of gullies in the South Carolina Piedmont (United States)

    M.A. Galang; L.A. Morris; D. Markewitz; C.R. Jackson; E.A Carter


    Gullies found in the Piedmont of South Carolina are legacies of past land use and erosion. Although the majority of these gullies are now under forest vegetation and perceived as geomorphologically stable, the question of gully contribution to nonpoint source pollution remains undetermined, especially when these gullies are subjected to prescribed burning or other...

  13. Martian Microscope (United States)


    The microscopic imager (circular device in center) is in clear view above the surface at Meridiani Planum, Mars, in this approximate true-color image taken by the panoramic camera on the Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity. The image was taken on the 9th sol of the rover's journey. The microscopic imager is located on the rover's instrument deployment device, or arm. The arrow is pointing to the lens of the instrument. Note the dust cover, which flips out to the left of the lens, is open. This approximated color image was created using the camera's violet and infrared filters as blue and red.


    African Journals Online (AJOL)


    Geotechnical properties of soil like cohesion and angle of internal ... downstream with detrimental effects on water quality .... Three processes of gully head erosion with an aerated ... increasing infiltration into the soil profile. (Bradford, et al,.

  15. Title: Gully Erosion Mapping Using Remote Sensing Techniques in ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)


    ... water is channelled into grooves and deepen over time forming a distinct head with ..... Research Council – Institute for Soil Climate and Water (ARC-ISCW) for ... S 2009, 'Gully erosion processes: monitoring and modelling', Earth Surface.

  16. Impacts of changing hydrology on permanent gully growth: experimental results (United States)

    Day, Stephanie S.; Gran, Karen B.; Paola, Chris


    Permanent gullies grow through head cut propagation in response to overland flow coupled with incision and widening in the channel bottom leading to hillslope failures. Altered hydrology can impact the rate at which permanent gullies grow by changing head cut propagation, channel incision, and channel widening rates. Using a set of small physical experiments, we tested how changing overland flow rates and flow volumes alter the total volume of erosion and resulting gully morphology. Permanent gullies were modeled as both detachment-limited and transport-limited systems, using two different substrates with varying cohesion. In both cases, the erosion rate varied linearly with water discharge, such that the volume of sediment eroded was a function not of flow rate, but of total water volume. This implies that efforts to reduce peak flow rates alone without addressing flow volumes entering gully systems may not reduce erosion. The documented response in these experiments is not typical when compared to larger preexisting channels where higher flow rates result in greater erosion through nonlinear relationships between water discharge and sediment discharge. Permanent gullies do not respond like preexisting channels because channel slope remains a free parameter and can adjust relatively quickly in response to changing flows.

  17. An Electrostatic Precipitator System for the Martian Environment (United States)

    Calle, C. I.; Mackey, P. J.; Hogue, M. D.; Johansen, M. R.; Phillips, J. R., III; Clements, J. S.


    Human exploration missions to Mars will require the development of technologies for the utilization of the planet's own resources for the production of commodities. However, the Martian atmosphere contains large amounts of dust. The extraction of commodities from this atmosphere requires prior removal of this dust. We report on our development of an electrostatic precipitator able to collect Martian simulated dust particles in atmospheric conditions approaching those of Mars. Extensive experiments with an initial prototype in a simulated Martian atmosphere showed efficiencies of 99%. The design of a second prototype with aerosolized Martian simulated dust in a flow-through is described. Keywords: Space applications, electrostatic precipitator, particle control, particle charging

  18. Debris flows of the mountain massif of Hjorthfjellet and Adventtoppen, Svalbard: Implications for gullies on mountains in the Argyre basin, Mars (United States)

    Reiss, D.; Hiesinger, H.; Zanetti, M.; Hauber, E.; Johnsson, A.; Carlsson, E.; Raack, J.; Olvmo, M.; Johansson, H. A. B.; Johansson, L.; Fredriksson, S.; Schmidt, H. T.; McDaniel, S.; Heldmann, J. L.; McKay, C. P.


    Martian gullies resemble terrestrial features formed by mass-wasting processes of a flowing mixture of clastic debris and water (debris flows). Their existence on Mars is interpreted to indicate liquid water in the recent past because of their pristine appearance, their stratigraphic relationships to young surface features, their lack of superimposed impact craters, and their distinct albedo relative to the surroundings, indicating limited dust cover [1]. The global distribution of gullies is limited to midand high-latitudes poleward of 30° in both hemispheres, with the highest frequency in the 30°- 50° latitude bands [1, 2]. Gullies occur preferentially on poleward-facing slopes [1, 2, 3, 4]. The most likely and physically most plausible medium to explain the gully morphology is liquid water [e.g., 1, 5]. Two main theories exist for the water source. One holds that water was released from the subsurface [1]. The other proposes that water is deposited as nearsurface ice or snow from the atmosphere and is subsequently melted by insolation [6, 7]. Debris flows found in Arctic climates on Earth could be an equitable analog for the Martian gullies. A comparative analysis might help to understand their formation mechanisms and the latitude-dependent, but clustered distribution as well as their specific orientations. The comparative analysis in the Arctic environment of Svalbard will be carried out in July/August of 2008. First results of the analog study of gullies will be presented at the conference. Debris flows on Svalbard Svalbard is located at 76°-81°N and 10°-35°E (Fig. 1), in the discontinuous zone of permafrost. Because the landscape of Svalbard is under the influence of the polar desert climate, it is a good analog for comparative Martian studies. These were performed in the last two years in the valley of Longyearbyen and on costal slopes of Isfjorden [8]. This study is complementary to the one described by Carlsson et al., 2008, this issue). Here we

  19. Laser-powered Martian rover (United States)

    Harries, W. L.; Meador, W. E.; Miner, G. A.; Schuster, Gregory L.; Walker, G. H.; Williams, M. D.


    Two rover concepts were considered: an unpressurized skeleton vehicle having available 4.5 kW of electrical power and limited to a range of about 10 km from a temporary Martian base and a much larger surface exploration vehicle (SEV) operating on a maximum 75-kW power level and essentially unrestricted in range or mission. The only baseline reference system was a battery-operated skeleton vehicle with very limited mission capability and range and which would repeatedly return to its temporary base for battery recharging. It was quickly concluded that laser powering would be an uneconomical overkill for this concept. The SEV, on the other hand, is a new rover concept that is especially suited for powering by orbiting solar or electrically pumped lasers. Such vehicles are visualized as mobile habitats with full life-support systems onboard, having unlimited range over the Martian surface, and having extensive mission capability (e.g., core drilling and sampling, construction of shelters for protection from solar flares and dust storms, etc.). Laser power beaming to SEV's was shown to have the following advantages: (1) continuous energy supply by three orbiting lasers at 2000 km (no storage requirements as during Martian night with direct solar powering); (2) long-term supply without replacement; (3) very high power available (MW level possible); and (4) greatly enhanced mission enabling capability beyond anything currently conceived.

  20. Bank gully extraction from DEMs utilizing the geomorphologic features of a loess hilly area in China (United States)

    Yang, Xin; Na, Jiaming; Tang, Guoan; Wang, Tingting; Zhu, Axing


    As one of most active gully types in the Chinese Loess Plateau, bank gullies generally indicate soil loss and land degradation. This study addressed the lack of detailed, large scale monitoring of bank gullies and proposed a semi-automatic method for extracting bank gullies, given typical topographic features based on 5 m resolution DEMs. First, channel networks, including bank gullies, are extracted through an iterative channel burn-in algorithm. Second, gully heads are correctly positioned based on the spatial relationship between gully heads and their corresponding gully shoulder lines. Third, bank gullies are distinguished from other gullies using the newly proposed topographic measurement of "relative gully depth (RGD)." The experimental results from the loess hilly area of the Linjiajian watershed in the Chinese Loess Plateau show that the producer accuracy reaches 87.5%. The accuracy is affected by the DEM resolution and RGD parameters, as well as the accuracy of the gully shoulder line. The application in the Madigou watershed with a high DEM resolution validated the duplicability of this method in other areas. The overall performance shows that bank gullies can be extracted with acceptable accuracy over a large area, which provides essential information for research on soil erosion, geomorphology, and environmental ecology.

  1. Martian volcanism: A review

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Carr, M.H.


    Martian volcanism is reviewed. It is emphasized that lava plains constitute the major type of effusive flow, and can be differentiated by morphologic characteristics. Shield volcanoes, domes, and patera constitute the major constructional landforms, and recent work has suggested that explosive activity and resulting pyroclastic deposits may have been involved with formation of some of the small shields. Analysis of morphology, presumed composition, and spectroscopic data all indicate that Martian volcanism was dominantly basaltic in composition

  2. Boron enrichment in martian clay.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    James D Stephenson

    Full Text Available We have detected a concentration of boron in martian clay far in excess of that in any previously reported extra-terrestrial object. This enrichment indicates that the chemistry necessary for the formation of ribose, a key component of RNA, could have existed on Mars since the formation of early clay deposits, contemporary to the emergence of life on Earth. Given the greater similarity of Earth and Mars early in their geological history, and the extensive disruption of Earth's earliest mineralogy by plate tectonics, we suggest that the conditions for prebiotic ribose synthesis may be better understood by further Mars exploration.

  3. Influence of Gully Erosion Control on Amphibian and Reptile Communities within Riparian Zones of Channelized Streams (United States)

    Riparian zones of streams in northwestern Mississippi have been impacted by agriculture, channelization, channel incision, and gully erosion. Riparian gully formation has resulted in the fragmentation of remnant riparian zones within agricultural watersheds. One widely used conservation practice for...

  4. A critical discussion on the applicability of Compound Topographic Index (CTI) for predicting ephemeral gully erosion (United States)

    Casalí, Javier; Chahor, Youssef; Giménez, Rafael; Campo-Bescós, Miguel


    minimum intensity of concentrated overland flow necessary to create a migrating gully headcut. Whereas CTIc2 would represent the minimum intensity of concentrated overland flow necessary for a headcud to migrate, once the headcut is created. CTIc1 would be linked to the primary downstream headcut. Whereas CTIc2 would be linked to the final (actual) position of the migrating headcut. This scheme involves accepting that create the incision head and enlarge the gully mouth requires more overland flow intensity than headcut migration itself. Despite several authors use CTIc to characterize the gully network caused by isolated rainfall events, in our opinion this methodology take on its full meaning when it is used to characterize mean trends of e. g. e. in homogeneous areas (in terms of climate, soil class and soil use and management). In addition, this global approach corresponds to the spirit and concept of AnnAGNPS and other management tools, which mainly explore the medium-long term effect of land use and management changes. On the other hand, this global approach minimizes the main limitation of CTI (according to which only topography is considered as controlling factor). However, this shall not preclude the incorporation of other factors (such as soil properties) in a future modified CTI. Another limitation that has been evidenced in our work is that CTI is only useful for the so-called "classical e. g.", which "are considered the prototype ephemeral gully, formed by concentrated runoff flows within the same field where runoff started" (Casalí et al., 1999). This is of interest because in the study area in Navarre, other classes of e. g. such as drainage e. g., which "are created by concentrated flows draining areas upstream from the field" (Casalí et al., 1999), are also very important. Anyway, and despite its limitations, CTI is probably the most widely used approach for predicting e.g. location. REFERENCES Casalí, J., J. J. López, J. V. Giráldez, 1999. Ephemeral

  5. What is the Time Scale for Orbital Forcing of the Martian Water Cycle? (United States)

    Hecht, M. H.


    Calculation of the periodic variations in the martian orbital parameters by Ward and subsequent refinements to the theory have inspired numerous models of variation of the martian water cycle. Most of these models have focused on variations in planetary obliquity on a both a short-term (110 kyr) time scale as well as larger oscillations occuring over millions of years. To a lesser extent, variations in planetary eccentricity have also been considered. The third and fastest mode of variation, the precession of the longitude of perihelion, has generally been deemphasized because, among the three parameters, it is the only one that does not change the integrated annual insolation. But as a result of this precession, the asymmetry in peak summer insolation between the poles exceeds 50%, with the maximum cycling between poles every 25.5 kyrs. The relative contribution of these different elements to orbital forcing of climate takes on particular importance in the context of apparently recent waterrelated features such as gullies or polar layered deposits (PLD). Christensen, for example, recently indentified mantling of heavily gullied crater walls as residual dust-covered snow deposits that were responsible for the formation of the gullies in a previous epoch. Christensen assumed that the snow was originally deposited at a period of high obliquity which was stabilized against sublimation by a lag deposit of dust. It is suggested here that not obliquity, but the shortterm oscillations associated with precession of the perihelion may play the dominant role in the formation of gullies, major strata in the polar layered deposits (PLD), and other water-related features.

  6. Gully Morphology and Rehabilitation Measures in Different Agroecological Environments of Northwestern Ethiopia

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Hailu Kendie Addis


    Full Text Available Gully erosion is a serious threat to the society and environment of the study, primarily caused by surface runoff and dramatically accelerated due to rugged topography and human induced factors. Intensive measurements of gully characteristics were undertaken to investigate the morphologies of gully, while aiming for sustainable gully rehabilitation; therefore, a total of 63 gully samples from three different agroecologies were randomly observed. The morphological variability of measured gullies was evaluated and the resulting CVs had been between 0.27 and 0.39 except for gully length, which had highest variability (CV = 1.10. The highest gully length (2,400 m and highest lower width (6 m were observed on Dembia district, which might be due to the loose and pulverized condition of the soil. The correlation matrices for many parameters of gully morphology in different districts of Semien Gondar showed several sets of significant relationships. Some of the assessed gullies showed that appropriate physical gully control structures integrated with vegetative measures have resulted in a significant reduction of soil loss and stabilized the gully from further enlargement. There could be various justifications for the success of these structures; however, the most important measures were vegetative management and exclusion of cattle.

  7. An integrated use of topography with RSI in gully mapping, Shandong Peninsula, China. (United States)

    He, Fuhong; Wang, Tao; Gu, Lijuan; Li, Tao; Jiang, Weiguo; Shao, Hongbo


    Taking the Quickbird optical satellite imagery of the small watershed of Beiyanzigou valley of Qixia city, Shandong province, as the study data, we proposed a new method by using a fused image of topography with remote sensing imagery (RSI) to achieve a high precision interpretation of gully edge lines. The technique first transformed remote sensing imagery into HSV color space from RGB color space. Then the slope threshold values of gully edge line and gully thalweg were gained through field survey and the slope data were segmented using thresholding, respectively. Based on the fused image in combination with gully thalweg thresholding vectors, the gully thalweg thresholding vectors were amended. Lastly, the gully edge line might be interpreted based on the amended gully thalweg vectors, fused image, gully edge line thresholding vectors, and slope data. A testing region was selected in the study area to assess the accuracy. Then accuracy assessment of the gully information interpreted by both interpreting remote sensing imagery only and the fused image was performed using the deviation, kappa coefficient, and overall accuracy of error matrix. Compared with interpreting remote sensing imagery only, the overall accuracy and kappa coefficient are increased by 24.080% and 264.364%, respectively. The average deviations of gully head and gully edge line are reduced by 60.448% and 67.406%, respectively. The test results show the thematic and the positional accuracy of gully interpreted by new method are significantly higher. Finally, the error sources for interpretation accuracy by the two methods were analyzed.

  8. Causes of falls of hangingwall over gullies adjacent to stabilizing strike pillars

    CSIR Research Space (South Africa)

    Turner, PA


    Full Text Available This report discusses the occurrence of falls of ground in strike gullies. Falls of hangingwall over strike gullies on the up-dip side of strike stabilizing pillars in longwall mining systems were investigated. Gullies were examined in both...

  9. Relationship between gullying and landslides within the Barlad Plateau, Romania (United States)

    Niacsu, Lilian; Ionita, Ion


    Located in the eastern Romania and extending on 8200 km2 the Barlad Plateau is considered the most typical subunit of the Moldavian Plateau. The sedimentary Miocene-Pliocene clay-sandy layers, inter-bedded with shallow sandstone and limestone are gently dipping toward S-SE as homoclinal structure. Land degradation through soil erosion, gullying and landslides represent the most important environmental threat in the region. By using both the classical research methods such as repeated field surveys and mapping, mathematical-statistical processing as well as the present-day methods based on the GIS software it was possible to precisely measure and evaluate the gully erosion rates and triggered landslides during the last two centuries, especially with a very high accuracy since 1960. Results have indicated that the landslide development is strongly controlled by gullying. Generally, by combining the areal growth of both gullying and new landslides within the selected study catchments, it is noticeable that 62 % of the total recent land degradation occurred during the last 55 years, with the remainder pre-1960. In addition, half of the gully areal growth occurred since 1961 but the new triggered landslides amount over three-quarters of the total area under landslides. This asymmetrical distribution reveals that usually a preparing time lag of tens of years is required for triggering landslides by gullying and this pattern depicts the common mechanism for landslide development. Acknowledgements: This work was partly supported by a grant from the Romanian National Authority for Scientific Research, CNDI-UEFISCDI, Project number PN-II-PT-PCCA-2011-3.2-0975.

  10. Evidence for methane in Martian meteorites. (United States)

    Blamey, Nigel J F; Parnell, John; McMahon, Sean; Mark, Darren F; Tomkinson, Tim; Lee, Martin; Shivak, Jared; Izawa, Matthew R M; Banerjee, Neil R; Flemming, Roberta L


    The putative occurrence of methane in the Martian atmosphere has had a major influence on the exploration of Mars, especially by the implication of active biology. The occurrence has not been borne out by measurements of atmosphere by the MSL rover Curiosity but, as on Earth, methane on Mars is most likely in the subsurface of the crust. Serpentinization of olivine-bearing rocks, to yield hydrogen that may further react with carbon-bearing species, has been widely invoked as a source of methane on Mars, but this possibility has not hitherto been tested. Here we show that some Martian meteorites, representing basic igneous rocks, liberate a methane-rich volatile component on crushing. The occurrence of methane in Martian rock samples adds strong weight to models whereby any life on Mars is/was likely to be resident in a subsurface habitat, where methane could be a source of energy and carbon for microbial activity.

  11. Martian Environment Electrostatic Precipitator (United States)

    McDougall, Michael Owen


    As part of the planned manned mission to Mars, NASA has noticed that shipping oxygen as a part of life support to keep the astronauts alive continuously is overly expensive, and impractical. As such, noting that the Martian atmosphere is 95.37% CO2, NASA chemists noted that one could obtain oxygen from the Martian atmosphere. The plan, as part of a larger ISRU (in-situ resource utilization) initiative, would extract water from the regolith, or the Martian soil which can be electrolyzed by solar panel produced voltage into hydrogen and oxygen. The hydrogen can then be used in the Sabatier reaction with carbon dioxide to produce methane and water producing a net reaction that does not lose water and outputs methane and oxygen for use as rocket fuel and breathing.

  12. thresholds of gully erosion in the coastal plains sands of ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)


    estimating thresholds for gully initiation and sustenance. The entire 413. Km2 Ikpa River basin was covered with grids 1km2 and random number table was used to select 15% of the target population in the basin. The pair-wise correlation technique was employed to establish the threshold values of vegetation cover, organic ...

  13. Late Pleistocene and Holocene landscape formation in a gully catchment area in Northern Hesse, Germany

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Döhler, Susanne; Damm, Bodo; Terhorst, Birgit


    the differentiation between Pleistocene and Holocene landforms. Radiocarbon and optically stimulated luminescence dating are applied to add numerical data to the relative ages of the sediments and landforms. The gully channels are oriented along Pleistocene depressions that are built up of periglacial cover beds...... and intercalated reworked loess. As the gully channels cut through the periglacial cover beds, especially the upper layer, the gully system is of Holocene age. At least two phases of gully erosion are identified in the alluvial fan sediments. The initial gully erosion is dated to the time span between the Late......Permanent gully channels under forest are common geomorphological features in Central European low mountain areas. In the Rehgraben/Fuchslöchergraben gully catchment in Northern Hesse, Germany the Late Pleistocene landscape formation is reconstructed based on periglacial cover beds. In addition...

  14. A New Vehicle for Planetary Surface Exploration: The Mars Tumbleweed (United States)

    Antol, Jeffrey


    The surface of Mars is currently being explored with a combination of orbiting spacecraft, stationary landers and wheeled rovers. However, only a small portion of the Martian surface has undergone in-situ examination. Landing sites must be chosen to insure the safety of the vehicles (and human explorers) and provide the greatest opportunity for mission success. While wheeled rovers provide the ability to move beyond the landing sites, they are also limited in their ability to traverse rough terrain; therefore, many scientifically interesting sites are inaccessible by current vehicles. In order to access these sites, a capability is needed that can transport scientific instruments across varied Martian terrain. A new "rover" concept for exploring the Martian surface, known as the Mars Tumbleweed, will derive mobility through use of the surface winds on Mars, much like the Tumbleweed plant does here on Earth. Using the winds on Mars, a Tumbleweed rover could conceivably travel great distances and cover broad areas of the planetary surface. Tumbleweed vehicles would be designed to withstand repeated bouncing and rolling on the rock covered Martian surface and may be durable enough to explore areas on Mars such as gullies and canyons that are currently inaccessible by conventional rovers. Achieving Mars wind-driven mobility; however, is not a minor task. The density of the atmosphere on Mars is approximately 60-80 times less than that on Earth and wind speeds are typically around 2-5 m/s during the day, with periodic winds of 10 m/s to 20 m/s (in excess of 25 m/s during seasonal dust storms). However, because of the Martian atmosphere#s low density, even the strongest winds on Mars equate to only a gentle breeze on Earth. Tumbleweed rovers therefore need to be relatively large (4-6 m in diameter), very lightweight (10-20 kg), and equipped with lightweight, low-power instruments. This paper provides an overview of the Tumbleweed concept, presents several notional design

  15. The Impact of Soil Properties on Valley-Bottom Gully Form, Northwest Highlands of Ethiopia. (United States)

    Amare, S. D.; Langendoen, E. J.; Keesstra, S.; van der Ploeg, M. J.; Steenhuis, T. S.; Tilahun, S. A.


    Gully erosion is an important environmental and food security challenge facing the world. Despite the immense damages resulting from gully erosion, comprehensive studies on the processes of gully formation and its management strategies are limited. This is especially true for valley-bottom gullies, which form under different conditions and are caused by different processes than hillslope gullies. A recent review on valley-bottom gully erosion causes and controlling factors identified that gully geomorphological processes, particularly related to gully bank retreat, governed gully occurrence and reclamations. However, most valley-bottom gully erosion studies do not consider gully bank stability and how it is impacted by soil hydrology and soil intrinsic properties. The aim is to analyze these impacts on gully bank retreat in the Koga river watershed, Ethiopia, for Nitisol and Vertisols, using field and numerical modeling approaches. Field observations showed gully network in Vertisols were greater than those in Nitisols. On the other hand, Nitisol gullies are wider and deeper than Vertisols. Monitoring of hydro-meteorological and soil data was started in June 2017 and will continue until the end of the 2017 rainy season (September) and for 2018 rainy periods as well. Thirty-six piezometers were installed at 4m average depth covering an area of 20 km2 near the gully reaches. Ground anchors were used to measure soil swelling and shrinkage. Soil moisture content and potential were measured using GS1 Soil Moisture sensors and MPS-6 Water Potential sensors. Gully bank soil physicochemical and engineering properties have been sampled and analyzed. Preliminary results from the early portion of the rainy season showed that most piezometers were already filled up with water. However, relatively deep (2m) water tables were recorded in piezometers located near the gully banks. The soil matric potential dropped from the onset of the rainy season (-6800 kPa ) towards the middle

  16. Monitoring of test gullies development from the Moldavian Tableland in 1986 - 2008 period

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Maria RADOANE


    Full Text Available  In a study area in Romania covering about 25,000 km 2 over 9000 gullies were mapped. The areal distribution of the gullies indicated some areas where a higher density occurs. These areas are dominated by hillslope orientation towards the northwest and, respectively, the southeast, slope inclination between 20 to 30 m/100 m, slope length between 300 and 500 m and by a dominantly sandy lithology. Detailed field surveys were made of 17 gullies. Each gully was marked with a network of stakes to show the location of cross sections. The distances between cross sections were around 3-4 times the gully width.Topographical maps at scales of 1:200 to 1:500 were made for gully geomorphological surveys. In 2007-2008 we were interested in the evolution of the test gullies and if the evolution pattern we had proposed in 1999 was verified by the new measurements. In thiswork we will focus on the monitoring methods of the test gullies from our work database. Finally, we intend to present the calibrated pattern of the gully evolution. The distribution of gullies indicates that the highest gully density reflects hillslope orientation, inclination and length, and a sandy lithology. In Moldavia the average number ofgullies per kms is between 2 to 4, with a maximum of 20 gullies per kms; average density is between 0.1 to 1 km per kms, with a maximum length value of over 3 km per km. Gully number and density per surface unit are considered as classification criteria of gully erosion. The areas with the highest susceptibility of gully initiation in Moldavia are at the intersection of following factors: hillslope orientation towards NW and SE, respectively (hillslopes of consequent valleys, slope inclination between 20 to 30%, slope length between 300 and 500 m and a dominantly sandy lithology. These areas have a high density of points. Detailed investigations on 17 gullies sampled from the different areas of Moldaviabetween the Siret and Prut rivers in the

  17. Accurate, low-cost 3D-models of gullies (United States)

    Onnen, Nils; Gronz, Oliver; Ries, Johannes B.; Brings, Christine


    Soil erosion is a widespread problem in arid and semi-arid areas. The most severe form is the gully erosion. They often cut into agricultural farmland and can make a certain area completely unproductive. To understand the development and processes inside and around gullies, we calculated detailed 3D-models of gullies in the Souss Valley in South Morocco. Near Taroudant, we had four study areas with five gullies different in size, volume and activity. By using a Canon HF G30 Camcorder, we made varying series of Full HD videos with 25fps. Afterwards, we used the method Structure from Motion (SfM) to create the models. To generate accurate models maintaining feasible runtimes, it is necessary to select around 1500-1700 images from the video, while the overlap of neighboring images should be at least 80%. In addition, it is very important to avoid selecting photos that are blurry or out of focus. Nearby pixels of a blurry image tend to have similar color values. That is why we used a MATLAB script to compare the derivatives of the images. The higher the sum of the derivative, the sharper an image of similar objects. MATLAB subdivides the video into image intervals. From each interval, the image with the highest sum is selected. E.g.: 20min. video at 25fps equals 30.000 single images. The program now inspects the first 20 images, saves the sharpest and moves on to the next 20 images etc. Using this algorithm, we selected 1500 images for our modeling. With VisualSFM, we calculated features and the matches between all images and produced a point cloud. Then, MeshLab has been used to build a surface out of it using the Poisson surface reconstruction approach. Afterwards we are able to calculate the size and the volume of the gullies. It is also possible to determine soil erosion rates, if we compare the data with old recordings. The final step would be the combination of the terrestrial data with the data from our aerial photography. So far, the method works well and we

  18. Survival of microorganisms in smectite clays: Implications for Martian exobiology (United States)

    Moll, Deborah M.; Vestal, J. Robie


    Manned exploration of Mars may result in the contamination of that planet with terrestrial microbes, a situation requiring assessment of the survival potential of possible contaminating organisms. In this study, the survival of Bacillus subtilis, Azotobacter chroococcum, and the enteric bacteriophage MS2 was examined in clays representing terrestrial (Wyoming type montmorillonite) or Martian (Fe 3+-montmorillonite) soils exposed to terrestrial and Martian environmental conditions of temperature and atmospheric pressure and composition, but not to UV flux or oxidizing conditions. Survival of bacteria was determined by standard plate counts and biochemical and physiological measurements over 112 days. Extractable lipid phosphate was used to measure microbial biomass, and the rate of 14C-acetate incorporation into microbial lipids was used to determine physiological activity. MS2 survival was assayed by plaque counts. Both bacterial types survived terrestrial or Martian conditions in Wyoming montmorillonite better than Martian conditions in Fe 3+-montmorillonite. Decreased survival may have been caused by the lower pH of the Fe 3+-montmorillonite compared to Wyoming montmorillonite. MS2 survived simulated Mars conditions better than the terrestrial environment, likely due to stabilization of the virus caused by the cold and dry conditions of the simulated Martian environment. The survival of MS2 in the simulated Martian environment is the first published indication that viruses may be able to survive in Martian type soils. This work may have implications for planetary protection for future Mars missions.

  19. Geomorphic threshold conditions for gully erosion in Southwestern Iran (Boushehr-Samal watershed) (United States)

    Nazari Samani, Aliakbar; Ahmadi, Hassan; Jafari, Mohammad; Boggs, Guy; Ghoddousi, Jamal; Malekian, Arash


    Globally, a large amount of research has been dedicated to furthering our understanding of the factors and mechanisms affecting gully erosion. However, despite the importance of gully erosion in arid and semi arid regions of Iran there has been no comprehensive study of the geomorphic threshold conditions and factors influencing gully initiation. The aim of this article is to investigate the gullying processes and threshold conditions of permanent gullies in an arid region of Iran based upon examination of the slope-area ( S = αA-β) relationship. The data were collected through field and laboratory studies as well as Digital Elevation Model (DEM) analyses. In total, 97 active headcuts were identified across the three study sites and classified based on dominant initiation process including piping, landsliding and overland flow. Soil properties, including EC, SAR and soil texture, as well as landuse practices were found to be the major factors initiating piping and bank gullies. All gullies initiated by landsliding and seepage processes were found to be located in steep areas (28-40% slope) with their distribution further influenced by the lithology and presence of a cohesionless sand layer within the soil profile. An inverse relationship between upslope area ( A) and local slope ( S), in which the α and β coefficients varied, was further investigated based on the dominant gullying process and land use. Gullies occurring in the rangelands that were dominated by overland flow had the strongest relationship while landsliding dominated gullies did not have a statistically significant S- A relationship. In comparison to theoretical and literature based relationships for gully initiation, relatively low values for β were obtained (-0.182 to -0.266), possibly influenced by the presence of seepage and subsurface processes in many gullies. However, this is consistent with other studies in arid regions and may reflect greater potential for gullying in arid zones due to

  20. Morphological dynamics of gully systems in the subhumid Ethiopian Highlands: the Debre Mawi watershed (United States)

    Zegeye, Assefa D.; Langendoen, Eddy J.; Stoof, Cathelijne R.; Tilahun, Seifu A.; Dagnew, Dessalegn C.; Zimale, Fasikaw A.; Guzman, Christian D.; Yitaferu, Birru; Steenhuis, Tammo S.


    Gully expansion in the Ethiopian Highlands dissects vital agricultural lands with the eroded materials adversely impacting downstream resources, for example as they accumulate in reservoirs. While gully expansion and rehabilitation have been more extensively researched in the semiarid region of Ethiopia, few studies have been conducted in the (sub)humid region. For that reason, we assessed the severity of gully erosion by measuring the expansion of 13 selected permanent gullies in the subhumid Debre Mawi watershed, 30 km south of Lake Tana, Ethiopia. In addition, the rate of expansion of the entire drainage network in the watershed was determined using 0.5 m resolution aerial imagery from flights in 2005 and 2013. About 0.6 Mt (or 127 t ha-1 yr-1) of soil was lost during this period due to actively expanding gullies. The net gully area in the entire watershed increased more than 4-fold from 4.5 ha in 2005 to 20.4 ha in 2013 (> 3 % of the watershed area), indicating the growing severity of gully erosion and hence land degradation in the watershed. Soil losses were caused by upslope migrating gully heads through a combination of gully head collapse and removal of the failed material by runoff. Collapse of gully banks and retreat of headcuts was most severe in locations where elevated groundwater tables saturated gully heads and banks, destabilizing the soils by decreasing the shear strength. Elevated groundwater tables were therefore the most important cause of gully expansion. Additional factors that strongly relate to bank collapse were the height of the gully head and the size of the drainage area. Soil physical properties (e.g., texture and bulk density) only had minor effects. Conservation practices that address factors controlling erosion are the most effective in protecting gully expansion. These consist of lowering water table and regrading the gully head and sidewalls to reduce the occurrence of gravity-induced mass failures. Planting

  1. Martian extratropical cyclones (United States)

    Hunt, G. E.; James, P. B.


    Physical properties of summer-season baroclinic waves on Mars are discussed on the basis of vidicon images and infrared thermal mapping generated by Viking Orbiter 1. The two northern-hemisphere storm systems examined here appear to be similar to terrestrial mid-latitude cyclonic storms. The Martian storm clouds are probably composed of water ice, rather than dust or CO2 ice particles.

  2. Evaluation of Mediterranean plants for controlling gully erosion

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Baets, S. de; Poesen, J.; Muys, B.


    In Mediterranean environments, gullies are responsible for large soil losses causing loss of fertile cropland soil, reservoir sedimentation and flooding. To limit soil loss and sediment export it is important to prevent the initiation or rills and to stabilise gullies. This can be done by establishing vegetation at vulnerable places in the landscape. Although in the past, the effects of vegetation on soil erosion rates were predicted using above-ground biomass characteristics only, plant roots also play an important role in protecting the soil against erosion by concentrated runoff. Especially in conditions where the above-ground biomass becomes very scarce (e.g. due to drought, harvest, overgrazing or fire) the effects of vegetation will be underestimated when only above-ground plant characteristics are taken into account. (Author) 6 refs.

  3. Evaluation of Mediterranean plants for controlling gully erosion

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Baets, S. de; Poesen, J.; Muys, B.


    In Mediterranean environments, gullies are responsible for large soil losses causing loss of fertile cropland soil, reservoir sedimentation and flooding. To limit soil loss and sediment export it is important to prevent the initiation or rills and to stabilise gullies. This can be done by establishing vegetation at vulnerable places in the landscape. Although in the past, the effects of vegetation on soil erosion rates were predicted using above-ground biomass characteristics only, plant roots also play an important role in protecting the soil against erosion by concentrated runoff. Especially in conditions where the above-ground biomass becomes very scarce (e.g. due to drought, harvest, overgrazing or fire) the effects of vegetation will be underestimated when only above-ground plant characteristics are taken into account. (Author) 6 refs.


    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Andrzej Mazur


    Full Text Available The studies were carried out in consolidated gullies in Opoka Duża, an anti-erosion biotechnical structure created in 1962-1964. On the basis of the studies it can be stated that the applied gullies buildings appeared to be efficient. Gullies did not deepen and did not increase its dimensions, whereas the Sanna river bed did not require expensive dredging. Accumulation of soil material is mainly observed at the bottoms of the gullies. In 51 years, about 4000 m3 of material accumulated at the bottoms. Hydrotechnical structures efficiently strengthened the erosion thresholds and bottoms of gullies against linear erosion and contributed to the inhibition of the fertile soil material creating more favourable conditions for plants growth. However, application of this type of buildings in gullies should be reduced to a necessary minimum, due to the high cost of maintaining a m3 of soil material and the introduction of additional elements in the landscape.

  5. Evolution and erosion processes in gullies Bardenas Reales (Navarra). Spain

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Desir, G.; Marin, C.


    At the Bardenas Reales site, guilles are developed over Halocene silts and show a great extend. the most typical features is the lack of relief and the presence of many low and narrow guilles, on which the sidewalls are affected by piping and incision processes. Gullies have a U-Shape section and a dendritic pattern with a high sinuosity. Guilles evolution responds to different processes like headcut retreat, scouring, undermining and piping. One of these minor order guilles has evolved from a man made ditch builded in 1997. This dicth acts a as grainpipe of the erosion plot BD1. The main processes was headuct retreat from the outlet point in the main gully, and the deepening and widening of the ditch botoom level. As a consequence of undermining and piping the ditch shows an enlargement and headcut retreat yhat evolve in an unusual speed in comparison with the environment, that let us to stablish a temporal sequence of the gully evolution in these areas. (Author) 8 refs.

  6. An Integrated Use of Topography with RSI in Gully Mapping, Shandong Peninsula, China

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Fuhong He


    Full Text Available Taking the Quickbird optical satellite imagery of the small watershed of Beiyanzigou valley of Qixia city, Shandong province, as the study data, we proposed a new method by using a fused image of topography with remote sensing imagery (RSI to achieve a high precision interpretation of gully edge lines. The technique first transformed remote sensing imagery into HSV color space from RGB color space. Then the slope threshold values of gully edge line and gully thalweg were gained through field survey and the slope data were segmented using thresholding, respectively. Based on the fused image in combination with gully thalweg thresholding vectors, the gully thalweg thresholding vectors were amended. Lastly, the gully edge line might be interpreted based on the amended gully thalweg vectors, fused image, gully edge line thresholding vectors, and slope data. A testing region was selected in the study area to assess the accuracy. Then accuracy assessment of the gully information interpreted by both interpreting remote sensing imagery only and the fused image was performed using the deviation, kappa coefficient, and overall accuracy of error matrix. Compared with interpreting remote sensing imagery only, the overall accuracy and kappa coefficient are increased by 24.080% and 264.364%, respectively. The average deviations of gully head and gully edge line are reduced by 60.448% and 67.406%, respectively. The test results show the thematic and the positional accuracy of gully interpreted by new method are significantly higher. Finally, the error sources for interpretation accuracy by the two methods were analyzed.

  7. An Integrated Use of Topography with RSI in Gully Mapping, Shandong Peninsula, China


    He, Fuhong; Wang, Tao; Gu, Lijuan; Li, Tao; Jiang, Weiguo; Shao, Hongbo


    Taking the Quickbird optical satellite imagery of the small watershed of Beiyanzigou valley of Qixia city, Shandong province, as the study data, we proposed a new method by using a fused image of topography with remote sensing imagery (RSI) to achieve a high precision interpretation of gully edge lines. The technique first transformed remote sensing imagery into HSV color space from RGB color space. Then the slope threshold values of gully edge line and gully thalweg were gained through field...

  8. Geometry and significance of stacked gullies on the northern California slope (United States)

    Field, M.E.; Gardner, J.V.; Prior, D.B.


    Recent geophysical surveys off northern California reveal patterns of gullies on the sea floor and preserved within continental-slope deposits that represent both erosional and aggradational processes. These surveys, conducted as part of the STRATAFORM project, combined multibeam bathymetry and backscatter with high-resolution seismic profiles. These data provide a new basis for evaluating gully morphology, distribution, and their significance to slope sedimentation and evolution. The continental margin off northern California exhibits an upper slope that has undergone both progradation and aggradation. The slope surface, which dips at sea floor. These erosional gullies locally truncate individual reflectors, have small depositional levees, and exhibit greater relief than do overlying gullies exposed on the sea floor. The older subsurface gullies document a period of widespread, but minor, erosion and downslope transport, presumably from a large, proximal sediment source. The cycles of downcutting and gully excavation are a minor part of the stratigraphic section, and are likely related to the combined influence of lower sea levels and higher sediment yields. During aggradation of the slope depositional sequences, sediment was draped over the gully features, producing sediment layers that mimic the underlying gully form. Consequently, gully morphology and geometries were preserved and migrated upwards with time. The processes that produce aggraded gully drape also resulted in laterally continuous strata and were most likely related to a period when the sediment source was dispersed from a more distal (10s of km) source, such as during present conditions. The draped sequences also contain a few new gullies, which indicates that gullies can be initiated at all or most stages of slope growth.

  9. Assessment of hydrological controls on gully formation near Lake Tana, Northern Highlands of Ethiopia (United States)

    Tebebu, T. Y.; Abiy, A. Z.; Dahlke, H. E.; White, E. D.; Collick, A. S.; Steenhuis, T. S.


    For the past five decades, gully erosion has been one of the dominant degradation processes in the Ethiopian Highlands. Gully erosion negatively affects soil resources, lowers soil fertility in intergully areas, reduces the pastureland available for livestock, and aggravates siltation of reservoirs. Assessing the location and rate of gully development and changes in the controlling factors (climate, soil, hydrology and land cover) of gully erosion will help explain the faced acceleration in land degradation. The study was performed in a gully system in the 800 ha Debre-Mewi watershed south of Bahir Dar, Amhara region, Ethiopia. Analyses comprised monitoring gully development through profile measurements, air photograph interpretations, and semi-structured interview techniques. Gully hydrological processes were investigated based on measurements of gully runoff and water levels in 24 piezometers in the gully contributing area. The Debre-Mewi gully is a still actively eroding gully system. A comparison of the gully area estimated from a 0.5 m resolution Quickbird image with the current gully area, walked with a Garmin GPS, showed that the eroded gully area increased by 30% from 0.51 ha in 2005 to 0.735 ha in 2008. Based on measurements of several gully cross-sections an approximate gully volume of 7985 m3 could be estimated. Using the watershed area of the gully system of 14.29 ha and an average gully erosion rate of 24.8 t ha-1 a- 1 could be estimated. Gully erosion rates accelerated since 1991 through the increased degradation of the vegetation cover and clearance of the indigenous vegetation on the hillsides, leading to an increase of surface and subsurface runoff from the hillsides to the wet valley bottoms. Gully heads retreat into the hillslope through concentrated runoff during the rainy season erodes existing soil pipes and cracks in the vicinity of the gully head and banks. The formation of subsurface soil pipes is likely triggered through abrupt changes in

  10. Electrical Activity in Martian Dust Storms (United States)

    Majid, W.; Arabshahi, S.; Kocz, J.


    Dust storms on Mars are predicted to be capable of producing electrostatic fields and discharges, even larger than those in dust storms on Earth. Such electrical activity poses serious risks to any Human exploration of the planet and the lack of sufficient data to characterize any such activity has been identified by NASA's MEPAG as a key human safety knowledge gap. There are three key elements in the characterization of Martian electrostatic discharges: dependence on Martian environmental conditions, frequency of occurrence, and the strength of the generated electric fields. We will describe a recently deployed detection engine using NASA's Deep Space Network (DSN) to carry out a long term monitoring campaign to search for and characterize the entire Mars hemisphere for powerful discharges during routine tracking of spacecraft at Mars on an entirely non-interfering basis. The resulting knowledge of Mars electrical activity would allow NASA to plan risk mitigation measures to ensure human safety during Mars exploration. In addition, these measurements will also allow us to place limits on presence of oxidants such as H2O2 that may be produced by such discharges, providing another measurement point for models describing Martian atmospheric chemistry and habitability. Because of the continuous Mars telecommunication needs of NASA's Mars-based assets, the DSN is the only instrument in the world that combines long term, high cadence, observing opportunities with large sensitive telescopes, making it a unique asset worldwide in searching for and characterizing electrostatic activity at Mars from the ground.

  11. On to Mars! chronicles of Martian simulations

    CERN Document Server

    PLETSER, Vladimir


    This book introduces the Martian simulations, one installed on Devon Island, an uninhabited island in the Canadian Arctic, well within the polar circle, and two in the desert of Utah, several hundreds of kilometers South of Salt Lake City. The book is based on the diaries during the simulations, held by Vladimir Pletser, a physicist-engineer, who was selected to attend these simulations. It relates the details of everyday life in these Martian habitats and of the scientific and exploratory work conducted in these extreme environments in preparation for future manned missions to Mars. Through the real experiences described in the book, readers will find space explorations and living on Mars more tangible. .

  12. Polygons in Martian Frost (United States)


    MGS MOC Release No. MOC2-428, 21 July 2003This June 2003 Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) image shows a polygonal pattern developed in seasonal carbon dioxide frost in the martian southern hemisphere. The frost accumulated during the recent southern winter; it is now spring, and the carbon dioxide frost is subliming away. This image is located near 80.4oS, 200.2oW; it is illuminated by sunlight from the upper left, and covers an area 3 km (1.9 mi) across.

  13. Object-based gully system prediction from medium resolution imagery using Random Forests

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Shruthi, R.B.V.; Kerle, N.; Jetten, V.G.; Stein, A.


    Erosion, in particular gully erosion, is a widespread problem. Its mapping is crucial for erosion monitoring and remediation of degraded areas. In addition, mapping of areas with high potential for future gully erosion can be used to assist prevention strategies. Good relations with topographic

  14. Modeling ephemeral gully erosion from unpaved roads: Equifinality and implications for scenario analysis (United States)

    Modeling gully erosion in urban areas is challenging due to difficulties with equifinality and parameter identification, which complicates quantification of management impacts on runoff and sediment production. We calibrated a model (AnnAGNPS) of an ephemeral gully network that formed on unpaved ro...

  15. Gully measurement strategies in a pixel using python (United States)

    Wells, Robert; Momm, Henrique; Bennett, Sean; Dabney, Seth


    Gullies are often the single largest sediment sources within the landscape; however, measurement and process description of these channels presents challenges that have limited complete understanding. A strategy currently being employed in the field and laboratory to measure topography of gullies utilizes inexpensive, off-the-shelf cameras and software. Photogrammetry may be entering an enlightened period, as users have numerous choices (cameras, lenses, and software) and many are utilizing the technology to define their surroundings; however, the key for those seeking answers will be what happens once topography is represented as a three-dimensional digital surface model. Perhaps the model can be compared with another model to visualize change, either in topography or in vegetation cover, or both. With these models of our landscape, prediction technology should be rejuvenated and/or reinvented. Over the past several decades, researchers have endeavored to capture the erosion process and transfer these observations through oral and written word. Several have hypothesized a fundamental system for gully expression in the landscape; however, this understanding has not transferred well into our prediction technology. Unlike many materials, soils often times do not behave in a predictable fashion. Which soil physical properties lend themselves to erosion process description? In most cases, several disciplines are required to visualize the erosion process and its impact on our landscape. With a small camera, the landscape becomes more accessible and this accessibility will lead to a deeper understanding and development of uncompromised erosion theory. Why? Conservation of our soil resources is inherently linked to a complete understanding of soil wasting.

  16. Quantifying gully erosion contribution from morphodynamic analysis of historical aerial photographs in a large catchment SW Spain (United States)

    Hayas, Antonio; Giráldez, Juan V.; Laguna, Ana; Peña, Peña; Vanwalleghem, Tom


    Gully erosion is widely recognized as an important erosion process and source of sediment, especially in Mediterranean basins. Recent advances in monitoring techniques, such as ground-based LiDAR, drone-bounded cameras or photoreconstruction, allow quantifying gully erosion rates with unprecedented accuracy. However, many studies only focus on gully growth during a short period. In agricultural areas, farmers frequently erase gullies artificially. Over longer time scales, this results in an important dynamic of gully growth and infilling. Also, given the significant temporal variability of precipitation, land use and the proper gully erosion processes, gully growth is non-linear over time. This study therefore aims at analyzing gully morphodynamics over a long time scale (1957-2011) in a large catchment in order to quantify gully erosion processes and its contribution to overall sediment dynamics. The 20 km2 study area is located in SW Spain. The extension of the gully network was digitized by photographic interpretation based on aerial photographs from 1957, 1981, 1985, 1999, 2002, 2005, 2007, 2009 and 2011. Gully width was measured at representative control points for each of these years. During this period, the dominant land use changed considerably from herbaceous crops to olive orchards. A field campaign was conducted in 2014 to measure current gully width and depth. Total gully volume and uncertainty was determined by Monte Carlo-based simulations of gully cross-sectional area for unmeasured sections. The extension of the gully network both increased and decreased in the study period. Gully density varied between 1.93 km km-2 in 1957, with a minimum of 1.37 km km-2 in 1981 and a maximum of 5.40 km km-2 in 2011. Gully width estimated in selected points from the orthophotos range between 0.9 m and 59.2 m, and showed a good lognormal fit. Field campaigns results in a collection of cross-section measures with gullies widths between 1.87 and 28.5 m and depths from

  17. Assessment of practices for controlling shallow valley-bottom gullies in the sub-humid Ethiopian highlands (United States)

    Rehabilitation of gullies in developing countries is unsuccessful due to the high cost. Arresting head cuts at time of initiation will prevent large gullies from forming and is affordable. However, research on practices to arrest shallow gully heads with local materials is limited. The objective was...

  18. Iron Redox Systematics of Martian Magmas (United States)

    Righter, K.; Danielson, L.; Martin, A.; Pando, K.; Sutton, S.; Newville, M.


    Martian magmas are known to be FeO-rich and the dominant FeO-bearing mineral at many sites visited by the Mars Exploration rovers (MER) is magnetite [1]. Morris et al. [1] propose that the magnetite appears to be igneous in origin, rather than of secondary origin. However, magnetite is not typically found in experimental studies of martian magmatic rocks [2,3]. Magnetite stability in terrestrial magmas is well understood, as are the stability of FeO and Fe2O3 in terrestrial magmas [4,5]. In order to better understand the variation of FeO and Fe2O3, and the stability of magnetite (and other FeO-bearing phases) in martian magmas we have undertaken an experimental study with two emphases. First we document the stability of magnetite with temperature and fO2 in a shergottite bulk composition. Second, we determine the FeO and Fe2O3 contents of the same shergottite bulk composition at 1 bar and variable fO2 at 1250 C, and at variable pressure. These two goals will help define not only magnetite stability, but pyroxene-melt equilibria that are also dependent upon fO2.

  19. Unusual Iron Redox Systematics of Martian Magmas (United States)

    Danielson, L.; Righter, K.; Pando, K.; Morris, R. V.; Graff, T.; Agresti, D.; Martin, A.; Sutton, S.; Newville, M.; Lanzirotti, A.


    Martian magmas are known to be FeO-rich and the dominant FeO-bearing mineral at many sites visited by the Mars Exploration rovers (MER) is magnetite. Morris et al. proposed that the magnetite appears to be igneous in origin, rather than of secondary origin. However, magnetite is not typically found in experimental studies of martian magmatic rocks. Magnetite stability in terrestrial magmas is well understood, as are the stabilities of FeO and Fe2O3 in terrestrial magmas. In order to better understand the variation of FeO and Fe2O3, and the stability of magnetite (and other FeO-bearing phases) in martian magmas, we have undertaken an experimental study with two emphases. First, we determine the FeO and Fe2O3 contents of super- and sub-liquidus glasses from a shergottite bulk composition at 1 bar to 4 GPa, and variable fO2. Second, we document the stability of magnetite with temperature and fO2 in a shergottite bulk composition.

  20. Permeability Barrier Generation in the Martian Lithosphere (United States)

    Schools, Joe; Montési, Laurent


    Permeability barriers develop when a magma produced in the interior of a planet rises into the cooler lithosphere and crystallizes more rapidly than the lithosphere can deform (Sparks and Parmentier, 1991). Crystallization products may then clog the porous network in which melt is propagating, reducing the permeability to almost zero, i.e., forming a permeability barrier. Subsequent melts cannot cross the barrier. Permeability barriers have been useful to explain variations in crustal thickness at mid-ocean ridges on Earth (Magde et al., 1997; Hebert and Montési, 2011; Montési et al., 2011). We explore here under what conditions permeability barriers may form on Mars.We use the MELTS thermodynamic calculator (Ghiorso and Sack, 1995; Ghiorso et al., 2002; Asimow et al., 2004) in conjunction with estimated Martian mantle compositions (Morgan and Anders, 1979; Wänke and Dreibus, 1994; Lodders and Fegley, 1997; Sanloup et al., 1999; Taylor 2013) to model the formation of permeability barriers in the lithosphere of Mars. In order to represent potential past and present conditions of Mars, we vary the lithospheric thickness, mantle potential temperature (heat flux), oxygen fugacity, and water content.Our results show that permeability layers can develop in the thermal boundary layer of the simulated Martian lithosphere if the mantle potential temperature is higher than ~1500°C. The various Martian mantle compositions yield barriers in the same locations, under matching variable conditions. There is no significant difference in barrier location over the range of accepted Martian oxygen fugacity values. Water content is the most significant influence on barrier development as it reduces the temperature of crystallization, allowing melt to rise further into the lithosphere. Our lower temperature and thicker lithosphere model runs, which are likely the most similar to modern Mars, show no permeability barrier generation. Losing the possibility of having a permeability

  1. Trajectories of martian habitability. (United States)

    Cockell, Charles S


    Beginning from two plausible starting points-an uninhabited or inhabited Mars-this paper discusses the possible trajectories of martian habitability over time. On an uninhabited Mars, the trajectories follow paths determined by the abundance of uninhabitable environments and uninhabited habitats. On an inhabited Mars, the addition of a third environment type, inhabited habitats, results in other trajectories, including ones where the planet remains inhabited today or others where planetary-scale life extinction occurs. By identifying different trajectories of habitability, corresponding hypotheses can be described that allow for the various trajectories to be disentangled and ultimately a determination of which trajectory Mars has taken and the changing relative abundance of its constituent environments.

  2. Earth – Mars Similarity Criteria for Martian Vehicles

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Octavian TRIFU


    Full Text Available In order to select the most efficient kind of a martian exploring vehicle, the similarity criteria are deduced from the equilibrium movement in the terrestrial and martian conditions. Different invariants have been obtained for the existing (entry capsules, parachutes and rovers and potential martian exploring vehicles (lighter-than-air vehicle, airplane, helicopter and Mars Jumper. These similarity criteria, as non dimensional numbers, allow to quickly compare if such a kind of vehicles can operate in the martian environment, the movement performances, the necessary geometrical dimensions and the power consumption. Following this way of study it was concluded what vehicle is most suitable for the near soil Mars exploration. “Mars Rover” has less power consumption on Mars, but due to the rugged terrain the performances are weak. A vacuumed rigid airship is possible to fly with high performances and endurance on Mars, versus the impossibility of such a machine on the Earth. Due to very low density and the low Reynolds numbers in the Mars atmosphere, the power consumption for the martian airplane or helicopter, is substantial higher. The most efficient vehicle for the Mars exploration it seems to be a machine using the in-situ non-chemical propellants: the 95% CO2 atmosphere and the weak solar radiation. A small compressor, electrically driven by photovoltaics, compresses the gas in a storage tank, in time. If the gas is expanded through a nozzle, sufficient lift and control forces are obtained for a VTOL flight of kilometers over the martian soil, in comparison with tens of meters of the actual Mars rovers.

  3. Relative chronology of Martian volcanoes

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Landheim, R.; Barlow, N.G.


    Impact cratering is one of the major geological processes that has affected the Martian surface throughout the planet's history. The frequency of craters within particular size ranges provides information about the formation ages and obliterative episodes of Martian geologic units. The Barlow chronology was extended by measuring small craters on the volcanoes and a number of standard terrain units. Inclusions of smaller craters in units previously analyzed by Barlow allowed for a more direct comparison between the size-frequency distribution data for volcanoes and established chronology. During this study, 11,486 craters were mapped and identified in the 1.5 to 8 km diameter range in selected regions of Mars. The results are summarized in this three page report and give a more precise estimate of the relative chronology of the Martian volcanoes. Also, the results of this study lend further support to the increasing evidence that volcanism has been a dominant geologic force throughout Martian history

  4. Backscattering Moessbauer spectroscopy of Martian dust

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Bertelsen, P.; Madsen, M. B.; Binau, C. S.; Goetz, W.; Gunnlaugsson, H. P.; Hviid, S. F.; Kinch, K. M.; Klingelhoefer, G.; Leer, K.; Madsen, D. E.; Merrison, J.; Olsen, M.; Squyres, S. W.


    We report on the determination of the mineralogy of the atmospherically suspended Martian dust particles using backscattering 57 Fe Moessbauer spectroscopy on dust accumulated onto the magnets onboard the Mars Exploration Rovers. The spectra can be interpreted in terms of minerals of igneous origin, and shows only limited, if any, amounts of secondary minerals that may have formed in the presence of liquid water. These findings suggest that the dust has formed in a dry environment over long time in the history of the planet.

  5. Predicting the susceptibility to gully initiation in data-poor regions (United States)

    Dewitte, Olivier; Daoudi, Mohamed; Bosco, Claudio; Van Den Eeckhaut, Miet


    Permanent gullies are common features in many landscapes and quite often they represent the dominant soil erosion process. Once a gully has initiated, field evidence shows that gully channel formation and headcut migration rapidly occur. In order to prevent the undesired effects of gullying, there is a need to predict the places where new gullies might initiate. From detailed field measurements, studies have demonstrated strong inverse relationships between slope gradient of the soil surface (S) and drainage area (A) at the point of channel initiation across catchments in different climatic and morphological environments. Such slope-area thresholds (S-A) can be used to predict locations in the landscape where gullies might initiate. However, acquiring S-A requires detailed field investigations and accurate high resolution digital elevation data, which are usually difficult to acquire. To circumvent this issue, we propose a two-step method that uses published S-A thresholds and a logistic regression analysis (LR). S-A thresholds from the literature are used as proxies of field measurement. The method is calibrated and validated on a watershed, close to the town of Algiers, northern Algeria, where gully erosion affects most of the slopes. The gullies extend up to several kilometres in length and cover 16% of the study area. First we reconstruct the initiation areas of the existing gullies by applying S-A thresholds for similar environments. Then, using the initiation area map as the dependent variable with combinations of topographic and lithological predictor variables, we calibrate several LR models. It provides relevant results in terms of statistical reliability, prediction performance, and geomorphological significance. This method using S-A thresholds with data-driven assessment methods like LR proves to be efficient when applied to common spatial data and establishes a methodology that will allow similar studies to be undertaken elsewhere.

  6. Distributions of recent gullies on hillslopes with different slopes and aspects in the Black Soil Region of Northeast China. (United States)

    Wang, Dichen; Fan, Haoming; Fan, Xiangguo


    Gully erosion is an important environmental problem worldwide and the main process by which water and soil losses occur in the Black Soil Region (BSR) of Northeast China. At the end of 2012, 295,663 gullies were present in this region. However, few studies have examined the gullies of the Black Soil Region as a whole. Studying the distribution of recent gullies can reveal the pattern of gully distribution and can help predict their spatial development according to the soil and water conservation regionalization of China. This study examines the recorded gullies in the BSR of Northeast China, which is included in the first census of water resources in China and in six sub-regions of the soil and water conservation regionalization of China. Specifically, digital elevation model (DEM) data are combined with data on gullies occurring on hillslopes with different slopes and aspects to study the distribution of these features. The results illustrate that gully density, developing gully density, and the proportion of cutting land initially increase with increasing slope up to some threshold value, then decrease as the slope increases further. The patterns of stable gullies are divided into unimodal and bimodal types. Three patterns of gully intensity are identified. The areas and lengths of gullies are larger on sunny slopes, but larger numbers of gullies are present on shaded slopes. In addition, more space is available for gully development in the Hulun Buir hilly and plain sub-region and the Changbai Mountain-Wanda Mountain sub-region than in the other sub-regions.

  7. Detection of Thermal Erosion Gullies from High-Resolution Images Using Deep Learning (United States)

    Huang, L.; Liu, L.; Jiang, L.; Zhang, T.; Sun, Y.


    Thermal erosion gullies, one type of thermokarst landforms, develop due to thawing of ice-rich permafrost. Mapping the location and extent of thermal erosion gullies can help understand the spatial distribution of thermokarst landforms and their temporal evolution. Remote sensing images provide an effective way for mapping thermokarst landforms, especially thermokarst lakes. However, thermal erosion gullies are challenging to map from remote sensing images due to their small sizes and significant variations in geometric/radiometric properties. It is feasible to manually identify these features, as a few previous studies have carried out. However manual methods are labor-intensive, therefore, cannot be used for a large study area. In this work, we conduct automatic mapping of thermal erosion gullies from high-resolution images by using Deep Learning. Our study area is located in Eboling Mountain (Qinghai, China). Within a 6 km2 peatland area underlain by ice-rich permafrost, at least 20 thermal erosional gullies are well developed. The image used is a 15-cm-resolution Digital Orthophoto Map (DOM) generated in July 2016. First, we extracted 14 gully patches and ten non-gully patches as training data. And we performed image augmentation. Next, we fine-tuned the pre-trained model of DeepLab, a deep-learning algorithm for semantic image segmentation based on Deep Convolutional Neural Networks. Then, we performed inference on the whole DOM and obtained intermediate results in forms of polygons for all identified gullies. At last, we removed misidentified polygons based on a few pre-set criteria on the size and shape of each polygon. Our final results include 42 polygons. Validated against field measurements using GPS, most of the gullies are detected correctly. There are 20 false detections due to the small number and low quality of training images. We also found three new gullies that missed in the field observations. This study shows that (1) despite a challenging

  8. Stope gully support and sidings geometry at all depths and at varying dip.

    CSIR Research Space (South Africa)

    Naidoo, K


    Full Text Available layout 149 5.4 Three dimensional analyses of gully layouts 152 5.4.1 Description of three – dimensional model geometries 152 5.4.2 Single step FLAC3D models 154 Analysis method 154 General comparison of ASG versus heading cases 154 5.4... ON UNDERGROUND INSPECTIONS 72 4.1 Introduction 72 4.2 Rating of gully conditions 72 4.3 Mining practice compliance with mine standards 72 4.4 Summary of observed gully behaviour resulting from geometry, stress state and ground conditions 80 4.4.1 Shallow...

  9. Liquid Water in the Extremely Shallow Martian Subsurface (United States)

    Pavlov, A.; Shivak, J. N.


    Availability of liquid water is one of the major constraints for the potential Martian biosphere. Although liquid water is unstable on the surface of Mars due to low atmospheric pressures, it has been suggested that liquid films of water could be present in the Martian soil. Here we explored a possibility of the liquid water formation in the extremely shallow (1-3 cm) subsurface layer under low atmospheric pressures (0.1-10 mbar) and low ("Martian") surface temperatures (approx.-50 C-0 C). We used a new Goddard Martian simulation chamber to demonstrate that even in the clean frozen soil with temperatures as low as -25C the amount of mobile water can reach several percents. We also showed that during brief periods of simulated daylight warming the shallow subsurface ice sublimates, the water vapor diffuses through porous surface layer of soil temporarily producing supersaturated conditions in the soil, which leads to the formation of additional liquid water. Our results suggest that despite cold temperatures and low atmospheric pressures, Martian soil just several cm below the surface can be habitable.

  10. Application of historical, topographic maps and remote sensing data for reconstruction of gully network development as source of information for gully erosion modeling (United States)

    Belyaev, Vladimir; Kuznetsova, Yulia


    Central parts of European Russia are characterized by relatively shorter history of intensive agriculture in comparison to the Western Europe. As a result of that, significant part of the time period of large-scale cultivation is covered by different types of historical documents. For the last about 150 years reasonably good-quality maps are available. Gully erosion history for the European Russia is more or less well-established, with known peaks of activity associated with initial cultivation (400-200 years ago for the territory of Central Russian Upland) and change of land ownership in 1861 that caused splitting large landlords-owned fields into numerous small parcels owned by individual peasant families. The latter was the most important trigger for dramatic growth of gully erosion intensity as most of such parcels were oriented downslope. It is believed that by detailed reconstructions of gully network development using all the available information sources it can be possible to obtain information suitable for gully erosion models testing. Such models can later be applied for predicting further development of the existing gully networks for several different land use and climate change scenarios. Reconstructions for the two case study areas located in different geographic and historical settings will be presented.

  11. Nighttime Convection, Temperature Inversions, and Diurnal Variations at Low Altitudes in the Martian Tropics (United States)

    Hinson, D. P.; Haberle, R. M.; Spiga, A.; Tellmann, S.; Paetzold, M.; Asmar, S. W.; Haeusler, B.


    We are using radio occultation measurements and numerical simulations to explore the atmospheric structure and diurnal variations in the lowest few scale heights of the martian atmosphere, with emphasis on nighttime convective layers.

  12. Scale characters analysis for gully structure in the watersheds of loess landforms based on digital elevation models (United States)

    Zhu, Hongchun; Zhao, Yipeng; Liu, Haiying


    Scale is the basic attribute for expressing and describing spatial entity and phenomena. It offers theoretical significance in the study of gully structure information, variable characteristics of watershed morphology, and development evolution at different scales. This research selected five different areas in China's Loess Plateau as the experimental region and used DEM data at different scales as the experimental data. First, the change rule of the characteristic parameters of the data at different scales was analyzed. The watershed structure information did not change along with a change in the data scale. This condition was proven by selecting indices of gully bifurcation ratio and fractal dimension as characteristic parameters of watershed structure information. Then, the change rule of the characteristic parameters of gully structure with different analysis scales was analyzed by setting the scale sequence of analysis at the extraction gully. The gully structure of the watershed changed with variations in the analysis scale, and the change rule was obvious when the gully level changed. Finally, the change rule of the characteristic parameters of the gully structure at different areas was analyzed. The gully fractal dimension showed a significant numerical difference in different areas, whereas the variation of the gully branch ratio was small. The change rule indicated that the development degree of the gully obviously varied in different regions, but the morphological structure was basically similar.

  13. Scale characters analysis for gully structure in the watersheds of loess landforms based on digital elevation models (United States)

    Zhu, Hongchun; Zhao, Yipeng; Liu, Haiying


    Scale is the basic attribute for expressing and describing spatial entity and phenomena. It offers theoretical significance in the study of gully structure information, variable characteristics of watershed morphology, and development evolution at different scales. This research selected five different areas in China's Loess Plateau as the experimental region and used DEM data at different scales as the experimental data. First, the change rule of the characteristic parameters of the data at different scales was analyzed. The watershed structure information did not change along with a change in the data scale. This condition was proven by selecting indices of gully bifurcation ratio and fractal dimension as characteristic parameters of watershed structure information. Then, the change rule of the characteristic parameters of gully structure with different analysis scales was analyzed by setting the scale sequence of analysis at the extraction gully. The gully structure of the watershed changed with variations in the analysis scale, and the change rule was obvious when the gully level changed. Finally, the change rule of the characteristic parameters of the gully structure at different areas was analyzed. The gully fractal dimension showed a significant numerical difference in different areas, whereas the variation of the gully branch ratio was small. The change rule indicated that the development degree of the gully obviously varied in different regions, but the morphological structure was basically similar.

  14. Characterization of Mason Gully (H5): The second recovered fall from the Desert Fireball Network

    Czech Academy of Sciences Publication Activity Database

    Dyl, K.A.; Benedix, G.K.; Bland, P.A.; Friedrich, J.M.; Spurný, Pavel; Towner, M.C.; O'Keefe, M.C.; Howard, K.; Greenwood, R.C.; Macke, R.; Britt, D.; Halfpenny, A.; Thostenson, J.O.; Rudolph, R.A.; Rivers, M.; Bevan, A.W.R.


    Roč. 15, č. 3 (2016), s. 596-613 ISSN 1086-9379 Institutional support: RVO:67985815 Keywords : Mason Gully * analysis * geochemical data Subject RIV: BN - Astronomy, Celestial Mechanics, Astrophysics Impact factor: 2.391, year: 2016

  15. Hydrological and Climatic Significance of Martian Deltas (United States)

    Di Achille, G.; Vaz, D. A.


    We a) review the geomorphology, sedimentology, and mineralogy of the martian deltas record and b) present the results of a quantitative study of the hydrology and sedimentology of martian deltas using modified version of terrestrial model Sedflux.

  16. Luminescence Dating of Martian Polar Deposits: Concepts and Preliminary Measurements Using Martian Soil Analogs (United States)

    Lepper, K.; Kuhns, C. K.; McKeever, S. W. S.; Sears, D. W. G.


    Martian polar deposits have the potential to reveal a wealth of information about the evolution of Mars' climate and surface environment. However, as pointed out by Clifford et al. in the summary of the First International Conference on Mars Polar Science and Exploration, 'The single greatest obstacle to unlocking and interpreting the geologic and climatic record preserved at the [martian] poles is the need for absolute dating.' At that same conference Lepper and McKeever proposed development of luminescence dating as a remote in-situ technique for absolute dating of silicate mineral grains incorporated in polar deposits. Clifford et al. have also acknowledged that luminescence dating is more practical from cost, engineering, and logistical perspectives than other isotope-based methods proposed for in-situ dating on Mars. We report here the results of ongoing experiments with terrestrial analogs of martian surface materials to establish a broad fundamental knowledge base from which robust dating procedures for robotic missions may be developed. This broad knowledge base will also be critical in determining the engineering requirements of remote in-situ luminescence dating equipment intended for use on Mars. Additional information can be found in the original extended abstract.

  17. Gully erosion: A comparison of contributing factors in two catchments in South Africa (United States)

    Mararakanye, Ndifelani; Sumner, Paul D.


    Gully erosion is an environmental, agricultural and social problem requiring extensive research and mitigation actions to control. This study assesses the influence of factors contributing to gully erosion using Geographic Information System (GIS) and Information Value (InfVal) statistics from two catchments coded X12 and W55 in the Mpumalanga province of South Africa. Existing spatial data representing contributing factors; soil, geology, vegetation and land use were analyzed. Topographic variables were extracted from a 10 m Digital Elevation Model (DEM) interpolated from map contours, and gullies were mapped from aerial photos with 0.5 m spatial resolution. A zonal approach was used to extract the proportion of gullies in each of the contributing factor classes using GIS software packages, and InfVal weighting was performed to determine the influence of each class. Comparison of the results shows the variation in the level of influence of factors contributing to gully erosion. The findings in catchment X12 support a commonly held assumption that gully formation is influenced by duplex soils underlain by colluvium and alluvial deposits on a lower slope position where overland flow converges and accumulates, resulting in high soil moisture. Gullies were also influenced by soils developed over weathered granite, gneiss and ultramafic rocks. The influence of a granite rock was further highlighted in catchment W55 where there is a variable thickness of very deep Hutton dominant soil form and shallow Lithosols with sandy texture, on an area of moderate to steep slopes where overland flow converges and accumulates, with high stream power in overgrazed grassland. An understanding of these factors will assist future modelling of the vulnerability to gully erosion over a wider geographical area.

  18. Predicting gully rejuvenation after wildfire using remotely sensed burn severity data (United States)

    Hyde, Kevin; Woods, Scott W.; Donahue, Jack


    The loss of surface vegetation and reduced infiltration caused by wildfires can trigger gully rejuvenation, resulting in damage to downstream aquatic resources and risk to human life and property. We developed a spatially explicit metric of burn severity — the Burn Severity Distribution Index (BSDI) — and tested its ability to predict post-fire gully rejuvenation in 1st and 2nd order basins burned in the 2000 Valley Complex fires in the Sapphire Mountains of western Montana. The BSDI was derived from burn severity data interpreted from Landsat 7 satellite imagery using the Normalized Burn Ratio (NBR) method, and ranged from 0.0 for completely unburned basins to 4.0 for basins burned entirely at high severity. In July 2001 rainstorms with peak 30-minute intensities of up to 17 mm h - 1 triggered gully rejuvenation in 66 of the 171 basins examined. The frequency of gully rejuvenation was higher in basins with higher BSDI values, increasing from zero for basins with a BSDI less than 1.3 to 67% for basins with a BSDI greater than 3.0. Binary logistic regression indicated that BSDI was a more significant predictor of gully rejuvenation than basin morphometric variables. The absence of gully rejuvenation in several basins with a high BSDI was attributed to low gradient, dense riparian vegetation, or concentration of high burn severity at lower elevations in the basin. The presence of gully rejuvenation in several basins with a low BSDI was associated with false negative NBR classification errors in northwest aspects, and concentration of severe burn impacts in the drainage headslopes. BSDI is a useful metric for predicting gully rejuvenation after wildfire. The use of the BSDI in Burned Area Emergency Response team assessments could improve the planning, implementation, and monitoring of burned area recovery treatments.

  19. Evaluation of different machine learning models for predicting and mapping the susceptibility of gully erosion (United States)

    Rahmati, Omid; Tahmasebipour, Nasser; Haghizadeh, Ali; Pourghasemi, Hamid Reza; Feizizadeh, Bakhtiar


    Gully erosion constitutes a serious problem for land degradation in a wide range of environments. The main objective of this research was to compare the performance of seven state-of-the-art machine learning models (SVM with four kernel types, BP-ANN, RF, and BRT) to model the occurrence of gully erosion in the Kashkan-Poldokhtar Watershed, Iran. In the first step, a gully inventory map consisting of 65 gully polygons was prepared through field surveys. Three different sample data sets (S1, S2, and S3), including both positive and negative cells (70% for training and 30% for validation), were randomly prepared to evaluate the robustness of the models. To model the gully erosion susceptibility, 12 geo-environmental factors were selected as predictors. Finally, the goodness-of-fit and prediction skill of the models were evaluated by different criteria, including efficiency percent, kappa coefficient, and the area under the ROC curves (AUC). In terms of accuracy, the RF, RBF-SVM, BRT, and P-SVM models performed excellently both in the degree of fitting and in predictive performance (AUC values well above 0.9), which resulted in accurate predictions. Therefore, these models can be used in other gully erosion studies, as they are capable of rapidly producing accurate and robust gully erosion susceptibility maps (GESMs) for decision-making and soil and water management practices. Furthermore, it was found that performance of RF and RBF-SVM for modelling gully erosion occurrence is quite stable when the learning and validation samples are changed.

  20. Experimental and Numerical Study of Hydrodynamic Characteristics of Gullies for Buildings

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Der-Chang Lo


    Full Text Available The miniaturization of a gully for building drainage system is attempted by installing a streamlined bump in the discharge pipe to maintain the minimum water trap height of 50 mm. The hydrodynamic performances of the air–water flows with or without glass balls through the two types of four-entry gullies with beveled or vertical nozzle flows are experimentally and numerically studied. The images of air–water–solid flow, maximum flow rates, self-purification properties and sustainable water traps subject to static and dynamic loadings are experimentally detected. The predictions of Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD unravel the characteristic flow structures to assist the interpretation of experimental results. In this respect, the observed entrained air bubbles and clustered glass balls in each gully correspond favorably to the regions with negative static pressures and weak flow momentums as disclosed by the CFD predictions. The measured ratios between discharged and supplied glass balls are consistently higher for the gully with beveled nozzle flows. The less efficient transportation of glass balls out of the drum for the gully with downward nozzle flow is attributed to the larger pressure gradients with considerable air entrainments. The relaxations of the form and friction drags over the nozzle-tip region and the reductions of air entrainments are essential for upgrading the maximum flow rate and the self-purification performance of a miniaturized gully.

  1. Urban gully erosion and the SDGs: a case study from the Koboko rural town of Uganda (United States)

    Zolezzi, Guido; Bezzi, Marco


    Urban gully erosion in developing regions has been addressed by the scientific community only recently, while it has been given much less attention in past decades. Nonetheless, recent examples show how relevant urban gully erosion in African towns of different sizes can be in terms of several Sustainable Development Goals, like goals 3 (good health and well being), 6 (clean water and sanitation) and 11 (sustainable cities and communities). The present work illustrate an example of gully erosion in the rapidly growing rural town of Koboko in NW Uganda close to the borders with Congo Democratic Republic and South Sudan. The research aims are (i) to develop a simple, low-cost methodology to quantify gully properties in data-scarce and resource-limited contexts, (ii) to quantify the main properties of and processes related to the urban gullies in the Koboko case study and (iii) to quantify the potential risk associated with urban gully erosion at the country scale in relation to rapid growth of urban centers in a sub-saharan African country. The methodology integrates collection of existing hydrological and land use data, rapid topographic surveys and related data processing, basic hydrological and hydro-morphological modeling, interviews to local inhabitants and stakeholders. Results indicate that Koboko may not represent an isolated hotspot of extensive urban gully development among rapidly growing small towns in Uganda, and, consequently, in countries with similar sustainable and human development challenges. Koboko, established two decades ago as a temporary war refugee camp, has been progressively established as a permanent urban settlement. The urban center is located on the top of an elongated hill and many of its recent neighbourhoods are expanding along the hill sides, where the local slope may reach considerable values, up to 10%. In the last ten years several gully systems with local depth up to 8 to 10 meters have been rapidly evolving especially following

  2. Interfacial liquid water on Mars and its potential role in formation of hill and dune gullies (United States)

    Kossacki, Konrad J.; Markiewicz, Wojciech J.


    Gullies are among the most intriguing structures identified on the surface of Mars. Most common are gullies located on the slopes of craters which are probably formed by liquid water transported by shallow aquifers (Heldmann, J.L., Carlsson, E., Johansson, H., Mellon, M.T., Toon, O.B. [2007]. Icarus 188, 324-344). Two particular types of gullies are found on slopes of isolated hills and dunes. The hill-slope gullies are located mostly at 50°S, which is at the high end of latitudes of bulk of the gullies found so far. The dune gullies are found in several locations up to 65°S (Reiss, D., Jaumann, R., Kereszturi, A., Sik, A., Neukum, G. [2007]. Lunar Planet. Sci. XXXVIII. Abstract 1993), but the best known are those in Russel crater at 54°S. The hill and dune gullies are longer than others making the aquifers explanation for their formation unlikely (Balme, M., Mangold, N., Baratoux, D., Costard, F., Gosselin, M., Masson, P., Pnet, P., Neukum, G. [2006]. J. Geophys. Res. 111. doi:10.1029/2005JE002607). Recently it has been noted that thin liquid films of interfacial water can play a role in rheological processes on the surface of Mars (Moehlmann, D. [2008]. Icarus 195, 131-139. Kereszturi, A., Moehlmann, D., Berczi, Sz., Ganti, T., Kuti, A., Sik, A., Horvath, A. [2009]. Icarus 201, 492-503.). Here we try to answer the question whether interfacial liquid water may occur on Mars in quantities large enough to play a role in formation of gullies. To verify this hypothesis we have calculated thermal models for hills and dunes of various steepness, orientation and physical properties. We find that within a range of average expected values of parameters it is not possible to have more than a few monolayers of liquid water at depths greater than a centimeter. To create subsurface interfacial water film significantly thicker and hence to produce conditions for the slope instability, parameters have to be chosen to have their extreme realistic values or an additional source

  3. Factors controlling volume errors through 2D gully erosion assessment: guidelines for optimal survey design (United States)

    Castillo, Carlos; Pérez, Rafael


    The assessment of gully erosion volumes is essential for the quantification of soil losses derived from this relevant degradation process. Traditionally, 2D and 3D approaches has been applied for this purpose (Casalí et al., 2006). Although innovative 3D approaches have recently been proposed for gully volume quantification, a renewed interest can be found in literature regarding the useful information that cross-section analysis still provides in gully erosion research. Moreover, the application of methods based on 2D approaches can be the most cost-effective approach in many situations such as preliminary studies with low accuracy requirements or surveys under time or budget constraints. The main aim of this work is to examine the key factors controlling volume error variability in 2D gully assessment by means of a stochastic experiment involving a Monte Carlo analysis over synthetic gully profiles in order to 1) contribute to a better understanding of the drivers and magnitude of gully erosion 2D-surveys uncertainty and 2) provide guidelines for optimal survey designs. Owing to the stochastic properties of error generation in 2D volume assessment, a statistical approach was followed to generate a large and significant set of gully reach configurations to evaluate quantitatively the influence of the main factors controlling the uncertainty of the volume assessment. For this purpose, a simulation algorithm in Matlab® code was written, involving the following stages: - Generation of synthetic gully area profiles with different degrees of complexity (characterized by the cross-section variability) - Simulation of field measurements characterised by a survey intensity and the precision of the measurement method - Quantification of the volume error uncertainty as a function of the key factors In this communication we will present the relationships between volume error and the studied factors and propose guidelines for 2D field surveys based on the minimal survey

  4. Curiosity analyzes Martian soil samples (United States)

    Showstack, Randy; Balcerak, Ernie


    NASA's Mars Curiosity rover has conducted its first analysis of Martian soil samples using multiple instruments, the agency announced at a 3 December news briefing at the AGU Fall Meeting in San Francisco. "These results are an unprecedented look at the chemical diversity in the area," said NASA's Michael Meyer, program scientist for Curiosity.

  5. Standardization in gully erosion studies: methodology and interpretation of magnitudes from a global review (United States)

    Castillo, Carlos; Gomez, Jose Alfonso


    Standardization is the process of developing common conventions or proceedings to facilitate the communication, use, comparison and exchange of products or information among different parties. It has been an useful tool in different fields from industry to statistics due to technical, economic and social reasons. In science the need for standardization has been recognised in the definition of methods as well as in publication formats. With respect to gully erosion, a number of initiatives have been carried out to propose common methodologies, for instance, for gully delineation (Castillo et al., 2014) and geometrical measurements (Casalí et al., 2015). The main aims of this work are: 1) to examine previous proposals in gully erosion literature implying standardization processes; 2) to contribute with new approaches to improve the homogeneity of methodologies and presentation of results for a better communication among the gully erosion community. For this purpose, we evaluated the basic information provided on environmental factors, discussed the delineation and measurement procedures proposed in previous works and, finally, we analysed statistically the severity of degradation levels derived from different indicators at the world scale. As a result, we presented suggestions aiming to serve as guidance for survey design as well as for the interpretation of vulnerability levels and degradation rates for future gully erosion studies. References Casalí, J., Giménez, R., and Campo-Bescós, M. A.: Gully geometry: what are we measuring?, SOIL, 1, 509-513, doi:10.5194/soil-1-509-2015, 2015. Castillo C., Taguas E. V., Zarco-Tejada P., James M. R., and Gómez J. A. (2014), The normalized topographic method: an automated procedure for gully mapping using GIS, Earth Surf. Process. Landforms, 39, 2002-2015, doi: 10.1002/esp.3595

  6. Discrete element modeling of the mass movement and loose material supplying the gully process of a debris avalanche in the Bayi Gully, Southwest China (United States)

    Zhou, Jia-wen; Huang, Kang-xin; Shi, Chong; Hao, Ming-hui; Guo, Chao-xu


    The dynamic process of a debris avalanche in mountainous areas is influenced by the landslide volume, topographical conditions, mass-material composition, mechanical properties and other factors. A good understanding of the mass movement and loose material supplying the gully process is very important for understanding the dynamic properties of debris avalanches. Three-dimensional particle flow code (PFC3D) was used to simulate a debris avalanche in Quaternary deposits at the Bayi Gully, Southwest China. FORTRAN and AutoCAD were used for the secondary development to display the mass movement process and to quantitatively describe the mass movement and loose material supplying the gully process. The simulated results show that after the landslide is initiated, the gravitational potential energy is converted into kinetic energy with a variation velocity for the sliding masses. Two stages exist for the average-movement velocity: the acceleration stage and the slowdown stage, which are influenced by the topographical conditions. For the loose materials supplying the gully process, the cumulative volume of the sliding masses into the gully gradually increases over the time. When the landslide volume is not large enough, the increasing landslide volume does not obviously influence the movement process of the sliding masses. The travel distance and movement velocity increase with the decreasing numerical parameters, and the mass-movement process is finished more quickly using low-value parameters. The deposition area of the sliding masses decreases with the increasing numerical parameters and the corresponding deposition thickness increases. The mass movement of the debris avalanche is not only influenced by the mechanical parameters but is also controlled by the topographical conditions.

  7. Radio Emissions from Electrical Activity in Martian Dust Storms (United States)

    Majid, W.; Arabshahi, S.; Kocz, J.; Schulter, T.; White, L.


    Dust storms on Mars are predicted to be capable of producing electrostatic fields and discharges, even larger than those in dust storms on Earth. There are three key elements in the characterization of Martian electrostatic discharges: dependence on Martian environmental conditions, event rate, and the strength of the generated electric fields. The detection and characterization of electric activity in Martian dust storms has important implications for habitability, and preparations for human exploration of the red planet. Furthermore, electrostatic discharges may be linked to local chemistry and plays an important role in the predicted global electrical circuit. Because of the continuous Mars telecommunication needs of NASA's Mars-based assets, the Deep Space Network (DSN) is the only facility in the world that combines long term, high cadence, observing opportunities with large sensitive telescopes, making it a unique asset worldwide in searching for and characterizing electrostatic activity from large scale convective dust storms at Mars. We will describe a newly inaugurated program at NASA's Madrid Deep Space Communication Complex to carry out a long-term monitoring campaign to search for and characterize the entire Mars hemisphere for powerful discharges during routine tracking of spacecraft at Mars on an entirely non-interfering basis. The ground-based detections will also have important implications for the design of a future instrument that could make similar in-situ measurements from orbit or from the surface of Mars, with far greater sensitivity and duty cycle, opening up a new window in our understanding of the Martian environment.

  8. History and distribution of steepland gullies in response to land use change, East Coast Region, North Island, New Zealand (United States)

    Marden, Michael; Arnold, Gregory; Seymour, Anne; Hambling, Randolph


    Following the clearance of indigenous forest (~ 1880s to 1920s) for pastoral use, actively eroding gullies had by the late 1950s become a pervasive form of erosion occupying 0.7% of the 7468 km2 of pastoral hill country within the East Coast Region, North Island, New Zealand. Commencing in the early 1960s the primary strategy used to stabilise gully and other associated forms of erosion on degraded pastoral hill country was to establish exotic forest. We compare the status of gully erosion before reforestation commenced with that at the end of a ~ 40 year reforestation period (1957-1997) during which ~ 1350 km2 of exotic forest was planted. Trends in gully area and distribution by land cover (vegetation), but particularly in response to exotic reforestation, are examined for two contrasting geologic terrains. Over this ~ 40 year period, the incidence and extent of gully erosion in areas of hill country that have remained in pastoral use has declined. This was primarily due to the retirement and conversion of extensive areas of gully-prone farmland to exotic forest. Where implemented, the reforestation of this degraded pastoral hill country has proven to be efficient and successful in stabilising existing gullies. However, with the initiation of new gullies and growth of gullies that have remained untreated, the extent of land affected by gully erosion has increased by ~ 27% to ~ 0.9% of the regions' hill country area. To reverse this trend, further areas of severely eroding pastoral land will need to be retired with the aim of escalating the rate at which remaining gullies are treated and to prevent new ones developing, primarily through reforestation with exotic tree species or indigenous reversion.

  9. Rover's Wheel Churns Up Bright Martian Soil (United States)


    NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Spirit acquired this mosaic on the mission's 1,202nd Martian day, or sol (May 21, 2007), while investigating the area east of the elevated plateau known as 'Home Plate' in the 'Columbia Hills.' The mosaic shows an area of disturbed soil, nicknamed 'Gertrude Weise' by scientists, made by Spirit's stuck right front wheel. The trench exposed a patch of nearly pure silica, with the composition of opal. It could have come from either a hot-spring environment or an environment called a fumarole, in which acidic, volcanic steam rises through cracks. Either way, its formation involved water, and on Earth, both of these types of settings teem with microbial life. Spirit acquired this mosaic with the panoramic camera's 753-nanometer, 535-nanometer, and 432-nanometer filters. The view presented here is an approximately true-color rendering.

  10. Chemical composition of Martian fines (United States)

    Clark, B. C.; Baird, A. K.; Weldon, R. J.; Tsusaki, D. M.; Schnabel, L.; Candelaria, M. P.


    Of the 21 samples acquired for the Viking X-ray fluorescence spectrometer, 17 were analyzed to high precision. Compared to typical terrestrial continental soils and lunar mare fines, the Martian fines are lower in Al, higher in Fe, and much higher in S and Cl concentrations. Protected fines at the two lander sites are almost indistinguishable, but concentration of the element S is somewhat higher at Utopia. Duricrust fragments, successfully acquired only at the Chryse site, invariably contained about 50% higher S than fines. No elements correlate positively with S, except Cl and possibly Mg. A sympathetic variation is found among the triad Si, Al, Ca; positive correlation occurs between Ti and Fe. Sample variabilities are as great within a few meters as between lander locations (4500 km apart), implying the existence of a universal Martian regolith component of constant average composition. The nature of the source materials for the regolith fines must be mafic to ultramafic.

  11. Electrodynamics of the Martian Ionosphere (United States)

    Ledvina, S. A.; Brecht, S. H.


    The presence of the Martian crustal magnetic fields makes a significant modification to the interaction between the solar wind/IMF and the ionosphere of the planet. This paper presents the results of 3-D hybrid simulations of Martian solar wind interaction containing the Martian crustal fields., self-consistent ionospheric chemistry and planetary rotation. It has already been reported that the addition of the crustal fields and planetary rotation makes a significant modification of the ionospheric loss from Mars, Brecht et al., 2016. This paper focuses on two other aspects of the interaction, the electric fields and the current systems created by the solar wind interaction. The results of several simulations will be analyzed and compared. The electric fields around Mars due to its interaction with the solar wind will be examined. Special attention will be paid to the electric field constituents (∇ X B, ∇Pe, ηJ). Regions where the electric field is parallel to the magnetic field will be found and the implications of these regions will be discussed. Current systems for each ion species will be shown. Finally the effects on the electric fields and the current systems due to the rotation of Mars will be examined.

  12. Unusual Reactivity of the Martian Soil: Oxygen Release Upon Humidification (United States)

    Yen, A. S.


    Recent lab results show that oxygen evolves from superoxide-coated mineral grains upon exposure to water vapor. This observation is additional support of the hypothesis that UV-generated O2 is responsible for the reactivity of the martian soil. Discussion of current NASA research opportunities, status of various programs within the Solar System Exploration Division, and employment opportunities within NASA Headquarters to support these programs. Additional information is contained in the original extended abstract.

  13. Gully monitoring at two locations in the Grand Canyon National Park, Arizona, 1996-2010, with emphasis on documenting effects of the March 2008 high-flow experiment (United States)

    Schott, Nathan D.; Hazel, Joseph E.; Fairley, Helen C.; Kaplinski, Matt; Parnell, Roderic A.


    Many archeological sites in the Grand Canyon are being impacted by gully incision. In March 2008, a high-flow experiment (2008 HFE) was conducted with the intention of redistributing fine sediment (sand, silt, and clay) from the bed of the Colorado River to higher elevations along the channel margin. Deposition of fine sediment in gully mouths has been hypothesized to slow gully erosion rates and lessen impacts to archeological sites. The effects of the 2008 HFE on gullies were evaluated by comparing the topographic changes of three gullies at two study sites before and after the 2008 HFE. Comparison results indicated that sediment was deposited in gully mouths during the 2008 HFE, and that the inundated areas nearest to the river can be extensively altered by mainstream flow during high-flow events. Additionally, the history of gully evolution at the two study sites was examined between 1996 and 2010 and indicated that gullies have been subjected to thalweg incision and gully widening processes over a decadal timescale. Although the small sample size precludes extrapolating the results to other gullies, the findings contribute to the understanding of gully erosion in archeologically significant areas and have implications for future monitoring of gully erosion and evaluating the effectiveness of check dams intended to mitigate that erosion at archaeological sites in the Grand Canyon National Park.

  14. Yamato 980459: Crystallization of Martian Magnesian Magma (United States)

    Koizumi, E.; Mikouchi, T.; McKay, G.; Monkawa, A.; Chokai, J.; Miyamoto, M.


    Recently, several basaltic shergottites have been found that include magnesian olivines as a major minerals. These have been called olivinephyric shergottites. Yamato 980459, which is a new martian meteorite recovered from the Antarctica by the Japanese Antarctic expedition, is one of them. This meteorite is different from other olivine-phyric shergottites in several key features and will give us important clues to understand crystallization of martian meteorites and the evolution of Martian magma.

  15. Advanced concept for a crewed mission to the martian moons (United States)

    Conte, Davide; Di Carlo, Marilena; Budzyń, Dorota; Burgoyne, Hayden; Fries, Dan; Grulich, Maria; Heizmann, Sören; Jethani, Henna; Lapôtre, Mathieu; Roos, Tobias; Castillo, Encarnación Serrano; Schermann, Marcel; Vieceli, Rhiannon; Wilson, Lee; Wynard, Christopher


    This paper presents the conceptual design of the IMaGInE (Innovative Mars Global International Exploration) Mission. The mission's objectives are to deliver a crew of four astronauts to the surface of Deimos and perform a robotic exploration mission to Phobos. Over the course of the 343 day mission during the years 2031 and 2032, the crew will perform surface excursions, technology demonstrations, In Situ Resource Utilization (ISRU) of the Martian moons, as well as site reconnaissance for future human exploration of Mars. This mission design makes use of an innovative hybrid propulsion concept (chemical and electric) to deliver a relatively low-mass reusable crewed spacecraft (approximately 100 mt) to cis-martian space. The crew makes use of torpor which minimizes launch payload mass. Green technologies are proposed as a stepping stone towards minimum environmental impact space access. The usage of beamed energy to power a grid of decentralized science stations is introduced, allowing for large scale characterization of the Martian environment. The low-thrust outbound and inbound trajectories are computed through the use of a direct method and a multiple shooting algorithm that considers various thrust and coast sequences to arrive at the final body with zero relative velocity. It is shown that the entire mission is rooted within the current NASA technology roadmap, ongoing scientific investments and feasible with an extrapolated NASA Budget. The presented mission won the 2016 Revolutionary Aerospace Systems Concepts - Academic Linkage (RASC-AL) competition.

  16. Martian Ionospheric Observation and Modeling (United States)

    González-Galindo, Francisco


    The Martian ionosphere is a plasma embedded within the neutral upper atmosphere of the planet. Its main source is the ionization of the CO2-dominated Martian mesosphere and thermosphere by the energetic EUV solar radiation. The ionosphere of Mars is subject to an important variability induced by changes in its forcing mechanisms (e.g., the UV solar flux) and by variations in the neutral atmosphere (e.g., the presence of global dust storms, atmospheric waves and tides, changes in atmospheric composition, etc.). Its vertical structure is dominated by a maximum in the electron concentration placed at about 120–140 km of altitude, coincident with the peak of the ionization rate. Below, a secondary peak produced by solar X-rays and photoelectron-impact ionization is observed. A sporadic third layer, possibly of meteoric origin, has been also detected below. The most abundant ion in the Martian ionosphere is O2+, although O+ can become more abundant in the upper ionospheric layers. While below about 180–200 km the Martian ionosphere is dominated by photochemical processes, above those altitudes the dynamics of the plasma become more important. The ionosphere is also an important source of escaping particles via processes such as dissociative recombination of ions or ion pickup. So, characterization of the ionosphere provides or can provide information about such disparate systems and processes as the solar radiation getting to the planet, the neutral atmosphere, the meteoric influx, the atmospheric escape to space, or the interaction of the planet with the solar wind. It is thus not surprising that the interest about this region dates from the beginning of the space era. From the first measurements provided by the Mariner 4 mission in the 1960s to the contemporaneous observations, still ongoing, by the Mars Express and MAVEN orbiters, our current knowledge of this atmospheric region is the consequence of the accumulation of more than 50 years of discontinuous

  17. Comparison of two occurrence risk assessment methods for collapse gully erosion ——A case study in Guangdong province (United States)

    Sun, K.; Cheng, D. B.; He, J. J.; Zhao, Y. L.


    Collapse gully erosion is a specific type of soil erosion in the red soil region of southern China, and early warning and prevention of the occurrence of collapse gully erosion is very important. Based on the idea of risk assessment, this research, taking Guangdong province as an example, adopt the information acquisition analysis and the logistic regression analysis, to discuss the feasibility for collapse gully erosion risk assessment in regional scale, and compare the applicability of the different risk assessment methods. The results show that in the Guangdong province, the risk degree of collapse gully erosion occurrence is high in northeastern and western area, and relatively low in southwestern and central part. The comparing analysis of the different risk assessment methods on collapse gully also indicated that the risk distribution patterns from the different methods were basically consistent. However, the accuracy of risk map from the information acquisition analysis method was slightly better than that from the logistic regression analysis method.


    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Vandervilson Alves Carneiro


    Full Text Available This work presents some considerations about the dynamics of degraded landscapes processes, like gullies, located in Palmelo, Goiás State, within Pires do Rio Microregion. Throughout a complete fieldwork, the gullies, in rural areas, that threat to underlying water table were mapped and cataloged. Unfortunately, one notices that gullies continually increase in size and number, mainly because there are no projects in order to restraint or reduce them promoted by local government. Besides, the illegal disposing of great amounts of waste still into the gullies, affects the quality of people’s life as well as the water table associated to them. Nevertheless, a very detailed case study of gullies, their cataloguing and identification, may help in the proposition of procedures to prevent and avoid illegal dumping of rubbish and waste, reduce the risks of accidents and eliminates these important factors of landscape degradation.

  19. Solubility of C-O-H volatiles in graphite-saturated martian basalts and application to martian atmospheric evolution (United States)

    Stanley, B. D.; Hirschmann, M. M.; Withers, A. C.


    The modern martian atmosphere is thin, leading to surface conditions too cold to support liquid water. Yet, there is evidence of liquid surface water early in martian history that is commonly thought to require a thick CO2 atmosphere. Our previous work follows the analysis developed by Holloway and co-workers (Holloway et al. 1992; Holloway 1998), which predicts a linear relationship between CO2 and oxygen fugacity (fO2) in graphite-saturated silicate melts. At low oxygen fugacity, the solubility of CO2 in silicate melts is therefore very low. Such low calculated solubilities under reducing conditions lead to small fluxes of CO2 associated with martian magmatism, and therefore production of a thick volcanogenic CO2 atmosphere could require a prohibitively large volume of mantle-derived magma. The key assumption in these previous calculations is that the carbonate ion is the chief soluble C-O-H species. The results of the calculations would not be affected appreciably if molecular CO2, rather than carbonate ion, were an important species, but could be entirely different if there were other appreciable C-species such as CO, carbonyl (C=O) complexes, carbide (Si-C), or CH4. Clearly, graphite-saturated experiments are required to explore how much volcanogenic C may be degassed by reduced martian lavas. A series of piston-cylinder experiments were performed on synthetic martian starting materials over a range of oxygen fugacities (IW+2.3 to IW-0.9), and at pressures of 1-3 GPa and temperatures of 1340-1600 °C in Pt-graphite double capsules. CO2 contents in experimental glasses were determined using Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR) and range from 0.0026-0.50 wt%. CO2 solubilities change by one order of magnitude with an order of magnitude change in oxygen fugacity, as predicted by previous work. Secondary ion mass spectrometry (SIMS) determinations of C contents in glasses range from 0.0131-0.2626 wt%. C contents determined by SIMS are consistently higher

  20. Surface and subsurface flow effect on permanent gully formation and upland erosion near Lake Tana in the northern highlands of Ethiopia (United States)

    Tebebu, T. Y.; Abiy, A. Z.; Zegeye, A. D.; Dahlke, H. E.; Easton, Z. M.; Tilahun, S. A.; Collick, A. S.; Kidnau, S.; Moges, S.; Dadgari, F.; Steenhuis, T. S.


    Gully formation in the Ethiopian Highlands has been identified as a major source of sediment in water bodies, and results in sever land degradation. Loss of soil from gully erosion reduces agricultural productivity and grazing land availability, and is one of the major causes of reservoir siltation in the Nile Basin. This study was conducted in the 523 ha Debre-Mawi watershed south of Bahir Dar, Ethiopia, where gullies are actively forming in the landscape. Historic gully development in a section of the Debre-Mawi watershed was estimated with semi structured farmer interviews, remotely sensed imagery, and measurements of current gully volumes. Gully formation was assessed by instrumenting the gully and surrounding area to measure water table levels and soil physical properties. Gully formation began in the late 1980's following the removal of indigenous vegetation, leading to an increase in surface and subsurface runoff from the hillsides. A comparison of the gully area, estimated from a 0.58 m resolution QuickBird image, with the current gully area mapped with a GPS, indicated that the total eroded area of the gully increased from 0.65 ha in 2005 to 1.0 ha in 2007 and 1.43 ha in 2008. The gully erosion rate, calculated from cross-sectional transect measurements, between 2007 and 2008 was 530 t ha-1 yr-1 in the 17.4 ha area contributing to the gully, equivalent to over 4 cm soil loss over the contributing area. As a comparison, we also measured rill and interrill erosion rates in a nearby section of the watershed, gully erosion rates were approximately 20 times the measured rill and interrill rates. Depths to the water table measured with piezometers showed that in the actively eroding sections of the gully the water table was above the gully bottom and, in stable gully sections the water table was below the gully bottom during the rainy season. The elevated water table appears to facilitate the slumping of gully walls, which causes the gully to widen and to

  1. Surface and subsurface flow effect on permanent gully formation and upland erosion near Lake Tana in the northern highlands of Ethiopia

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    T. Y. Tebebu


    Full Text Available Gully formation in the Ethiopian Highlands has been identified as a major source of sediment in water bodies, and results in sever land degradation. Loss of soil from gully erosion reduces agricultural productivity and grazing land availability, and is one of the major causes of reservoir siltation in the Nile Basin. This study was conducted in the 523 ha Debre-Mawi watershed south of Bahir Dar, Ethiopia, where gullies are actively forming in the landscape. Historic gully development in a section of the Debre-Mawi watershed was estimated with semi structured farmer interviews, remotely sensed imagery, and measurements of current gully volumes. Gully formation was assessed by instrumenting the gully and surrounding area to measure water table levels and soil physical properties. Gully formation began in the late 1980's following the removal of indigenous vegetation, leading to an increase in surface and subsurface runoff from the hillsides. A comparison of the gully area, estimated from a 0.58 m resolution QuickBird image, with the current gully area mapped with a GPS, indicated that the total eroded area of the gully increased from 0.65 ha in 2005 to 1.0 ha in 2007 and 1.43 ha in 2008. The gully erosion rate, calculated from cross-sectional transect measurements, between 2007 and 2008 was 530 t ha−1 yr−1 in the 17.4 ha area contributing to the gully, equivalent to over 4 cm soil loss over the contributing area. As a comparison, we also measured rill and interrill erosion rates in a nearby section of the watershed, gully erosion rates were approximately 20 times the measured rill and interrill rates. Depths to the water table measured with piezometers showed that in the actively eroding sections of the gully the water table was above the gully bottom and, in stable gully sections the water table was below the gully bottom during the rainy season. The elevated water table appears to facilitate the slumping of gully

  2. Martian Neutron Energy Spectrometer (MANES) (United States)

    Maurer, R. H.; Roth, D. R.; Kinnison, J. D.; Goldsten, J. O.; Fainchtein, R.; Badhwar, G.


    High energy charged particles of extragalactic, galactic, and solar origin collide with spacecraft structures and planetary atmospheres. These primaries create a number of secondary particles inside the structures or on the surfaces of planets to produce a significant radiation environment. This radiation is a threat to long term inhabitants and travelers for interplanetary missions and produces an increased risk of carcinogenesis, central nervous system (CNS) and DNA damage. Charged particles are readily detected; but, neutrons, being electrically neutral, are much more difficult to monitor. These secondary neutrons are reported to contribute 30-60% of the dose equivalent in the Shuttle and MIR station. The Martian atmosphere has an areal density of 37 g/sq cm primarily of carbon dioxide molecules. This shallow atmosphere presents fewer mean free paths to the bombarding cosmic rays and solar particles. The secondary neutrons present at the surface of Mars will have undergone fewer generations of collisions and have higher energies than at sea level on Earth. Albedo neutrons produced by collisions with the Martian surface material will also contribute to the radiation environment. The increased threat of radiation damage to humans on Mars occurs when neutrons of higher mean energy traverse the thin, dry Martian atmosphere and encounter water in the astronaut's body. Water, being hydrogeneous, efficiently moderates the high energy neutrons thereby slowing them as they penetrate deeply into the body. Consequently, greater radiation doses can be deposited in or near critical organs such as the liver or spleen than is the case on Earth. A second significant threat is the possibility of a high energy heavy ion or neutron causing a DNA double strand break in a single strike.

  3. Lava Tubes as Martian Analog sites on Hawaii Island (United States)

    Andersen, Christian; Hamilton, J. C.; Adams, M.


    The existence of geologic features similar to skylights seen in Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter HIRISE imagery suggest Martian lava tube networks. Along with pit craters, these features are evidence of a past era of vulcanism. If these were contemporary with the wet Mars eras, then it is suggestive that any Martian life may have retreated into these subsurface oases. Hawaii island has numerous lava tubes of differing ages, humidity, lengths and sizes that make ideal analog test environments for future Mars exploration. PISCES has surveyed multiple candidate sites during the past summer with a team of University of Hawaii at Hilo student interns. It should be noted that Lunar features have also been similarly discovered via Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter LROC imagery.

  4. Filter Media Tests Under Simulated Martian Atmospheric Conditions (United States)

    Agui, Juan H.


    Human exploration of Mars will require the optimal utilization of planetary resources. One of its abundant resources is the Martian atmosphere that can be harvested through filtration and chemical processes that purify and separate it into its gaseous and elemental constituents. Effective filtration needs to be part of the suite of resource utilization technologies. A unique testing platform is being used which provides the relevant operational and instrumental capabilities to test articles under the proper simulated Martian conditions. A series of tests were conducted to assess the performance of filter media. Light sheet imaging of the particle flow provided a means of detecting and quantifying particle concentrations to determine capturing efficiencies. The media's efficiency was also evaluated by gravimetric means through a by-layer filter media configuration. These tests will help to establish techniques and methods for measuring capturing efficiency and arrestance of conventional fibrous filter media. This paper will describe initial test results on different filter media.

  5. Exploration

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Lohrenz, J.


    Oil and gas exploration is a unique kind of business. Businesses providing a vast and ever-changing panoply of products to markets are a focus of several disciplines' energetic study and analysis. The product inventory problem is robust, pertinent, and meaningful, and it merits the voluminous and protracted attention received from keen business practitioners. Prototypical business practitioners, be they trained by years of business hurly-burly, or sophisticated MBAs with arrays of mathematical algorithms and computers, are not normally prepared, however, to recognize the unique nature of exploration's inventories. Put together such a business practitioner with an explorationist and misunderstandings, hidden and open, are inevitable and predictably rife. The first purpose of this paper is to articulate the inherited inventory handling paradigms of business practitioners in relation to exploration's inventories. To do so, standard pedagogy in business administration is used and a case study of an exploration venture is presented. A second purpose is to show the burdens that the misunderstandings create. The result is not just business plans that go awry, but public policies that have effects opposite from those intended

  6. Evaluating ephemeral gully erosion impact on Zea mays L. yield and economics using AnnAGNPS (United States)

    Ephemeral gully erosion causes serious water quality and economic problems in the Midwest United States. A critical barrier to soil conservation practice adoption is often the implementation cost, although it is recognized that erosion reduces farm income. Yet few, if any, understand the relationshi...

  7. Estimation of soil loss by gully erosion in Mubi, Adamawa state ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    Six locations in Mubi, Adamawa State (Digil, Muvur, Vimtim Gella, Lamorde and Madanya) affected by gully erosion were surveyed between April, 2003 and November, 2004. Parameters related to soil erosion losses such as slope, topography, vegetation and land use were noted or measured. Photographs of the affected ...

  8. The subtidal gully fish community of the eastern Cape and the role of ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)


    Feb 25, 1988 ... The subtidal gully fish community of the eastern Cape and the ... relation to previous studies of intertidal pools in the eastern and western Cape, ... transient species, particularly two species in the family ..... schooling species (27%) made up the balance. ..... consistent with other work that has shown greater.

  9. Characterization of the hydraulic performance of a gully under drainage conditions. (United States)

    Martins, Ricardo; Leandro, Jorge; de Carvalho, Rita Fernandes


    During rainfall events with low return periods (1-20 years) the drainage system can provide some degree of protection to urban areas. The system design is based not only on good hydraulic performance of the surface and the sewer network but also on their linking elements. Although the linking elements are of utmost importance as they allow the exchange of flow between the surface and the sewer network, there is a lack of studies that thoroughly characterize them. One crucial structural part of those elements is the gully. State-of-the-art dual-drainage models often use simplified formulae to replicate the gully hydraulic behaviour that lacks proper validation. This work focuses on simulating, both numerically and experimentally, the hydraulic performance of a 0.6 × 0.3 × 0.3 [m] (L × W × D) gully located inside an 8 × 0.5 × 0.5 [m] rectangular channel. The numerical simulations are conducted with the OpenFOAM toolbox and validated with water level measurements in the Multiple-Linking-Element experimental installation located at the Laboratory of Hydraulics of the University of Coimbra. The results provide a complete three-dimensional insight of the hydraulic behaviour of the flow inside the gully, and discharge coefficient formulae are disclosed that can be directly applied in dual-drainage models as internal boundary conditions.

  10. Reservoir Sedimentation and Upstream Sediment Sources: Perspectives and Future Research Needs on Streambank and Gully Erosion (United States)

    Fox, G. A.; Sheshukov, A.; Cruse, R.; Kolar, R. L.; Guertault, L.; Gesch, K. R.; Dutnell, R. C.


    The future reliance on water supply and flood control reservoirs across the globe will continue to expand, especially under a variable climate. As the inventory of new potential dam sites is shrinking, construction of additional reservoirs is less likely compared to simultaneous flow and sediment management in existing reservoirs. One aspect of this sediment management is related to the control of upstream sediment sources. However, key research questions remain regarding upstream sediment loading rates. Highlighted in this article are research needs relative to measuring and predicting sediment transport rates and loading due to streambank and gully erosion within a watershed. For example, additional instream sediment transport and reservoir sedimentation rate measurements are needed across a range of watershed conditions, reservoir sizes, and geographical locations. More research is needed to understand the intricate linkage between upland practices and instream response. A need still exists to clarify the benefit of restoration or stabilization of a small reach within a channel system or maturing gully on total watershed sediment load. We need to better understand the intricate interactions between hydrological and erosion processes to improve prediction, location, and timing of streambank erosion and failure and gully formation. Also, improved process-based measurement and prediction techniques are needed that balance data requirements regarding cohesive soil erodibility and stability as compared to simpler topographic indices for gullies or stream classification systems. Such techniques will allow the research community to address the benefit of various conservation and/or stabilization practices at targeted locations within watersheds.

  11. The Mason Gully Meteorite Fall in SW Australia: Fireball Trajectory and Orbit from Photographic Records

    Czech Academy of Sciences Publication Activity Database

    Spurný, Pavel; Bland, P.A.; Shrbený, Lukáš; Towner, M.C.; Borovička, Jiří; Bevan, A.W.R.; Vaughan, D.


    Roč. 46, Supplement (2011), A220-A220 ISSN 1086-9379. [Annual Meeting of the Meteoritical Society /74./. 08.08.2011-12.08.2011, London] Institutional research plan: CEZ:AV0Z10030501 Keywords : Mason Gully Subject RIV: BN - Astronomy, Celestial Mechanics, Astrophysics

  12. Cost analysis of gully restoration in agricultural areas in Andalusia (Spain) (United States)

    Castillo, Carlos; Taguas, Encarnación; Mora, Jose; Gómez, Jose Alfonso


    Cost optimization of soil conservation measures is essential in the agricultural sector where the farmers return of investment is usually small, and there is a high degree of uncertainty about yield. The main aims of this study are: 1) to assess the cost of check dams and revegetation measures for a wide range of situations on gully networks of Andalusia and 2) provide an estimation of the adequate budget requirements for the gully restoration at farms included in the public Incentive Program for Gully Control (IPGC) supported by the Junta de Andalucia (Spain). Firstly, a study was conducted to design the structures adapted to a wide variety of gully conditions (slope, width, height, unitary discharge) in the region of Andalusia, and check dam materials (concrete and gabions) taking into account conventional engineering stability criteria, recommendations in technical literature (Gómez et al., 2011) and principles of energy dissipation maximization (Castillo, 2012). In addition, the cost of the conservation measures was estimated by using current market prices of local resources (for interventions with farmers own means) and national construction prices list (if the works were hired to an external company). The cost of the interventions was expressed as a multivariate function of the gully characteristic by means of regression analysis to facilitate its use for budget estimation purposes. Finally, these equations were applied to the farms included in the IPGC database to provide an estimation of the adequate budget required for a successful implementation of this initiative, as well as to propose unitary indexes (i.e. cost per gully meter in the longitudinal profile or per square meter in plan view) that could serve as useful criteria for this, or future programs, to allocate resources to individual farms based on specific characteristics of the gully erosion problems they suffer. References Castillo, C. 2012. Metodología de medida de la erosión por cárcavas y

  13. Gully erosion in the Caatinga biome, Brazil: measurement and stochastic modelling (United States)

    Lima Alencar, Pedro Henrique; de Araújo, José Carlos; Nonato Távora Costa, Raimundo


    In contrast with inter-rill erosion, which takes a long time to modify the terrain form, gully erosion can fast and severely change the landscape. In the Brazilian semiarid region, a one-million km2 area that coincides with the Caatinga biome, inter-rill erosion prevails due to the silty shallow soils. However, gully erosion does occur in the Caatinga, with temporal increasing severity. This source of sediment impacts the existing dense network of small dams, generating significant deleterious effects, such as water availability reduction in a drought-prone region. This study focuses on the Madalena basin (124 km2, state of Ceará, Brazil), a land-reform settlement with 20 inhabitants per km2, whose main economic activities are agriculture (especially Zea mays), livestock and fishing. In the catchment area, where there are 12 dams (with storage capacity ranging from 6.104 to 2.107 m3), gully erosion has become an issue due to its increasing occurrence. Eight gully-erosion sites have been identified in the basin, but most of them have not yet reached great dimensions (depth and/or width), nor interacted with groundwater, being therefore classified as ephemeral gullies. We selected the three most relevant sites and measured the topography of the eroded channels, as well as the neighboring terrain relief, using accurate total stations and unmanned aerial vehicle. The data was processed with the help of software, such as DataGeosis (Office 7.5) and Surfer (11.0), providing information on gully erosion in terms of (μ ± σ): projection area (317±165 m2), eroded mass (61±36 Mg) and volume (42±25 m3), length (38±6 m), maximum depth (0.58±0.13 m) and maximum width (6.00±2.35 m). The measured data are then compared with those provided by the Foster and Lane model (1986). The model generated results with considerable scatter. This is possibly due to uncertainties in the field parameters, which are neglected in the deterministic approach of most physically-based models

  14. Generalizing a complex model for gully threshold identification in the Mediterranean environment (United States)

    Torri, D.; Borselli, L.; Iaquinta, P.; Iovine, G.; Poesen, J.; Terranova, O.


    Among the physical processes leading to land degradation, soil erosion by water is the most important and gully erosion may contribute, at places, to 70% of the total soil loss. Nevertheless, gully erosion has often been neglected in water soil erosion modeling, whilst more prominence has been given to rill and interrill erosion. Both to facilitate the processing by agricultural machinery and to take advantage of all the arable land, gullies are commonly removed at each crop cycle, with significant soil losses due to the repeated excavation of the channel by the successive rainstorm. When the erosive forces of overland flow exceed the strength of the soil particles to detachment and displacement, water erosion occurs and usually a channel is formed. As runoff is proportional to the local catchment area, a relationship between local slope, S, and contributing area, A, is supposed to exists. A "geomorphologic threshold" scheme is therefore suitable to interpret the physical process of gully initiation: accordingly, a gully is formed when a hydraulic threshold for incision exceeds the resistance of the soil particles to detachment and transport. Similarly, it appears reasonable that a gully ends when there is a reduction of slope, or the concentrated flow meets more resistant soil-vegetation complexes. This study aims to predict the location of the beginning of gullies in the Mediterranean environment, based on an evaluation of S and A by means of a mathematical model. For the identification of the areas prone to gully erosion, the model employs two empirical thresholds relevant to the head (Thead) and to the end (Tend) of the gullies (of the type SA^ b>Thead, SA^ bsituations (usually after abandonment), and c) databases for cropland have been merged. Selected data have been examined and interpreted mathematically to assess a value to be taken as a constant for the exponent "b" of the above equation. Literature data on the problem of topological thresholds Tend are

  15. Relationship between gully erosion and hydrology in a small rangeland catchment (United States)

    Gómez, Á.; Schnabel, S.; Sanjosé Blasco, J. J.; Lavado Contador, J. F.


    Gully erosion plays an important role in degradation processes of Mediterranean environments. Relatively little is known about relationships between gully erosion rates and rainfall or discharge in these areas. The aims of this work are: quantifying gully erosion, analyzing its spatial and temporal variability and evaluating its relationships with catchment hydrology. The study was carried out in a small catchment (99.5 ha) located in the SW of the Iberian Peninsula. The topography is undulated with an average slope of 7.6%. Climate is Mediterranean with a pronounced dry season. Annual and inter-annual rainfall variation is high with an annual average of 510 mm. Vegetation cover is formed by a tree layer of Holm oaks (Quercus rotundifolia) and an herbaceous layer characterized by therophytes. The land use is representative of wooded rangelands (dehesa) land use and is based on grazing by sheep and seasonally by pigs. The channel is a valley bottom discontinuous gully incised into an alluvial sediment fill of approximately 1.5 m. The gully is a second order channel with a tributary joining the main branch at 174 m from the basin outlet. Mean width and depth of the gully is 3.3 m an 0.6 m, respectively. The main channel presents several headcuts along its course including one in the upper limit, while the tributary presents 2 very active headcuts close to the junction. Gully erosion or accumulation volume was obtained by means of 28 fixed cross sections measured with a frequency of 6 months during the period 2001-2007. Cross sections were measured using a laser total station which allows increasing the profile resolution in critical areas (such us bank toes or channel bed). Discharge was determined using a water depth probe installed in a weir at the outlet of the catchment. Rainfall was registered by means of 6 tipping bucket rain gauges distributed over the catchment. Both discharge and rainfall were registered with a resolution of 5 minutes. Results showed a total

  16. Clouds in the Martian Atmosphere (United States)

    Määttänen, Anni; Montmessin, Franck


    Although resembling an extremely dry desert, planet Mars hosts clouds in its atmosphere. Every day somewhere on the planet a part of the tiny amount of water vapor held by the atmosphere can condense as ice crystals to form cirrus-type clouds. The existence of water ice clouds has been known for a long time, and they have been studied for decades, leading to the establishment of a well-known climatology and understanding of their formation and properties. Despite their thinness, they have a clear impact on the atmospheric temperatures, thus affecting the Martian climate. Another, more exotic type of clouds forms as well on Mars. The atmospheric temperatures can plunge to such frigid values that the major gaseous component of the atmosphere, CO2, condenses as ice crystals. These clouds form in the cold polar night where they also contribute to the formation of the CO2 ice polar cap, and also in the mesosphere at very high altitudes, near the edge of space, analogously to the noctilucent clouds on Earth. The mesospheric clouds are a fairly recent discovery and have put our understanding of the Martian atmosphere to a test. On Mars, cloud crystals form on ice nuclei, mostly provided by the omnipresent dust. Thus, the clouds link the three major climatic cycles: those of the two major volatiles, H2O and CO2; and that of dust, which is a major climatic agent itself.

  17. Flank tectonics of Martian volcanoes

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Thomas, P.J.; Squyres, S.W.; Carr, M.H.


    On the flanks of Olympus Mons is a series of terraces, concentrically distributed around the caldera. Their morphology and location suggest that they could be thrust faults caused by compressional failure of the cone. In an attempt to understand the mechanism of faulting and the possible influences of the interior structure of Olympus Mons, the authors have constructed a numerical model for elastic stresses within a Martian volcano. In the absence of internal pressurization, the middle slopes of the cone are subjected to compressional stress, appropriate to the formation of thrust faults. These stresses for Olympus Mons are ∼250 MPa. If a vacant magma chamber is contained within the cone, the region of maximum compressional stress is extended toward the base of the cone. If the magma chamber is pressurized, extensional stresses occur at the summit and on the upper slopes of the cone. For a filled but unpressurized magma chamber, the observed positions of the faults agree well with the calculated region of high compressional stress. Three other volcanoes on Mars, Ascraeus Mons, Arsia Mons, and Pavonis Mons, possess similar terraces. Extending the analysis to other Martian volcanoes, they find that only these three and Olympus Mons have flank stresses that exceed the compressional failure strength of basalt, lending support to the view that the terraces on all four are thrust faults

  18. Origin of giant Martian polygons (United States)

    Mcgill, George E.; Hills, L. S.


    Extensive areas of the Martian northern plains in Utopia and Acidalia planitiae are characterized by 'polygonal terrane'. Polygonal terrane consists of material cut by complex troughs defining a pattern resembling mudcracks, columnar joints, or frost-wedge polygons on earth. However, the Martian polygons are orders of magnitude larger than these potential earth analogues, leading to severe mechanical difficulties for genetic models based on simple analogy arguments. Plate-bending and finite element models indicate that shrinkage of desiccating sediment or cooling volcanics accompanied by differential compaction over buried topography can account for the stresses responsible for polygon troughs as well as the large size of the polygons. Although trough widths and depths relate primarily to shrinkage, the large scale of the polygonl pattern relates to the spacing between topographic elevations on the surface buried beneath polygonal terrane material. Geological relationships favor a sedimentary origin for polygonal terrane material, but our model is not dependent on the specific genesis. Our analysis also suggests that the polygons must have formed at a geologically rapid rate.

  19. Restoration of active gully systems following the implementation of bioengineering techniques. (United States)

    Borja, Pablo; Vanacker, Veerle; Govers, Gerard


    Intensive land use in the central parts of the Andean basin has led to widespread land degradation. The formation of badlands dates back from the 1950s and 1960s. Several studies indicate that human activities have accelerated mountain erosion rates by up to 100 times. In this study, we have evaluated the effects of bio-engineering works aiming to stabilize degraded catchments. Five micro-catchments (0.2 up to 5 ha) have been selected within a 3 km2 area in the lower part of the Loreto catchment (Southern Ecuadorian Andes). The five micro-catchments differ in vegetation cover and implementation of bio-engineering works. The experimental design consisted of three micro-catchments: (1) DI with conservation works, (2) DF with reforestation by Eucalyptus sp and (3) DT with no conservation works. Two micro-catchments have been monitored in an agricultural area: with (AI) and without (AT) bio-engineering works in the active gullies. Small checkdams were constructed in the gully floors of two of the micro-catchments in the badland area (DI) and the agricultural area (AI). The checkdams are made of wood and tires. Water flow has been measured in every micro-catchment, while sediment traps were constructed to monitor sediment transport. Results show that bio-engineering techniques are effective to stabilize active gullies. Deposition of sediments in manmade dams is strongly dependent on previous rainfall events, as well as gully channel slope, and its vegetation cover. From the experimental data, an I30 max threshold value was determined. Above this threshold value, all micro-catchments are actively contributing sediment to the main river system. The checkdams built with wood and tires have an efficiency of 70%, and were shown to be very effective to stabilize active gullies in bad lands through significant reduction (about 62%) of the amount of sediment exported from the micro-catchments. Key words: degraded soils, erosion, sediment, restoration, reforestation

  20. Assessing the reduction of the hydrological connectivity of gully systems through vegetation restoration: field experiments and numerical modelling

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    A. Molina


    Full Text Available Restoration of degraded land in the Southern Ecuadorian Andes has led to alterations in the functioning of degraded catchments. Recovery of vegetation on areas affected by overgrazing, as well as the reforestation or afforestation of gully areas have given rise to modifications of hydrological connectivity within the catchments. Recent research has highlighted the ability of gully channels to trap sediment eroded from steep slopes, especially if vegetation is established along the gully bed. However, vegetation cover not only induces sediment deposition in the gully bed, but may also have a potential to reduce runoff water volume. The performance of gully beds in reducing the transfer of runoff was investigated by conducting controlled concentrated flow experiments in the field. Experimental field data for nine gullies were derived by pouring concentrated inflow into the upstream end and measuring the outflow at the downstream end of the channel. Two consecutive flow experiments per gully were carried out, so that data for dry and wet soil conditions were collected. The hydrological response to concentrated flow was estimated for each experiment by calculating its cumulative infiltration coefficient, IC (%. The results showed a great difference in IC between dry and wet soil conditions. The IC for wet soil conditions was on average 24%, whereas it was 60% for dry conditions. Gullies with more than 50% surface vegetation cover exhibit the highest cumulative infiltration coefficients (81% for dry runs, and 34% for wet runs, but runoff transmission losses were not as clearly related to vegetation cover as sediment storage as shown in Molina et al. (2009. The experimental field data of 16 experiments were used to calibrate a hydrological model developed by Fiener and Auerswald (2005 in order to simulate the transfer of concentrated flow along the gully beds. The calibrated model was able to simulate the transfer of runoff water

  1. Antarctic Martian Meteorites at Johnson Space Center (United States)

    Funk, R. C.; Satterwhite, C. E.; Righter, K.; Harrington, R.


    This past year marked the 40th anniversary of the first Martian meteorite found in Antarctica by the ANSMET Antarctic Search for Meteorites) program, ALH 77005. Since then, an additional 14 Martian meteorites have been found by the ANSMET program making for a total of 15 Martian meteorites in the U. S. Antarctic meteorite collection at Johnson Space Center (JSC). Of the 15 meteorites, some have been paired so the 15 meteorites actually represent a total of approximately 9 separate samples. The first Martian meteorite found by ANSMET was ALH 77005 (482.500 g), a lherzolitic shergottite. When collected, this meteorite was split as a part of the joint expedition with the National Institute of Polar Research (NIPR) Japan. Originally classified as an "achondrite-unique", it was re-classified as a Martian lherzolitic shergottite in 1982. This meteorite has been allocated to 137 scientists for research and there are 180.934 g remaining at JSC. Two years later, one of the most significant Martian meteorites of the collection at JSC was found at Elephant Moraine, EET 79001 (7942.000 g), a shergottite. This meteorite is the largest in the Martian collection at JSC and was the largest stony meteorite sample collected during the 1979 season. In addition to its size, this meteorite is of particular interest because it contains a linear contact separating two different igneous lithologies, basaltic and olivine-phyric. EET 79001 has glass inclusions that contain noble gas and nitrogen compositions that are proportionally identical to the Martian atmosphere, as measured by the Viking spacecraft. This discovery helped scientists to identify where the "SNC" meteorite suite had originated, and that we actually possessed Martian samples. This meteorite has been allocated to 205 scientists for research and 5,298.435 g of sample is available.

  2. Manganese, Metallogenium, and Martian Microfossils (United States)

    Stein, L. Y.; Nealson, K. H.


    Manganese could easily be considered an abundant element in the Martian regolith, assuming that the composition of martian meteorites reflects the composition of the planet. Mineralogical analyses of 5 SNC meteorites have revealed an average manganese oxide concentration of 0.48%, relative to the 0.1% concentration of manganese found in the Earth's crust. On the Earth, the accumulation of manganese oxides in oceans, soils, rocks, sedimentary ores, fresh water systems, and hydrothermal vents can be largely attributed to microbial activity. Manganese is also a required trace nutrient for most life forms and participates in many critical enzymatic reactions such as photosynthesis. The wide-spread process of bacterial manganese cycling on Earth suggests that manganese is an important element to both geology and biology. Furthermore, there is evidence that bacteria can be fossilized within manganese ores, implying that manganese beds may be good repositories for preserved biomarkers. A particular genus of bacteria, known historically as Metallogenium, can form star-shaped manganese oxide minerals (called metallogenium) through the action of manganese oxide precipitation along its surface. Fossilized structures that resemble metallogenium have been found in Precambrian sedimentary formations and in Cretaceous-Paleogene cherts. The Cretaceous-Paleogene formations are highly enriched in manganese and have concentrations of trace elements (Fe, Zn, Cu, and Co) similar to modern-day manganese oxide deposits in marine environments. The appearance of metallogenium-like fossils associated with manganese deposits suggests that bacteria may be preserved within the minerals that they form. Additional information is contained in the original extended abstract.

  3. Restoration of badlands through applying bio-engineering techniques in active gully systems: Evidence from the Ecuadorian Andes (United States)

    Borja, P.; Vanacker, V.; Alvarado, D.; Govers, G.


    A better insight in the processes controlling sediment generation, transport and deposition in badlands is necessary to enhance restoration of degraded soils through eco-engineering techniques. In this study, we evaluate the effect of different bio-engineering measures on soil and slope stability. Five micro-catchments (of 0.2 to 5 ha) were selected within a 3 km2 area in the lower part of the Loreto catchment (Southern Ecuadorian Andes). The micro-catchments differ only by land cover and degree of implementation of soil and water conservation measures. Bio-engineering techniques were used to construct dikes made of fascines of wooden sticks and earth-filled tires in active gully beds, where they are most efficient to reduce water and sediment transport. The experimental design consists of three micro-catchments within highly degraded lands: (DI) micro-catchment with bio-engineering measures concentrated in the active gully beds, (DF) with reforestation of Eucalyptus trees, and (DT) reference situation without any conservation measures. Two micro-catchments were monitored in agricultural lands with (AI) and without (AT) bio-engineering measures in the active gully beds. All catchments were equipped with San Dimas flumes to measure water flow, and sediment traps to monitor sediment export. In the (active) gully beds, various parameters related to gully stability (soil water content, bed elevation, vegetation cover, sedimentation/erosion) were monitored at weekly intervals. First results show that bio-engineering techniques are efficient to stabilize active gully beds through a reduction of the rapid concentration of excess rainfall and the sediment production and transfer. Fascines made of wooden sticks are far more efficient than earth-filled tires. Sediment deposition behind dikes is strongly dependent on precedent rainfall events, and the slope and vegetation cover of the gully floor. The sediment deposited facilitates colonization of the gully floor by native

  4. Nuclear thermal rockets using indigenous Martian propellants

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Zubrin, R.M.


    This paper considers a novel concept for a Martian descent and ascent vehicle, called NIMF (for nuclear rocket using indigenous Martian fuel), the propulsion for which will be provided by a nuclear thermal reactor which will heat an indigenous Martian propellant gas to form a high-thrust rocket exhaust. The performance of each of the candidate Martian propellants, which include CO2, H2O, CH4, N2, CO, and Ar, is assessed, and the methods of propellant acquisition are examined. Attention is also given to the issues of chemical compatibility between candidate propellants and reactor fuel and cladding materials, and the potential of winged Mars supersonic aircraft driven by this type of engine. It is shown that, by utilizing the nuclear landing craft in combination with a hydrogen-fueled nuclear thermal interplanetary vehicle and a heavy lift booster, it is possible to achieve a manned Mars mission in one launch. 6 refs

  5. Wind tunnel simulation of Martian sand storms (United States)

    Greeley, R.


    The physics and geological relationships of particles driven by the wind under near Martian conditions were examined in the Martian Surface Wind Tunnel. Emphasis was placed on aeolian activity as a planetary process. Threshold speeds, rates of erosion, trajectories of windblown particles, and flow fields over various landforms were among the factors considered. Results of experiments on particles thresholds, rates of erosion, and the effects of electrostatics on particles in the aeolian environment are presented.

  6. TDEM for Martian in situ resource prospecting missions

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    G. Tacconi


    Full Text Available This paper presents a TDEM (Time Domain Electromagnetic Methods application, addressed to the search for water on Mars. In this context, the opportunities for a TDEM system as payload in a future mission are investigated for different in situ exploration scenarios. The TDEM sounding capability is evaluated with respect to the expected Martian environment, and some considerations are made about the many unknown variables (above all the background EM noise and the subsoil composition altogether with the limited resources availability (mission constraints in mass, time and power and the way they could represent an obstacle for operations and measurements.

  7. Quantifying sediment connectivity in an actively eroding gully complex, Waipaoa catchment, New Zealand (United States)

    Taylor, Richard J.; Massey, Chris; Fuller, Ian C.; Marden, Mike; Archibald, Garth; Ries, William


    Using a combination of airborne LiDAR (2005) and terrestrial laser scanning (2007, 2008, 2010, 2011), sediment delivery processes and sediment connectivity in an 20-ha gully complex, which significantly contributes to the Waipaoa sediment cascade, are quantified over a 6-year period. The acquisition of terrain data from high-resolution surveys of the whole gully-fan system provides new insights into slope processes and slope-channel linkages operating in the complex. Raw terrain data from the airborne and ground-based laser scans were converted into raster DEMs with a vertical accuracy between surveys of models of change across the gully and fan complex. In these models deposition equates to positive and erosion to negative vertical change. Debris flows, slumping, and erosion by surface runoff (gullying in the conventional sense) generated on average 95,232 m3 of sediment annually, with a standard deviation of ± 20,806 m3. The volumes of debris eroded from those areas dominated by surface erosion processes were higher than in areas dominated by landslide processes. Over the six-year study period, sediment delivery from the source zones to the fan was a factor of 1.4 times larger than the volume of debris exported from the fan into Te Weraroa Stream. The average annual volume of sediment exported to Te Weraroa Stream varies widely from 23,195 to 102,796 m3. Fluctuations in the volume of stored sediment within the fan, rather than external forcing by rainstorms or earthquakes, account for this annual variation. No large rainfall events occurred during the monitoring period; therefore, sediment volumes and transfer processes captured by this study are representative of the background conditions that operate in this geomorphic system.

  8. Determination of effective factors on the occurrence of digitated gully erosion in the AghEmam(2 watershed

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    Maryam Mohammad Ebrahimi


    Full Text Available Introduction: Soil erosion by water is one of the most important processes of land degradation, especially in semi-arid areas. Among different types of the soil erosion, gully erosion accounts as one of the most critical processes which can cause soil destruction, changes in landscape and water resources filling of reservoir of dams,decrease in water transport capacity of rivers and agricultural lands destruction in the lowland areas. Based on the Posen definition, gully is a river with high slope walls and an erosive high slope and active head which occurs by erosion resulted from the surface flow (usually during or after high density rainfalls. Different factors play role in occurrence and development of gullies and sediment production resulted of this kind of erosion which includes slope, amount and distribution of rainfall intensity, construction operations, vegetable cover destruction, land-use change, unsuitable utilization, and susceptibility of bed materials to the erosion and flood. Considering the importance of gully erosion and the way of its occurrence and development and its control, more comprehensive studies are needed to be done. Although, some studies have done in this subject that some of them are depicted below: Rinkez et al showed that gully erosion is further occurred in soils with high exchangeable sodium percentage and sodium absorption ratio and they depicted that these two factors are important indices for soil diffusion amount in gullies. Buma and imson investigated factors such as electricity conductivity, calcium carbonate percentage, and the type of clay mineral in white, brown, and gray samples of marl in the Peter area, Spain. According to their results, factors such as electrical conductivity and sodium absorption ratio had high correlation with erosivity of the Bad Lands. Material and Methods: Agh Emam(2 watershed is located between 55º 42´ 53˝ to 55º 45´ 43˝ eastern longitudes and 37º 41´ 01˝ to 37º 46

  9. Gully annealing by aeolian sediment: field and remote-sensing investigation of aeolian-hillslope-fluvial interactions, Colorado River corridor, Arizona, USA (United States)

    Sankey, Joel B.; Draut, Amy E.


    Processes contributing to development of ephemeral gully channels are of great importance to landscapes worldwide, and particularly in dryland regions where soil loss and land degradation from gully erosion pose long-term land-management problems. Whereas gully formation has been relatively well studied, much less is known of the processes that anneal gullies and impede their growth. This study of gully annealing by aeolian sediment, spanning 95 km along the Colorado River corridor in Glen, Marble, and Grand Canyon, Arizona, USA, employed field and remote sensing observations, including digital topographic modelling. Results indicate that aeolian sediment activity can be locally effective at counteracting gully erosion. Gullies are less prevalent in areas where surficial sediment undergoes active aeolian transport, and have a greater tendency to terminate in active aeolian sand. Although not common, examples exist in the record of historical imagery of gullies that underwent infilling by aeolian sediment in past decades and evidently were effectively annealed. We thus provide new evidence for a potentially important interaction of aeolian–hillslope–fluvial processes, which could affect dryland regions substantially in ways not widely recognized. Moreover, because the biologic soil crust plays an important role in determining aeolian sand activity, and so in turn the extent of gully development, this study highlights a critical role of geomorphic–ecologic interactions in determining arid-landscape evolution.

  10. Evaporation Rates for Liquid Water and Ice Under Current Martian Conditions (United States)

    Sears, D. W. G.; Moore, S. R.; Meier, A.; Chittenden, J.; Kareev, M.; Farmer, C. B.


    A number of studies have been concerned with the evaporation rates under martian conditions in order to place limits on the possible survival time of both liquid water and ice exposed on the surface of Mars. Such studies also aid in assessing the efficacy of an overlying layer of dust or loose regolith material in providing a barrier to free evaporation and thus prolong the lifetime of water in locations where its availability to putative living organisms would be significant. A better quantitative understanding of the effects of phase changes of water in the near surface environment would also aid the evaluation of the possible role of water in the formation of currently observed features, such as gullies in cliff walls and relatively short-term changes in the albedo of small surface areas ('dark stains'). Laboratory measurements aimed at refinement of our knowledge of these values are described here. The establishment of accurate values for evaporation rates and their dependence on the physical conditions of temperature, pressure and energy input, is an important benchmark for the further investigation of the efficacy of barriers to free evaporation in providing a prolonged period of survival of the water, particularly as a liquid.

  11. The chemical reactivity of the Martian soil and implications for future missions (United States)

    Zent, Aaron P.; Mckay, Christopher P.


    Possible interpretations of the results of the Viking Biology Experiments suggest that greater than 1 ppm of a thermally labile oxidant, perhaps H2O2, and about 10 ppm of a thermally stable oxidant are present in the martian soil. We reexamine these results and discuss implications for future missions, the search for organics on Mars, and the possible health and engineering effects for human exploration. We conclude that further characterization of the reactivity of the martian regolith materials is warrented-although if our present understanding is correct the oxidant does not pose a hazard to humans. There are difficulties in explaining the reactivity of the Martian soil by oxidants. Most bulk phase compounds that are capable of oxidizing H2O to O2 per the Gas Exchange Experiment (GEx) are thermally labile or unstable against reduction by atmospheric CO2. Models invoking trapped O2 or peroxynitrates (NOO2(-)) require an unlikely geologic history for the Viking Lander 2 site. Most suggested oxidants, including H2O2, are expected to decompose rapidly under martian UV. Nonetheless, we conclude that the best model for the martian soil contains oxidants produced by heterogeneous chemical reactions with a photochemically produced atmospheric oxidant. The GEx results may be due to catalytic decomposition of an unstable oxidizing material by H2O. We show that interfacial reaction sites covering less than 1% of the available soil surfaces could explain the Viking Biology Experiments results.

  12. The impact of radiatively active water-ice clouds on Martian mesoscale atmospheric circulations (United States)

    Spiga, A.; Madeleine, J.-B.; Hinson, D.; Navarro, T.; Forget, F.


    Background and Goals Water ice clouds are a key component of the Martian climate [1]. Understanding the properties of the Martian water ice clouds is crucial to constrain the Red Planet's climate and hydrological cycle both in the present and in the past [2]. In recent years, this statement have become all the more true as it was shown that the radiative effects of water ice clouds is far from being as negligible as hitherto believed; water ice clouds plays instead a key role in the large-scale thermal structure and dynamics of the Martian atmosphere [3, 4, 5]. Nevertheless, the radiative effect of water ice clouds at lower scales than the large synoptic scale (the so-called meso-scales) is still left to be explored. Here we use for the first time mesoscale modeling with radiatively active water ice clouds to address this open question.

  13. Detection of Catchment-Scale Gully-Affected Areas Using Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV on the Chinese Loess Plateau

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    Kai Liu


    Full Text Available The Chinese Loess Plateau suffers from serious gully erosion induced by natural and human causes. Gully-affected areas detection is the basic work in this region for gully erosion assessment and monitoring. For the first time, an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV was applied to extract gully features in this region. Two typical catchments in Changwu and Ansai were selected to represent loess tableland and loess hilly regions, respectively. A high-powered quadrocopter (md4-1000 equipped with a non-metric camera was used for image acquisition. InPho and MapMatrix were applied for semi-automatic workflow including aerial triangulation and model generation. Based on the stereo-imaging and the ground control points, the highly detailed digital elevation models (DEMs and ortho-mosaics were generated. Subsequently, an object-based approach combined with the random forest classifier was designed to detect gully-affected areas. Two experiments were conducted to investigate the influences of segmentation strategy and feature selection. Results showed that vertical and horizontal root-mean-square errors were below 0.5 and 0.2 m, respectively, which were ideal for the Loess Plateau region. The overall extraction accuracy in Changwu and Ansai achieved was 84.62% and 86.46%, respectively, which indicated the potential of the proposed workflow for extracting gully features. This study demonstrated that UAV can bridge the gap between field measurement and satellite-based remote sensing, obtaining a balance in resolution and efficiency for catchment-scale gully erosion research.

  14. Loess relief degradation in urban peripheries and selected problems with land management (case study: Lipniak Gully, Lublin, E Poland) (United States)

    Żuraw, Beata; Rodzik, Jan; Sosnowska, Małgorzata; Podsiedlik, Marek


    The research was conducted in the peripheral area of a relatively large city (350 thousand residents) in its major part located on a loess plateau. The study object was a neglected road gully dissecting a dry valley. Soil and sediment sampling permitted the reconstruction of the development of its relief from the Late Glacial, with particular consideration of anthropogenic changes. The history of land use was reconstructed based on archival maps and documentation. Plant associations were also identified. Land management was proposed in accordance with the principles of sustainable development. The studied landform was determined to originally constitute an erosional-denudational valley with asymmetric slopes, developed during the last phases of the Late Glacial. In the Holocene, the relief was strengthened by a oak-hornbean forest, where deep Luvisols developed. In the 19th century, the forest was gradually cleared, and the land was cultivated. A ground road was made along the valley floor. A road gully developed over a century of its use, with a depth of up to 4 m. Soil erosion on the slopes, uneven due to varied use, changed the direction of their asymmetry. In the 2nd half of the 20th century, low urban development reached the gully's vicinity, because the gully was designated the boundary of Lublin. Currently, the area is located within the city boundaries. The valley-gully system Lipniak, however, is wasteland along its considerable section. Plant succession occurred towards natural and ruderal associations. Neglecting the gully favours its inhabitancy by animals (among others foxes). Unfortunately, it also contributes to its littering. The local community has expressed the need for the management and ordering of the area to make it available for recreation with the maintenance of its natural values. In response to such needs, a project was prepared involving the construction of a walking-cycling path along the gully, connecting the nearby residential

  15. Photovoltaic array for Martian surface power (United States)

    Appelbaum, J.; Landis, G. A.


    Missions to Mars will require electric power. A leading candidate for providing power is solar power produced by photovoltaic arrays. To design such a power system, detailed information on solar-radiation availability on the Martian surface is necessary. The variation of the solar radiation on the Martian surface is governed by three factors: (1) variation in Mars-Sun distance; (2) variation in solar zenith angle due to Martian season and time of day; and (3) dust in the Martian atmosphere. A major concern is the dust storms, which occur on both local and global scales. However, there is still appreciable diffuse sunlight available even at high opacity, so that solar array operation is still possible. Typical results for tracking solar collectors are also shown and compared to the fixed collectors. During the Northern Hemisphere spring and summer the isolation is relatively high, 2-5 kW-hr/sq m-day, due to the low optical depth of the Martian atmosphere. These seasons, totalling a full terrestrial year, are the likely ones during which manned mission will be carried out.

  16. Cryoseism Vibrational Movement and Sorting of Detritus of Mars' Regolith Bedforms (E.G., ~ Streaks, Gullies): a New, Dry, Midsummer Antarctic Analogue Mechanism (United States)

    Ford, A. B.


    "SNAP!, CRACK!, POP!" The sounds reverberated across newly shaded permafrost of unusual talus aprons (Ford & Andersen, 1967; J. Geol., 75, 722-732) of interior Antarctica (lats. >84°S; Thiel, Pensacola mtns.), coming from ice cracking under tensile failure (cryoseisms). Apron regoliths show conspicuously reversed downslope particle-size sorting and downslope-oriented lineations (debris-cleared tracts; stone stripes) formed by vibrational movement of detritus by midsummer, diurnal cracking of ice. Moving laterally by vibrations away from cracks, with downslope component by gravity, finer detritus becomes concentrated downslope from coarser debris of initial cliff fall — winnowed, as if on a gigantic vibrating shaking table. Slopes outside shade zones remain free of cracking. Diurnal midday shading of solar-warmed, debris-mantled permafrost- and glacier-surface ice at low ambient midsummer temperatures produces high strain-loading rates that exceed tensile toughness of inhomogeneous, polycrystalline ice containing zones of older but sealed cracks. This dry, mechanical, cryoseism mechanism is here proposed also for now waterless Mars and other icy Solar System bodies. Regolith features of Mars' cryosphere may appear different from anrarctic analogues owing to likely operation over tens if not hundreds of millions of years longer than on Earth. The strain distributions in tensile failure of ice better explain a common spacing uniformity of many martian linear features than others' proposed origins, and for some "active" streaks and gully channels, TARS, RSL and dune-slipface channels, as well as for dune orthogonality, diurnal moonquakes and asteroid-regolith detrital sorting (e.g., "rubble-pile" 25143-Itokawa). Because periodic shade from topography (canyons, craters, etc.) is needed, the mechanism is not expected on flattish terrains where more normal annual cooling rates produce the common polygonal tensile fracturing of ice

  17. Experiences of a gully survey in the Gödöllő Hillside Landscape Protection District, Hungary (United States)

    Szabó, Boglárka; Bolf, Balázs; Szabó, Judit; Centeri, Csaba


    In the 1970s when Highway No. 3. was built in Hungary, environmental issues were not thoroughly considered. The main scope of our survey is the analyses of a gully created by the runoff from the highway and from the upper watershed. These excess waters were channeled into natural valleys alongside the highway. Five outlets were created where the runoff water developed deep gullies and deposited huge amount of sediment at the tail of the gullies. The surveyed gully can be found in central Hungary, at the border of Gödöllő city, which area belongs to the Gödöllő Hillside Landscape Protection District. The experimental area is situated 175-220 meters above the sea level and it is crossed by the M3 motorway which took part in the development of the surveyed linear erosion form. During our survey, several dams and channel modifications, buffer ditches were built from materials found mainly locally, in order to decrease the energy of waters, to hold up the runoff and this way to eliminate the erosion damage in this protected area. However it is difficult to install and to maintain the protective measures. Due to the nature protection status the possible use of the materials and methods are limited. We surveyed the longest gully, which is 320 meters long and its width is exceeding 3 meters at its head, close to the motorway. The average depth is 1 meter. In order to monitor the amount of the runoff we planted some rods, where the height aboveground was known. The survey was made with GPS (Global Position System- Trimble Juno SB ArcPad 8.0) where along the gully the GPS recorded the position in every 20 seconds. Besides we recorded every dams and every sudden changes, where the direction, slope angle, depth, width or other characteristic was different. The data processing and the maps was made in ArcMap10.2, QGIS 2.2 and in Google Earth. Furthermore, micro soil profiles were taken from the riverbed to know the thickness of the runoff after bigger rainfall events. The

  18. Gully Erosion Mapping and Monitoring at Multiple Scales Based on Multi-Source Remote Sensing Data of the Sancha River Catchment, Northeast China

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    Ranghu Wang


    Full Text Available This research is focused on gully erosion mapping and monitoring at multiple spatial scales using multi-source remote sensing data of the Sancha River catchment in Northeast China, where gullies extend over a vast area. A high resolution satellite image (Pleiades 1A, 0.7 m was used to obtain the spatial distribution of the gullies of the overall basin. Image visual interpretation with field verification was employed to map the geometric gully features and evaluate gully erosion as well as the topographic differentiation characteristics. Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV remote sensing data and the 3D photo-reconstruction method were employed for detailed gully mapping at a site scale. The results showed that: (1 the sub-meter image showed a strong ability in the recognition of various gully types and obtained satisfactory results, and the topographic factors of elevation, slope and slope aspects exerted significant influence on the gully spatial distribution at the catchment scale; and (2 at a more detailed site scale, UAV imagery combined with 3D photo-reconstruction provided a Digital Surface Model (DSM and ortho-image at the centimeter level as well as a detailed 3D model. The resulting products revealed the area of agricultural utilization and its shaping by human agricultural activities and water erosion in detail, and also provided the gully volume. The present study indicates that using multi-source remote sensing data, including satellite and UAV imagery simultaneously, results in an effective assessment of gully erosion over multiple spatial scales. The combined approach should be continued to regularly monitor gully erosion to understand the erosion process and its relationship with the environment from a comprehensive perspective.

  19. Integration of UAV and ground-based Structure from Motion with Multi-View Stereo photogrammetry and hydrological data to quantify hillslope gully erosion processes in tropical savanna (United States)

    Koci, J.; Jarihani, B.; Sidle, R. C.; Wilkinson, S. N.; Bartley, R.


    Structure from Motion with Multi-View Stereo (SfM-MVS) photogrammetry provides a cost-effective method of rapidly acquiring high resolution (sub-meter) topographic data, but is rarely used in hydrogeomorphic investigations of gully erosion. This study integrates high resolution topographic and land cover data derived from an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) and ground-based SfM-MVS photogrammetry, with rainfall and gully discharge data, to elucidate hydrogeomorphic processes driving hillslope gully erosion. The study is located within a small (13 km2) dry-tropical savanna catchment within the Burdekin River Basin, northeast Australia, which is a major contributor sediments and nutrients to the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area. A pre-wet season UAV survey covered an entire hillslope gully system (0.715 km2), and is used to derive topography, ground cover and hydrological flow pathways in the gully contributing area. Ground-based surveys of a single active gully (650 m2) within the broader hillslope are compared between pre- and post-wet season conditions to quantify gully geomorphic change. Rainfall, recorded near to the head of the gully, is related to gully discharge during sporadic storm events. The study provides valuable insights into the relationships among hydrological flow pathways, ground cover, rainfall and runoff, and spatial patterns of gully morphologic change. We demonstrate how UAV and ground-based SfM-MVS photogrammetry can be used to improve hydrogeomorphic process understanding and aid in the modelling and management of hillslope gully systems.

  20. The role of settling velocity formulation in the determination of gully pot trapping efficiency: comparison between analytical and experimental data. (United States)

    Ciccarello, Annalisa; Bolognesi, Andrea; Maglionico, Marco; Artina, Sandro


    Roadside gully pots are the connecting points between surface runoff and the underground drainage network; therefore they can be considered as the most superficial component of urban drainage systems. Gully pots are supposed to trap particulate matter washed off the catchment surface, but also to collect and convey stormwater into the network. The continuous accumulation of particulate matter results in a progressive loss of the gully pot hydraulic conveyance, thereby increasing the probability of urban flooding during rainstorm events. This study has therefore the objective to determine which variables influence the gully pot capability of retaining solids (efficiency), both experimentally and analytically. Several laboratory tests have been performed on a simple plastic gully pot, with different inflow rates and using both mono and hetero-disperse particle samples. Particular attention has been given to the influence exerted by the way particle settling velocity is expressed: efficiency has been analytically determined by means of multiple settling velocity formulas proposed by various authors and eventually compared to experimental data. Results deriving from the adoption of each single settling velocity formula have been extensively analysed, showing fairly different outcomes.

  1. Life on Mars: Evidence from Martian Meteorites (United States)

    McKay, David S.; Thomas-Keptra, Katie L.; Clemett, Simon J.; Gibson, Everett K., Jr.; Spencer, Lauren; Wentworth, Susan J.


    New data on martian meteorite 84001 as well as new experimental studies show that thermal or shock decomposition of carbonate, the leading alternative non-biologic explanation for the unusual nanophase magnetite found in this meteorite, cannot explain the chemistry of the actual martian magnetites. This leaves the biogenic explanation as the only remaining viable hypothesis for the origin of these unique magnetites. Additional data from two other martian meteorites show a suite of biomorphs which are nearly identical between meteorites recovered from two widely different terrestrial environments (Egyptian Nile bottomlands and Antarctic ice sheets). This similarity argues against terrestrial processes as the cause of these biomorphs and supports an origin on Mars for these features.

  2. Chemical evolution of the early Martian hydrosphere

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Schaefer, M.W.


    The chemical evolution of the early Martian hydrosphere is discussed. The early Martian ocean can be modeled as a body of relatively pure water in equilibrium with a dense carbon dioxide atmosphere. The chemical weathering of lavas, pyroclastic deposits, and impact melt sheets would have the effect of neutralizing the acidity of the juvenile water. As calcium and other cations are added to the water by chemical weathering, they are quickly removed by the precipitation of calcium carbonate and other minerals, forming a deposit of limestone beneath the surface of the ocean. As the atmospheric carbon dioxide pressure and the temperature decrease, the Martian ocean would be completely frozen. Given the scenario for the chemical evolution of the northern lowland plains of Mars, it should be possible to draw a few conclusions about the expected mineralogy and geomorphology of this regions

  3. Asteroids from a Martian Mega Impact (United States)

    Kohler, Susanna


    capable of producing enough ejecta and with the appropriate compositions and orbits to explain the Mars trojans and the A-type asteroids we observe. Tackling this problem, researchers Ryuki Hyodo and Hidenori Genda have performed numerical simulations to explore the ejecta from such a collision.Distributing DebrisHyodo and Genda examine the outcomes of a Mars mega impact using smoothed particle hydrodynamics simulations. They test different impactor masses, impactor speeds, angles of impact, and more to determine how these properties affect the properties of the Martian ejecta that result.Debris ejected in a Mars mega impact, at 20 hours post-impact. Blue particles are from the impactor, red particles are from Mars, yellow particles are clumps of 10 particles. [Hyodo Genda 2018]The authors find that a large amount of debris can be ejected from Mars during such an impact and distributed between 0.53 AU in the solar system. Roughly 2% of this debris could originate from Marss olivine-rich, unmelted upper mantle which could indeed be the source of the olivine-rich Mars Trojan asteroids and rare A-type asteroids.How can we further explorethis picture? Debris from a Mars mega impact would not justhave been the source of new asteroids; the debris likely also collided with pre-existing asteroids or even transferred to early Earth. Signatures of a Mars mega impact may therefore be recorded in main-belt asteroids or in meteorites found on Earth, providing tantalizing targets for future studies in the effort to map out Marss past.CitationRyuki Hyodo and Hidenori Genda 2018 ApJL 856 L36. doi:10.3847/2041-8213/aab7f0

  4. Characterization of Mason Gully (H5): The second recovered fall from the Desert Fireball Network (United States)

    Dyl, Kathryn A.; Benedix, Gretchen K.; Bland, Phil A.; Friedrich, Jon M.; Spurný, Pavel; Towner, Martin C.; O'Keefe, Mary Claire; Howard, Kieren; Greenwood, Richard; Macke, Robert J.; Britt, Daniel T.; Halfpenny, Angela; Thostenson, James O.; Rudolph, Rebecca A.; Rivers, Mark L.; Bevan, Alex W. R.


    Mason Gully, the second meteorite recovered using the Desert Fireball Network (DFN), is characterized using petrography, mineralogy, oxygen isotopes, bulk chemistry, and physical properties. Geochemical data are consistent with its classification as an H5 ordinary chondrite. Several properties distinguish it from most other H chondrites. Its 10.7% porosity is predominantly macroscopic, present as intergranular void spaces rather than microscopic cracks. Modal mineralogy (determined via PS-XRD, element mapping via energy dispersive spectroscopy [EDS], and X-ray tomography [for sulfide, metal, and porosity volume fractions]) consistently gives an unusually low olivine/orthopyroxene ratio (0.67-0.76 for Mason Gully versus ~1.3 for typical H5 ordinary chondrites). Widespread "silicate darkening" is observed. In addition, it contains a bright green crystalline object at the surface of the recovered stone (diameter ≈ 1.5 mm), which has a tridymite core with minor α-quartz and a rim of both low- and high-Ca pyroxene. The mineralogy allows the calculation of the temperatures and ƒ(O2) characterizing thermal metamorphism on the parent body using both the two-pyroxene and the olivine-chromite geo-oxybarometers. These indicate that MG experienced a peak metamorphic temperature of ~900 °C and had a similar ƒ(O2) to Kernouvé (H6) that was buffered by the reaction between olivine, metal, and pyroxene. There is no evidence for shock, consistent with the observed porosity structure. Thus, while Mason Gully has some unique properties, its geochemistry indicates a similar thermal evolution to other H chondrites. The presence of tridymite, while rare, is seen in other OCs and likely exogenous; however, the green object itself may result from metamorphism.

  5. Floristic and structural variations of a gully at Itumirim, Minas Gerais

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Leandro Carlos


    Full Text Available This work aimed at knowing and evaluating the florisitc composition, the strucuture and the diversity of the regenerating species in a gully at Itumirim, MG. The gully possesses an area of 0.9 ha and was subdivided into three sectors named as arms “A”; “B” and “C”. For the structural survey of the vegetation the needle method was employed, i. e. , 574 points distributed systematically across the three arms were sampled. Each spot was stratified on the terrain as related to a topographic gradient. The indicator species analysis (ISA was used to give statistical support to the standards found. A florisitic survey was also conducted with the purpose of recording all the species of shrub-tree life form ocorring in the gully. Through the strucutural survey, it was found that the species of the group of “grass-like” and “ferns” dominated widely all the sectors. The indicator species analysis performed for each of the arms pointed out that Ludwigia elegans (Cambess. H. Hara presents high fidelity, and, therefore, can be regarded as an indicator of the sector slack for arm “A” (p = 0.002.the group of species which make up the guild “ferns” was considered an indicator for the upper third of arm “C” (p = 0.038. In the floristic survey concerning the species of shrub-tree life form, 73 species were recorded in the three arms arms 73, distributed into 63 genera and 33 botanic families. The families with highest diversities of species were Fabaceae, Asteraceae, Melastomataceae and Myrtaceae, standing for 46.6% of the total of recorded species.

  6. Extensive rill erosion and gullying on abandoned pit mining sites in Lusatia, Germany (United States)

    Kunth, Franziska; Kaiser, Andreas; Vláčilová, Markéta; Schindewolf, Marcus; Schmidt, Jürgen


    As the major economic driver in the province of Lusatia, Eastern Germany, the large open-cast lignite mining sites characterize the landscape and leave vast areas of irreversible changed post-mining landscapes behind. Cost-intensive renaturation projects have been implemented in order to restructure former mine sites into stabile self-sustaining ecosystems and local recreation areas. With considerable expenditure the pits are stabilized, flooded and surrounding areas are restructured. Nevertheless, heavy soil erosion, extensive gullying and slope instability are challenges for the restructuring and renaturation of the abandoned open-cast mining sites. The majority of the sites remain inaccessible to the public due to instable conditions resulting in uncontrolled slides and large gullies. In this study a combined approach of UAV-based aerial imagery, 3D multi-vision surface reconstruction and physically-based soil erosion modelling is carried out in order to document, quantify and better understand the causes of erosion processes on mining sites. Rainfall simulations have been carried out in lausatian post mining areas to reproduce soil detachment processes and observe the responsible mechanisms for the considerable erosion rates. Water repellency and soil sealing by biological crusts were hindering infiltration and consequently increasing runoff rates despite the mainly sandy soil texture. On non-vegetated experimental plots runoff coefficients up to 87 % were measured. In a modelling routine for a major gully catchment regarding a 50 years rainfall event, simulation results reveal runoff coefficients of up to 84% and erosion rates of 118 Mg*ha^-1. At the sediment pass over point 450Mg of sediments enter the surface water bodies. A system response of this order of magnitude were unexpected by the authorities. By applying 3D multi-vision surface reconstruction a model validation is now possible and further may illustrate the great importance of soil conservation

  7. Periodic orbits around areostationary points in the Martian gravity field

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Liu Xiaodong; Baoyin Hexi; Ma Xingrui


    This study investigates the problem of areostationary orbits around Mars in three-dimensional space. Areostationary orbits are expected to be used to establish a future telecommunication network for the exploration of Mars. However, no artificial satellites have been placed in these orbits thus far. The characteristics of the Martian gravity field are presented, and areostationary points and their linear stability are calculated. By taking linearized solutions in the planar case as the initial guesses and utilizing the Levenberg-Marquardt method, families of periodic orbits around areostationary points are shown to exist. Short-period orbits and long-period orbits are found around linearly stable areostationary points, but only short-period orbits are found around unstable areostationary points. Vertical periodic orbits around both linearly stable and unstable areostationary points are also examined. Satellites in these periodic orbits could depart from areostationary points by a few degrees in longitude, which would facilitate observation of the Martian topography. Based on the eigenvalues of the monodromy matrix, the evolution of the stability index of periodic orbits is determined. Finally, heteroclinic orbits connecting the two unstable areostationary points are found, providing the possibility for orbital transfer with minimal energy consumption.

  8. SNC meteorites: Clues to martian petrologic evolution

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    McSween, H.Y. Jr.


    The shergottites, nakhlites, and Chassigny (SNC meteorites) are apparently cumulate mafic and ultramafic rocks that crystallized at shallow levels in the crust of their parent body. The mineralogy and chemistry of these meteorites are remarkably like equivalent terrestrial rocks, although their ratios of Fe/(Fe+Mg) and certain incompatible elements and their oxygen isotopic compositions are distinctive. All have crystallization ages of 1.3 b.y. or younger and formed from magmas produced by partial melting of previously fractionated source regions. Isotope systematics suggest that the SNC parent body had a complex and protracted thermal history spanning most of geologic time. Some meteorites have been severely shock metamorphosed, and all were ejected from their parent body at relatively recent times, possibly in several impact events. Late crystallization ages, complex petrogenesis, and possible evidence for a large gravitational field suggest that these meteorites are derived from a large planet. Trapped gases in shergottite shock melts have compositions similar to the composition measured in the Martian atmosphere. Ejection of Martian meteorites may have been accomplished by acceleration of near-surface spalls or other mechanisms not fully understood. If SNC meteorites are of Martian origin, they provide important information on planetary composition and evolution. The bulk composition and redox state of the Martian mantle, as constrained by shergottite phase equilibria, must be more earthlike than most current models. Planetary thermal models should benefit from data on the abundances of radioactive heat sources, the melting behavior of the mantle, and the timing of planetary differentiation

  9. Gully annealing by fluvially-sourced Aeolian sand: remote sensing investigations of connectivity along the Fluvial-Aeolian-hillslope continuum on the Colorado River (United States)

    Sankey, Joel B.; East, Amy E.; Collins, Brian D.; Caster, Joshua J.


    Processes contributing to development of ephemeral gully channels are of great importance to landscapes worldwide, and particularly in dryland regions where soil loss and land degradation from gully erosion pose long-term, land-management problems. Whereas gully formation has been relatively well studied, much less is known of the processes that anneal gullies and impede their growth. This work investigates gully annealing by aeolian sediment, along the Colorado River downstream of Glen Canyon Dam in Glen, Marble, and Grand Canyons, Arizona, USA (Figure 1). In this segment of the Colorado River, gully erosion potentially affects the stability and preservation of archaeological sites that are located within valley margins. Gully erosion occurs as a function of ephemeral, rainfall-induced overland flow associated with intense episodes of seasonal precipitation. Measurements of sediment transport and topographic change have demonstrated that fluvial sand in some locations is transported inland and upslope by aeolian processes to areas affected by gully erosion, and aeolian sediment activity can be locally effective at counteracting gully erosion (Draut, 2012; Collins and others, 2009, 2012; Sankey and Draut, 2014). The degree to which specific locations are affected by upslope wind redistribution of sand from active channel sandbars to higher elevation valley margins is termed “connectivity”. Connectivity is controlled spatially throughout the river by (1) the presence of upwind sources of fluvial sand within the contemporary active river channel (e.g., sandbars), and (2) bio-physical barriers that include vegetation and topography that might impede aeolian sediment transport. The primary hypothesis of this work is that high degrees of connectivity lead to less gullying potential.

  10. Nature of Reduced Carbon in Martian Meteorites (United States)

    Gibson, Everett K., Jr.; McKay, D. S.; Thomas-Keprta, K. L.; Clemett, S. J.; White, L. M.


    Martian meteorites provide important information on the nature of reduced carbon components present on Mars throughout its history. The first in situ analyses for carbon on the surface of Mars by the Viking landers yielded disappointing results. With the recognition of Martian meteorites on Earth, investigations have shown carbon-bearing phases exist on Mars. Studies have yielded presence of reduced carbon, carbonates and inferred graphitic carbon phases. Samples ranging in age from the first approximately 4 Ga of Mars history [e.g. ALH84001] to nakhlites with a crystallization age of 1.3 Ga [e.g. Nakhla] with aqueous alteration processes occurring 0.5-0.7 Ga after crystallizaton. Shergottites demonstrate formation ages around 165-500 Ma with younger aqueous alterations events. Only a limited number of the Martian meteorites do not show evidence of significance terrestrial alterations. Selected areas within ALH84001, Nakhla, Yamato 000593 and possibly Tissint are suitable for study of their indigenous reduced carbon bearing phases. Nakhla possesses discrete, well-defined carbonaceous phases present within iddingsite alteration zones. Based upon both isotopic measurements and analysis of Nakhla's organic phases the presence of pre-terrestrial organics is now recognized. The reduced carbon-bearing phases appear to have been deposited during preterrestrial aqueous alteration events that produced clays. In addition, the microcrystalline layers of Nakhla's iddingsite have discrete units of salt crystals suggestive of evaporation processes. While we can only speculate on the origin of these unique carbonaceous structures, we note that the significance of such observations is that it may allow us to understand the role of Martian carbon as seen in the Martian meteorites with obvious implications for astrobiology and the pre-biotic evolution of Mars. In any case, our observations strongly suggest that reduced organic carbon exists as micrometer- size, discrete structures

  11. Hydraulic mechanism and time-dependent characteristics of loose gully deposits failure induced by rainfall

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Yong Wu


    Full Text Available Failure of loose gully deposits under the effect of rainfall contributes to the potential risk of debris flow. In the past decades, researches on hydraulic mechanism and time-dependent characteristics of loose deposits failure are frequently reported, however adequate measures for reducing debris flow are not available practically. In this context, a time-dependent model was established to determine the changes of water table of loose deposits using hydraulic and topographic theories. In addition, the variation in water table with elapsed time was analyzed. The formulas for calculating hydrodynamic and hydrostatic pressures on each strip and block unit of deposit were proposed, and the slope stability and failure risk of the loose deposits were assessed based on the time-dependent hydraulic characteristics of established model. Finally, the failure mechanism of deposits based on infinite slope theory was illustrated, with an example, to calculate sliding force, anti-sliding force and residual sliding force applied to each slice. The results indicate that failure of gully deposits under the effect of rainfall is the result of continuously increasing hydraulic pressure and water table. The time-dependent characteristics of loose deposit failure are determined by the factors of hydraulic properties, drainage area of interest, rainfall pattern, rainfall duration and intensity.

  12. The influence of tropical cyclones in gully formation: A case study from Madagascar (United States)

    Raveloson, Andrea; Szabó, Amanda; Székely, Balázs


    Soil erosion has been recognized as the main cause of land degradation worldwide and gully erosion is currently considered as one of the most striking erosion type. Madagascar is one of the most affected country with special gullies called lavakas. Despite of the several decade long research, the reasons and the mechanism of their formation are still unknown. Anthropogenic factors, specific combination of lithology, weathering profile and topography are most often stated but numerous publications mention climate as a main factor. We studied the role of climatic conditions and tropical cyclones since 2014. This study aims to analyze lavaka distribution with GIS methods and to find relation between lavaka density, lavaka density change and climatic conditions. Lavakas have been identified in 17 selected study sites by visual recognition using satellite images from years 2000-2009 and 2003-2008. A total of 1330 km2 has been processed at 1 km x 1 km grid cell scale. The total number of recognized lavakas was 1592 in the 17 sites that corresponds to a varying lavaka density of 0 and 8.53 km-2. Data show that the appearance of lavakas is related to the spatial distribution and the inter-annual variability of precipitation and this connection is further strengthened by the tropical cyclones. Furthermore, among our 17 study sites changes in lavaka density were observed between 2000-2009 and 2003-2008 only in areas frequently hit by cyclones in the last 20 years.

  13. Mapping and quantifying sediment transfer between the front of rapidly moving rock glaciers and torrential gullies (United States)

    Kummert, Mario; Delaloye, Reynald


    The sedimentary connection which may occur between the front of active rock glaciers and torrential channels is not well understood, despite its potential impact on the torrential activity characterizing the concerned catchments. In this study, DEMs of difference (DoDs) covering various time intervals between 2013 and 2016 were obtained from LiDAR-derived multitemporal DEMs for three rapidly moving rock glaciers located in the western Swiss Alps. The DoDs were used to map and quantify sediment transfer activity between the front of these rock glaciers and the corresponding underlying torrential gullies. Sediment transfer rates ranging between 1500 m3/y and 7800 m3/y have been calculated, depending on the sites. Sediment eroded from the fronts generally accumulated in the upper sectors of the torrential gullies where they were occasionally mobilized within small to medium sized debris flow events. A clear relation between the motion rates of the rock glaciers and the sediment transfer rates calculated at their fronts could be highlighted. Along with the size of the frontal areas, rock glacier creep rates influence thus directly sediment availability in the headwaters of the studied torrents. The frequency-magnitude of debris flow events varied between sites and was mainly related to the concordance of local factors such as topography, water availability, sediment availability or sediment type.

  14. Martian Mixed Layer during Pathfinder Mission (United States)

    Martinez, G. M.; Valero, F.; Vazquez, L.


    In situ measurements of the Martian Planetary Boundary Layer (MPBL) encompass only the sur- face layer. Therefore, in order to fully address the MPBL, it becomes necessary to simulate somehow the behaviour of the martian mixed layer. The small-scale processes that happen in the MPBL cause GCM's ([1], [2]) to describe only partially the turbulent statistics, height, convective scales, etc, of the surface layer and the mixed layer. For this reason, 2D and 3D martian mesoscale models ([4], [5]), and large eddy simulations ([4], [6], [7], [8]) have been designed in the last years. Although they are expected to simulate more accurately the MPBL, they take an extremely expensive compu- tational time. Alternatively, we have derived the main turbu- lent characteristics of the martian mixed layer by using surface layer and mixed layer similarity ([9], [10]). From in situ temperature and wind speed measurements, together with quality-tested simu- lated ground temperature [11], we have character- ized the martian mixed layer during the convective hours of Pathfinder mission Sol 25. Mean mixed layer turbulent statistics like tem- perature variance , horizontal wind speed variance , vertical wind speed variance , viscous dissipation rate , and turbu- lent kinetic energy have been calculated, as well as the mixed layer height zi, and the convective scales of wind w? and temperature θ?. Our values, obtained with negligible time cost, match quite well with some previously obtained results via LES's ([4] and [8]). A comparisson between the above obtained mar- tian values and the typical Earth values are shown in Table 1. Convective velocity scale w doubles its counterpart terrestrial typical value, as it does the mean wind speed variances and . On the other hand, the temperature scale θ? and the mean temperature variance are virtually around one order higher on Mars. The limitations of these results concern the va- lidity of the convective mixed layer similarity. This theory

  15. Ancient Martian aeolian processes and palaeomorphology reconstructed from the Stimson formation on the lower slope of Aeolis Mons, Gale crater, Mars


    Banham, Steven G.; Gupta, Sanjeev; Rubin, David M.; Watkins, Jessica A.; Sumner, Dawn Y.; Edgett, Kenneth S.; Grotzinger, John P.; Lewis, Kevin W.; Edgar, Lauren A.; Stack-Morgan, Kathryn M.; Barnes, Robert; Bell, James F., III; Day, Mackenzie D.; Ewing, Ryan C.; Lapotre, Mathieu G. A.


    Reconstruction of the palaeoenvironmental context of Martian sedimentary rocks is central to studies of ancient Martian habitability and regional palaeoclimate history. This paper reports the analysis of a distinct aeolian deposit preserved in Gale crater, Mars, and evaluates its palaeomorphology, the processes responsible for its deposition, and its implications for Gale crater geological history and regional palaeoclimate. Whilst exploring the sedimentary succession cropping out on the nort...

  16. GIS-Based Detection of Gullies in Terrestrial LiDAR Data of the Cerro Llamoca Peatland (Peru

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Markus Forbriger


    Full Text Available Cushion peatlands are typical features of the high altitude Andes in South America. Due to the adaptation to difficult environmental conditions, they are very fragile ecosystems and therefore vulnerable to environmental and climate changes. Peatland erosion has severe effects on their ecological functions, such as water storage capacity. Thus, erosion monitoring is highly advisable. Erosion quantification and monitoring can be supported by high-resolution terrestrial Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR. In this study, a novel Geographic Information System (GIS-based method for the automatic delineation and geomorphometric description of gullies in cushion peatlands is presented. The approach is a multi-step workflow based on a gully edge extraction and a sink filling algorithm applied to a conditioned digital terrain model. Our method enables the creation of GIS-ready polygons of the gullies and the derivation of geomorphometric parameters along the entire channel course. Automatically derived boundaries and gully area values correspond to a high degree (93% with manually digitized reference polygons. The set of methods developed in this study offers a suitable tool for the monitoring and scientific analysis of fluvial morphology in cushion peatlands.

  17. Rover's Wheel Churns Up Bright Martian Soil (False Color) (United States)


    NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Spirit acquired this mosaic on the mission's 1,202nd Martian day, or sol (May 21, 2007), while investigating the area east of the elevated plateau known as 'Home Plate' in the 'Columbia Hills.' The mosaic shows an area of disturbed soil, nicknamed 'Gertrude Weise' by scientists, made by Spirit's stuck right front wheel. The trench exposed a patch of nearly pure silica, with the composition of opal. It could have come from either a hot-spring environment or an environment called a fumarole, in which acidic, volcanic steam rises through cracks. Either way, its formation involved water, and on Earth, both of these types of settings teem with microbial life. The image is presented here in false color that is used to bring out subtle differences in color.

  18. Rover's Wheel Churns Up Bright Martian Soil (Stereo) (United States)


    NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Spirit acquired this mosaic on the mission's 1,202nd Martian day, or sol (May 21, 2007), while investigating the area east of the elevated plateau known as 'Home Plate' in the 'Columbia Hills.' The mosaic shows an area of disturbed soil, nicknamed 'Gertrude Weise' by scientists, made by Spirit's stuck right front wheel. The trench exposed a patch of nearly pure silica, with the composition of opal. It could have come from either a hot-spring environment or an environment called a fumarole, in which acidic, volcanic steam rises through cracks. Either way, its formation involved water, and on Earth, both of these types of settings teem with microbial life. Multiple images taken with Spirit's panoramic camera are combined here into a stereo view that appears three-dimensional when seen through red-blue glasses, with the red lens on the left.

  19. Rover's Wheel Churns Up Bright Martian Soil (Vertical) (United States)


    NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Spirit acquired this mosaic on the mission's 1,202nd Martian day, or sol (May 21, 2007), while investigating the area east of the elevated plateau known as 'Home Plate' in the 'Columbia Hills.' The mosaic shows an area of disturbed soil, nicknamed 'Gertrude Weise' by scientists, made by Spirit's stuck right front wheel. The trench exposed a patch of nearly pure silica, with the composition of opal. It could have come from either a hot-spring environment or an environment called a fumarole, in which acidic, volcanic steam rises through cracks. Either way, its formation involved water, and on Earth, both of these types of settings teem with microbial life. The image is presented here as a vertical projection, as if looking straight down, and in false color, which brings out subtle color differences.

  20. Mars MetNet Mission - Martian Atmospheric Observational Post Network (United States)

    Harri, A.-M.; Haukka, H.; Aleksashkin, S.; Arruego, I.; Schmidt, W.; Genzer, M.; Vazquez, L.; Siikonen, T.; Palin, M.


    A new kind of planetary exploration mission for Mars is under development in collaboration between the Finnish Meteorological Institute (FMI), Lavochkin Association (LA), Space Research Institute (IKI) and Institutio Nacional de Tecnica Aerospacial (INTA). The Mars MetNet mission is based on a new semi-hard landing vehicle called MetNet Lander (MNL). The scientific payload of the Mars MetNet Precursor [1] mission is divided into three categories: Atmospheric instruments, Optical devices and Composition and structure devices. Each of the payload instruments will provide significant insights in to the Martian atmospheric behavior. The key technologies of the MetNet Lander have been qualified and the electrical qualification model (EQM) of the payload bay has been built and successfully tested.

  1. The SF3M approach to 3-D photo-reconstruction for non-expert users: application to a gully network (United States)

    Castillo, C.; James, M. R.; Redel-Macías, M. D.; Pérez, R.; Gómez, J. A.


    3-D photo-reconstruction (PR) techniques have been successfully used to produce high resolution elevation models for different applications and over different spatial scales. However, innovative approaches are required to overcome some limitations that this technique may present in challenging scenarios. Here, we evaluate SF3M, a new graphical user interface for implementing a complete PR workflow based on freely available software (including external calls to VisualSFM and CloudCompare), in combination with a low-cost survey design for the reconstruction of a several-hundred-meters-long gully network. SF3M provided a semi-automated workflow for 3-D reconstruction requiring ~ 49 h (of which only 17% required operator assistance) for obtaining a final gully network model of > 17 million points over a gully plan area of 4230 m2. We show that a walking itinerary along the gully perimeter using two light-weight automatic cameras (1 s time-lapse mode) and a 6 m-long pole is an efficient method for 3-D monitoring of gullies, at a low cost (about EUR 1000 budget for the field equipment) and time requirements (~ 90 min for image collection). A mean error of 6.9 cm at the ground control points was found, mainly due to model deformations derived from the linear geometry of the gully and residual errors in camera calibration. The straightforward image collection and processing approach can be of great benefit for non-expert users working on gully erosion assessment.

  2. On the chemistry of the Martian surface

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Keil, K.


    Analyses of 13 smaples of Martian surface materials with the Viking X-ray fluorescence spectrometers show SiO 2 similar to that of terrestrial mafic rocks, whereas Fe 2 O 3 , Cl, and S are higher and Al 2 O 3 , K 2 O, Rb, Sr, Y, and Zr are lower. Low totals suggest presence of CO 2 , H 2 O, and Na 2 O. Duricrust fragments are higher in S than fines, but samples from both landing sites are surprisingly similar. We suggest that Martian surface materials are aeolian deposits of complex mixtures of weathering products of mafic-ultramafic rocks, possibly consisting of iron-rich clays, sulfates, iron oxides, carbonates, and chlorides. (orig.) 891 HK [de

  3. Iron snow in the Martian core? (United States)

    Davies, Christopher J.; Pommier, Anne


    The decline of Mars' global magnetic field some 3.8-4.1 billion years ago is thought to reflect the demise of the dynamo that operated in its liquid core. The dynamo was probably powered by planetary cooling and so its termination is intimately tied to the thermochemical evolution and present-day physical state of the Martian core. Bottom-up growth of a solid inner core, the crystallization regime for Earth's core, has been found to produce a long-lived dynamo leading to the suggestion that the Martian core remains entirely liquid to this day. Motivated by the experimentally-determined increase in the Fe-S liquidus temperature with decreasing pressure at Martian core conditions, we investigate whether Mars' core could crystallize from the top down. We focus on the "iron snow" regime, where newly-formed solid consists of pure Fe and is therefore heavier than the liquid. We derive global energy and entropy equations that describe the long-timescale thermal and magnetic history of the core from a general theory for two-phase, two-component liquid mixtures, assuming that the snow zone is in phase equilibrium and that all solid falls out of the layer and remelts at each timestep. Formation of snow zones occurs for a wide range of interior and thermal properties and depends critically on the initial sulfur concentration, ξ0. Release of gravitational energy and latent heat during growth of the snow zone do not generate sufficient entropy to restart the dynamo unless the snow zone occupies at least 400 km of the core. Snow zones can be 1.5-2 Gyrs old, though thermal stratification of the uppermost core, not included in our model, likely delays onset. Models that match the available magnetic and geodetic constraints have ξ0 ≈ 10% and snow zones that occupy approximately the top 100 km of the present-day Martian core.

  4. Martian regolith geochemistry and sampling techniques (United States)

    Clark, B. C.

    Laboratory study of samples of the intermediate and fine-grained regolith, including duricrust peds, is a fundamental prerequisite for understanding the types of physical and chemical weathering processes on Mars. The extraordinary importance of such samples is their relevance to understanding past changes in climate, availability (and possible physical state) of water, eolian forces, the thermal and chemical influences of volcanic and impact processes, and the inventory and fates of Martian volatiles. Fortunately, this regolith material appears to be ubiquitous over the Martian surface, and should be available at many different landing sites. Viking data has been interpreted to indicate a smectite-rich regolith material, implying extensive weathering involving aqueous activity and geochemical alteration. An all-igneous source of the Martian fines has also been proposed. The X-ray fluorescence measurement data set can now be fully explained in terms of a simple two-component model. The first component is silicate, having strong geochemical similarities with Shergottites, but not other SNC meteorites. The second component is salt. Variations in these components could produce silicate and salt-rich beds, the latter being of high potential importance for microenvironments in which liquid water (brines) could exist. It therefore would be desirable to scan the surface of the regolith for such prospects.

  5. Martian regolith geochemistry and sampling techniques (United States)

    Clark, B. C.


    Laboratory study of samples of the intermediate and fine-grained regolith, including duricrust peds, is a fundamental prerequisite for understanding the types of physical and chemical weathering processes on Mars. The extraordinary importance of such samples is their relevance to understanding past changes in climate, availability (and possible physical state) of water, eolian forces, the thermal and chemical influences of volcanic and impact processes, and the inventory and fates of Martian volatiles. Fortunately, this regolith material appears to be ubiquitous over the Martian surface, and should be available at many different landing sites. Viking data has been interpreted to indicate a smectite-rich regolith material, implying extensive weathering involving aqueous activity and geochemical alteration. An all-igneous source of the Martian fines has also been proposed. The X-ray fluorescence measurement data set can now be fully explained in terms of a simple two-component model. The first component is silicate, having strong geochemical similarities with Shergottites, but not other SNC meteorites. The second component is salt. Variations in these components could produce silicate and salt-rich beds, the latter being of high potential importance for microenvironments in which liquid water (brines) could exist. It therefore would be desirable to scan the surface of the regolith for such prospects.

  6. Martian Atmospheric Pressure Static Charge Elimination Tool (United States)

    Johansen, Michael R.


    A Martian pressure static charge elimination tool is currently in development in the Electrostatics and Surface Physics Laboratory (ESPL) at NASA's Kennedy Space Center. In standard Earth atmosphere conditions, static charge can be neutralized from an insulating surface using air ionizers. These air ionizers generate ions through corona breakdown. The Martian atmosphere is 7 Torr of mostly carbon dioxide, which makes it inherently difficult to use similar methods as those used for standard atmosphere static elimination tools. An initial prototype has been developed to show feasibility of static charge elimination at low pressure, using corona discharge. A needle point and thin wire loop are used as the corona generating electrodes. A photo of the test apparatus is shown below. Positive and negative high voltage pulses are sent to the needle point. This creates positive and negative ions that can be used for static charge neutralization. In a preliminary test, a floating metal plate was charged to approximately 600 volts under Martian atmospheric conditions. The static elimination tool was enabled and the voltage on the metal plate dropped rapidly to -100 volts. This test data is displayed below. Optimization is necessary to improve the electrostatic balance of the static elimination tool.

  7. Where to search for martian biota? (United States)

    Tasch, Paul


    Martian Salt. Terrestrial halite containing negative crystals which entrapped drops of viscous fluid yielded viable bacteria. The fluid has a Br/Mg ratio which chemist W.T. Holser characterized as a `Permian bittern.' All relevant salt on Mars should be inspected for negative crystals and possible ancient bacterial tenants. Martian Water. Moist soil in the regolith, cooled hydrothermal fluids, sediments of recurrent oceanic water, and related to inferred strand lines, even limited water in future SNC-type meteorites, upper atmosphere liquid water or water vapor, and North Polar liquid water or ice--all liquid water in any form, wherever, should be collected for microbiological analysis. Vent Fauna. Living or fossil thermophiles as trace fossils, or fauna metallicized in relation to sulphide ores. Iron Bacteria. Limonitized magnetite ore (USSR) in thin section showed structures attributed to iron bacteria. Biogenic magnetite, produced by both aerobic and anaerobic bacteria and its significance. Carbonaceous chondrites (non martian) (Ivuna and Orgueil) yielded apparent life forms that could not be attributed to contamination during the given study. Are they extraterrestrial?

  8. Periglacial and glacial analogs for Martian landforms (United States)

    Rossbacher, Lisa A.


    The list of useful terrestrial analogs for Martian landforms has been expanded to include: features developed by desiccation processes; catastrophic flood features associated with boulder-sized materials; and sorted ground developed at a density boundary. Quantitative analytical techniques developed for physical geography have been adapted and applied to planetary studies, including: quantification of the patterns of polygonally fractured ground to describe pattern randomness independent of pattern size, with possible correlation to the mechanism of origin and quantification of the relative area of a geomorphic feature or region in comparison to planetary scale. Information about Martian geomorphology studied in this project was presented at professional meetings world-wide, at seven colleges and universities, in two interactive televised courses, and as part of two books. Overall, this project has expanded the understanding of the range of terrestrial analogs for Martian landforms, including identifying several new analogs. The processes that created these terrestrial features are characterized by both cold temperatures and low humidity, and therefore both freeze-thaw and desiccation processes are important. All these results support the conclusion that water has played a significant role in the geomorphic history of Mars.

  9. Martian meteorites and Martian magnetic anomalies: a new perspective from NWA 7034 (Invited) (United States)

    Gattacceca, J.; Rochette, P.; Scozelli, R. B.; Munayco, P.; Agee, C. B.; Quesnel, Y.; Cournede, C.; Geissman, J. W.


    The magnetic anomalies observed above the Martian Noachian crust [1] require strong crustal remanent magnetization in the 15-60 A/m range over a thickness of 20-50 km [2,3]. The Martian rocks available for study in the form of meteorites do contain magnetic minerals (magnetite and/or pyrrhotite) but in too small amount to account for such strong remanent magnetizations [4]. Even though this contradiction was easily explained by the fact that Martian meteorites (mostly nakhlites and shergottites) are not representative of the Noachian Martian crust, we were left with no satisfactory candidate lithology to account for the Martian magnetic anomalies. The discovery in the Sahara of a new type of Martian meteorite (NWA 7034 [5] and subsequent paired stones which are hydrothermalized volcanic breccia) shed a new light on this question as it contains a much larger amount of ferromagnetic minerals than any other Martian meteorite. We present here a study of the magnetic properties of NWA 7034, together with a review of the magnetic properties of thirty other Martian meteorites. Magnetic measurements (including high and low temperature behavior and Mössbauer spectroscopy) show that NWA 7034 contains about 15 wt.% of magnetite with various degrees of substitution and maghemitization up to pure maghemite, in the pseudo-single domain size range. Pyrrhotite, a common mineral in other Martian meteorites is not detected. Although it is superparamagnetic and cannot carry remanent magnetization, nanophase goethite is present in significant amounts confirming that NWA 7034 is the most oxidized Martian meteorite studied so far, as already indicated by the presence of maghemite (this study) and pyrite [5]. These magnetic properties show that a kilometric layer of a lithology similar to NWA 7034 magnetized in a dynamo field would be enough to account for the strongest Martian magnetic anomalies. Although the petrogenesis of NWA 7034 is still debated, as the brecciation could be either

  10. Mars Sample Return as a Feed-Forward into Planetary Protection for Crewed Missions to the Martian Surface (United States)

    Spry, J. A.; Siegel, B.


    PP implementation is a required part of crewed exploration of Mars. Determining how PP is achieved is contingent on improved knowledge of Mars, best obtained in part by analysis of martian material of known provenance, as part of a Mars Sample Return mission.

  11. Magnesium isotope systematics in Martian meteorites (United States)

    Magna, Tomáš; Hu, Yan; Teng, Fang-Zhen; Mezger, Klaus


    Magnesium isotope compositions are reported for a suite of Martian meteorites that span the range of petrological and geochemical types recognized to date for Mars, including crustal breccia Northwest Africa (NWA) 7034. The δ26Mg values (per mil units relative to DSM-3 reference material) range from -0.32 to -0.11‰; basaltic shergottites and nakhlites lie to the heavier end of the Mg isotope range whereas olivine-phyric, olivine-orthopyroxene-phyric and lherzolitic shergottites, and chassignites have slightly lighter Mg isotope compositions, attesting to modest correlation of Mg isotopes and petrology of the samples. Slightly heavier Mg isotope compositions found for surface-related materials (NWA 7034, black glass fraction of the Tissint shergottite fall; δ26Mg > -0.17‰) indicate measurable Mg isotope difference between the Martian mantle and crust but the true extent of Mg isotope fractionation for Martian surface materials remains unconstrained. The range of δ26Mg values from -0.19 to -0.11‰ in nakhlites is most likely due to accumulation of clinopyroxene during petrogenesis rather than garnet fractionation in the source or assimilation of surface material modified at low temperatures. The rather restricted range in Mg isotope compositions between spatially and temporally distinct mantle-derived samples supports the idea of inefficient/absent major tectonic cycles on Mars, which would include plate tectonics and large-scale recycling of isotopically fractionated surface materials back into the Martian mantle. The cumulative δ26Mg value of Martian samples, which are not influenced by late-stage alteration processes and/or crust-mantle interactions, is - 0.271 ± 0.040 ‰ (2SD) and is considered to reflect δ26Mg value of the Bulk Silicate Mars. This value is robust taking into account the range of lithologies involved in this estimate. It also attests to the lack of the Mg isotope variability reported for the inner Solar System bodies at current

  12. Role of native and exotic woody vegetation in soil restoration in active gully systems (southern Ecuador) (United States)

    Borja Ramon, Pablo; Alvarado Moncayo, Dario; Vanacker, Veerle; Cisneros, Pedro; Molina, Armando; Govers, Gerard


    Revegetation projects in degraded lands have the potential to recover essential soil functions. If vegetation restoration is combined with bioengineering techniques, such as the construction of retention dams in active gully systems, soil restoration could be enhanced. One important aspect of this process is the role of vegetation on restoration of soil chemical and physical properties. There is currently a lack of knowledge on the potential of soil restoration in active badland systems, as most studies have concentrated on the direct and visible effect of revegetation on erosion control. The aim of this study is to evaluate the role of revegetation and bioengineering works on the restoration of soil physical and chemical properties. The analyses are realized in a highly degraded area of 3 km2, located in the lower part of the Loreto catchment (Southern Ecuadorian Andes). First, the soil physical and/or chemical parameters that are most sensitive to track environmental change were evaluated. Second, the role of vegetation on soil restoration was quantified. . Soil samples were taken in sites with different vegetation cover, land use and physiographic position. The following physical and chemical parameters were measured: volumetric water content (θsat, θact), bulk density, pH, texture, organic matter, C and N content. Our first results do not show a clear relationship between volumetric water content at saturation (θsat), bulk density, or C content. The saturation water content does not vary significantly between different sites, or land use types. However, significant differences are found between sites at different stages of restoration; and this for most chemical and physical soil properties. Vegetation cover (%) appears to exert a strong control on the C content in the mineral soils. The highest C values are found in soils of forest plantations with Eucalyptus and Pinus species. These plantations are located in areas that were previously affected by active

  13. Do Martian Blueberries Have Pits? -- Artifacts of an Early Wet Mars (United States)

    Lerman, L.


    Early Martian weather cycles would have supported organic chemical self-organization, the assumed predecessor to an independent "origin" of Martian life. Artifacts of these processes are discussed, including the possibility that Martian blueberries nucleated around organic cores.

  14. Monitoring gully change: A comparison of airborne and terrestrial laser scanning using a case study from Aratula, Queensland (United States)

    Goodwin, Nicholas R.; Armston, John D.; Muir, Jasmine; Stiller, Issac


    Airborne laser scanning (ALS) and terrestrial laser scanning (TLS) technologies capture spatially detailed estimates of surface topography and when collected multi-temporally can be used to assess geomorphic change. The sensitivity and repeatability of ALS measurements to characterise geomorphic change in topographically complex environments such as gullies; however, remains an area lacking quantitative research. In this study, we captured coincident ALS and TLS datasets to assess their ability and synergies to detect geomorphic change for a gully located in Aratula, southeast Queensland, Australia. We initially used the higher spatial density and ranging accuracy of TLS to provide an assessment of the Digital Elevation Models (DEM) derived from ALS within a gully environment. Results indicated mean residual errors of 0.13 and 0.09 m along with standard deviation (SD) of residual errors of 0.20 and 0.16 m using pixel sizes of 0.5 and 1.0 m, respectively. The positive mean residual errors confirm that TLS data consistently detected deeper sections of the gully than ALS. We also compared the repeatability of ALS and TLS for characterising gully morphology. This indicated that the sensitivity to detect change using ALS is substantially lower than TLS, as expected, and that the ALS survey characteristics influence the ability to detect change. Notably, we found that using one ALS transect (mean density of 5 points / m2) as opposed to three transects increased the SD of residual error by approximately 30%. The supplied classification of ALS ground points was also demonstrated to misclassify gully features as non-ground, with minimum elevation filtering found to provide a more accurate DEM of the gully. The number and placement of terrestrial laser scans were also found to influence the derived DEMs. Furthermore, we applied change detection using two ALS data captures over a four year period and four TLS field surveys over an eight month period. This demonstrated that

  15. Gully hotspot contribution to landscape methane (CH4) and carbon dioxide (CO2) fluxes in a northern peatland

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    McNamara, N.P.; Plant, T.; Oakley, S.; Ward, S.; Wood, C.; Ostle, N.


    Peatlands are long term carbon catchments that sink atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO 2 ) and source methane (CH 4 ). In the uplands of the United Kingdom ombrotrophic blanket peatlands commonly exist within Calluna vulgaris (L.) dominated moorland ecosystems. These landscapes contain a range of topographical features that influence local hydrology, climate and plant community composition. In this study we examined the variation in ecosystem CO 2 respiration and net CH 4 fluxes from typical plant-soil systems in dendritic drainage gullies and adjacent blanket peat during the growing season. Typically, Eriophorum spp., Sphagnum spp. and mixed grasses occupied gullies while C. vulgaris dominated in adjacent blanket peat. Gross CO 2 respiration was highest in the areas of Eriophorum spp. (650 ± 140 mg CO 2 m -2 h -1 ) compared to those with Sphagnum spp. (338 ± 49 mg CO 2 m -2 h -1 ), mixed grasses (342 ± 91 mg CO 2 m -2 h -1 ) and C. vulgaris (174 ± 63 mg CO 2 m -2 h -1 ). Measurements of the net CH 4 flux showed higher fluxes from the Eriophorum spp (2.2 ± 0.6 mg CH 4 m -2 h -1 ) locations compared to the Sphagnum spp. (0.6 ± 0.4 mg CH 4 m -2 h -1 ), mixed grasses (0.1 ±0.1 mg CH 4 m -2 h -1 ) and a negligible flux detected from C. vulgaris (0.0 ± 0.0 mg CH 4 m -2 h -1 ) locations. A GIS approach was applied to calculate the contribution of gullies to landscape scale greenhouse gas fluxes. Findings from the Moor House National Nature Reserve in the UK showed that although gullies occupied only 9.3% of the total land surface, gullies accounted for 95.8% and 21.6% of the peatland net CH 4 and CO 2 respiratory fluxes, respectively. The implication of these findings is that the relative contribution of characteristic gully systems need to be considered in estimates of landscape scale peatland greenhouse gas fluxes

  16. Legacies in urban stormwater management and the effect on gully formation in a Piedmont region of the US Mid Atlantic (United States)

    Claessens, L.; Wehner, C. E.; Santangelo, T.; Soroka, A.


    Impervious surfaces in urban areas lead to increased stormwater runoff and produce flashier hydrology which can lead to stream bank erosion and increased sediment delivery to downstream ecosystems. Since the early 1990s the EPA has enforced stormwater regulation and nowadays, practices must be implemented that minimize water quality impacts. However, legacies of stormwater management in pre-regulated areas could be an important factor in the degradation of water quality. From a larger watershed perspective there is therefore a disconnect between investments in newly developed areas where water quality deterioration is perhaps minor vs. minimal investments in pre-regulation areas where water quality deterioration is perhaps major. In this study we examine such legacies in urban stormwater management and the effect on gully formation, with the objective to identify hotspots of water quality degradation and optimal locations for reducing water quality impacts. Our research primarily focuses on older developments (pre-1990s) in the Piedmont region of the Christina River basin (CRB), a tributary of the Delaware River. Many of the streams in the CRB have impaired water quality. We used a combination of methodological approaches, including historical surveys (aerial imagery, land-use maps, stormwater design reports), field observations (WQ sampling, topographic surveys), hydrological modeling, and geospatial analysis. We developed a simple GIS-based model that predicts susceptibility for gully erosion. The model calculates runoff (using Curve Number method), performs hydrologic routing, and based on topographic indices it estimates gully susceptibility for stream reaches draining urban developments. Our results show that the gully susceptibility model produces accurate predictions, including the location of deeply incised gullies. Through geospatial analysis we also identify benefits of structural stormwater control measures and BMPs, and the role of spatial variable land

  17. Assessment of UAV and Ground-Based Structure from Motion with Multi-View Stereo Photogrammetry in a Gullied Savanna Catchment

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Jack Koci


    Full Text Available Structure from Motion with Multi-View Stereo photogrammetry (SfM-MVS is increasingly used in geoscience investigations, but has not been thoroughly tested in gullied savanna systems. The aim of this study was to test the accuracy of topographic models derived from aerial (via Unmanned Aerial Vehicle, ‘UAV’ and ground-based (via handheld digital camera, ‘ground’ SfM-MVS in modelling hillslope gully systems in a dry-tropical savanna, and to assess the strengths and limitations of the approach at a hillslope scale and an individual gully scale. UAV surveys covered three separate hillslope gully systems (with areas of 0.412–0.715 km2, while ground surveys assessed individual gullies within the broader systems (with areas of 350–750 m2. SfM-MVS topographic models, including Digital Surface Models (DSM and dense point clouds, were compared against RTK-GPS point data and a pre-existing airborne LiDAR Digital Elevation Model (DEM. Results indicate that UAV SfM-MVS can deliver topographic models with a resolution and accuracy suitable to define gully systems at a hillslope scale (e.g., approximately 0.1 m resolution with 0.4–1.2 m elevation error, while ground-based SfM-MVS is more capable of quantifying gully morphology (e.g., approximately 0.01 m resolution with 0.04–0.1 m elevation error. Despite difficulties in reconstructing vegetated surfaces, uncertainty as to optimal survey and processing designs, and high computational demands, this study has demonstrated great potential for SfM-MVS to be used as a cost-effective tool to aid in the mapping, modelling and management of hillslope gully systems at different scales, in savanna landscapes and elsewhere.

  18. The engineering of a nuclear thermal landing and ascent vehicle utilizing indigenous Martian propellant (United States)

    Zubrin, Robert M.


    A design study of a novel space transportation concept called NIMF (Nuclear rocket using Indigenous Martian Fuel) is reported. In this concept, Martian CO2 gas, which constitutes 95 percent of the atmosphere, is liquified by simple compression to about 100 psi and remains stable without refrigeration. When heated and exhausted out of a rocket nozzle, a specific impulse of about 264 s can be achieved, sufficient for flights from the surface to highly energetic orbits or from one point on the surface to any other point. The propellant acquisition system can travel with the vehicle, allowing it to refuel itself each time it lands. The concept offers unequalled potential to achieve planetwide mobility, allowing complete global access for the exploration of Mars. By eliminating the necessity of transporting ascent propellant to Mars, the NIMF can also significantly reduce the initial mass in LEO and of a manned Mars mission.

  19. An Examination of "The Martian" Trajectory (United States)

    Burke, Laura


    This analysis was performed to support a request to examine the trajectory of the Hermes vehicle in the novel "The Martian" by Andy Weir. Weir developed his own tool to perform the analysis necessary to provide proper trajectory information for the novel. The Hermes vehicle is the interplanetary spacecraft that shuttles the crew to and from Mars. It is notionally a Nuclear powered vehicle utilizing VASIMR engines for propulsion. The intent of this analysis was the determine whether the trajectory as it was outlined in the novel is consistent with the rules of orbital mechanics.

  20. Martian Surface as Seen by Phoenix (United States)


    This anaglyph, acquired by NASA's Phoenix Lander's Surface Stereo Imager on Sol 36, the 36th Martian day of the mission (July 1, 2008), shows a stereoscopic 3D view of a trench informally called 'Snow White' dug by Phoenix's Robotic Arm. Phoenix's solar panel is seen in the bottom right corner of the image. The Phoenix Mission is led by the University of Arizona, Tucson, on behalf of NASA. Project management of the mission is by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. Spacecraft development is by Lockheed Martin Space Systems, Denver.

  1. Coastal geomorphology of the Martian northern plains (United States)

    Parker, Timothy J.; Gorsline, Donn S.; Saunders, Stephen R.; Pieri, David C.; Schneeberger, Dale M.


    The paper considers the question of the formation of the outflow channels and valley networks discovered on the Martian northern plains during the Mariner 9 mission. Parker and Saunders (1987) and Parker et al. (1987, 1989) data are used to describe key features common both in the lower reaches of the outflow channels and within and along the margins of the entire northern plains. It is suggested, that of the geological processes capable of producing similar morphologies on earth, lacustrine or marine deposition and subsequent periglacial modification offer the simplest and most consistent explanation for the suit of features found on Mars.

  2. Pb evolution in the Martian mantle (United States)

    Bellucci, J. J.; Nemchin, A. A.; Whitehouse, M. J.; Snape, J. F.; Bland, P.; Benedix, G. K.; Roszjar, J.


    The initial Pb compositions of one enriched shergottite, one intermediate shergottite, two depleted shergottites, and Nakhla have been measured by Secondary Ion Mass Spectrometry (SIMS). These values, in addition to data from previous studies using an identical analytical method performed on three enriched shergottites, ALH 84001, and Chassigny, are used to construct a unified and internally consistent model for the differentiation history of the Martian mantle and crystallization ages for Martian meteorites. The differentiation history of the shergottites and Nakhla/Chassigny are fundamentally different, which is in agreement with short-lived radiogenic isotope systematics. The initial Pb compositions of Nakhla/Chassigny are best explained by the late addition of a Pb-enriched component with a primitive, non-radiogenic composition. In contrast, the Pb isotopic compositions of the shergottite group indicate a relatively simple evolutionary history of the Martian mantle that can be modeled based on recent results from the Sm-Nd system. The shergottites have been linked to a single mantle differentiation event at 4504 Ma. Thus, the shergottite Pb isotopic model here reflects a two-stage history 1) pre-silicate differentiation (4504 Ma) and 2) post-silicate differentiation to the age of eruption (as determined by concordant radiogenic isochron ages). The μ-values (238U/204Pb) obtained for these two different stages of Pb growth are μ1 of 1.8 and a range of μ2 from 1.4-4.7, respectively. The μ1-value of 1.8 is in broad agreement with enstatite and ordinary chondrites and that proposed for proto Earth, suggesting this is the initial μ-value for inner Solar System bodies. When plotted against other source radiogenic isotopic variables (Sri, γ187Os, ε143Nd, and ε176Hf), the second stage mantle evolution range in observed mantle μ-values display excellent linear correlations (r2 > 0.85) and represent a spectrum of Martian mantle mixing-end members (depleted

  3. Mars MetNet Mission - Martian Atmospheric Observational Post Network (United States)

    Hari, Ari-Matti; Haukka, Harri; Aleksashkin, Sergey; Arruego, Ignacio; Schmidt, Walter; Genzer, Maria; Vazquez, Luis; Siikonen, Timo; Palin, Matti


    A new kind of planetary exploration mission for Mars is under development in collaboration between the Finnish Meteorological Institute (FMI), Lavochkin Association (LA), Space Research Institute (IKI) and Institutio Nacional de Tecnica Aerospacial (INTA). The Mars MetNet mission is based on a new semi-hard landing vehicle called MetNet Lander (MNL). The scientific payload of the Mars MetNet Precursor [1] mission is divided into three categories: Atmospheric instruments, Optical devices and Composition and structure devices. Each of the payload instruments will provide significant insights in to the Martian atmospheric behavior. The key technologies of the MetNet Lander have been qualified and the electrical qualification model (EQM) of the payload bay has been built and successfully tested. 1. MetNet Lander The MetNet landing vehicles are using an inflatable entry and descent system instead of rigid heat shields and parachutes as earlier semi-hard landing devices have used. This way the ratio of the payload mass to the overall mass is optimized. The landing impact will burrow the payload container into the Martian soil providing a more favorable thermal environment for the electronics and a suitable orientation of the telescopic boom with external sensors and the radio link antenna. It is planned to deploy several tens of MNLs on the Martian surface operating at least partly at the same time to allow meteorological network science. 2. Strawman Scientific Payload The strawman payload of the two MNL precursor models includes the following instruments: Atmospheric instruments: - MetBaro Pressure device - MetHumi Humidity device - MetTemp Temperature sensors Optical devices: - PanCam Panoramic - MetSIS Solar irradiance sensor with OWLS optical wireless system for data transfer - DS Dust sensor Composition and Structure Devices: Tri-axial magnetometer MOURA Tri-axial System Accelerometer The descent processes dynamic properties are monitored by a special 3-axis

  4. Numerical and experimental study of the fundamental flow characteristics of a 3D gully box under drainage. (United States)

    Lopes, Pedro; Carvalho, Rita F; Leandro, Jorge


    Numerical studies regarding the influence of entrapped air on the hydraulic performance of gullies are nonexistent. This is due to the lack of a model that simulates the air-entrainment phenomena and consequently the entrapped air. In this work, we used experimental data to validate an air-entrainment model that uses a Volume-of-Fluid based method to detect the interface and the Shear-stress transport k-ω turbulence model. The air is detected in a sub-grid scale, generated by a source term and transported using a slip velocity formulation. Results are shown in terms of free-surface elevation, velocity profiles, turbulent kinetic energy and discharge coefficients. The air-entrainment model allied to the turbulence model showed a good accuracy in the prediction of the zones of the gully where the air is more concentrated.


    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Ricardo Reis Alves


    Full Text Available A gully located in urban area of Uberlândia city - MG had been chosen as aresearch area. In this city, the gully is located in a district called Jardim Karaíba, which is inHydrographic Basin of the Lagoinha brook.Uberlândia is located in a region know as Cerrado (a kind of savanna. Thisregion shown sandy soils in the highest lands and organic soils in the bottom of the valleys(lowest lands, Sandstone of the Marília Formation and Basalts of the Serra Geral Formation,the most part of the vegetal species are grassy and bushs, the climate is the Wet Tropical(CWA, according to Cöpper which holds a wet and hot season and other dry and with lowertemperatures (each season has a duration approximated of 6 months.

  6. Biosignatures on Mars: What, Where, and How? Implications for the Search for Martian Life. (United States)

    Westall, Frances; Foucher, Frédéric; Bost, Nicolas; Bertrand, Marylène; Loizeau, Damien; Vago, Jorge L; Kminek, Gerhard; Gaboyer, Frédéric; Campbell, Kathleen A; Bréhéret, Jean-Gabriel; Gautret, Pascale; Cockell, Charles S


    The search for traces of life is one of the principal objectives of Mars exploration. Central to this objective is the concept of habitability, the set of conditions that allows the appearance of life and successful establishment of microorganisms in any one location. While environmental conditions may have been conducive to the appearance of life early in martian history, habitable conditions were always heterogeneous on a spatial scale and in a geological time frame. This "punctuated" scenario of habitability would have had important consequences for the evolution of martian life, as well as for the presence and preservation of traces of life at a specific landing site. We hypothesize that, given the lack of long-term, continuous habitability, if martian life developed, it was (and may still be) chemotrophic and anaerobic. Obtaining nutrition from the same kinds of sources as early terrestrial chemotrophic life and living in the same kinds of environments, the fossilized traces of the latter serve as useful proxies for understanding the potential distribution of martian chemotrophs and their fossilized traces. Thus, comparison with analog, anaerobic, volcanic terrestrial environments (Early Archean >3.5-3.33 Ga) shows that the fossil remains of chemotrophs in such environments were common, although sparsely distributed, except in the vicinity of hydrothermal activity where nutrients were readily available. Moreover, the traces of these kinds of microorganisms can be well preserved, provided that they are rapidly mineralized and that the sediments in which they occur are rapidly cemented. We evaluate the biogenicity of these signatures by comparing them to possible abiotic features. Finally, we discuss the implications of different scenarios for life on Mars for detection by in situ exploration, ranging from its non-appearance, through preserved traces of life, to the presence of living microorganisms. Mars-Early Earth-Anaerobic chemotrophs

  7. Synthesis of Sol-Gel Precursors for Ceramics from Lunar and Martian Soil Simulars (United States)

    Sibille, L.; Gavira-Gallardo, J. A.; Hourlier-Bahloul, D.


    Recent NASA mission plans for the human exploration of our Solar System has set new priorities for research and development of technologies necessary to enable a long-term human presence on the Moon and Mars. The recovery and processing of metals and oxides from mineral sources on other planets is under study to enable use of ceramics, glasses and metals by explorer outposts. We report initial results on the production of sol-gel precursors for ceramic products using mineral resources available in martian or lunar soil. The presence of SO2, TiO2, and Al2O3 in both martian (44 wt.% SiO2, 1 wt.% TiO2, 7 wt.% Al2O3) and lunar (48 wt.% SiO2, 1.5 wt.% TiO2, 16 wt.% Al2O3) soils and the recent developments in chemical processes to solubilize silicates using organic reagents and relatively little energy indicate that such an endeavor is possible. In order to eliminate the risks involved in the use of hydrofluoric acid to dissolve silicates, two distinct chemical routes are investigated to obtain soluble silicon oxide precursors from lunar and martian soil simulars. Clear solutions of sol-gel precursors have been obtained by dissolution of silica from lunar soil similar JSC-1 in basic ethylene glycol (C2H4(OH)2) solutions to form silicon glycolates. Similarly, sol-gel solutions produced from martian soil simulars reveal higher contents of iron oxides. Characterization of the precursor molecules and efforts to further concentrate and hydrolyze the products to obtain gel materials will be presented for evaluation as ceramic precursors.

  8. Synthesis of Sol-Gel Precursors for Ceramics from Lunar and Martian Soil Simulars (United States)

    Sibille, L.; Gavira-Gallardo, J. A.; Hourlier-Bahloul, D.


    Recent NASA mission plans for the human exploration of our Solar System has set new priorities for research and development of technologies necessary to enable a long-term human presence on the Moon and Mars. The recovery and processing of metals and oxides from mineral sources on other planets is under study to enable use of ceramics, glasses and metals by explorer outposts. We report initial results on the production of sol-gel precursors for ceramic products using mineral resources available in martian or lunar soil. The presence of SiO2, TiO2, and Al2O3 in both martian (44 wt.% SiO2, 1 wt.% TiO2,7 wt.% Al2O3) and lunar (48 wt.% SiO2, 1.5 wt.% TiO2, 16 wt.% Al2O3) soils and the recent developments in chemical processes to solubilize silicates using organic reagents and relatively little energy indicate that such an endeavor is possible. In order to eliminate the risks involved in the use of hydrofluoric acid to dissolve silicates, two distinct chemical routes are investigated to obtain soluble silicon oxide precursors from lunar and martian soil simulars. Clear solutions of sol-gel precursors have been obtained by dissolution of silica from lunar soil simular in basic ethylene glycol (C2H4(OH)2) solutions to form silicon glycolates. Similarly, sol-gel solutions produced from martian soil simulars reveal higher contents of iron oxides. The elemental composition and structure of the precursor molecules were characterized. Further concentration and hydrolysis of the products was performed to obtain gel materials for evaluation as ceramic precursors.

  9. An extensive phase space for the potential martian biosphere. (United States)

    Jones, Eriita G; Lineweaver, Charles H; Clarke, Jonathan D


    We present a comprehensive model of martian pressure-temperature (P-T) phase space and compare it with that of Earth. Martian P-T conditions compatible with liquid water extend to a depth of ∼310 km. We use our phase space model of Mars and of terrestrial life to estimate the depths and extent of the water on Mars that is habitable for terrestrial life. We find an extensive overlap between inhabited terrestrial phase space and martian phase space. The lower martian surface temperatures and shallower martian geotherm suggest that, if there is a hot deep biosphere on Mars, it could extend 7 times deeper than the ∼5 km depth of the hot deep terrestrial biosphere in the crust inhabited by hyperthermophilic chemolithotrophs. This corresponds to ∼3.2% of the volume of present-day Mars being potentially habitable for terrestrial-like life.

  10. Generation, transport and preservation of armoured mudballs in an ephemeral gully system (United States)

    Mather, Anne; Stokes, Martin; Pirrie, Duncan; Hartley, Richard


    Armoured mudballs have been reported from modern fluvial catchments and preserved in ancient (Quaternary and older) sedimentary sequences. Despite many descriptions of mudballs in the literature there is little systematic analysis of their physical properties, genesis, transport and deposition within alluvial sequences. This study uses two adjacent catchments developed on identical geology in southeast Spain that offer a unique opportunity to examine the key controls on armoured mudball development as one catchment produces armoured mudball whilst the second does not. Field survey using a Total Station together with laboratory tests for material composition and aggregate stability were used to examine the catchment and the armoured mudballs. The results show that the generation of the armoured mudballs is heavily dependent on the correct sediment supply (suitable aggregates to act as mudball 'seeds', and suitable fragments to source the armour) and good slope-channel coupling within the catchment. Coupling is facilitated by steep gully sides which deliver the weathered blocks of marl (mudball 'seeds') to the gully floor. The 'seeds' form the core of the mudballs in the 'mudball factory' zone. If the 'seeds' are subjected to sealing by moisture from rainfall the mudball will hold together through negative pore pressures and can be transported by the ensuing gully flow. As the mudball rolls it picks up a surface armour which becomes embedded into the mudball. With longer transport paths the turbulent nature of the flow creates spherical mudballs which are size sorted downstream by the hydraulics of the flow rather than attrition. Armoured mudball deposition occurs within unit braid bars in areas of waning flow (due to transmission losses), within vegetated, point or mid-channel bars. The armoured mudballs are preferentially deposited within the coarser bar head of these depositional units, with smaller marl fragments forming the finer bar tail. Trenching of the bars

  11. Low Cost Mars Surface Exploration: The Mars Tumbleweed (United States)

    Antol, Jeffrey; Calhoun, Philip; Flick, John; Hajos, Gregory; Kolacinski, Richard; Minton, David; Owens, Rachel; Parker, Jennifer


    The "Mars Tumbleweed," a rover concept that would utilize surface winds for mobility, is being examined as a low cost complement to the current Mars exploration efforts. Tumbleweeds carrying microinstruments would be driven across the Martian landscape by wind, searching for areas of scientific interest. These rovers, relatively simple, inexpensive, and deployed in large numbers to maximize coverage of the Martian surface, would provide a broad scouting capability to identify specific sites for exploration by more complex rover and lander missions.

  12. Assessing the repeatability of terrestrial laser scanning for monitoring gully topography: A case study from Aratula, Queensland, Australia (United States)

    Goodwin, Nicholas Robert; Armston, John; Stiller, Isaac; Muir, Jasmine


    Terrestrial laser scanning (TLS) technology is a powerful tool for quantifying gully morphology and monitoring change over time. This is due to the high sampling density, sub-centimetre positional accuracies (x, y, z), flexibility of survey configurations and ability to link multiple TLS scans together. However, to ensure correct interpretation of results, research is needed to test the repeatability of TLS derived products to quantify the accuracy and separate 'false' from 'true' geomorphic change. In this study, we use the RIEGL VZ400 scanner to test the repeatability of TLS datasets for mapping gully morphology. We then quantify change following a rainfall event of approximately 100 mm. Our study site, located in south-east Queensland, Australia was chosen to be challenging from a repeatability perspective with high topographic variability. The TLS data capture involved three sets of linked scans: one survey pre-rainfall, to be compared to two surveys post-rainfall acquired on consecutive days. Change is considered negligible in the two post-rainfall scans to test survey repeatability. To verify TLS accuracy, an independent dataset of gully extent and spot heights were acquired using traditional total station techniques. Results confirm that the TLS datasets can be registered multi-temporally at sub-centimetre levels of accuracy in three dimensions. Total station and TLS elevation samples showed strong agreement with a mean error and standard deviation (SD) of residuals equal to 0.052 and 0.047 m, respectively (n = 889). Significantly, our repeatability tests found that return type and pulse deviation influence the accuracy and repeatability of DEMs in gully environments. Analysis of consecutive day datasets showed that DEMs derived from first return data recorded 40% higher SD of residual error than DEMs using multiple return data. A significant empirical relationship between pulse deviation and the variance of residuals for repeat DEMs is also shown (r2 = 0

  13. SF3M software: 3-D photo-reconstruction for non-expert users and its application to a gully network (United States)

    Castillo, C.; James, M. R.; Redel-Macías, M. D.; Pérez, R.; Gómez, J. A.


    Three-dimensional photo-reconstruction (PR) techniques have been successfully used to produce high-resolution surface models for different applications and over different spatial scales. However, innovative approaches are required to overcome some limitations that this technique may present for field image acquisition in challenging scene geometries. Here, we evaluate SF3M, a new graphical user interface for implementing a complete PR workflow based on freely available software (including external calls to VisualSFM and CloudCompare), in combination with a low-cost survey design for the reconstruction of a several-hundred-metres-long gully network. SF3M provided a semi-automated workflow for 3-D reconstruction requiring ~ 49 h (of which only 17 % required operator assistance) for obtaining a final gully network model of > 17 million points over a gully plan area of 4230 m2. We show that a walking itinerary along the gully perimeter using two lightweight automatic cameras (1 s time-lapse mode) and a 6 m long pole is an efficient method for 3-D monitoring of gullies, at a low cost (~ EUR 1000 budget for the field equipment) and the time requirements (~ 90 min for image collection). A mean error of 6.9 cm at the ground control points was found, mainly due to model deformations derived from the linear geometry of the gully and residual errors in camera calibration. The straightforward image collection and processing approach can be of great benefit for non-expert users working on gully erosion assessment.

  14. Partial cranium of Cercopithecoides kimeui Leakey, 1982 from Rawi Gully, southwestern Kenya. (United States)

    Frost, Stephen R; Plummer, Thomas; Bishop, Laura C; Ditchfield, Peter; Ferraro, Joseph; Hicks, Jason


    The Rawi Gully, located on the Homa Peninsula in southwestern Kenya, has produced several fossil elements of a large cercopithecid from sediments approximately 2.5 million years old (Ma). Nearly all of these elements appear to represent a single adult male individual of the colobine species Cercopithecoides kimeui Leakey, 1982. Part of the face, mandible, dentition, and several small postcranial fragments were collected by the Homa Peninsula Paleoanthropological Project (HPPP) in 1994 and 1995. This individual also appears to be represented by material collected in two previous expeditions to the site, one led by David Pilbeam in the 1970s and an earlier expedition led by L.S.B. Leakey in 1933. This specimen may extend the first appearance of C. kimeui by approximately 500 Kyr, and provides the first evidence for much of the male facial morphology in this species. Furthermore, Rawi may represent a more wooded habitat than the other occurrences of C. kimeui at Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania, and Koobi Fora, Kenya, indicating that C. kimeui may have been relatively flexible in its habitat preferences. Copyright 2003 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

  15. Quantifying uncertainty in high-resolution remotely sensed topographic surveys for ephemeral gully channel monitoring (United States)

    Wells, Robert R.; Momm, Henrique G.; Castillo, Carlos


    Spatio-temporal measurements of landform evolution provide the basis for process-based theory formulation and validation. Over time, field measurements of landforms have increased significantly worldwide, driven primarily by the availability of new surveying technologies. However, there is no standardized or coordinated effort within the scientific community to collect morphological data in a dependable and reproducible manner, specifically when performing long-term small-scale process investigation studies. Measurements of the same site using identical methods and equipment, but performed at different time periods, may lead to incorrect estimates of landform change as a result of three-dimensional registration errors. This work evaluated measurements of an ephemeral gully channel located on agricultural land using multiple independent survey techniques for locational accuracy and their applicability in generating information for model development and validation. Terrestrial and unmanned aerial vehicle photogrammetry platforms were compared to terrestrial lidar, defined herein as the reference dataset. Given the small scale of the measured landform, the alignment and ensemble equivalence between data sources was addressed through postprocessing. The utilization of ground control points was a prerequisite to three-dimensional registration between datasets and improved the confidence in the morphology information generated. None of the methods were without limitation; however, careful attention to project preplanning and data nature will ultimately guide the temporal efficacy and practicality of management decisions.

  16. Application of an Evolutionary Algorithm for Parameter Optimization in a Gully Erosion Model

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Rengers, Francis; Lunacek, Monte; Tucker, Gregory


    Herein we demonstrate how to use model optimization to determine a set of best-fit parameters for a landform model simulating gully incision and headcut retreat. To achieve this result we employed the Covariance Matrix Adaptation Evolution Strategy (CMA-ES), an iterative process in which samples are created based on a distribution of parameter values that evolve over time to better fit an objective function. CMA-ES efficiently finds optimal parameters, even with high-dimensional objective functions that are non-convex, multimodal, and non-separable. We ran model instances in parallel on a high-performance cluster, and from hundreds of model runs we obtained the best parameter choices. This method is far superior to brute-force search algorithms, and has great potential for many applications in earth science modeling. We found that parameters representing boundary conditions tended to converge toward an optimal single value, whereas parameters controlling geomorphic processes are defined by a range of optimal values.

  17. Stratigraphy of the Martian northern plains (United States)

    Tanaka, K. L.


    The northern plains of Mars are roughly defined as the large continuous region of lowlands that lies below Martian datum, plus higher areas within the region that were built up by volcanism, sedimentation, tectonism, and impacts. These northern lowlands span about 50 x 10(exp 6) km(sup 2) or 35 percent of the planet's surface. The age and origin of the lowlands continue to be debated by proponents of impact and tectonic explanations. Geologic mapping and topical studies indicate that volcanic, fluvial, and eolian deposition have played major roles in the infilling of this vast depression. Periglacial, glacial, fluvial, eolian, tectonic, and impact processes have locally modified the surface. Because of the northern plains' complex history of sedimentation and modification, much of their stratigraphy was obscured. Thus the stratigraphy developed is necessarily vague and provisional: it is based on various clues from within the lowlands as well as from highland areas within and bordering the plains. The results are summarized.

  18. The Electric Environment of Martian Dust Devils (United States)

    Barth, E. L.; Farrell, W. M.; Rafkin, S. C.


    While Martian dust devils have been monitored through decades of observations, we have yet to study their possible electrical effects from in situ instrumentation. However, evidence for the existence of active electrodynamic processes on Mars is provided by laboratory studies of analog material and field campaigns of dust devils on Earth. We have enabled our Mars regional scale atmospheric model (MRAMS) to estimate an upper limit on electric fields generated through dust devil circulations by including charged particles as defined from the Macroscopic Triboelectric Simulation (MTS) code. MRAMS is used to investigate the complex physics of regional, mesoscale, and microscale atmospheric phenomena on Mars; it is a 3-D, nonhydrostatic model, which permits the simulation of atmospheric flows with large vertical accelerations, such as dust devils. MTS is a 3-D particle code which quantifies charging associated with swirling, mixing dust grains; grains of pre-defined sizes and compositions are placed in a simulation box and allowed to move under the influence of winds and gravity. Our MRAMS grid cell size makes our results most applicable to dust devils of a few hundred meters in diameter. We have run a number of simulations to understand the sensitivity of the electric field strength to the particle size and abundance and the amount of charge on each dust grain. We find that Efields can indeed develop in Martian dust convective features via dust grain filtration effects. The overall value of these E-fields is strongly dependent upon dust grain size, dust load, and lifting efficiency, and field strengths can range from 100s of mV/m to 10s of kV/m.

  19. Martian Surface Mineralogy from Rovers with Spirit, Opportunity, and Curiosity (United States)

    Morris, Richard V.


    Beginning in 2004, NASA has landed three well-instrumented rovers on the equatorial martian surface. The Spirit rover landed in Gusev crater in early January, 2004, and the Opportunity rover landed on the opposite side of Mars at Meridian Planum 21 days later. The Curiosity rover landed in Gale crater to the west of Gusev crater in August, 2012. Both Opportunity and Curiosity are currently operational. The twin rovers Spirit and Opportunity carried Mossbauer spectrometers to determine the oxidation state of iron and its mineralogical composition. The Curiosity rover has an X-ray diffraction instrument for identification and quantification of crystalline materials including clay minerals. Instrument suites on all three rovers are capable of distinguishing primary rock-forming minerals like olivine, pyroxene and magnetite and products of aqueous alteration in including amorphous iron oxides, hematite, goethite, sulfates, and clay minerals. The oxidation state of iron ranges from that typical for unweathered rocks and soils to nearly completely oxidized (weathered) rocks and soils as products of aqueous and acid-sulfate alteration. The in situ rover mineralogy also serves as ground-truth for orbital observations, and orbital mineralogical inferences are used for evaluating and planning rover exploration.

  20. Vertical transport of water in the Martian boundary layer (United States)

    Zent, Aaron P.; Haberle, R. M.; Houben, Howard C.


    We are continuing our examination of the transport of H2O through the martian boundary layer, and we have written a one-dimensional numerical model of the exchange of H2O between the atmosphere and subsurface of Mars through the planetary boundary layer (PBL). Our goal is to explore the mechanisms of H2O exchange, and to elucidate the role played by the regolith in the local H2O budget. The atmospheric model includes effects of Coriolis, pressure gradient, and frictional forces for momentum, as well as radiation, sensible heat flux, and advection for heat. The model differs from Flasar and Goody by use of appropriate Viking-based physical constants and inclusion of the radiative effects of atmospheric dust. We specify the pressure gradient force or compute it from a simple slope model. The subsurface model accounts for conduction of heat and diffusion of H2O through a porous adsorbing medium in response to diurnal forcing. The model is initialized with depth-independent H2O concentrations (2 kg M(exp -3)) in the regolith, and a dry atmosphere. The model terminates when the atmospheric H2O column abundance stabilizes at 0.1 percent per sol.

  1. APXS-derived chemistry of the Bagnold dune sands: Comparisons with Gale Crater soils and the global Martian average (United States)

    O'Connell-Cooper, C. D.; Spray, J. G.; Thompson, L. M.; Gellert, R.; Berger, J. A.; Boyd, N. I.; Desouza, E. D.; Perrett, G. M.; Schmidt, M.; VanBommel, S. J.


    We present Alpha-Particle X-ray Spectrometer (APXS) data for the active Bagnold dune field within the Gale impact crater (Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) mission). We derive an APXS-based average basaltic soil (ABS) composition for Mars based on past and recent data from the MSL and Mars Exploration Rover (MER) missions. This represents an update to the Taylor and McLennan (2009) average Martian soil and facilitates comparison across Martian data sets. The active Bagnold dune field is compositionally distinct from the ABS, with elevated Mg, Ni, and Fe, suggesting mafic mineral enrichment and uniformly low levels of S, Cl, and Zn, indicating only a minimal dust component. A relationship between decreasing grain size and increasing felsic content is revealed. The Bagnold sands possess the lowest S/Cl of all Martian unconsolidated materials. Gale soils exhibit relatively uniform major element compositions, similar to Meridiani Planum and Gusev Crater basaltic soils (MER missions). However, they show minor enrichments in K, Cr, Mn, and Fe, which may signify a local contribution. The lithified eolian Stimson Formation within the Gale impact crater is compositionally similar to the ABS and Bagnold sands, which provide a modern analogue for these ancient eolian deposits. Compilation of APXS-derived soil data reveals a generally homogenous global composition for Martian soils but one that can be locally modified due to past or extant geologic processes that are limited in both space and time.

  2. Plasma Extraction of Oxygen from Martian Atmosphere, Phase I (United States)

    National Aeronautics and Space Administration — Plasma techniques are proposed for the extraction of oxygen from the abundant carbon dioxide contained in the Martian atmosphere (96 % CO2). In this process, CO2 is...

  3. North-Polar Martian Cap as Habitat for Elementary Life (United States)

    Wallis, M. K.; Wickramasinghe, J. T.; Wickramasinghe, N. C.


    through the dirt-encrusted ice cliff [7]. Thermal conduction through the dirt crust limits sublimation of underlying ice. This allows use of the thermal wave solution: where the thermal diffusivity α combining conductivity and specific heat is taken constant and τ0 = 1.88 yr is the martian year. As in [6] we adopt a sinusoidal temperature variation and take α = 0.0001 m²/hour. Like the martian ground ice case, the transition from dirt to ice is quite sharp. The surface temperature variation at the polar cap determined from local radiative balance is largely determined by albedo, while sublimation losses from a south-facing cliff are concentrated in the summer months. For fresh frost, the albedo is close to unity but values 0.6-0.8 allow for varying amounts of exposed dirt or dust, as explored in Figure 1. This shows the integrated ice loss over one martian year (687 Earth days) using the thermal wave solution and the Clausius-Clapeyron equation for ice sublimation: for T in degrees Kelvin. The solutions in Fig. 1 indicate a 10-15cm dirt crust develops quite quickly, within a few decades, becoming thick enough to choke back the sublimation rate to under 1mm/yr, compatible with the age of the cliffs. Less steep slopes develop rather thinner crusts. The seasonal thermal wave of Equ.1 applies for depths exceeding ~5cm (two diurnal skin depths). For A of 0.6, Fig. 1 shows a 10 cm thick crust builds up in ~30yr; this thick a crust may plausibly be maintained against weathering processes. If A10 cm within a few years and the self-sealing (deposition) and flow-retarding (adsorption/desorption) properties become significant in the thicker and hotter crust [5]. For A>0.7, a 5 cm crust cuts the sublimation rate to law to Δ > 10 m and gives a functional fit Ψ = 1.5 x 10-12 Δ-3.1 / km2.yr from Δ = 10 m to 100 m. (3) The volume integral of the excavated mass equates to an average `gardening' rate ~1 cm / Myr, dominated by the smallest craters ~ 0.3m deep. The craters are sparse

  4. Alteration of Sedimentary Clasts in Martian Meteorite Northwest Africa 7034 (United States)

    McCubbin, F. M.; Tartese, R.; Santos, A. R.; Domokos, G.; Muttik, N.; Szabo, T.; Vazquez, J.; Boyce, J. W.; Keller, L. P.; Jerolmack, D. J.; hide


    The martian meteorite Northwest Africa (NWA) 7034 and pairings represent the first brecciated hand sample available for study from the martian surface [1]. Detailed investigations of NWA 7034 have revealed substantial lithologic diversity among the clasts [2-3], making NWA 7034 a polymict breccia. NWA 7034 consists of igneous clasts, impact-melt clasts, and "sedimentary" clasts represented by prior generations of brecciated material. In the present study we conduct a detailed textural and geochemical analysis of the sedimentary clasts.

  5. Accuracy of topographic index models at identifying ephemeral gully trajectories on agricultural fields (United States)

    Sheshukov, Aleksey Y.; Sekaluvu, Lawrence; Hutchinson, Stacy L.


    Topographic index (TI) models have been widely used to predict trajectories and initiation points of ephemeral gullies (EGs) in agricultural landscapes. Prediction of EGs strongly relies on the selected value of critical TI threshold, and the accuracy depends on topographic features, agricultural management, and datasets of observed EGs. This study statistically evaluated the predictions by TI models in two paired watersheds in Central Kansas that had different levels of structural disturbances due to implemented conservation practices. Four TI models with sole dependency on topographic factors of slope, contributing area, and planform curvature were used in this study. The observed EGs were obtained by field reconnaissance and through the process of hydrological reconditioning of digital elevation models (DEMs). The Kernel Density Estimation analysis was used to evaluate TI distribution within a 10-m buffer of the observed EG trajectories. The EG occurrence within catchments was analyzed using kappa statistics of the error matrix approach, while the lengths of predicted EGs were compared with the observed dataset using the Nash-Sutcliffe Efficiency (NSE) statistics. The TI frequency analysis produced bi-modal distribution of topographic indexes with the pixels within the EG trajectory having a higher peak. The graphs of kappa and NSE versus critical TI threshold showed similar profile for all four TI models and both watersheds with the maximum value representing the best comparison with the observed data. The Compound Topographic Index (CTI) model presented the overall best accuracy with NSE of 0.55 and kappa of 0.32. The statistics for the disturbed watershed showed higher best critical TI threshold values than for the undisturbed watershed. Structural conservation practices implemented in the disturbed watershed reduced ephemeral channels in headwater catchments, thus producing less variability in catchments with EGs. The variation in critical thresholds for all

  6. A preliminary assessment of the impact of landslide, earthflow, and gully erosion on soil carbon stocks in New Zealand (United States)

    Basher, Les; Betts, Harley; Lynn, Ian; Marden, Mike; McNeill, Stephen; Page, Mike; Rosser, Brenda


    In geomorphically active landscapes such as New Zealand, quantitative data on the relationship between erosion and soil carbon (C) are needed to establish the effect of erosion on past soil C stocks and future stock changes. The soil C model currently used in New Zealand for soil C stock reporting does not account for erosion. This study developed an approach to characterise the effect of erosion suitable for soil C stock reporting and provides an initial assessment of the magnitude of the effect of erosion. A series of case studies were used to establish the local effect of landslide, earthflow, and gully erosion on soil C stocks and to compare field measurements of soil C stocks with model estimates. Multitemporal erosion mapping from orthophotographs was used to characterise erosion history, identify soil sampling plot locations, and allow soil C stocks to be calculated accounting for erosion. All eroded plots had lower soil C stocks than uneroded (by mass movement and gully erosion) plots sampled at the same sites. Landsliding reduces soil C stocks at plot and landscape scale, largely as a result of individual large storms. After about 70 years, soil C stocks were still well below the value measured for uneroded plots (by 40% for scars and 20-30% for debris tails) indicating that the effect of erosion is very persistent. Earthflows have a small effect on estimates of baseline (1990) soil C stocks and reduce soil C stocks at landscape scale. Gullies have local influence on soil C stocks but because they cover a small proportion of the landscape have little influence at landscape scale. At many of the sites, the soil C model overestimates landscape-scale soil C stocks.

  7. The possibility of using photogrammetric and remote sensing techniques to model lavaka (gully erosion) development in Madagascar (United States)

    Raveloson, Andrea; Székely, Balázs; Molnár, Gábor; Rasztovits, Sascha


    Gully erosion is a worldwide problem for it has a number of undesirable effects and their development is hard to follow. Madagascar is one of the most affected countries for its highlands are densely covered with gullies named lavakas. Lavaka formation and development seems to be triggered by many regional and local causes but the actual reasons are still poorly understood. Furthermore lavakas differ from normal gullies due to their enormous size and special shape. Field surveys are time consuming and data from two-dimensional measurements and pictures (even aerial) might lack major information for morphologic studies. Therefore close range surveying technologies should be used to get three-dimensional information about these unusual and complex features. This contribution discusses which remote sensing and photogrammetric techniques are adequate to survey the development of lavakas, their volume change and sediment budget. Depending on the types and properties (such as volume, depth, shape, vegetation) of the lavaka different methods will be proposed showing pros and cons of each one of them. Our goal is to review techniques to model, survey and analyze lavakas development to better understand the cause of their formation, special size and shape. Different methods are evaluated and compared from field survey through data processing, analyzing cost-effectiveness, potential errors and accuracy for each one of them. For this purpose we will also consider time- and cost-effectiveness of the softwares able to render the images into 3D model as well as the resolution and accuracy of the outputs. Further studies will concentrate on using the three dimensional models of lavakas which will be later on used for geomorphological studies in order to understand their special shape and size. This is ILARG-contribution #07.

  8. Integrated process-based hydrologic and ephemeral gully modeling for better assessment of soil erosion in small watersheds (United States)

    Sheshukov, A. Y.; Karimov, V. R.


    Excessive soil erosion in agriculturally dominated watersheds causes degradation of arable land and affects agricultural productivity. Structural and soil-quality best management practices can be beneficial in reducing sheet and rill erosion, however, larger rills, ephemeral gullies, and concentrated flow channels still remain to be significant sources of sediment. A better understanding of channelized soil erosion, underlying physical processes, and ways to mitigate the problem is needed to develop innovative approaches for evaluation of soil losses from various sediment sources. The goal of this study was to develop a novel integrated process-based catchment-scale model for sheet, rill, and ephemeral gully erosion and assess soil erosion mitigation practices. Geospatially, a catchment was divided into ephemeral channels and contributing hillslopes. Surface runoff hydrograph and sheet-rill erosion rates from contributing hillslopes were calculated based on the Water Erosion Prediction Project (WEPP) model. For ephemeral channels, a dynamic ephemeral gully erosion model was developed. Each channel was divided into segments, and channel flow was routed according to the kinematic wave equation. Reshaping of the channel profile in each segment (sediment deposition, soil detachment) was simulated at each time-step according to acting shear stress distribution along the channel boundary and excess shear stress equation. The approach assumed physically-consistent channel shape reconfiguration representing channel walls failure and deposition in the bottom of the channel. Soil erodibility and critical shear stress parameters were dynamically adjusted due to seepage/drainage forces based on computed infiltration gradients. The model was validated on the data obtained from the field study by Karimov et al. (2014) yielding agreement with NSE coefficient of 0.72. The developed model allowed to compute ephemeral gully erosion while accounting for antecedent soil moisture

  9. Investigation of the dynamics of ephemeral gully erosion on arable land of the forest-steppe and steppe zone of the East of the Russian Plain from remote sensing data (United States)

    Platoncheva, E. V.


    Spatio-temporal estimation of the erosion of arable soils is still an urgent task, in spite of the numerous methods of such assessments. Development of information technologies, the emergence of high and ultra-high resolution images allows reliable identification of linear forms of erosion to determine its dynamics on arable land. The study drew attention to the dynamics of the most active erosion unit - an ephemeral gully. The estimation of the dynamics was carried out on the basis of different space images for the maximum possible period (from 1986 to 2016). The cartographic method was used as the main research method. Identification of a belt of ephemeral gully erosion based on materials of multi-zone space surveys and GIS-technology of their processing was carried out. In the course of work with satellite imagery and subsequent verification of the received data on the ground, the main signs of deciphering the ephemeral gully network were determined. A methodology for geoinformation mapping of the dynamics of ephemeral gully erosion belt was developed and a system of indicators quantitatively characterizing its development on arable slopes was proposed. The evaluation of the current ephemeral gully network based on the interpretation of space images includes the definition of such indicators of ephemeral gully erosion as the density of the ephemeral gully net, the density of the ephemeral gullies, the area and linear dynamics of the ephemeral gully network. Preliminary results of the assessment of the dynamics of the belt erosion showed an increase in all quantitative indicators of ephemeral gully erosion for the observed period.

  10. Small martian valleys: Pristine and degraded morphology

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Baker, V.R.; Partridge, J.B.


    The equatorial heavily cratered uplands of Mars are dissected by two classes of small valleys that are intimately associated in compound networks. Pristine valleys with steep valley walls preferentially occupy downstream portions of compound basins. Degraded valleys with eroded walls are laterally more extensive and have higher drainage densities than pristine valleys. Morphometric and crater-counting studies indicate that relatively dense drainage networks were emplaced on Mars during the heavy bombardment about 4.0 b.y. ago. Over a period of approximately 10 8 years, these networks were degraded and subsequently invaded by headwardly extending pristine valleys. The pristine valleys locally reactivated the compound networks, probably through sapping processes dependent upon high water tables. Fluvial activity in the heavily cratered uplands generally ceased approximately 3.8--3.9 b.y. ago, coincident with the rapid decline in cratering rates. The relict compound valleys on Mars are morphometrically distinct from most terrestrial drainage systems. The differences might be caused by a Martian valley formation episode characterized by hyperaridity, by inadequate time for network growth, by very permeable rock types, or by a combination of factors

  11. Amazonis and Utopia Planitiae: Martian Lacustrine basins (United States)

    Scott, David H.; Rice, James W., Jr.; Dohm, James M.; Chapman, Mary G.


    Amazonis and Utopia Planitiae are two large (greater than 10(exp 6) sq. km) basins on Mars having morphological features commonly associated with former lakes. The investigation of these areas is an extension of our previous paleolake studies in the Elysium basin. Using Viking images, we are searching for familiar geologic forms commonly associated with standing bodies of water on Earth. Like Elysium, the two basins exhibit terraces and lineations resembling shorelines, etched and infilled floors with channel-like sinuous markings in places, inflow channels along their borders, and other geomorphic indicators believed to be related to the presence of water and ice. In some areas these features are better displayed than in others where they may be very tenuous; their value as indicators can be justified only by their association with related features. Even though these postulated paleolakes are very young in the Martian stratigraphic sequence, their shoreline features are poorly preserved and they are probably much older than large Pleistocene lakes on Earth.

  12. The new Martians a scientific novel

    CERN Document Server

    Kanas, Nick


    The year is 2035, and the crew from the first expedition to Mars is returning to Earth. The crewmembers are anxious to get home, and ennui pervades the ship. The mood is broken by a series of mysterious events that jeopardize their safety. Someone or something is threatening the crew. Is it an alien being? A psychotic crewmember? A malfunctioning computer? The truth raises questions about the crewmembers’ fate and that of the human race. In this novel, the intent is to show real psychological issues that could affect a crew returning from a long-duration mission to Mars. The storyline presents a mystery that keeps the reader guessing, yet the issues at stake are based on the findings from the author’s research and other space-related work over the past 40+ years. The novel touches on actual plans being discussed for such an expedition as well as notions involving the search for Martian life and panspermia. The underlying science, in particular the psychological, psychiatric, and interpersonal elements...

  13. The Zodiacal Cloud Model applied to the Martian atmosphere. Diurnal variations in meteoric ion layers (United States)

    Carrillo-Sánchez, J. D.; Plane, J. M. C.; Withers, P.; Fallows, K.; Nesvorny, D.; Pokorný, P.


    Sporadic metal layers have been detected in the Martian atmosphere by radio occultation measurements using the Mars Express Orbiter and Mars Global Surveyor spacecraft. More recently, metallic ion layers produced by the meteor storm event following the close encounter between Comet Siding Spring (C/2013 A1) and Mars were identified by the Imaging UltraViolet Spectrograph (IUVS) and the Neutral Gas and Ion Mass Spectrometer (NGIMS) on the Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN (MAVEN) spacecraft. Work is now in progress to detect the background metal layers produced by the influx of sporadic meteors. In this study we predict the likely appearance of these layers. The Zodiacal Dust Cloud (ZDC) model for particle populations released by asteroids (AST), and dust grains from Jupiter Family Comets (JFCs) and Halley-Type Comets (HTCs) has been combined with a Monte Carlo sampling method and the Chemical ABlation MODel (CABMOD) to predict the ablation rates of Na, K, Fe, Si, Mg, Ca and Al above 40 km altitude in the Martian atmosphere. CABMOD considers the standard treatment of meteor physics, including the balance of frictional heating by radiative losses and the absorption of heat energy through temperature increases, melting phase transitions and vaporization, as well as sputtering by inelastic collisions with the air molecules. The vertical injection profiles are input into the Leeds 1-D Mars atmospheric model which includes photo-ionization, and gas-phase ion-molecule and neutral chemistry, in order to explore the evolution of the resulting metallic ions and atoms. We conclude that the dominant contributor in the Martian's atmosphere is the JFCs over other sources. Finally, we explore the changes of the neutral and ionized Na, Mg and Fe layers over a diurnal cycle.

  14. Seed population dynamics on abandoned slopes in the hill and gully Loess Plateau region of China (United States)

    Yu, Weijie; Jiao, Juying


    Recovery of natural vegetation is an effective but slow approach to control the soil erosion in the Chinese hill and gully Loess Plateau region. As seed stage is particularly vulnerable to environmental conditions, characteristics of seed population should be needed to study for determining whether the recovery of natural vegetation is limited during this stage on the abandoned slopes in this region. The study was performed on three abandoned slopes in a watershed with an area of 8.27 km2in the Shaanxi province of China. The differences in soil seed banks were investigated in two different points in time, late March2011 and early April 2013. Main factors of seed population dynamics, such as seed yield of dominant species, seed inputs by seed rain as well as seed outputs through seed loss by overland flow and seedling emergence, were monitored from late March 2011 to early April 2013. In this study, seed rain densities of the main later successional species, i.e., Lespedeza davurica, Stipa bungeana and Artemisia gmelinii accounted for 51.5-71.6% of their own seed yields. The soil seed bank density in early April 2013 was larger than that in late March 2011. The density of seed inputs by seed rain was 10186 seeds•m-2, and the total seed bank, including seed rain and seeds present in the soil seed bank in late March 2011, reached a density of 15018 seeds•m-2 during the study period. Seed densities of loss due to overland flow and seedling emergence were 79 seeds•m-2 from 20 species and 938 seedlings•m-2 that belonged to 38 species during a study period, and the seed output through them accounted for 0.5% and 6.3% of the total seed bank, respectively. The study concluded that overland flow could not result in large numbers of seeds loss and seeds were accumulating in the soil seed bank due to seed rain, and vegetation succession might be limited by curbed spatial seed dispersal and seedling establishment.

  15. Water in Pyroxene and Olivine from Martian Meteorites (United States)

    Peslier, A. H.


    Water in the interior of terrestrial planets can be dissolved in fluids or melts and hydrous phases, but can also be locked as protons attached to structural oxygen in lattice defects in nominally anhydrous minerals (NAM) like olivine, pyroxene, or feldspar [1-3]. Although these minerals contain only tens to hundreds of ppm H2O, this water can amount to at least one ocean in mass when added at planetary scales because of the modal dominance of NAM in the mantle and crust [4]. Moreover these trace amounts of water can have drastic effects on melting temperature, rheology, electrical and heat conductivity, and seismic wave attenuation [5]. There is presently a debate on how much water is present in the martian mantle. Secondary ionization mass spectrometry (SIMS) studies of NAM [6], amphiboles and glass in melt inclusions [7-10], and apatites [11, 12] from Martian meteorites report finding as much water as in the same phases from Earth's igneous rocks. Most martian hydrous minerals, however, generally have the relevant sites filled with Cl and F instead of H [13, 14], and experiments using Cl [15] in parent melts can reproduce Martian basalt compositions as well as those with water [16]. We are in the process of analyzing Martian meteorite minerals by Fourier transform infrared spectrometry (FTIR) in order to constrain the role of water in this planet s formation and magmatic evolution

  16. Martian Atmospheric and Ionospheric plasma Escape (United States)

    Lundin, Rickard


    Solar forcing is responsible for the heating, ionization, photochemistry, and erosion processes in the upper atmosphere throughout the lifetime of the terrestrial planets. Of the four terrestrial planets, the Earth is the only one with a fully developed biosphere, while our kin Venus and Mars have evolved into arid inhabitable planets. As for Mars, there are ample evidences for an early Noachian, water rich period on Mars. The question is, what made Mars evolve so differently compared to the Earth? Various hydrosphere and atmospheric evolution scenarios for Mars have been forwarded based on surface morphology, chemical composition, simulations, semi-empiric (in-situ data) models, and the long-term evolution of the Sun. Progress has been made, but the case is still open regarding the changes that led to the present arid surface and tenuous atmosphere at Mars. This presentation addresses the long-term variability of the Sun, the solar forcing impact on the Martian atmosphere, and its interaction with the space environment - an electromagnetic wave and particle interaction with the upper atmosphere that has implications for its photochemistry, composition, and energization that governs thermal and non-thermal escape. Non-thermal escape implies an electromagnetic upward energization of planetary ions and molecules to velocities above escape velocity, a process governed by a combination of solar EUV radiation (ionization), and energy and momentum transfer by the solar wind. The ion escape issue dates back to the early Soviet and US-missions to Mars, but the first more accurate estimates of escape rates came with the Phobos-2 mission in 1989. Better-quality ion composition measurement results of atmospheric/ionospheric ion escape from Mars, obtained from ESA Mars Express (MEX) instruments, have improved our understanding of the ion escape mechanism. With the NASA MAVEN spacecraft orbiting Mars since Sept. 2014, dual in-situ measurement with plasma instruments are now

  17. Morphogenesis of Antarctic Paleosols: Martian Analogue (United States)

    Mahaney, W. C.; Dohm, J. M.; Baker, V. R.; Newsom, Horton E.; Malloch, D.; Hancock, R. G. V.; Campbell, Iain; Sheppard, D.; Milner, M. W.


    Samples of horizons in paleosols from the Quartermain Mountains of the Antarctic Dry Valleys (Aztec and New Mountain areas) were analyzed for their physical characteristics, mineralogy, chemical composition, and microbiology to determine the accumulation and movement of salts and other soluble constituents and the presence/absence of microbial populations. Salt concentrations are of special interest because they are considered to be a function of age, derived over time, in part from nearby oceanic and high-altitude atmospheric sources. The chemical composition of ancient Miocene-age paleosols in these areas is the direct result of the deposition and weathering of airborne-influxed salts and other materials, as well as the weathering of till derived principally from local dolerite and sandstone outcrops. Paleosols nearer the coast have greater contents of Cl, whereas near the inland ice sheet, nitrogen tends to increase on a relative basis. The accumulation and vertical distribution of salts and other soluble chemical elements indicate relative amounts of movement in the profile over long periods of time, in the order of several million years. Four of the six selected subsamples from paleosol horizons in two ancient soil profiles contained nil concentrations of bacteria and fungi. However, two horizons at depths of between 3 and 8 cm, in two profiles, yielded several colonies of the fungi Beauveria bassiana and Penicillium brevicompactum, indicating very minor input of organic carbon. Beauveria bassiana is often reported in association with insects and is used commercially for the biological control of some insect pests. Penicillium species are commonly isolated from Arctic, temperate, and tropical soils and are known to utilize a wide variety of organic carbon and nitrogen compounds. The cold, dry soils of the Antarctic bear a close resemblance to various present and past martian environments where similar weathering could occur and possible microbial populations

  18. Prediction of Lunar- and Martian-Based Intra- and Site-to-Site Task Performance. (United States)

    Ade, Carl J; Broxterman, Ryan M; Craig, Jesse C; Schlup, Susanna J; Wilcox, Samuel L; Warren, Steve; Kuehl, Phillip; Gude, Dana; Jia, Chen; Barstow, Thomas J


    This study aimed to investigate the feasibility of determining the physiological parameters associated with the ability to complete simulated exploration type tasks at metabolic rates which might be expected for lunar and Martian ambulation. Running V̇O2max and gas exchange threshold (GET) were measured in 21 volunteers. Two simulated extravehicular activity field tests were completed in 1 G in regular athletic apparel at two intensities designed to elicit metabolic rates of ∼20.0 and ∼30.0 ml · kg(-1) · min(-1), which are similar to those previously reported for ambulation in simulated lunar- and Martian-based environments, respectively. All subjects were able to complete the field test at the lunar intensity, but 28% were unable to complete the field test at the Martian intensity (non-Finishers). During the Martian field test there were no differences in V̇O2 between Finishers and non-Finishers, but the non-Finishers achieved a greater %V̇O2max compared to Finishers (78.4 ± 4.6% vs. 64.9 ± 9.6%). Logistic regression analysis revealed fitness thresholds for a predicted probability of 0.5, at which Finishing and non-Finishing are equally likely, and 0.75, at which an individual has a 75% chance of Finishing, to be a V̇O2max of 38.4 ml · kg(-1) · min(-1) and 40.0 ml · kg(-1) · min(-1) or a GET of 20.1 ml · kg(-1) · min(-1) and 25.1 ml · kg(-1) · min(-1), respectively (χ(2) = 10.2). Logistic regression analysis also revealed that the expected %V̇O2max required to complete a field test could be used to successfully predict performance (χ(2) = 19.3). The results of the present investigation highlight the potential utility of V̇O2max, particularly as it relates to the metabolic demands of a surface ambulation, in defining successful completion of planetary-based exploration field tests.

  19. Experimental Simulations to Understand the Lunar and Martian Surficial Processes (United States)

    Zhao, Y. Y. S.; Li, X.; Tang, H.; Li, Y.; Zeng, X.; Chang, R.; Li, S.; Zhang, S.; Jin, H.; Mo, B.; Li, R.; Yu, W.; Wang, S.


    In support with China's Lunar and Mars exploration programs and beyond, our center is dedicated to understand the surficial processes and environments of planetary bodies. Over the latest several years, we design, build and optimize experimental simulation facilities and utilize them to test hypotheses and evaluate affecting mechanisms under controlled conditions particularly relevant to the Moon and Mars. Among the fundamental questions to address, we emphasize on five major areas: (1) Micrometeorites bombardment simulation to evaluate the formation mechanisms of np-Fe0 which was found in lunar samples and the possible sources of Fe. (2) Solar wind implantation simulation to evaluate the alteration/amorphization/OH or H2O formation on the surface of target minerals or rocks. (3) Dusts mobility characteristics on the Moon and other planetary bodies by excitation different types of dust particles and measuring their movements. (4) Mars basaltic soil simulant development (e.g., Jining Martian Soil Simulant (JMSS-1)) and applications for scientific/engineering experiments. (5) Halogens (Cl and Br) and life essential elements (C, H, O, N, P, and S) distribution and speciation on Mars during surficial processes such as sedimentary- and photochemical- related processes. Depending on the variables of interest, the simulation systems provide flexibility to vary source of energy, temperature, pressure, and ambient gas composition in the reaction chambers. Also, simulation products can be observed or analyzed in-situ by various analyzer components inside the chamber, without interrupting the experimental conditions. In addition, behavior of elements and isotopes during certain surficial processes (e.g., evaporation, dissolution, etc.) can be theoretically predicted by our theoretical geochemistry group with thermodynamics-kinetics calculation and modeling, which supports experiment design and result interpretation.

  20. On the link between martian total ozone and potential vorticity (United States)

    Holmes, James A.; Lewis, Stephen R.; Patel, Manish R.


    We demonstrate for the first time that total ozone in the martian atmosphere is highly correlated with the dynamical tracer, potential vorticity, under certain conditions. The degree of correlation is investigated using a Mars global circulation model including a photochemical model. Potential vorticity is the quantity of choice to explore the dynamical nature of polar vortices because it contains information on winds and temperature in a single scalar variable. The correlation is found to display a distinct seasonal variation, with a strong positive correlation in both northern and southern winter at poleward latitudes in the northern and southern hemisphere respectively. The identified strong correlation implies variations in polar total ozone during winter are predominantly controlled by dynamical processes in these spatio-temporal regions. The weak correlation in northern and southern summer is due to the dominance of photochemical reactions resulting from extended exposure to sunlight. The total ozone/potential vorticity correlation is slightly weaker in southern winter due to topographical variations and the preference for ozone to accumulate in Hellas basin. In northern winter, total ozone can be used to track the polar vortex edge. The ozone/potential vorticity ratio is calculated for both northern and southern winter on Mars for the first time. Using the strong correlation in total ozone and potential vorticity in northern winter inside the polar vortex, it is shown that potential vorticity can be used as a proxy to deduce the distribution of total ozone where satellites cannot observe for the majority of northern winter. Where total ozone observations are available on the fringes of northern winter at poleward latitudes, the strong relationship of total ozone and potential vorticity implies that total ozone anomalies in the surf zone of the northern polar vortex can potentially be used to determine the origin of potential vorticity filaments.

  1. Curation of US Martian Meteorites Collected in Antarctica (United States)

    Lindstrom, M.; Satterwhite, C.; Allton, J.; Stansbury, E.


    To date the ANSMET field team has collected five martian meteorites (see below) in Antarctica and returned them for curation at the Johnson Space Center (JSC) Meteorite Processing Laboratory (MPL). ne meteorites were collected with the clean procedures used by ANSMET in collecting all meteorites: They were handled with JSC-cleaned tools, packaged in clean bags, and shipped frozen to JSC. The five martian meteorites vary significantly in size (12-7942 g) and rock type (basalts, lherzolites, and orthopyroxenite). Detailed descriptions are provided in the Mars Meteorite compendium, which describes classification, curation and research results. A table gives the names, classifications and original and curatorial masses of the martian meteorites. The MPL and measures for contamination control are described.

  2. Iron Redox Systematics of Shergottites and Martian Magmas (United States)

    Righter, Kevin; Danielson, L. R.; Martin, A. M.; Newville, M.; Choi, Y.


    Martian meteorites record a range of oxygen fugacities from near the IW buffer to above FMQ buffer [1]. In terrestrial magmas, Fe(3+)/ SigmaFe for this fO2 range are between 0 and 0.25 [2]. Such variation will affect the stability of oxides, pyroxenes, and how the melt equilibrates with volatile species. An understanding of the variation of Fe(3+)/SigmaFe for martian magmas is lacking, and previous work has been on FeO-poor and Al2O3-rich terrestrial basalts. We have initiated a study of the iron redox systematics of martian magmas to better understand FeO and Fe2O3 stability, the stability of magnetite, and the low Ca/high Ca pyroxene [3] ratios observed at the surface.

  3. Study of the formation of duricrusts on the martian surface and their effect on sampling equipment (United States)

    Kömle, Norbert; Pitcher, Craig; Gao, Yang; Richter, Lutz


    The Powdered Sample Dosing and Distribution System (PSDDS) of the ExoMars rover will be required to handle and contain samples of Mars regolith for long periods of time. Cementation of the regolith, caused by water and salts in the soil, results in clumpy material and a duricrust layer forming on the surface. It is therefore possible that material residing in the sampling system may cement, and could potentially hinder its operation. There has yet to be an investigation into the formation of duricrusts under simulated Martian conditions, or how this may affect the performance of sample handling mechanisms. Therefore experiments have been performed to create a duricrust and to explore the cementation of Mars analogues, before performing a series of tests on a qualification model of the PSDDS under simulated Martian conditions. It was possible to create a consolidated crust of cemented material several millimetres deep, with the material below remaining powder-like. It was seen that due to the very low permeability of the Montmorillonite component material, diffusion of water through the material was quickly blocked, resulting in a sample with an inhomogeneous water content. Additionally, samples with a water mass content of 10% or higher would cement into a single solid piece. Finally, tests with the PSDDS revealed that samples with a water mass content of just 5% created small clumps with significant internal cohesion, blocking the sample funnels and preventing transportation of the material. These experiments have highlighted that the cementation of regolith in Martian conditions must be taken into consideration in the design of sample handling instruments.

  4. Simulation of Martian EVA at the Mars Society Arctic Research Station (United States)

    Pletser, V.; Zubrin, R.; Quinn, K.

    The Mars Society has established a Mars Arctic Research Station (M.A.R.S.) on Devon Island, North of Canada, in the middle of the Haughton crater formed by the impact of a large meteorite several million years ago. The site was selected for its similarities with the surface of the Mars planet. During the Summer 2001, the MARS Flashline Research Station supported an extended international simulation campaign of human Mars exploration operations. Six rotations of six person crews spent up to ten days each at the MARS Flashline Research Station. International crews, of mixed gender and professional qualifications, conducted various tasks as a Martian crew would do and performed scientific experiments in several fields (Geophysics, Biology, Psychology). One of the goals of this simulation campaign was to assess the operational and technical feasibility of sustaining a crew in an autonomous habitat, conducting a field scientific research program. Operations were conducted as they would be during a Martian mission, including Extra-Vehicular Activities (EVA) with specially designed unpressurized suits. The second rotation crew conducted seven simulated EVAs for a total of 17 hours, including motorized EVAs with All Terrain Vehicles, to perform field scientific experiments in Biology and Geophysics. Some EVAs were highly successful. For some others, several problems were encountered related to hardware technical failures and to bad weather conditions. The paper will present the experiment programme conducted at the Mars Flashline Research Station, the problems encountered and the lessons learned from an EVA operational point of view. Suggestions to improve foreseen Martian EVA operations will be discussed.

  5. Laser induced breakdown spectroscopy library for the Martian environment

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Cousin, A.; Forni, O.; Maurice, S.; Gasnault, O.


    The NASA Mars Science Laboratory rover will carry the first Laser Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy experiment in space: ChemCam. We have developed a laboratory model which mimics ChemCam's main characteristics. We used a set of target samples relevant to Mars geochemistry, and we recorded individual spectra. We propose a data reduction scheme for Laser Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy data incorporating de-noising, continuum removal, and peak fitting. Known effects of the Martian atmosphere are confirmed with our experiment: better Signal-to-Noise Ratio on Mars compared to Earth, narrower peak width, and essentially no self-absorption. The wavelength shift of emission lines from air to Mars pressure is discussed. The National Institute of Standards and Technology vacuum database is used for wavelength calibration and to identify the elemental lines. Our Martian database contains 1336 lines for 32 elements: H, Li, Be, B, C, N, O, F, Na, Mg, Al, Si, P, S, Cl, K, Ar, Ca, Ti, V, Cr, Mn, Fe, Ni, Cu, Zn, As, Rb, Sr, Cs, Ba, and Pb. It is a subset of the National Institute of Standards and Technology database to be used for Martian geochemistry. Finally, synthetic spectra can be built from the Martian database. Correlation calculations help to distinguish between elements in case of uncertainty. This work is used to create tools and support data for the interpretation of ChemCam results. - Highlights: ► Chemcam: first Laser Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy technique on Mars. ► Creation of a LIBS specific database to ChemCam on Mars. ► Data reduction scheme is proposed. ► Best signal under Martian conditions. ► LIBS emission lines database: subset of NIST database for Martian geochemistry.

  6. Survival of microorganisms in smectite clays - Implications for Martian exobiology (United States)

    Moll, Deborah M.; Vestal, J. R.


    The survival of Baccillus subtilis, Azotobacter chroococcum, and the enteric bacteriophage MS2 has been examined in clays representing terrestrial (Wyoming type montmorillonite) and Martian (Fe3+ montmorillonite) soils exposed to terrestrial and Martian environmental conditions of temperature and atmospheric composition and pressure. An important finding is that MS2 survived simulated Mars conditions better than the terrestrial environment, probably owing to stabilization of the virus caused by the cold and dry conditions of the simulated Mars environment. This finding, the first published indication that viruses may be able to survive in Mars-type soils, may have important implications for future missions to Mars.

  7. Remote Sensing Studies Of The Current Martian Climate (United States)

    Taylor, F. W.; McCleese, D. J.; Schofield, J. T.; Calcutt, S. B.; Moroz, V. I.

    A systematic and detailed experimental study of the Martian atmosphere remains to be carried out, despite many decades of intense interest in the nature of the Martian climate system, its interactions, variability and long-term stability. Such a study is planned by the 2005 Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, using limb-scanning infrared radiometric techniques similar to those used to study trace species in the terrestrial stratosphere. For Mars, the objectives are temperature, humidity, dust and condensate abundances with high vertical resolution and global coverage in the 0 to 80 km height range. The paper will discuss the experiment and its methodology and expectations for the results.

  8. Effects of Intra-Storm Soil Moisture and Runoff Characteristics on Ephemeral Gully Development: Evidence from a No-Till Field Study

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Vladimir R. Karimov


    Full Text Available Ephemeral gully erosion, prevalent on agricultural landscapes of the Great Plains, is recognized as a large source of soil loss and a substantial contributor to the sedimentation of small ponds and large reservoirs. Multi-seasonal field studies can provide needed information on ephemeral gully development and its relationship to physical factors associated with field characteristics, rainfall patterns, runoff hydrograph, and management practices. In this study, an ephemeral gully on a no-till cultivated crop field in central Kansas, U.S., was monitored in 2013 and 2014. Data collection included continuous sub-hourly precipitation, soil moisture, soil temperature, and 15 field surveys of cross-sectional profiles in the headcut and channelized parts of the gully. Rainfall excess from a contributing catchment was calculated with the Water Erosion Prediction Project (WEPP model for all storm events and validated on channel flow measurements. Twelve significant runoff events with hydraulic shear stresses higher than the critical value were identified to potentially cause soil erosion in three out of fourteen survey periods. Analysis of shear stress imposed by peak channel flow on soil surface, antecedent soil moisture condition, and channel shape at individual events provided the basis on which to extend the definition of the critical shear stress function by incorporating the intra-storm changes in soil moisture content. One potential form of this function was suggested and tested with collected data. Similar field studies in other agriculturally-dominated areas and laboratory experiments can develop datasets for a better understanding of the physical mechanisms associated with ephemeral gully progression.

  9. Looking for Fossil Bacteria in Martian Materials (United States)

    Westall, F.; Walsh, M. M.; Mckay, D. D.; Wentworth, S.; Gibson, E. K.; Steele, A.; Toporski, J.; Lindstrom, D.; Martinez, R.; Allen, C. C.


    The rationale for looking for prokaryote fossils in Martian materials is based on our present understanding of the environmental evolution of that planet in comparison to the history of the terrestrial environments and the development and evolution of life on Earth. On Earth we have clear, albeit indirect, evidence of life in 3.8 b.y.-old rocks from Greenland and the first morphological fossils in 3.3-3.5 b.y.-old cherts from South Africa and Australia. In comparison, Mars, being smaller, probably cooled down after initial aggregation faster than the Earth. Consequently, there could have been liquid water on its surface earlier than on Earth. With a similar exogenous and endogenous input of organics and life-sustaining nutrients as is proposed for the Earth, life could have arisen on that planet, possibly slightly earlier dm it did on Earth. Whereas on Earth liquid water has remained at the surface of the planet since about 4.4 b.y. (with some possible interregnums caused by planet-sterilising impacts before 3.8. b.y. and perhaps a number of periods of a totally frozen Earth, this was not the case with Mars. Although it is not known exactly when surficial water disappeared from the surface, there would have been sufficient time for life to have developed into something similar to the terrestrial prokaryote stage. However, given the earlier environmental deterioration, it is unlikely that it evolved into the eukaryote stage and even evolution of oxygenic photosynthesis may not have been reached. Thus, the impetus of research is on single celled life simnilar to prokaryotes. We are investigating a number of methods of trace element analysis with respect to the Early Archaean microbial fossils. Preliminary neutron activation analysis of carbonaceous layers in the Early Archaean cherts from South Africa and Australia shows some partitioning of elements such as As, Sb, Cr with an especial enrichment of lanthanides in a carbonaceous-rich banded iron sediment . More

  10. Martian fluid and Martian weathering signatures identified in Nakhla, NWA 998 and MIL 03346 by halogen and noble gas analysis (United States)

    Cartwright, J. A.; Gilmour, J. D.; Burgess, R.


    We report argon (Ar) noble gas, Ar-Ar ages and halogen abundances (Cl, Br, I) of Martian nakhlites Nakhla, NWA 998 and MIL 03346 to determine the presence of Martian hydrous fluids and weathering products. Neutron-irradiated samples were either crushed and step-heated (Nakhla only), or simply step-heated using a laser or furnace, and analysed for noble gases using an extension of the 40Ar-39Ar technique to determine halogen abundances. The data obtained provide the first isotopic evidence for a trapped fluid that is Cl-rich, has a strong correlation with 40ArXS (40ArXS = 40Armeasured - 40Arradiogenic) and displays 40ArXS/36Ar of ˜1000 - consistent with the Martian atmosphere. This component was released predominantly in the low temperature and crush experiments, which may suggest a fluid inclusion host. For the halogens, we observe similar Br/Cl and I/Cl ratios between the nakhlites and terrestrial reservoirs, which is surprising given the absence of crustal recycling, organic matter and frequent fluid activity on Mars. In particular, Br/Cl ratios in our Nakhla samples (especially olivine) are consistent with previously analysed Martian weathering products, and both low temperature and crush analyses show a similar trend to the evaporation of seawater. This may indicate that surface brines play an important role on Mars and on halogen assemblages within Martian meteorites and rocks. Elevated I/Cl ratios in the low temperature NWA 998 and MIL 03346 releases may relate to in situ terrestrial contamination, though we are unable to distinguish between low temperature terrestrial or Martian components. Whilst estimates of the amount of water present based on the 36Ar concentrations are too high to be explained by a fluid component alone, they are consistent with a mixed-phase inclusion (gas and fluid) or with shock-implanted Martian atmospheric argon. The observed fluid is dilute (low salinity, but high Br/Cl and I/Cl ratios), contains a Martian atmospheric component

  11. Minimization of gully erosion on reclaimed surface mines using the stable slope and sediment transport computer model

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    McKenney, R.A.; Gardner, T.G.


    Disequilibrium between slope form and hydrologic and erosion processes on reclaimed surface coal mines in the humid temperate northeastern US, can result in gully erosion and sediment loads which are elevated above natural, background values. Initial sheetwash erosion is surpassed by gully erosion on reclamation sites which are not in equilibrium with post-mining hydrology. Long-term stability can be attained by designing a channel profile which is in equilibrium with the increased peak discharges found on reclaimed surface mines. The Stable Slope and Sediment transport model (SSAST) was developed to design stable longitudinal channel profiles for post-mining hydrologic and erosional processes. SSAST is an event based computer model that calculates the stable slope for a channel segment based on the post-mine hydrology and median grain size of a reclaimed surface mine. Peak discharge, which drives post-mine erosion, is calculated from a 10-year, 24-hour storm using the Soil Conservation Service curve number method. Curve number calibrated for Pennsylvania surface mines are used. Reclamation sites are represented by the rectangle of triangle which most closely fits the shape of the site while having the same drainage area and length. Sediment transport and slope stability are calculated using a modified Bagnold's equation with a correction factor for the irregular particle shapes formed during the mining process. Data from three reclaimed Pennsylvania surface mines were used to calibrate and verify SSAST. Analysis indicates that SSAST can predict longitudinal channel profiles for stable reclamation of surface mines in the humid, temperate northeastern US

  12. The Search for Ammonia in Martian Soils with Curiosity's SAM Instrument (United States)

    Wray, James J.; Archer, P. D.; Brinckerhoff, W. B.; Eigenbrode, J. L.; Franz, H. B.; Freissinet, C.; Glavin, D. P.; Mahaffy, P. R.; McKay, C. P.; Navarro-Gonzalez, R.; hide


    Nitrogen is the second or third most abundant constituent of the Martian atmosphere [1,2]. It is a bioessential element, a component of all amino acids and nucleic acids that make up proteins, DNA and RNA, so assessing its availability is a key part of Curiosity's mission to characterize Martian habitability. In oxidizing desert environments it is found in nitrate salts that co-occur with perchlorates [e.g., 3], inferred to be widespread in Mars soils [4-6]. A Mars nitrogen cycle has been proposed [7], yet prior missions have not constrained the state of surface N. Here we explore Curiosity's ability to detect N compounds using data from the rover's first solid sample. Companion abstracts describe evidence for nitrates [8] and for nitriles (C(triple bond)N) [9]; we focus here on nonnitrile, reduced-N compounds as inferred from bonded N-H. The simplest such compound is ammonia (NH3), found in many carbonaceous chondrite meteorites in NH4(+) salts and organic compounds [e.g., 10].

  13. Seasonal cycle of Martian climate : Experimental data and numerical simulation

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Rodin, A. V.; Willson, R. J.


    The most adequate theoretical method of investigating the present-day Martian climate is numerical simulation based on a model of general circulation of the atmosphere. First and foremost, such models encounter the greatest difficulties in description of aerosols and clouds, which in turn

  14. Local Dynamics of Baroclinic Waves in the Martian Atmosphere

    KAUST Repository

    Kavulich, Michael J.; Szunyogh, Istvan; Gyarmati, Gyorgyi; Wilson, R. John


    The paper investigates the processes that drive the spatiotemporal evolution of baroclinic transient waves in the Martian atmosphere by a simulation experiment with the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory (GFDL) Mars general circulation model (GCM). The main diagnostic tool of the study is the (local) eddy kinetic energy equation. Results are shown for a prewinter season of the Northern Hemisphere, in which a deep baroclinic wave of zonal wavenumber 2 circles the planet at an eastward phase speed of about 70° Sol-1 (Sol is a Martian day). The regular structure of the wave gives the impression that the classical models of baroclinic instability, which describe the underlying process by a temporally unstable global wave (e.g., Eady model and Charney model), may have a direct relevance for the description of the Martian baroclinic waves. The results of the diagnostic calculations show, however, that while the Martian waves remain zonally global features at all times, there are large spatiotemporal changes in their amplitude. The most intense episodes of baroclinic energy conversion, which take place in the two great plain regions (Acidalia Planitia and Utopia Planitia), are strongly localized in both space and time. In addition, similar to the situation for terrestrial baroclinic waves, geopotential flux convergence plays an important role in the dynamics of the downstream-propagating unstable waves. © 2013 American Meteorological Society.

  15. Local Dynamics of Baroclinic Waves in the Martian Atmosphere

    KAUST Repository

    Kavulich, Michael J.


    The paper investigates the processes that drive the spatiotemporal evolution of baroclinic transient waves in the Martian atmosphere by a simulation experiment with the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory (GFDL) Mars general circulation model (GCM). The main diagnostic tool of the study is the (local) eddy kinetic energy equation. Results are shown for a prewinter season of the Northern Hemisphere, in which a deep baroclinic wave of zonal wavenumber 2 circles the planet at an eastward phase speed of about 70° Sol-1 (Sol is a Martian day). The regular structure of the wave gives the impression that the classical models of baroclinic instability, which describe the underlying process by a temporally unstable global wave (e.g., Eady model and Charney model), may have a direct relevance for the description of the Martian baroclinic waves. The results of the diagnostic calculations show, however, that while the Martian waves remain zonally global features at all times, there are large spatiotemporal changes in their amplitude. The most intense episodes of baroclinic energy conversion, which take place in the two great plain regions (Acidalia Planitia and Utopia Planitia), are strongly localized in both space and time. In addition, similar to the situation for terrestrial baroclinic waves, geopotential flux convergence plays an important role in the dynamics of the downstream-propagating unstable waves. © 2013 American Meteorological Society.

  16. Martian sub-surface ionising radiation: biosignatures and geology

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    J. M. Ward


    Full Text Available The surface of Mars, unshielded by thick atmosphere or global magnetic field, is exposed to high levels of cosmic radiation. This ionising radiation field is deleterious to the survival of dormant cells or spores and the persistence of molecular biomarkers in the subsurface, and so its characterisation is of prime astrobiological interest. Here, we present modelling results of the absorbed radiation dose as a function of depth through the Martian subsurface, suitable for calculation of biomarker persistence. A second major implementation of this dose accumulation rate data is in application of the optically stimulated luminescence technique for dating Martian sediments.

    We present calculations of the dose-depth profile in the Martian subsurface for various scenarios: variations of surface composition (dry regolith, ice, layered permafrost, solar minimum and maximum conditions, locations of different elevation (Olympus Mons, Hellas basin, datum altitude, and increasing atmospheric thickness over geological history. We also model the changing composition of the subsurface radiation field with depth compared between Martian locations with different shielding material, determine the relative dose contributions from primaries of different energies, and discuss particle deflection by the crustal magnetic fields.

  17. The Martian Water Cycle Based on 3-D Modeling (United States)

    Houben, H.; Haberle, R. M.; Joshi, M. M.


    Understanding the distribution of Martian water is a major goal of the Mars Surveyor program. However, until the bulk of the data from the nominal missions of TES, PMIRR, GRS, MVACS, and the DS2 probes are available, we are bound to be in a state where much of our knowledge of the seasonal behavior of water is based on theoretical modeling. We therefore summarize the results of this modeling at the present time. The most complete calculations come from a somewhat simplified treatment of the Martian climate system which is capable of simulating many decades of weather. More elaborate meteorological models are now being applied to study of the problem. The results show a high degree of consistency with observations of aspects of the Martian water cycle made by Viking MAWD, a large number of ground-based measurements of atmospheric column water vapor, studies of Martian frosts, and the widespread occurrence of water ice clouds. Additional information is contained in the original extended abstract.

  18. The Modern Near-Surface Martian Climate: A Review of In-situ Meteorological Data from Viking to Curiosity (United States)

    Martínez, G. M.; Newman, C. N.; De Vicente-Retortillo, A.; Fischer, E.; Renno, N. O.; Richardson, M. I.; Fairén, A. G.; Genzer, M.; Guzewich, S. D.; Haberle, R. M.; Harri, A.-M.; Kemppinen, O.; Lemmon, M. T.; Smith, M. D.; de la Torre-Juárez, M.; Vasavada, A. R.


    We analyze the complete set of in-situ meteorological data obtained from the Viking landers in the 1970s to today's Curiosity rover to review our understanding of the modern near-surface climate of Mars, with focus on the dust, CO2 and H2O cycles and their impact on the radiative and thermodynamic conditions near the surface. In particular, we provide values of the highest confidence possible for atmospheric opacity, atmospheric pressure, near-surface air temperature, ground temperature, near-surface wind speed and direction, and near-surface air relative humidity and water vapor content. Then, we study the diurnal, seasonal and interannual variability of these quantities over a span of more than twenty Martian years. Finally, we propose measurements to improve our understanding of the Martian dust and H2O cycles, and discuss the potential for liquid water formation under Mars' present day conditions and its implications for future Mars missions. Understanding the modern Martian climate is important to determine if Mars could have the conditions to support life and to prepare for future human exploration.

  19. Physical properties of Martian meteorites: Porosity and density measurements (United States)

    Coulson, Ian M.; Beech, Martin; Nie, Wenshuang

    Martian meteorites are fragments of the Martian crust. These samples represent igneous rocks, much like basalt. As such, many laboratory techniques designed for the study of Earth materials have been applied to these meteorites. Despite numerous studies of Martian meteorites, little data exists on their basic structural characteristics, such as porosity or density, information that is important in interpreting their origin, shock modification, and cosmic ray exposure history. Analysis of these meteorites provides both insight into the various lithologies present as well as the impact history of the planet's surface. We present new data relating to the physical characteristics of twelve Martian meteorites. Porosity was determined via a combination of scanning electron microscope (SEM) imagery/image analysis and helium pycnometry, coupled with a modified Archimedean method for bulk density measurements. Our results show a range in porosity and density values and that porosity tends to increase toward the edge of the sample. Preliminary interpretation of the data demonstrates good agreement between porosity measured at 100× and 300× magnification for the shergottite group, while others exhibit more variability. In comparison with the limited existing data for Martian meteorites we find fairly good agreement, although our porosity values typically lie at the low end of published values. Surprisingly, despite the increased data set, there is little by way of correlation between either porosity or density with parameters such as shock effect or terrestrial residency. Further data collection on additional meteorite samples is required before more definitive statements can be made concerning the validity of these observations.

  20. Insights into the Martian Regolith from Martian Meteorite Northwest Africa 7034 (United States)

    McCubbin, Francis M.; Boyce, Jeremy W.; Szabo, Timea; Santos, Alison R.; Domokos, Gabor; Vazquez, Jorge; Moser, Desmond E.; Jerolmack, Douglas J.; Keller, Lindsay P.; Tartese, Romain


    Everything we know about sedimentary processes on Mars is gleaned from remote sensing observations. Here we report insights from meteorite Northwest Africa (NWA) 7034, which is a water-rich martian regolith breccia that hosts both igneous and sedimentary clasts. The sedimentary clasts in NWA 7034 are poorly-sorted clastic siltstones that we refer to as protobreccia clasts. These protobreccia clasts record aqueous alteration process that occurred prior to breccia formation. The aqueous alteration appears to have occurred at relatively low Eh, high pH conditions based on the co-precipitation of pyrite and magnetite, and the concomitant loss of SiO2 from the system. To determine the origin of the NWA 7034 breccia, we examined the textures and grain-shape characteristics of NWA 7034 clasts. The shapes of the clasts are consistent with rock fragmentation in the absence of transport. Coupled with the clast size distribution, we interpret the protolith of NWA 7034 to have been deposited by atmospheric rainout resulting from pyroclastic eruptions and/or asteroid impacts. Cross-cutting and inclusion relationships and U-Pb data from zircon, baddelleyite, and apatite indicate NWA 7034 lithification occurred at 1.4-1.5 Ga, during a short-lived hydrothermal event at 600-700 C that was texturally imprinted upon the submicron groundmass. The hydrothermal event caused Pb-loss from apatite and U-rich metamict zircons, and it caused partial transformation of pyrite to submicron mixtures of magnetite and maghemite, indicating the fluid had higher Eh than the fluid that caused pyrite-magnetite precipitation in the protobreccia clasts. NWA 7034 also hosts ancient 4.4 Ga crustal materials in the form of baddelleyites and zircons, providing up to a 2.9 Ga record of martian geologic history. This work demonstrates the incredible value of sedimentary basins as scientific targets for Mars sample return missions, but it also highlights the importance of targeting samples that have not been

  1. Detection of seasonal cycles of erosion processes in a black marl gully from a time series of high-resolution digital elevation models (DEMs

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    J. Bechet


    Full Text Available The Roubine catchment located in the experimental research station of Draix-Bléone (south French Alps is situated in Callovo-Oxfordian black marls, a lithology particularly prone to erosion and weathering processes. For 30 years, this small watershed (0.13 ha has been monitored for analysing hillslope processes on the scale of elementary gullies. Since 2007, surface changes have been monitored by comparing high-resolution digital elevation models (HRDEMs produced from terrestrial laser scanner (TLS. The objectives are (1 to detect and (2 to quantify the sediment production and the evolution of the gully morphology in terms of sediment availability/transport capacity vs. rainfall and runoff generation. Time series of TLS observations have been acquired periodically based on the seasonal runoff activity with a very high point cloud density ensuring a resolution of the digital elevation model (DEM on the centimetre scale. The topographic changes over a time span of 2 years are analysed. Quantitative analyses of the seasonal erosion activity and of the sediment fluxes show and confirm that during winter, loose regolith is created by mechanical weathering, and it is eroded and accumulates in the rills and gullies. Because of limited rainfall intensity in spring, part of the material is transported in the main gullies, which are assumed to be a transport-limited erosion system. In the late spring and summer the rainfall intensities increase, allowing the regolith, weathered and accumulated in the gullies and rills during the earlier seasons, to be washed out. Later in the year the catchment acts as a sediment-limited system because no more loose regolith is available. One interesting result is the fact that in the gullies the erosion–deposition processes are more active around the slope angle value of 35°, which probably indicates a behaviour close to dry granular material. It is also observed that there exist thresholds for the rainfall

  2. Dynamics of Unusual Debris Flows on Martian Sand Dunes (United States)

    Miyamoto, Hideaki; Dohm, James M.; Baker, Victor R.; Beyer, Ross A.; Bourke, Mary


    Gullies that dissect sand dunes in Russell impact crater often display debris flow-like deposits in their distal reaches. The possible range of both the rheological properties and the flow rates are estimated using a numerical simulation code of a Bingham plastic flow to help explain the formation of these features. Our simulated results are best explained by a rapid debris flow. For example, a debris flow with the viscosity of 10(exp 2) Pa s and the yield strength of 10(exp 2) Pa can form the observed deposits with a flow rate of 0.5 cu m/s sustained over several minutes and total discharged water volume on the order of hundreds of cubic meters, which may be produced by melting a surface layer of interstitial ice within the dune deposits to several centimeters depth.

  3. Terrestrial microbes in martian and chondritic meteorites (United States)

    Airieau, S.; Picenco, Y.; Andersen, G.


    Introduction: The best extraterrestrial analogs for microbiology are meteorites. The chemistry and mineralogy of Asteroid Belt and martian (SNC) meteorites are used as tracers of processes that took place in the early solar system. Meteoritic falls, in particular those of carbonaceous chondrites, are regarded as pristine samples of planetesimal evolution as these rocks are primitive and mostly unprocessed since the formation of the solar system 4.56 billion years ago. Yet, questions about terrestrial contamination and its effects on the meteoritic isotopic, chemical and mineral characteristics often arise. Meteorites are hosts to biological activity as soon as they are in contact with the terrestrial biosphere, like all rocks. A wide biodiversity was found in 21 chondrites and 8 martian stones, and was investigated with cell culture, microscopy techniques, PCR, and LAL photoluminetry. Some preliminary results are presented here. The sample suite included carbonaceous chondrites of types CR, CV, CK, CO, CI, and CM, from ANSMET and Falls. Past studies documented the alteration of meteorites by weathering and biological activity [1]-[4]. Unpublished observations during aqueous extraction for oxygen isotopic analysis [5], noted the formation of biofilms in water in a matter of days. In order to address the potential modification of meteoritic isotopic and chemical signatures, the culture of microbial contaminating species was initiated in 2005, and after a prolonged incubation, some of the species obtained from cell culture were analyzed in 2006. The results are preliminary, and a systematic catalog of microbial contaminants is developing very slowly due to lack of funding. Methods: The primary method was cell culture and PCR. Chondrites. Chondritic meteorite fragments were obtained by breaking stones of approximately one gram in sterile mortars. The core of the rocks, presumably less contaminated than the surface, was used for the present microbial study, and the

  4. An integrated view of the chemistry and mineralogy of martian soils (United States)

    Yen, A. S.; Gellert, Ralf; Schroder, C.; Morris, R.V.; Bell, J.F.; Knudson, A.T.; Clark, B. C.; Ming, D. W.; Crisp, J.A.; Arvidson, R. E.; Blaney, D.; Brückner, J.; Christensen, P.R.; DesMarais, D.J.; De Souza, P.A.; Economou, T.E.; Ghosh, A.; Hahn, B.C.; Herkenhoff, K. E.; Haskin, L.A.; Hurowitz, J.A.; Joliff, B.L.; Johnson, J. R.; Klingelhofer, G.; Madsen, M.B.; McLennan, S.M.; McSween, H.Y.; Richter, L.; Rieder, R.; Rodionov, D.; Soderblom, L.; Squyres, S. W.; Tosca, N.J.; Wang, A.; Wyatt, M.; Zipfel, J.


    The mineralogical and elemental compositions of the martian soil are indicators of chemical and physical weathering processes. Using data from the Mars Exploration Rovers, we show that bright dust deposits on opposite sides of the planet are part of a global unit and not dominated by the composition of local rocks. Dark soil deposits at both sites have similar basaltic mineralogies, and could reflect either a global component or the general similarity in the compositions of the rocks from which they were derived. Increased levels of bromine are consistent with mobilization of soluble salts by thin films of liquid water, but the presence of olivine in analysed soil samples indicates that the extent of aqueous alteration of soils has been limited. Nickel abundances are enhanced at the immediate surface and indicate that the upper few millimetres of soil could contain up to one per cent meteoritic material.

  5. Preliminary Dynamic Feasibility and Analysis of a Spherical, Wind-Driven (Tumbleweed), Martian Rover (United States)

    Flick, John J.; Toniolo, Matthew D.


    The process and findings are presented from a preliminary feasibility study examining the dynamics characteristics of a spherical wind-driven (or Tumbleweed) rover, which is intended for exploration of the Martian surface. The results of an initial feasibility study involving several worst-case mobility situations that a Tumbleweed rover might encounter on the surface of Mars are discussed. Additional topics include the evaluation of several commercially available analysis software packages that were examined as possible platforms for the development of a Monte Carlo Tumbleweed mission simulation tool. This evaluation lead to the development of the Mars Tumbleweed Monte Carlo Simulator (or Tumbleweed Simulator) using the Vortex physics software package from CM-Labs, Inc. Discussions regarding the development and evaluation of the Tumbleweed Simulator, as well as the results of a preliminary analysis using the tool are also presented. Finally, a brief conclusions section is presented.

  6. Variable g- Mars environmental chamber: a small window of the martian environment for life science investigations (United States)

    Sgambati, Antonella; Slenzka, Klaus; Schmeyers, Bernd; Di Capua, Massimiliano; Harting, Benjamin

    Human exploration and permanent settlement on the Martian surface is the one of the most attractive and ambitious endeavors mankind has ever faced. As technology and research progress, solutions and information that were before unavailable are slowly making the dream become everyday more feasible. In the past years a huge amount of knowledge was gathered by the Mars Exploration Rovers Spirit and Opportunity and now, even more insight is being gathered through the latest rover of the family, Curiosity. In this work, data from the various missions will be used to define and reproduce on Earth the characteristic Martian atmospheric conditions. A small Mars environmental chamber has been designed and built with the objective of studying the effects of the Martian environment on biological systems. The Variable gravity Mars Environmental Chamber (VgMEC) will allow researchers to replicate atmospheric pressure, gas composition, temperature and UVA/B exposure typical of the equatorial regions of Mars. By exposing biological systems to a controllable set of stressor it will be possible to identify both multi and single stressor effects on the system of interest. While several Mars environment simulation facilities exist, due to their size and mass, all are confined to floor-fixed laboratory settings. The VgMEC is an OHB funded project that wishes to bring together the scientific community and the industry. Collaborations will be enabled by granting low cost access to cutting-edge instrumentation and services. Developed at OHB System AG, VgMEC has been designed from the ground up to be a 28L, compact and lightweight test volume capable of being integrated in existing centrifuges (such as the ESA-ESTEC LCD), gimbal systems and parabolic flight aircraft. The VgMEC support systems were designed to accommodate continuous operations of virtually unlimited duration through the adoption of solutions such as: hot swappable gas/liquid consumables bottles, low power requirements, an

  7. Gully incision rates on the bedrock of a large dip-slope landslide revealed by multi-period LiDAR DEMs (United States)

    Chan, Y. C.; Hsieh, Y. C.


    Recent advances in airborne laser scanning (ALS) technology have provided a great opportunity for characterizing surface erosion through developing improved methods in multi-period DEM differencing and geomorphometry. This study uses three periods of ALS digital elevation model (DEM) data to analyze the short-term erosional features of the Tsaoling landslide triggered by the 1999 Chi-Chi earthquake in Taiwan. Two methods for calculating the bedrock incision rate, the equal-interval cross section selection method and the continuous swath profiles selection method, were used in the study after nearly ten years of gully incision following the earthquake-triggered dip-slope landslide. Multi-temporal gully incision rates were obtained using the continuous swath profiles selection method, which is considered a practical and convenient approach in terrain change studies. After error estimation and comparison of the multi-period ALS DEMs, the terrain change in different periods can be directly calculated, reducing time-consuming fieldwork such as installation of erosion pins and measurement of topographic cross sections on site. In this study, the gully bedrock incision rates ranged between 0.23 and 3.98 m/year, remarkably higher than the typical results from the previous studies. By comparing the DEM data, aerial photos, and precipitation records of this area, the effects of erosion could be observed from the retreat of the Chunqiu Cliff outline during August 2011 to September 2012. It was inferred that the change in the topographic elevation during 2011-2012 was mainly due to the torrential rain brought by Typhoon Soula, which occurred on 30 July 2012. The local gully incision rate in the lower part of the landslide surface was remarkably faster than that of the other regions, suggesting that the fast incision of the toe area possibly contributes to the occurrence of repeated landslides in the Tsaoling area.

  8. Mitigating Adverse Effects of a Human Mission on Possible Martian Indigenous Ecosystems (United States)

    Lupisella, M. L.


    Although human beings are, by most standards, the most capable agents to search for and detect extraterrestrial life, we are also potentially the most harmful. While there has been substantial work regarding forward contamination with respect to robotic missions, the issue of potential adverse effects on possible indigenous Martian ecosystems, such as biological contamination, due to a human mission has remained relatively unexplored and may require our attention now as this presentation will try to demonstrate by exploring some of the relevant scientific questions, mission planning challenges, and policy issues. An informal, high-level mission planning decision tree will be discussed and is included as the next page of this abstract. Some of the questions to be considered are: (1) To what extent could contamination due to a human presence compromise possible indigenous life forms? (2) To what extent can we control contamination? For example, will it be local or global? (3) What are the criteria for assessing the biological status of Mars, both regionally and globally? For example, can we adequately extrapolate from a few strategic missions such as sample return missions? (4) What should our policies be regarding our mission planning and possible interaction with what are likely to be microbial forms of extraterrestrial life? (5) Central to the science and mission planning issues is the role and applicability of terrestrial analogs, such as Lake Vostok for assessing drilling issues, and modeling techniques. Central to many of the policy aspects are scientific value, international law, public concern, and ethics. Exploring this overall issue responsibly requires an examination of all these aspects and how they interrelate. A chart is included, titled 'Mission Planning Decision Tree for Mitigating Adverse Effects to Possible Indigenous Martian Ecosystems due to a Human Mission'. It outlines what questions scientists should ask and answer before sending humans to Mars.

  9. Responses of streamflow and sediment load to climate change and human activity in the Upper Yellow River, China: a case of the Ten Great Gullies Basin. (United States)

    Liu, Tong; Huang, He Qing; Shao, Mingan; Yao, Wenyi; Gu, Jing; Yu, Guoan


    Soil erosion and land desertification are the most serious environmental problems globally. This study investigated the changes in streamflow and sediment load from 1964 to 2012 in the Ten Great Gullies area of the Upper Yellow River. Tests for gradual trends (Mann-Kendall test) and abrupt changes (Pettitt test) identify that significant declines in streamflow and sediment load occurred in 1997-1998 in two typical gullies. A comparison of climatic variability before and after the change points shows no statistically significant trends in annual precipitation and potential evapotranspiration. Human activities have been very active in the region and during 1990-2010, 146.01 and 197.62 km2 of land were converted, respectively, to forests and grassland, with corresponding increases of 87.56 and 77.05%. In addition, a large number of check dams have been built up in the upper reaches of the ten gullies. These measures were likely responsible for the significant decline in the annual streamflow and sediment load over the last 49 years.

  10. Martian Methane From a Cometary Source: A Hypothesis (United States)

    Fries, M.; Christou, A.; Archer, D.; Conrad, P.; Cooke, W.; Eigenbrode, J.; ten Kate, I. L.; Matney, M.; Niles, P.; Sykes, M.; hide


    In recent years, methane in the martian atmosphere has been detected by Earth-based spectroscopy, the Planetary Fourier Spectrometer on the ESA Mars Express mission, and the NASA Mars Science Laboratory. The methane's origin remains a mystery, with proposed sources including volcanism, exogenous sources like impacts and interplanetary dust, aqueous alteration of olivine in the presence of carbonaceous material, release from ancient deposits of methane clathrates, and/or biological activity. An additional potential source exists: meteor showers from the emission of large comet dust particles could generate martian methane via UV pyrolysis of carbon-rich infall material. We find a correlation between the dates of Mars/cometary orbit encounters and detections of methane on Mars. We hypothesize that cometary debris falls onto Mars during these interactions, generating methane via UV photolysis.

  11. Ionization rates and profiles of electron concentration in Martian atmosphere

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Komitov, B.; Spasov, S.; Gogoshev, M.


    The ionization and vertical profiles of electron concentration in the Martian atmosphere are calculated as functions of the solar zenith angles varying from O deg to 90 deg. A neutral atmospheric model based on direct mass-spectometric measurements from the Viking-1 landing modul is employed in the calculation. The Earth data of the ionization solar flux at the same level of the solar activity and for the month of the Viking-1 measurements reduced for the Mars orbit are used. The numerical result for the photoionization rates and quasi-equilibrium electron-concentration profiles in the upper Martian atmosphere at different solar zenith angles from 0 deg to 100 deg are presented. It is shown that the maxima of both quantities decrease and move towards the upper atmosphere regions. The calculated electron density at the zenith solar angle of 40 deg are compared to Viking-1 experimental data and a good agreement is achieved

  12. Orbital evolution and origin of the Martian satellites

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Szeto, A.M.K.


    The orbital evolution of the Martian satellites is considered from a dynamical point of view. Celestial mechanics relevant to the calculation of satellite orbital evolution is introduced and the physical parameters to be incorporated in the modeling of tidal dissipation are discussed. Results of extrapolating the satellite orbits backward and forward in time are presented and compared with those of other published work. Collision probability calculations and results for the Martian satellite system are presented and discussed. The implications of these calculations for the origin scenarios of the satellites are assessed. It is concluded that Deimos in its present form could not have been captured, for if it had been, it would have collided with Phobos at some point. An accretion model is therefore preferred over capture, although such a model consistent with the likely carbonaceous chondritic composition of the satellites has yet to be established. 91 references

  13. The Athena Science Payload for the 2003 Mars Exploration Rovers (United States)

    Squyres, S. W.; Arvidson, R. E.; Bell, J. F., III; Carr, M.; Christensen, P.; DesMarais, D.; Economou, T.; Gorevan, S.; Haskin, L.; Herkenhoff, K.


    The Athena Mars rover payload is a suite of scientific instruments and tools for geologic exploration of the martian surface. It is designed to: (1) Provide color stereo imaging of martian surface environments, and remotely-sensed point discrimination of mineralogical composition. (2) Determine the elemental and mineralogical composition of martian surface materials, including soils, rock surfaces, and rock interiors. (3) Determine the fine-scale textural properties of these materials. Two identical copies of the Athena payload will be flown in 2003 on the two Mars Exploration Rovers. The payload is at a high state of maturity, and first copies of several of the instruments have already been built and tested for flight.

  14. Post-Viking view of Martian geologic evolution

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Arvidson, R.E.; Goettel, K.A.; Hohenberg, C.M.


    The mean density, 3.393 g/cm 3 , and the estimated moment of inertia factor constrain the density distribution within Mars but do not define it uniquely. For plausible core density, core radii can range from approx. 1350 to approx. 2200 km, with the core constituting from approx. 13 to approx. 35% of the planet's mass. Possible extremes for the zero-pressure density of the Martian mantle could be as high as 3.6 g/cm 3 or as low as 3.3 g/cm 3 . The Martian mantle is probably denser than the terrestrial mantle. The dominant Martian lavas are probably mafic or ultramafic. Martian surface materials probably consist of variable proportions of mafic igneous minerals and weathering products, the latter primarily oxides and carbonates. A major geologic dichotomy exists between the complex northern plains and the ancient southern cratered terrain. The Tharsis plateau, which dominates the low-degree harmonics of the gravity field, appears to be only partially compensated; Olympus Mons appears to be completely uncompensated. Substantial stresses must be supported, either statically by a thick, rigid lithosphere, or dynamically. Mean crustal thicknesses from 23 to 40 km have been obtained from modeling of Bouguer gravity data. Lithospheric thicknesses from 25 to 50 km under volcanoes in the Tharsis and Elysium provinces to >150 km under olympus Mons have been obtained from consideration of the effects of mass loading by volcanic constructs. Many of the compressional and extensional features on Mars have orientations consistent with formation by fracturing in response to loading by the Tharsis plateau. The deficiency of small craters within cratered terrain is attributed to obliteration by volcanism. The maximum resurfacing rate due to volcanism occurred between 1.0 and 1.5 b.y. ago if a constant cratering flux is assumed and between 3.5 and 4.0 b.y. ago if the lunar cratering flux (scaled to Mars) is assumed

  15. Low computation vision-based navigation for a Martian rover (United States)

    Gavin, Andrew S.; Brooks, Rodney A.


    Construction and design details of the Mobot Vision System, a small, self-contained, mobile vision system, are presented. This system uses the view from the top of a small, roving, robotic vehicle to supply data that is processed in real-time to safely navigate the surface of Mars. A simple, low-computation algorithm for constructing a 3-D navigational map of the Martian environment to be used by the rover is discussed.

  16. Microwave Palaeointensity Experiments On Terrestrial and Martian Material (United States)

    Shaw, J.; Hill, M.; Gratton, M.

    The microwave palaeointensity technique was developed in Liverpool University (Walton et al 1996) and has successfully been applied to archaeological ceramics and recent lavas (Shaw et al 1996, 1999.; Hill et al 1999,2000). These published results show that microwave analysis provides accurate palaeointensity determinations com- bined with a very high success rate. Most recently the technique has been successfully applied to Martian material (Shaw et al, 2001) to look for the existence of an internal Martian dynamo early in Martian history. New experiments have been carried out us- ing microwaves to demagnetise synthetic muti-component TRM's and new palaeoin- tensity experiments providing a comparison between microwave analysis of laboratory TRM's and conventional thermal Thellier analysis of microwave generated mTRM's. These experiments demonstrate the equivalence of microwave and thermally gener- ated TRM's. D. Walton, S Snape, T.C. Rolph, J. Shaw and J.A. Share, Application of ferromagnetic resonance heating to palaeointensity determinations.1996, Phys Earth Planet Int,94, 183-186. J. Shaw, D. Walton, S Yang, T.C.Rolph, and J.A. Share. Microwave Archaeointensities from Peruvian Ceramics. 1996, Geophys. J. Int,124,241-244 J. Shaw, S. Yang, T. C. Rolph, and F. Y. Sun. A comparison of archaeointensity results from Chinese ceramics using Microwave and conventional ThellierSs and ShawSs methods.,1999, G J Int.136, 714-718 M. Hill, and J. Shaw, 1999, Palaeointensity results for Historic Lavas from Mt. Etna using microwave demagnetisation/remagnetisation in a modified Thellier type exper- iment. G. J. Int, 139, 583-590 M. J. Hill, and J. Shaw, 2000. Magnetic field intensity study of the 1960 Kilauea lava flow, Hawaii, using the microwave palaeointensity technique, Geophys. J. Int., 142, 487-504. J. Shaw, M. Hill, and S. J. Openshaw, 2001, Investigating the ancient Martian magnetic field using microwaves, Earth and Planetary Science Letters 190 (2001) 103-109

  17. Martian geomorphology and its relation to subsurface volatiles (United States)

    Clifford, Stephen M. (Editor); Rossbacher, Lisa A. (Editor); Zimbelman, James R. (Editor)


    Martian volatile inventory, planetary climatic and atmospheric evolution, and the interpretation of various remote sensing data were discussed. A number of morphologies that were cited as potential indicators of subsurface volatiles were reviewed. Rampart craters and terrain softening were the focus of more in-depth discussion because of the popular attention they have received and the fact that their areal distributions are by far the most extensive of all the proposed indicators.

  18. Magnetic Particles Are Found In The Martian Atmosphere (United States)


    The dark bullseye pattern seen at the top of Viking l's camera calibration chart indicates the presence of magnetic particles in the fine dust in the Martian atmosphere. A tiny magnet is mounted at that spot to catch wind-borne magnetic particles. The particles may have been tossed into the atmosphere surrounding the spacecraft at the time of landing and during the digging and delivery of the Mars soil sample by the surface sampler scoop. This picture was taken August 4.

  19. Viking orbiter imaging observations of dust in the Martian atmosphere

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Briggs, G.A.; Baum, W.A.; Barnes, J.


    More than 20 local Martian dust clouds and two global dust storms were observed with the Viking orbiter camera. Sixteen of the local clouds were imaged in two colors or were observed with other instruments confirming their identification as dust clouds. These Viking results are compared with earth-based observations of Martian dust storms and with Mariner 9 data. Most of the dust activity seen by Viking occurred during southern hemisphere spring and early summer, when Mars was near perihelion and isolation was near maximum. About half the local clouds occurred near the edge of the southern polar cap, where winds are presumably enhanced by a strong regional temperature gradient. The other half occurred mainly in the southern hemisphere near regions where circulation models incorporating topography predict positive vertical velocities. Although dust clouds observed from earth show a similar partial correlation with models, some ambiguity exists concerning interpretation of regions near Hellespontus that have spawned the most spectacular Martian dust storms on record

  20. Chemical and Physical Interactions of Martian Surface Material (United States)

    Bishop, J. L.


    A model of alteration and maturation of the Martian surface material is described involving both chemical and physical interactions. Physical processes involve distribution and mixing of the fine-grained soil particles across the surface and into the atmosphere. Chemical processes include reaction of sulfate, salt and oxidizing components of the soil particles; these agents in the soils deposited on rocks will chew through the rock minerals forming coatings and will bind surface soils together to form duricrust deposits. Formation of crystalline iron oxide/oxyhydroxide minerals through hydrothermal processes and of poorly crystalline and amorphous phases through palagonitic processes both contribute to formation of the soil particles. Chemical and physical alteration of these soil minerals and phases contribute to producing the chemical, magnetic and spectroscopic character of the Martian soil as observed by Mars Pathfinder and Mars Global Surveyor. Minerals such as maghemite/magnetite and jarosite/alunite have been observed in terrestrial volcanic soils near steam vents and may be important components of the Martian surface material. The spectroscopic properties of several terrestrial volcanic soils containing these minerals have been analyzed and evaluated in terms of the spectroscopic character of the surface material on Mars.

  1. A Martian origin for the Mars Trojan asteroids (United States)

    Polishook, D.; Jacobson, S. A.; Morbidelli, A.; Aharonson, O.


    Seven of the nine known Mars Trojan asteroids belong to an orbital cluster1,2 named after its largest member, (5261) Eureka. Eureka is probably the progenitor of the whole cluster, which formed at least 1 Gyr ago3. It has been suggested3 that the thermal YORP (Yarkovsky-O'Keefe-Radzievskii-Paddack) effect spun up Eureka, resulting in fragments being ejected by the rotational-fission mechanism. Eureka's spectrum exhibits a broad and deep absorption band around 1 μm, indicating an olivine-rich composition4. Here we show evidence that the Trojan Eureka cluster progenitor could have originated as impact debris excavated from the Martian mantle. We present new near-infrared observations of two Trojans ((311999) 2007 NS2 and (385250) 2001 DH47) and find that both exhibit an olivine-rich reflectance spectrum similar to Eureka's. These measurements confirm that the progenitor of the cluster has an achondritic composition4. Olivine-rich reflectance spectra are rare amongst asteroids5 but are seen around the largest basins on Mars6. They are also consistent with some Martian meteorites (for example, Chassigny7) and with the material comprising much of the Martian mantle8,9. Using numerical simulations, we show that the Mars Trojans are more likely to be impact ejecta from Mars than captured olivine-rich asteroids transported from the main belt. This result directly links specific asteroids to debris from the forming planets.

  2. Martian Radiative Transfer Modeling Using the Optimal Spectral Sampling Method (United States)

    Eluszkiewicz, J.; Cady-Pereira, K.; Uymin, G.; Moncet, J.-L.


    The large volume of existing and planned infrared observations of Mars have prompted the development of a new martian radiative transfer model that could be used in the retrievals of atmospheric and surface properties. The model is based on the Optimal Spectral Sampling (OSS) method [1]. The method is a fast and accurate monochromatic technique applicable to a wide range of remote sensing platforms (from microwave to UV) and was originally developed for the real-time processing of infrared and microwave data acquired by instruments aboard the satellites forming part of the next-generation global weather satellite system NPOESS (National Polarorbiting Operational Satellite System) [2]. As part of our on-going research related to the radiative properties of the martian polar caps, we have begun the development of a martian OSS model with the goal of using it to perform self-consistent atmospheric corrections necessary to retrieve caps emissivity from the Thermal Emission Spectrometer (TES) spectra. While the caps will provide the initial focus area for applying the new model, it is hoped that the model will be of interest to the wider Mars remote sensing community.

  3. The physics of Martian weather and climate: a review

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Read, P L; Mulholland, D P; Lewis, S R


    The planet Mars hosts an atmosphere that is perhaps the closest in terms of its meteorology and climate to that of the Earth. But Mars differs from Earth in its greater distance from the Sun, its smaller size, its lack of liquid oceans and its thinner atmosphere, composed mainly of CO 2 . These factors give Mars a rather different climate to that of the Earth. In this article we review various aspects of the martian climate system from a physicist’s viewpoint, focusing on the processes that control the martian environment and comparing these with corresponding processes on Earth. These include the radiative and thermodynamical processes that determine the surface temperature and vertical structure of the atmosphere, the fluid dynamics of its atmospheric motions, and the key cycles of mineral dust and volatile transport. In many ways, the climate of Mars is as complicated and diverse as that of the Earth, with complex nonlinear feedbacks that affect its response to variations in external forcing. Recent work has shown that the martian climate is anything but static, but is almost certainly in a continual state of transient response to slowly varying insolation associated with cyclic variations in its orbit and rotation. We conclude with a discussion of the physical processes underlying these long- term climate variations on Mars, and an overview of some of the most intriguing outstanding problems that should be a focus for future observational and theoretical studies. (review)

  4. Using kites for 3-D mapping of gullies at decimetre-resolution over several square kilometres: a case study on the Kamech catchment, Tunisia

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    D. Feurer


    Full Text Available Monitoring agricultural areas threatened by soil erosion often requires decimetre topographic information over areas of several square kilometres. Airborne lidar and remotely piloted aircraft system (RPAS imagery have the ability to provide repeated decimetre-resolution and -accuracy digital elevation models (DEMs covering these extents, which is unrealistic with ground surveys. However, various factors hamper the dissemination of these technologies in a wide range of situations, including local regulations for RPAS and the cost for airborne laser systems and medium-format RPAS imagery. The goal of this study is to investigate the ability of low-tech kite aerial photography to obtain DEMs with decimetre resolution and accuracy that permit 3-D descriptions of active gullying in cultivated areas of several square kilometres. To this end, we developed and assessed a two-step workflow. First, we used both heuristic experimental approaches in field and numerical simulations to determine the conditions that make a photogrammetric flight possible and effective over several square kilometres with a kite and a consumer-grade camera. Second, we mapped and characterised the entire gully system of a test catchment in 3-D. We showed numerically and experimentally that using a thin and light line for the kite is key for a complete 3-D coverage over several square kilometres. We thus obtained a decimetre-resolution DEM covering 3.18 km2 with a mean error and standard deviation of the error of +7 and 22 cm respectively, hence achieving decimetre accuracy. With this data set, we showed that high-resolution topographic data permit both the detection and characterisation of an entire gully system with a high level of detail and an overall accuracy of 74 % compared to an independent field survey. Kite aerial photography with simple but appropriate equipment is hence an alternative tool that has been proven to be valuable for surveying gullies with sub

  5. Assessing the seasonal variability of ephemeral gully erosion using high-frequency monitoring: case study in a fully cultivated catchment (The Pommeroye, Northern France) (United States)

    Patault, E.; Alary, C.; Franke, C.; Gauthier, A.; Abriak, N. E.


    Gully erosion results in on-site and off-site problems including the loss of cultivated soils, the silting of riverbeds and dams as well as infrastructure and property damage by muddy floods. Regions of intensive agricultural production situated on the European loess belt are particularly affected. Recently a growing interest has focused on ephemeral gullies since there have been recognized as a major contributor to the sediment yield in small agricultural catchment in this area. The aims of this case study are (i) to quantify the sediment yield transported by ephemeral gullies, (ii) to identify parameters that control the function of the hydro-sedimentary response and (iii) to evaluate the influence of seasonal variability on the ephemeral gully erosion. For this study a high-frequency monitoring station was implemented. For each flood event, 8 variables related to hydro-sedimentary and rainfall dynamics are calculated and the relationships between these variables are analyzed using the Pearson correlation matrix and Principal Component Analysis. During the first year of monitoring (03/2016-03/2017), 22 flood events were recorded of which 75% occurred in spring and winter. The specific sediment yield was evaluated to 30 t km-2 yr-1 which is conventional for the study region but the results show a highly variable seasonal distribution; 90% of the sedimentary transfer occurred in winter and autumn. The main reasons were a high cumulative rainfall and a long duration for the events. The maximum suspended sediment concentration at the catchment outlet was observed in spring, likely due to maximum rainfall intensities in that season. Also, a huge variability between the events is observed; e.g. one exceptional rain storm in 11/2016 represents 45% of the total sediment yield of the study period. For the monitored 22 events, 2 different types of hysteresis behavior were observed: (i) clockwise and (ii) complex. In winter, only clockwise hysteresis was observed. These

  6. Combining meteorites and missions to explore Mars. (United States)

    McCoy, Timothy J; Corrigan, Catherine M; Herd, Christopher D K


    Laboratory studies of meteorites and robotic exploration of Mars reveal scant atmosphere, no evidence of plate tectonics, past evidence for abundant water, and a protracted igneous evolution. Despite indirect hints, direct evidence of a martian origin came with the discovery of trapped atmospheric gases in one meteorite. Since then, the study of martian meteorites and findings from missions have been linked. Although the meteorite source locations are unknown, impact ejection modeling and spectral mapping of Mars suggest derivation from small craters in terrains of Amazonian to Hesperian age. Whereas most martian meteorites are young ( 4.5 Ga and formation of enriched and depleted reservoirs. However, the history inferred from martian meteorites conflicts with results from recent Mars missions, calling into doubt whether the igneous histor y inferred from the meteorites is applicable to Mars as a whole. Allan Hills 84001 dates to 4.09 Ga and contains fluid-deposited carbonates. Accompanying debate about the mechanism and temperature of origin of the carbonates came several features suggestive of past microbial life in the carbonates. Although highly disputed, the suggestion spurred interest in habitable extreme environments on Earth and throughout the Solar System. A flotilla of subsequent spacecraft has redefined Mars from a volcanic planet to a hydrologically active planet that may have harbored life. Understanding the history and habitability of Mars depends on understanding the coupling of the atmosphere, surface, and subsurface. Sample return that brings back direct evidence from these diverse reservoirs is essential.

  7. Mars analog minerals' spectral reflectance characteristics under Martian surface conditions (United States)

    Poitras, J. T.; Cloutis, E. A.; Salvatore, M. R.; Mertzman, S. A.; Applin, D. M.; Mann, P.


    We investigated the spectral reflectance properties of minerals under a simulated Martian environment. Twenty-eight different hydrated or hydroxylated phases of carbonates, sulfates, and silica minerals were selected based on past detection on Mars through spectral remote sensing data. Samples were ground and dry sieved to <45 μm grain size and characterized by XRD before and after 133 days inside a simulated Martian surface environment (pressure 5 Torr and CO2 fed). Reflectance spectra from 0.35 to 4 μm were taken periodically through a sapphire (0.35-2.5 μm) and zinc selenide (2.5-4 μm) window over a 133-day period. Mineral stability on the Martian surface was assessed through changes in spectral characteristics. Results indicate that the hydrated carbonates studied would be stable on the surface of Mars, only losing adsorbed H2O while maintaining their diagnostic spectral features. Sulfates were less stable, often with shifts in the band position of the SO, Fe, and OH absorption features. Silicas displayed spectral shifts related to SiOH and hydration state of the mineral surface, while diagnostic bands for quartz were stable. Previous detection of carbonate minerals based on 2.3-2.5 μm and 3.4-3.9 μm features appears to be consistent with our results. Sulfate mineral detection is more questionable since there can be shifts in band position related to SO4. The loss of the 0.43 μm Fe3+ band in many of the sulfates indicate that there are fewer potential candidates for Fe3+ sulfates to permanently exist on the Martian surface based on this band. The gypsum sample changed phase to basanite during desiccation as demonstrated by both reflectance and XRD. Silica on Mars has been detected using band depth ratio at 1.91 and 1.96 μm and band minimum position of the 1.4 μm feature, and the properties are also used to determine their age. This technique continues to be useful for positive silica identifications, however, silica age appears to be less consistent

  8. [Effects of alien species Robinia pseudoacacia on plant community functional structure in hilly-gully region of Loess Plateau, China. (United States)

    Zhu, Duo Ju; Wen, Zhong Ming; Zhang, Jing; Tao, Yu; Zeng, Hong Wen; Tang, Yang


    To investigate the effects of the introduction of Robinia pseudoacacia on the functional structure of plant communities, we selected paired-plots of R. pseudoacacia communities and native plant communities across different vegetation zones, i.e., steppe zone, forest-steppe zone, forest zone in hilly-gully region of Loess Plateau, China. We measured several functional characteristics and then compared the functional structures of R. pseudoacacia and native plant communities in different vegetation zones. The results showed that the variation of the functional traits across different vegetation zones were consistent in R. pseudoacacia community and native plant community, including leaf carbon concentration, leaf nitrogen concentration, leaf phosphorus concentration, specific leaf area, and leaf tissue density. The leaf carbon concentration, leaf nitrogen concentration, and specific leaf area of the R. pseudoacacia community were significantly higher than those of the native plant community. The trend of change that the functional diversity indices, i.e., FR ic , FE ve , FD iv , FD is , Rao of the R. pseudoacacia community and the native plant community with vegetation zones were different. The introduction of R. pseudoacacia enhanced the plant community functional diversity in the forest zone but reduced community functional diversity in the steppe zone.

  9. Implantation of Martian Materials in the Inner Solar System by a Mega Impact on Mars (United States)

    Hyodo, Ryuki; Genda, Hidenori


    Observations and meteorites indicate that the Martian materials are enigmatically distributed within the inner solar system. A mega impact on Mars creating a Martian hemispheric dichotomy and the Martian moons can potentially eject Martian materials. A recent work has shown that the mega-impact-induced debris is potentially captured as the Martian Trojans and implanted in the asteroid belt. However, the amount, distribution, and composition of the debris has not been studied. Here, using hydrodynamic simulations, we report that a large amount of debris (∼1% of Mars’ mass), including Martian crust/mantle and the impactor’s materials (∼20:80), are ejected by a dichotomy-forming impact, and distributed between ∼0.5–3.0 au. Our result indicates that unmelted Martian mantle debris (∼0.02% of Mars’ mass) can be the source of Martian Trojans, olivine-rich asteroids in the Hungarian region and the main asteroid belt, and some even hit the early Earth. The evidence of a mega impact on Mars would be recorded as a spike of 40Ar–39Ar ages in meteorites. A mega impact can naturally implant Martian mantle materials within the inner solar system.

  10. Martian Oceans: Old Debate - New Insights (United States)

    Oehler, Dorothy Z.; Allen, Carlton C.


    The possibility of an ancient ocean in the northern lowlands of Mars has been discussed for decades [1-14], but the subject remains controversial [15-20]. Among the many unique features of the northern lowlands is the extensive development of "giant polygons" - polygonal landforms that range from 1 to 20 km across. The kilometer-scale size of these features distinguishes them from a variety of smaller polygons (usually < 250 m) on Mars that have been compared to terrestrial analogs such as ice-wedge and desiccation features. However, until recently, geologists were aware of no examples of polygons on Earth comparable in scale to the giant polygons of Mars, so there were no good analogs from which to draw interpretations. That picture has changed with 3D seismic data acquired by the petroleum industry in exploration of offshore basins. The new data reveal kilometer-scale polygonal features in more than 50 offshore basins on Earth]. These features provide a credible analog for the giant polygons of Mars.

  11. Petrogenesis of Igneous-Textured Clasts in Martian Meteorite Northwest Africa 7034 (United States)

    Santos, A. R.; Agee, C. B.; Humayun, M.; McCubbin, F. M.; Shearer, C. K.


    The martian meteorite Northwest Africa 7034 (and pairings) is a breccia that samples a variety of materials from the martian crust. Several previous studies have identified multiple types of igneous-textured clasts within the breccia [1-3], and these clasts have the potential to provide insight into the igneous evolution of Mars. One challenge presented by studying these small rock fragments is the lack of field context for this breccia (i.e., where on Mars it formed), so we do not know how many sources these small rock fragments are derived from or the exact formation his-tory of these sources (i.e., are the sources mantle de-rived melt or melts contaminated by a meteorite impactor on Mars). Our goal in this study is to examine specific igneous-textured clast groups to determine if they are petrogenetically related (i.e., from the same igneous source) and determine more information about their formation history, then use them to derive new insights about the igneous history of Mars. We will focus on the basalt clasts, FTP clasts (named due to their high concentration of iron, titanium, and phosphorous), and mineral fragments described by [1] (Fig. 1). We will examine these materials for evidence of impactor contamination (as proposed for some materials by [2]) or mantle melt derivation. We will also test the petrogenetic models proposed in [1], which are igneous processes that could have occurred regardless of where the melt parental to the clasts was formed. These models include 1) derivation of the FTP clasts from a basalt clast melt through silicate liquid immiscibility (SLI), 2) derivation of the FTP clasts from a basalt clast melt through fractional crystallization, and 3) a lack of petrogenetic relationship between these clast groups. The relationship between the clast groups and the mineral fragments will also be explored.

  12. Asymmetry of the Martian Current Sheet in a Multi-fluid MHD Model (United States)

    Panoncillo, S. G.; Egan, H. L.; Dong, C.; Connerney, J. E. P.; Brain, D. A.; Jakosky, B. M.


    The solar wind carries interplanetary magnetic field (IMF) lines toward Mars, where they drape around the planet's conducting ionosphere, creating a current sheet behind the planet where the magnetic field has opposite polarity on either side. In its simplest form, the current sheet is often thought of as symmetric, extending behind the planet along the Mars-Sun line. Observations and model simulations, however, demonstrate that this idealized representation is only an approximation, and the actual scenario is much more complex. The current sheet can have 3D structure, move back and forth, and be situated dawnward or duskward of the Mars-Sun line. In this project, we utilized a library of global plasma model results for Mars consisting of a collection of multi-fluid MHD simulations where solar max/min, sub-solar longitude, and the orbital position of Mars are varied individually. The model includes Martian crustal fields, and was run for identical steady solar wind conditions. This library was created for the purpose of comparing model results to MAVEN data; we looked at the results of this model library to investigate current sheet asymmetries. By altering one variable at a time we were able to measure how these variables influence the location of the current sheet. We found that the current sheet is typically shifted toward the dusk side of the planet, and that modeled asymmetries are especially prevalent during solar min. Previous model studies that lack crustal fields have found that, for a Parker spiral IMF, the current sheet will shift dawnward, while our results typically show the opposite. This could expose certain limitations in the models used, or it could reveal an interaction between the solar wind and the plasma environment of Mars that has not yet been explored. MAVEN data may be compared to the model results to confirm the sense of the modeled asymmetry. These results help us to probe the physics controlling the Martian magnetotail and atmospheric

  13. Mimicking Martian dust: An in-vacuum dust deposition system for testing the ultraviolet sensors on the Curiosity rover

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Sobrado, J. M.; Martín-Soler, J.; Martín-Gago, J. A.


    We have designed and developed an in-vacuum dust deposition system specifically conceived to simulate and study the effect of accumulation of Martian dust on the electronic instruments of scientific planetary exploration missions. We have used this device to characterize the dust effect on the UV sensor of the Rover Environmental Monitoring Station in the Mars science Laboratory mission of NASA in similar conditions to those found on Mars surface. The UV sensor includes six photodiodes for measuring the radiation in all UV wavelengths (direct incidence and reflected); it is placed on the body of Curiosity rover and it is severely affected by the dust deposited on it. Our experimental setup can help to estimate the duration of reliable reading of this instrument during operation. We have used an analogous of the Martian dust in chemical composition (magnetic species), color, and density, which has been characterized by X-ray spectroscopy. To ensure a Brownian motion of the dust during its fall and a homogeneous coverage on the instrumentation, the operating conditions of the vacuum vessel, determined by partial pressures and temperature, have to be modified to account for the different gravities of Mars with respect to Earth. We propose that our designed device and operational protocol can be of interest to test optoelectronic instrumentation affected by the opacity of dust, as can be the degradation of UV photodiodes in planetary exploration

  14. Glass and Glass-Ceramic Materials from Simulated Composition of Lunar and Martian Soils: Selected Properties and Potential Applications (United States)

    Ray, C. S.; Sen, S.; Reis, S. T.; Kim, C. W.


    In-situ resource processing and utilization on planetary bodies is an important and integral part of NASA's space exploration program. Within this scope and context, our general effort is primarily aimed at developing glass and glass-ceramic type materials using lunar and martian soils, and exploring various applications of these materials for planetary surface operations. Our preliminary work to date have demonstrated that glasses can be successfully prepared from melts of the simulated composition of both lunar and martian soils, and the melts have a viscosity-temperature window appropriate for drawing continuous glass fibers. The glasses are shown to have the potential for immobilizing certain types of nuclear wastes without deteriorating their chemical durability and thermal stability. This has a direct impact on successfully and economically disposing nuclear waste generated from a nuclear power plant on a planetary surface. In addition, these materials display characteristics that can be manipulated using appropriate processing protocols to develop glassy or glass-ceramic magnets. Also discussed in this presentation are other potential applications along with a few selected thermal, chemical, and structural properties as evaluated up to this time for these materials.

  15. Mimicking Martian dust: An in-vacuum dust deposition system for testing the ultraviolet sensors on the Curiosity rover

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Sobrado, J. M., E-mail:; Martín-Soler, J. [Centro de Astrobiología (CAB), INTA-CSIC, Torrejón de Ardoz, 28850 Madrid (Spain); Martín-Gago, J. A. [Centro de Astrobiología (CAB), INTA-CSIC, Torrejón de Ardoz, 28850 Madrid (Spain); Instituto de Ciencias de Materiales de Madrid (ICMM–CSIC), Cantoblanco, 28049 Madrid (Spain)


    We have designed and developed an in-vacuum dust deposition system specifically conceived to simulate and study the effect of accumulation of Martian dust on the electronic instruments of scientific planetary exploration missions. We have used this device to characterize the dust effect on the UV sensor of the Rover Environmental Monitoring Station in the Mars science Laboratory mission of NASA in similar conditions to those found on Mars surface. The UV sensor includes six photodiodes for measuring the radiation in all UV wavelengths (direct incidence and reflected); it is placed on the body of Curiosity rover and it is severely affected by the dust deposited on it. Our experimental setup can help to estimate the duration of reliable reading of this instrument during operation. We have used an analogous of the Martian dust in chemical composition (magnetic species), color, and density, which has been characterized by X-ray spectroscopy. To ensure a Brownian motion of the dust during its fall and a homogeneous coverage on the instrumentation, the operating conditions of the vacuum vessel, determined by partial pressures and temperature, have to be modified to account for the different gravities of Mars with respect to Earth. We propose that our designed device and operational protocol can be of interest to test optoelectronic instrumentation affected by the opacity of dust, as can be the degradation of UV photodiodes in planetary exploration.

  16. Thermal Evolution and Crystallisation Regimes of the Martian Core (United States)

    Davies, C. J.; Pommier, A.


    Though it is accepted that Mars has a sulfur-rich metallic core, its chemical and physical state as well as its time-evolution are still unconstrained and debated. Several lines of evidence indicate that an internal magnetic field was once generated on Mars and that this field decayed around 3.7-4.0 Gyrs ago. The standard model assumes that this field was produced by a thermal (and perhaps chemical) dynamo operating in the Martian core. We use this information to construct parameterized models of the Martian dynamo in order to place constraints on the thermochemical evolution of the Martian core, with particular focus on its crystallization regime. Considered compositions are in the FeS system, with S content ranging from ~10 and 16 wt%. Core radius, density and CMB pressure are varied within the errors provided by recent internal structure models that satisfy the available geodetic constraints (planetary mass, moment of inertia and tidal Love number). We also vary the melting curve and adiabat, CMB heat flow and thermal conductivity. Successful models are those that match the dynamo cessation time and fall within the bounds on present-day CMB temperature. The resulting suite of over 500 models suggest three possible crystallization regimes: growth of a solid inner core starting at the center of the planet; freezing and precipitation of solid iron (Fe- snow) from the core-mantle boundary (CMB); and freezing that begins midway through the core. Our analysis focuses on the effects of core properties that are expected to be constrained during the forthcoming Insight mission.

  17. "Martian Boneyards": Sustained Scientific Inquiry in a Social Digital Game (United States)

    Asbell-Clarke, Jordis

    Social digital gaming is an explosive phenomenon where youth and adults are engaged in inquiry for the sake of fun. The complexity of learning evidenced in social digital games is attracting the attention of educators. Martian Boneyards is a proof-of-concept game designed to study how a community of voluntary gamers can be enticed to engage in sustained, high-quality scientific inquiry. Science educators and game designers worked together to create an educational game with the polish and intrigue of a professional-level game, striving to attract a new audience to scientific inquiry. Martian Boneyards took place in the high-definition, massively multiplayer online environment, Blue Mars, where players spent an average of 30 hours in the game over the 4-month implementation period, with some exceeding 200 hours. Most of the players' time was spent in scientific inquiry activities and about 30% of the players' in-game interactions were in the analysis and theory-building phases of inquiry. Female players conducted most of the inquiry, in particular analysis and theory building. The quality of scientific inquiry processes, which included extensive information gathering by players, and the resulting content were judged to be very good by a team of independent scientists. This research suggests that a compelling storyline, a highly aesthetic environment, and the emergent social bonds among players and between players and the characters played by designers were all responsible for sustaining high quality inquiry among gamers in this free-choice experience. The gaming environment developed for Martian Boneyards is seen as an evolving ecosystem with interactions among design, players' activity, and players' progress.

  18. An investigation of Martian and terrestrial dust devils (United States)

    Ringrose, Timothy John


    It is the purpose of this work to provide an insight into the theoretical and practical dynamics of dust devils and how they are detected remotely from orbit or in situ on planetary surfaces. There is particular interest in the detection of convective vortices on Mars; this has been driven by involvement in the development of the Beagle 2 Environmental Sensor Suite. This suite of sensors is essentially a martian weather station and will be the first planetary lander experiment specifically looking for the presence of dust devils on Mars. Dust devils are characterised by their visible dusty core and intense rotation. The physics of particle motion, including dust lofting and the rotational dynamics within convective vortices are explained and modelled. This modelling has helped in identifying dust devils in meteorological data from both terrestrial and martian investigations. An automated technique for dust devil detection using meteorological data has been developed. This technique searches data looking for the specific vortex signature as well as detecting other transient events. This method has been tested on both terrestrial and martian data with surprising results. 38 possible convective vortices were detected in the first 60 sols of the Viking Lander 2 meteorological data. Tests were also carried out on data from a terrestrial dust devil campaign, which provided conclusive evidence from visual observations of the reliability of this technique. A considerable amount of this work does focus on terrestrial vortices. This is to aid in the understanding of dust devils, specifically how, why and when they form. Both laboratory and terrestrial fieldwork is investigated, providing useful data on the general structure of dust devils.

  19. Martian Water: Are There Extant Halobacteria on Mars?


    Landis, Geoffrey A.


    On Earth, life exists in all niches where water exists in liquid form for at least a portion of the year. On Mars, any liquid water would have to be a highly concentrated brine solution. It is likely, therefore, that any present-day Martian microorganisms would be similar to terrestrial halophiles. Even if present-day life is not present on Mars, it is an interesting speculation that ancient bacteria preserved in salt deposits could be retrieved from an era when the climate of Mars was mor...

  20. Preliminary findings of the Viking gas exchange experiment and a model for Martian surface chemistry

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Oyama, V.I.; Berdahl, B.J.; Carle, G.C.


    It is stated that O 2 and CO 2 were evolved from humidified Martian soil in the gas exchange experiment on Viking Lander 1. Small changes in N 2 gas were also recorded. A model of the morphology and a hypothesis of the mechanistics of the Martian surface are proposed. (author)

  1. Habitable periglacial landscapes in martian mid-latitudes (United States)

    Ulrich, M.; Wagner, D.; Hauber, E.; de Vera, J.-P.; Schirrmeister, L.


    Subsurface permafrost environments on Mars are considered to be zones where extant life could have survived. For the identification of possible habitats it is important to understand periglacial landscape evolution and related subsurface and environmental conditions. Many landforms that are interpreted to be related to ground ice are located in the martian mid-latitudinal belts. This paper summarizes the insights gained from studies of terrestrial analogs to permafrost landforms on Mars. The potential habitability of martian mid-latitude periglacial landscapes is exemplarily deduced for one such landscape, that of Utopia Planitia, by a review and discussion of environmental conditions influencing periglacial landscape evolution. Based on recent calculations of the astronomical forcing of climate changes, specific climate periods are identified within the last 10 Ma when thaw processes and liquid water were probably important for the development of permafrost geomorphology. No periods could be identified within the last 4 Ma which met the suggested threshold criteria for liquid water and habitable conditions. Implications of past and present environmental conditions such as temperature variations, ground-ice conditions, and liquid water activity are discussed with respect to the potential survival of highly-specialized microorganisms known from terrestrial permafrost. We conclude that possible habitable subsurface niches might have been developed in close relation to specific permafrost landform morphology on Mars. These would have probably been dominated by lithoautotrophic microorganisms (i.e. methanogenic archaea).

  2. Implications of Earth analogs to Martian sulfate-filled Fractures (United States)

    Holt, R. M.; Powers, D. W.


    Sulfate-filled fractures in fine-grained sediments on Mars are interpreted to be the result of fluid movement during deep burial. Fractures in the Dewey Lake (aka Quartermaster) Formation of southeastern New Mexico and west Texas are filled with gypsum that is at least partially synsedimentary. Sulfate in the Dewey Lake takes two principal forms: gypsum cement and gypsum (mainly fibrous) that fills fractures ranging from horizontal to vertical. Apertures are mainly mm-scale, though some are > 1 cm. The gypsum is antitaxial, fibrous, commonly approximately perpendicular to the wall rock, and displays suture lines and relics of the wall rock. Direct evidence of synsedimentary, near-surface origin includes gypsum intraclasts, intraclasts that include smaller intraclasts that contain gypsum clasts, intraclasts of gypsum with suture lines, gypsum concentrated in small desiccation cracks, and intraclasts that include fibrous gypsum-filled fractures that terminate at the eroded clast boundary. Dewey Lake fracture fillings suggest that their Martian analogs may also have originated in the shallow subsurface, shortly following the deposition of Martian sediments, in the presence of shallow aquifers.

  3. Qualification of Fiber Optic Cables for Martian Extreme Temperature Environments (United States)

    Ramesham, Rajeshuni; Lindensmith, Christian A.; Roberts, William T.; Rainen, Richard A.


    Means have been developed for enabling fiber optic cables of the Laser Induced Breakdown Spectrometer instrument to survive ground operations plus the nominal 670 Martian conditions that include Martian summer and winter seasons. The purpose of this development was to validate the use of the rover external fiber optic cabling of ChemCam for space applications under the extreme thermal environments to be encountered during the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) mission. Flight-representative fiber optic cables were subjected to extreme temperature thermal cycling of the same diurnal depth (or delta T) as expected in flight, but for three times the expected number of in-flight thermal cycles. The survivability of fiber optic cables was tested for 600 cumulative thermal cycles from -130 to +15 C to cover the winter season, and another 1,410 cumulative cycles from -105 to +40 C to cover the summer season. This test satisfies the required 3 times the design margin that is a total of 2,010 thermal cycles (670 x 3). This development test included functional optical transmission tests during the course of the test. Transmission of the fiber optic cables was performed prior to and after 1,288 thermal cycles and 2,010 thermal cycles. No significant changes in transmission were observed on either of the two representative fiber cables subject through the 3X MSL mission life that is 2,010 thermal cycles.

  4. Martian channels and valleys - Their characteristics, distribution, and age (United States)

    Carr, M. H.; Clow, G. D.


    The distribution and ages of Martian channels and valleys, which are generally believed to have been cut by running water, are examined with particular emphasis on the small branching networks referred to as runoff channels or valley networks. Valleys at latitudes from 65 deg S to 65 deg N were surveyed on Viking images at resolutions between 125 and 300 m. Almost all of the valleys are found in the old cratered terrain, in areas characterized by high elevations, low albedos and low violet/red ratios. The networks are deduced to have formed early in the history of the planet, with a formation rate declining rapidly shortly after the decline of the cratering rate 3.9 billion years ago. Two types of outflow channels are distinguished: unconfined, in which broad swaths of terrain are scoured, and confined, in which flow is restricted to discrete channels. Both types start at local sources, and have formed episodically throughout Martian history. Fretted channels, found mainly in two latitude belts characterized by relatively rapid erosion along escarpments, are explained by the lateral enlargement of other channels by mass wasting.

  5. Martian dust storms as a possible sink of atmospheric methane (United States)

    Farrell, W. M.; Delory, G. T.; Atreya, S. K.


    Recent laboratory tests, analog studies and numerical simulations all suggest that Martian dust devils and larger dusty convective storms generate and maintain large-scale electric fields. Such expected E-fields will have the capability to create significant electron drift motion in the collisional gas and to form an extended high energy (u $\\gg$ kT) electron tail in the distribution. We demonstrate herein that these energetic electrons are capable of dissociating any trace CH4 in the ambient atmosphere thereby acting as an atmospheric sink of this important gas. We demonstrate that the methane destruction rate increases by a factor of 1012 as the dust storm E-fields, E, increase from 5 to 25 kV/m, resulting in an apparent decrease in methane stability from ~ 1010 sec to a value of ~1000 seconds. While destruction in dust storms is severe, the overall methane lifetime is expected to decrease only moderately due to recycling of products, heterogeneous effects from localized sinks, etc. We show further evidence that the electrical activity anticipated in Martian dust storms creates a new harsh electro-chemical environment.

  6. Modeling of the Martian environment for radiation analysis

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    De Angelis, G.; Wilson, J.W.; Clowdsley, M.S.; Qualls, G.D.; Singleterry, R.C.


    A model for the radiation environment to be found on the planet Mars due to Galactic Cosmic Rays (GCR) has been developed. Solar modulated primary particles rescaled for conditions at Mars are transported through the Martian atmosphere down to the surface, with altitude and backscattering patterns taken into account. The altitude to compute the atmospheric thickness profile has been determined by using a model for the topography based on the data provided by the Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter (MOLA) instrument on board the Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) spacecraft. The Mars surface composition has been modeled based on averages over the measurements obtained from orbiting spacecraft and at various landing sites, taking into account the possible volatile inventory (e.g. CO 2 and H 2 O ices) along with its time variations throughout the Martian year. The Mars Radiation Environment Model has been made available worldwide through the Space Ionizing Radiation Effects and Shielding Tools (SIREST) website, a project of NASA Langley Research Center. This site has been developed to provide the scientific and engineering communities with an interactive site containing a variety of environmental models, shield evaluation codes, and radiation response models to allow a thorough assessment of ionizing radiation risk for current and future space missions

  7. Ionization Efficiency in the Dayside Martian Upper Atmosphere (United States)

    Cui, J.; Wu, X.-S.; Xu, S.-S.; Wang, X.-D.; Wellbrock, A.; Nordheim, T. A.; Cao, Y.-T.; Wang, W.-R.; Sun, W.-Q.; Wu, S.-Q.; Wei, Y.


    Combining the Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution measurements of neutral atmospheric density, solar EUV/X-ray flux, and differential photoelectron intensity made during 240 nominal orbits, we calculate the ionization efficiency, defined as the ratio of the secondary (photoelectron impact) ionization rate to the primary (photon impact) ionization rate, in the dayside Martian upper atmosphere under a range of solar illumination conditions. Both the CO2 and O ionization efficiencies tend to be constant from 160 km up to 250 km, with respective median values of 0.19 ± 0.03 and 0.27 ± 0.04. These values are useful for fast calculation of the ionization rate in the dayside Martian upper atmosphere, without the need to construct photoelectron transport models. No substantial diurnal and solar cycle variations can be identified, except for a marginal trend of reduced ionization efficiency approaching the terminator. These observations are favorably interpreted by a simple scenario with ionization efficiencies, as a first approximation, determined by a comparison between relevant cross sections. Our analysis further reveals a connection between regions with strong crustal magnetic fields and regions with high ionization efficiencies, which are likely indicative of more efficient vertical transport of photoelectrons near magnetic anomalies.

  8. Corrosion on Mars: An Investigation of Corrosion Mechanisms Under Relevant Simulated Martian Environments (United States)

    Calle, Luz M.; Li, Wenyan; Johansen, Michael R.; Buhrow, Jerry W.; Calle, Carlos I.


    This one-year project was selected by NASA's Science Innovation Fund in FY17 to address Corrosion on Mars which is a problem that has not been addressed before. Corrosion resistance is one of the most important properties in selecting materials for landed spacecraft and structures that will support surface operations for the human exploration of Mars. Currently, the selection of materials is done by assuming that the corrosion behavior of a material on Mars will be the same as that on Earth. This is understandable given that there is no data regarding the corrosion resistance of materials in the Mars environment. However, given that corrosion is defined as the degradation of a metal that results from its chemical interaction with the environment, it cannot be assumed that corrosion is going to be the same in both environments since they are significantly different. The goal of this research is to develop a systematic approach to understand corrosion of spacecraft materials on Mars by conducting a literature search of available data, relevant to corrosion in the Mars environment, and by performing preliminary laboratory experiments under relevant simulated Martian conditions. This project was motivated by the newly found evidence for the presence of transient liquid brines on Mars that coincided with the suggestion, by a team of researchers, that some of the structural degradation observed on Curiosity's wheels may be caused by corrosive interactions with the brines, while the most significant damage was attributed to rock scratching. An extensive literature search on data relevant to Mars corrosion confirmed the need for further investigation of the interaction between materials used for spacecraft and structures designed to support long-term surface operations on Mars. Simple preliminary experiments, designed to look at the interaction between an aerospace aluminum alloy (AA7075-T73) and the gases present in the Mars atmosphere, at 20degC and a pressure of 700 Pa

  9. Optimization of Land Use Pattern Reduces Surface Runoff and Sediment Loss in a Hilly-Gully Watershed at the Loess Plateau, China

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Han Yini


    Full Text Available Aim of study: The aim is to find a way increasing gain yield and lessen area of farmland, and then increasing vegetation cover, improving environment and alleviating soil erosion.Area of study: The Hilly-Gully region at the loess plateau of China.Material and methods: In this study, an adjusted and optimized land use pattern was developed in Luoyugou watershed in the Yellow River valley based on the gradient distribution of land use types, and its effect on water and sediment transport was simulated using the SWAT model and GIS, with remote sensing images, land use maps and hydrologic data.Main results: The results indicate: average simulated runoff and sediment for the period 1986-2000 under conditions of the three land use pattern (2011, 2008 and optimized land use reduced by 0.002-0.013 m3/s (2.7-17.6% and 0.66 million tons, respectively. The runoff and sediment data obtained were compared with observed data from 2008, which showed that runoff and sediment production would be reduced by 467625 m3 and 22754 tons, respectively.Research highlights: The adjustment of the land use pattern in comprehensive consideration of vegetation and geography have a positive effect on water and sediment transport which will be important for decision making and water resources management, and provides a reference for future environmental management and ecological construction in the loess plateau Hilly-Gully region. 

  10. Hydrology and sediment budget of Los Laureles Canyon, Tijuana, MX: Modelling channel, gully, and rill erosion with 3D photo-reconstruction, CONCEPTS, and AnnAGNPS (United States)

    Taniguchi, Kristine; Gudiño, Napoleon; Biggs, Trent; Castillo, Carlos; Langendoen, Eddy; Bingner, Ron; Taguas, Encarnación; Liden, Douglas; Yuan, Yongping


    Several watersheds cross the US-Mexico boundary, resulting in trans-boundary environmental problems. Erosion in Tijuana, Mexico, increases the rate of sediment deposition in the Tijuana Estuary in the United States, altering the structure and function of the ecosystem. The well-being of residents in Tijuana is compromised by damage to infrastructure and homes built adjacent to stream channels, gully formation in dirt roads, and deposition of trash. We aim to understand the dominant source of sediment contributing to the sediment budget of the watershed (channel, gully, or rill erosion), where the hotspots of erosion are located, and what the impact of future planned and unplanned land use changes and Best Management Practices (BMPs) will be on sediment and storm flow. We will be using a mix of field methods, including 3D photo-reconstruction of stream channels, with two models, CONCEPTS and AnnAGNPS to constrain estimates of the sediment budget and impacts of land use change. Our research provides an example of how 3D photo-reconstruction and Structure from Motion (SfM) can be used to model channel evolution.

  11. A test of hypothetical hill-slope-gully-streambed soil redistribution model using fallout cs-137 a first use of the technique in pakistan

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Ahmad, M.; Sheikh, M.R.; Akram, W.; Ali, M.; Iqbal, N.


    Soil degradation by water erosion, which is further responsible for sedimentation in the conveyance systems and reservoirs, is a matter of growing concern in Pakistan. Caesium-137, a fallout radioisotope produced from atmospheric nuclear weapon tests, has become a well-established radiotracer of soil movement. To assess the potential for application of caesium-137 as an indicator of soil erosion and sedimentation, a hypothetical hill slope-gully-streambed redistribution model was tested in Mangla Watershed, Pakistan, as a first use of the technique in the country. The results indicate that the soil redistribution along the different components follows the hypothetical model, with severe net soil loss (sheet erosion) at the hill-slope, no labeling of gully head, and high sedimentation on the streambed. The reference inventory of 137CS obtained by scraper plate (4380 Bq m-2 was in agreement with the mean value of bulk cores (i.e. 3945 +- 457 Bq m-2). The net soil loss along the hill slope estimated by the profile distribution model was 17.2 t ha-1 yr-l. The sedimentation rate in the main stream was more before the year 1974 (8 cm yr-l) than afterwards reducing to 5.9 cm yr-1 due to re-vegetation. The 137CS technique proved to be less time consuming in the provision of information on soil redistribution rates than direct measurement would have been and can be used to assess watershed management practices in Pakistan. (author)

  12. Optimization of Land Use Pattern Reduces Surface Runoff and Sediment Loss in a Hilly-Gully Watershed at the Loess Plateau, China

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Yini, H.; Jianzhi, N.; Zhongbao, X.; Wei, Z.; Tielin, Z.; Xilin, W.; Yousong, Z.


    Aim of study: The aim is to find a way increasing gain yield and lessen area of farmland, and then increasing vegetation cover, improving environment and alleviating soil erosion. Area of study: The Hilly-Gully region at the loess plateau of China. Material and methods: In this study, an adjusted and optimized land use pattern was developed in Luoyugou watershed in the Yellow River valley based on the gradient distribution of land use types, and its effect on water and sediment transport was simulated using the SWAT model and GIS, with remote sensing images, land use maps and hydrologic data. Main results: The results indicate: average simulated runoff and sediment for the period 1986-2000 under conditions of the three land use pattern (2011, 2008 and optimized land use) reduced by 0.002-0.013 m3/s (2.7-17.6%) and 0.66 million tons, respectively. The runoff and sediment data obtained were compared with observed data from 2008, which showed that runoff and sediment production would be reduced by 467625 m3 and 22754 tons, respectively. Research highlights: The adjustment of the land use pattern in comprehensive consideration of vegetation and geography have a positive effect on water and sediment transport which will be important for decision making and water resources management, and provides a reference for future environmental management and ecological construction in the loess plateau Hilly-Gully region. (Author)

  13. Physical and chemical properties of the Martian soil: Review of resources (United States)

    Stoker, C. R.; Gooding, James L.; Banin, A.; Clark, Benton C.; Roush, Ted


    The chemical and physical properties of Martian surface materials are reviewed from the perspective of using these resources to support human settlement. The resource potential of Martian sediments and soils can only be inferred from limited analyses performed by the Viking Landers (VL), from information derived from remote sensing, and from analysis of the SNC meteorites thought to be from Mars. Bulk elemental compositions by the VL inorganic chemical (x ray fluorescence) analysis experiments have been interpreted as evidence for clay minerals (possibly smectites) or mineraloids (palagonite) admixed with sulfate and chloride salts. The materials contained minerals bearing Fe, Ti, Al, Mg and Si. Martian surface materials may be used in many ways. Martian soil, with appropriate preconditioning, can probably be used as a plant growth medium, supplying mechanical support, nutrient elements, and water at optimal conditions to the plants. Loose Martian soils could be used to cover structures and provide radiation shielding for surface habitats. Martian soil could be wetted and formed into abode bricks used for construction. Duricrete bricks, with strength comparable to concrete, can probably be formed using compressed muds made from martian soil.

  14. The provenance, formation, and implications of reduced carbon phases in Martian meteorites (United States)

    Steele, Andrew; McCubbin, Francis M.; Fries, Marc D.


    This review is intended to summarize the current observations of reduced carbon in Martian meteorites, differentiating between terrestrial contamination and carbon that is indigenous to Mars. Indeed, the identification of Martian organic matter is among the highest priority targets for robotic spacecraft missions in the next decade, including the Mars Science Laboratory and Mars 2020. Organic carbon compounds are essential building blocks of terrestrial life, so the occurrence and origin (biotic or abiotic) of organic compounds on Mars is of great significance; however, not all forms of reduced carbon are conducive to biological systems. This paper discusses the significance of reduced organic carbon (including methane) in Martian geological and astrobiological systems. Specifically, it summarizes current thinking on the nature, sources, and sinks of Martian organic carbon, a key component to Martian habitability. Based on this compilation, reduced organic carbon on Mars, including detections of methane in the Martian atmosphere, is best described through a combination of abiotic organic synthesis on Mars and infall of extraterrestrial carbonaceous material. Although conclusive signs of Martian life have yet to be revealed, we have developed a strategy for life detection on Mars that can be utilized in future life-detection studies.

  15. The mineralogic evolution of the Martian surface through time: Implications from chemical reaction path modeling studies (United States)

    Plumlee, G. S.; Ridley, W. I.; Debraal, J. D.; Reed, M. H.


    Chemical reaction path calculations were used to model the minerals that might have formed at or near the Martian surface as a result of volcano or meteorite impact driven hydrothermal systems; weathering at the Martian surface during an early warm, wet climate; and near-zero or sub-zero C brine-regolith reactions in the current cold climate. Although the chemical reaction path calculations carried out do not define the exact mineralogical evolution of the Martian surface over time, they do place valuable geochemical constraints on the types of minerals that formed from an aqueous phase under various surficial and geochemically complex conditions.

  16. Mineralogy of the Martian Surface: Crustal Composition to Surface Processes (United States)

    Mustard, John F.


    Over the course of this award we have: 1) Completed and published the results of a study of the effects of hyperfine particles on reflectance spectra of olivine and quartz, which included the development of scattering codes. Research has also progressed in the analysis of the effects of fine particle sizes on clay spectra. 2) Completed the analysis of the mineralogy of dark regions, showed the insitu compositions are highly correlated to the SNC meteorites, and determined that the martian mantle was depleted in aluminum prior to 2-3 GA ago; Studies of the mineralogic heterogeneity of surficial materials on Mars have also been conducted. and 3) Performed initial work on the study of the physical and chemical processes likely to form and modify duricrust. This includes assessments of erosion rates, solubility and transport of iron in soil environments, and models of pedogenic crust formation.

  17. The Petrochemistry of Jake_M: A Martian Mugearite (United States)

    Stolper, E. M.; Baker, M. B.; Newcombe, M. E.; Schmidt, M. E.; Treiman, A. H.; Cousin, A.; Dyar, M. D.; Fisk, M. R.; Gellert, R.; King, P. L.; Leshin, L.; Maurice, S.; McLennan, S. M.; Minitti, M. E.; Perrett, G.; Rowland, S.; Sautter, V.; Wiens, R. C.; Kemppinen, Osku; Bridges, Nathan; Johnson, Jeffrey R.; Cremers, David; Bell, James F.; Edgar, Lauren; Farmer, Jack; Godber, Austin; Wadhwa, Meenakshi; Wellington, Danika; McEwan, Ian; Newman, Claire; Richardson, Mark; Charpentier, Antoine; Peret, Laurent; Blank, Jennifer; Weigle, Gerald; Li, Shuai; Milliken, Ralph; Robertson, Kevin; Sun, Vivian; Edwards, Christopher; Ehlmann, Bethany; Farley, Kenneth; Griffes, Jennifer; Grotzinger, John; Miller, Hayden; Pilorget, Cedric; Rice, Melissa; Siebach, Kirsten; Stack, Katie; Brunet, Claude; Hipkin, Victoria; Léveillé, Richard; Marchand, Geneviève; Sánchez, Pablo Sobrón; Favot, Laurent; Cody, George; Steele, Andrew; Flückiger, Lorenzo; Lees, David; Nefian, Ara; Martin, Mildred; Gailhanou, Marc; Westall, Frances; Israël, Guy; Agard, Christophe; Baroukh, Julien; Donny, Christophe; Gaboriaud, Alain; Guillemot, Philippe; Lafaille, Vivian; Lorigny, Eric; Paillet, Alexis; Pérez, René; Saccoccio, Muriel; Yana, Charles; Armiens-Aparicio, Carlos; Rodríguez, Javier Caride; Blázquez, Isaías Carrasco; Gómez, Felipe Gómez; Gómez-Elvira, Javier; Hettrich, Sebastian; Malvitte, Alain Lepinette; Jiménez, Mercedes Marín; Martínez-Frías, Jesús; Martín-Soler, Javier; Martín-Torres, F. Javier; Jurado, Antonio Molina; Mora-Sotomayor, Luis; Caro, Guillermo Muñoz; López, Sara Navarro; Peinado-González, Verónica; Pla-García, Jorge; Manfredi, José Antonio Rodriguez; Romeral-Planelló, Julio José; Fuentes, Sara Alejandra Sans; Martinez, Eduardo Sebastian; Redondo, Josefina Torres; Urqui-O'Callaghan, Roser; Mier, María-Paz Zorzano; Chipera, Steve; Lacour, Jean-Luc; Mauchien, Patrick; Sirven, Jean-Baptiste; Manning, Heidi; Fairén, Alberto; Hayes, Alexander; Joseph, Jonathan; Squyres, Steven; Sullivan, Robert; Thomas, Peter; Dupont, Audrey; Lundberg, Angela; Melikechi, Noureddine; Mezzacappa, Alissa; DeMarines, Julia; Grinspoon, David; Reitz, Günther; Prats, Benito; Atlaskin, Evgeny; Genzer, Maria; Harri, Ari-Matti; Haukka, Harri; Kahanpää, Henrik; Kauhanen, Janne; Kemppinen, Osku; Paton, Mark; Polkko, Jouni; Schmidt, Walter; Siili, Tero; Fabre, Cécile; Wray, James; Wilhelm, Mary Beth; Poitrasson, Franck; Patel, Kiran; Gorevan, Stephen; Indyk, Stephen; Paulsen, Gale; Gupta, Sanjeev; Bish, David; Schieber, Juergen; Gondet, Brigitte; Langevin, Yves; Geffroy, Claude; Baratoux, David; Berger, Gilles; Cros, Alain; d'Uston, Claude; Forni, Olivier; Gasnault, Olivier; Lasue, Jérémie; Lee, Qiu-Mei; Meslin, Pierre-Yves; Pallier, Etienne; Parot, Yann; Pinet, Patrick; Schröder, Susanne; Toplis, Mike; Lewin, Éric; Brunner, Will; Heydari, Ezat; Achilles, Cherie; Oehler, Dorothy; Sutter, Brad; Cabane, Michel; Coscia, David; Israël, Guy; Szopa, Cyril; Teinturier, Samuel; Dromart, Gilles; Robert, François; Le Mouélic, Stéphane; Mangold, Nicolas; Nachon, Marion; Buch, Arnaud; Stalport, Fabien; Coll, Patrice; François, Pascaline; Raulin, François; Cameron, James; Clegg, Sam; DeLapp, Dorothea; Dingler, Robert; Jackson, Ryan Steele; Johnstone, Stephen; Lanza, Nina; Little, Cynthia; Nelson, Tony; Williams, Richard B.; Kirkland, Laurel; Baker, Burt; Cantor, Bruce; Caplinger, Michael; Davis, Scott; Duston, Brian; Edgett, Kenneth; Fay, Donald; Hardgrove, Craig; Harker, David; Herrera, Paul; Jensen, Elsa; Kennedy, Megan R.; Krezoski, Gillian; Krysak, Daniel; Lipkaman, Leslie; Malin, Michael; McCartney, Elaina; McNair, Sean; Nixon, Brian; Posiolova, Liliya; Ravine, Michael; Salamon, Andrew; Saper, Lee; Stoiber, Kevin; Supulver, Kimberley; Van Beek, Jason; Van Beek, Tessa; Zimdar, Robert; French, Katherine Louise; Iagnemma, Karl; Miller, Kristen; Summons, Roger; Goesmann, Fred; Goetz, Walter; Hviid, Stubbe; Johnson, Micah; Lefavor, Matthew; Lyness, Eric; Breves, Elly; Fassett, Caleb; Blake, David F.; Bristow, Thomas; DesMarais, David; Edwards, Laurence; Haberle, Robert; Hoehler, Tori; Hollingsworth, Jeff; Kahre, Melinda; Keely, Leslie; McKay, Christopher; Wilhelm, Mary Beth; Bleacher, Lora; Brinckerhoff, William; Choi, David; Conrad, Pamela; Dworkin, Jason P.; Eigenbrode, Jennifer; Floyd, Melissa; Freissinet, Caroline; Garvin, James; Glavin, Daniel; Harpold, Daniel; Mahaffy, Paul; Martin, David K.; McAdam, Amy; Pavlov, Alexander; Raaen, Eric; Smith, Michael D.; Stern, Jennifer; Tan, Florence; Trainer, Melissa; Meyer, Michael; Posner, Arik; Voytek, Mary; Anderson, Robert C.; Aubrey, Andrew; Beegle, Luther W.; Behar, Alberto; Blaney, Diana; Brinza, David; Calef, Fred; Christensen, Lance; Crisp, Joy; DeFlores, Lauren; Ehlmann, Bethany; Feldman, Jason; Feldman, Sabrina; Flesch, Gregory; Hurowitz, Joel; Jun, Insoo; Keymeulen, Didier; Maki, Justin; Mischna, Michael; Morookian, John Michael; Parker, Timothy; Pavri, Betina; Schoppers, Marcel; Sengstacken, Aaron; Simmonds, John J.; Spanovich, Nicole; Juarez, Manuel de la Torre; Vasavada, Ashwin; Webster, Christopher R.; Yen, Albert; Archer, Paul Douglas; Cucinotta, Francis; Jones, John H.; Ming, Douglas; Morris, Richard V.; Niles, Paul; Rampe, Elizabeth; Nolan, Thomas; Radziemski, Leon; Barraclough, Bruce; Bender, Steve; Berman, Daniel; Dobrea, Eldar Noe; Tokar, Robert; Vaniman, David; Williams, Rebecca M. E.; Yingst, Aileen; Lewis, Kevin; Cleghorn, Timothy; Huntress, Wesley; Manhès, Gérard; Hudgins, Judy; Olson, Timothy; Stewart, Noel; Sarrazin, Philippe; Grant, John; Vicenzi, Edward; Wilson, Sharon A.; Bullock, Mark; Ehresmann, Bent; Hamilton, Victoria; Hassler, Donald; Peterson, Joseph; Rafkin, Scot; Zeitlin, Cary; Fedosov, Fedor; Golovin, Dmitry; Karpushkina, Natalya; Kozyrev, Alexander; Litvak, Maxim; Malakhov, Alexey; Mitrofanov, Igor; Mokrousov, Maxim; Nikiforov, Sergey; Prokhorov, Vasily; Sanin, Anton; Tretyakov, Vladislav; Varenikov, Alexey; Vostrukhin, Andrey; Kuzmin, Ruslan; Clark, Benton; Wolff, Michael; Botta, Oliver; Drake, Darrell; Bean, Keri; Lemmon, Mark; Schwenzer, Susanne P.; Anderson, Ryan B.; Herkenhoff, Kenneth; Lee, Ella Mae; Sucharski, Robert; Hernández, Miguel Ángel de Pablo; Ávalos, Juan José Blanco; Ramos, Miguel; Jones, Andrea; Kim, Myung-Hee; Malespin, Charles; Plante, Ianik; Muller, Jan-Peter; Navarro-González, Rafael; Ewing, Ryan; Boynton, William; Downs, Robert; Fitzgibbon, Mike; Harshman, Karl; Morrison, Shaunna; Dietrich, William; Kortmann, Onno; Palucis, Marisa; Sumner, Dawn Y.; Williams, Amy; Lugmair, Günter; Wilson, Michael A.; Rubin, David; Jakosky, Bruce; Balic-Zunic, Tonci; Frydenvang, Jens; Jensen, Jaqueline Kløvgaard; Kinch, Kjartan; Koefoed, Asmus; Madsen, Morten Bo; Stipp, Susan Louise Svane; Boyd, Nick; Campbell, John L.; Pradler, Irina; VanBommel, Scott; Jacob, Samantha; Owen, Tobias; Atlaskin, Evgeny; Savijärvi, Hannu; Boehm, Eckart; Böttcher, Stephan; Burmeister, Sönke; Guo, Jingnan; Köhler, Jan; García, César Martín; Mueller-Mellin, Reinhold; Wimmer-Schweingruber, Robert; Bridges, John C.; McConnochie, Timothy; Benna, Mehdi; Franz, Heather; Bower, Hannah; Brunner, Anna; Blau, Hannah; Boucher, Thomas; Carmosino, Marco; Atreya, Sushil; Elliott, Harvey; Halleaux, Douglas; Rennó, Nilton; Wong, Michael; Pepin, Robert; Elliott, Beverley; Spray, John; Thompson, Lucy; Gordon, Suzanne; Newsom, Horton; Ollila, Ann; Williams, Joshua; Vasconcelos, Paulo; Bentz, Jennifer; Nealson, Kenneth; Popa, Radu; Kah, Linda C.; Moersch, Jeffrey; Tate, Christopher; Day, Mackenzie; Kocurek, Gary; Hallet, Bernard; Sletten, Ronald; Francis, Raymond; McCullough, Emily; Cloutis, Ed; ten Kate, Inge Loes; Kuzmin, Ruslan; Arvidson, Raymond; Fraeman, Abigail; Scholes, Daniel; Slavney, Susan; Stein, Thomas; Ward, Jennifer; Berger, Jeffrey; Moores, John E.


    “Jake_M,” the first rock analyzed by the Alpha Particle X-ray Spectrometer instrument on the Curiosity rover, differs substantially in chemical composition from other known martian igneous rocks: It is alkaline (>15% normative nepheline) and relatively fractionated. Jake_M is compositionally similar to terrestrial mugearites, a rock type typically found at ocean islands and continental rifts. By analogy with these comparable terrestrial rocks, Jake_M could have been produced by extensive fractional crystallization of a primary alkaline or transitional magma at elevated pressure, with or without elevated water contents. The discovery of Jake_M suggests that alkaline magmas may be more abundant on Mars than on Earth and that Curiosity could encounter even more fractionated alkaline rocks (for example, phonolites and trachytes).

  18. The origin and evolution of terrestrial and Martian rock labyrinths (United States)

    Brook, G. A.


    The morphological characteristics and evolutionary development of rock labyrinths on Earth (in sandstone, volcanics, and carbonates) are compared with those on Mars. On Earth rock labyrinths originate as parallel, an echelon, or intersecting narrow grabens, or develop where fault and joint networks are selectively eroded. Labyrinths frequently contain both downfaulted and erosional elements. Closed labyrinths contain depressions; open labyrinths do not, they are simple part of a fluvial network generally of low order. As closed labyrinths made up of intersecting grabens or made up of connected erosional depressions are extremely common on Mars, the research focussed on an understanding of these labyrinth types. Field investigations were carried out in Canyonlands National Park, Utah, and in the Chirachahua Mountains of Arizona. Martian labyrinths were investigated using Viking orbiter images. In addition, research was undertaken on apparent thermokarst features in Lunae Planum and Chryse Planitia where closed depressions are numerous and resemble atlas topography.

  19. Terrestrial Permafrost Models of Martian Habitats and Inhabitants (United States)

    Gilichinsky, D.


    The terrestrial permafrost is the only rich depository of viable ancient microorganisms on Earth, and can be used as a bridge to possible Martian life forms and shallow subsurface habitats where the probability of finding life is highest. Since there is a place for water, the requisite condition for life, the analogous models are more or less realistic. If life ever existed on Mars, traces might have been preserved and could be found at depth within permafrost. The age of the terrestrial isolates corresponds to the longevity of the frozen state of the embedding strata, with the oldest known dating back to the late Pliocene in Arctic and late Miocene in Antarctica. Permafrost on Earth and Mars vary in age, from a few million years on Earth to a few billion years on Mars. Such a difference in time scale would have a significant impact on the possibility of preserving life on Mars, which is why the longevity of life forms preserved within terrestrial permafrost can only be an approximate model for Mars. 1. A number of studies indicate that the Antarctic cryosphere began to develop on the Eocene-Oligocene boundary, after the isolation of the continent. Permafrost degradation is only possible if mean annual ground temperature, -28°C now, rise above freezing, i.e., a significant warming to above 25°C is required. There is no evidence of such sharp temperature increase, which indicates that the climate and geological history was favorable to persistence of pre-Pliocene permafrost. These oldest relics (~30Myr) are possibly to be found at high hypsometric levels of ice-free areas (Dry Valleys and nearby mountains). It is desirable to test the layers for the presence of viable cells. The limiting age, if one exists, within this ancient permafrost, where the viable organisms were no longer present, could be established as the limit for life preservation below 0oC. Positive results will extend the known temporal limits of life in permafrost. 2. Even in this case, the age of

  20. Mud Volcanoes of Trinidad as Astrobiological Analogs for Martian Environments

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Riad Hosein


    Full Text Available Eleven onshore mud volcanoes in the southern region of Trinidad have been studied as analog habitats for possible microbial life on Mars. The profiles of the 11 mud volcanoes are presented in terms of their physical, chemical, mineralogical, and soil properties. The mud volcanoes sampled all emitted methane gas consistently at 3% volume. The average pH for the mud volcanic soil was 7.98. The average Cation Exchange Capacity (CEC was found to be 2.16 kg/mol, and the average Percentage Water Content was 34.5%. Samples from three of the volcanoes, (i Digity; (ii Piparo and (iii Devil’s Woodyard were used to culture bacterial colonies under anaerobic conditions indicating possible presence of methanogenic microorganisms. The Trinidad mud volcanoes can serve as analogs for the Martian environment due to similar geological features found extensively on Mars in Acidalia Planitia and the Arabia Terra region.

  1. Intraflow width variations in Martian and terrestrial lava flows (United States)

    Peitersen, Matthew N.; Crown, David A.


    Flow morphology is used to interpret emplacement processes for lava flows on Earth and Mars. Accurate measurements of flow geometry are essential, particularly for planetary flows where neither compositional sampling nor direct observations of active flows may be possible. Width behavior may indicate a flow's response to topography, its emplacement regime, and its physical properties. Variations in width with downflow distance from the vent may therefore provide critical clues to flow emplacement processes. Flow width is also one of the few characteristics that can be readily measured from planetary mission data with accuracy. Recent analyses of individual flows at two terrestrial and four Martian sites show that widths within an individual flow vary by up to an order of magnitude. Width is generally thought to be correlated to topography; however, recent studies show that this relationship is neither straightforward nor easily quantifiable.

  2. Mud Volcanoes of Trinidad as Astrobiological Analogs for Martian Environments (United States)

    Hosein, Riad; Haque, Shirin; Beckles, Denise M.


    Eleven onshore mud volcanoes in the southern region of Trinidad have been studied as analog habitats for possible microbial life on Mars. The profiles of the 11 mud volcanoes are presented in terms of their physical, chemical, mineralogical, and soil properties. The mud volcanoes sampled all emitted methane gas consistently at 3% volume. The average pH for the mud volcanic soil was 7.98. The average Cation Exchange Capacity (CEC) was found to be 2.16 kg/mol, and the average Percentage Water Content was 34.5%. Samples from three of the volcanoes, (i) Digity; (ii) Piparo and (iii) Devil’s Woodyard were used to culture bacterial colonies under anaerobic conditions indicating possible presence of methanogenic microorganisms. The Trinidad mud volcanoes can serve as analogs for the Martian environment due to similar geological features found extensively on Mars in Acidalia Planitia and the Arabia Terra region. PMID:25370529

  3. Mud volcanoes of trinidad as astrobiological analogs for martian environments. (United States)

    Hosein, Riad; Haque, Shirin; Beckles, Denise M


    Eleven onshore mud volcanoes in the southern region of Trinidad have been studied as analog habitats for possible microbial life on Mars. The profiles of the 11 mud volcanoes are presented in terms of their physical, chemical, mineralogical, and soil properties. The mud volcanoes sampled all emitted methane gas consistently at 3% volume. The average pH for the mud volcanic soil was 7.98. The average Cation Exchange Capacity (CEC) was found to be 2.16 kg/mol, and the average Percentage Water Content was 34.5%. Samples from three of the volcanoes, (i) Digity; (ii) Piparo and (iii) Devil's Woodyard were used to culture bacterial colonies under anaerobic conditions indicating possible presence of methanogenic microorganisms. The Trinidad mud volcanoes can serve as analogs for the Martian environment due to similar geological features found extensively on Mars in Acidalia Planitia and the Arabia Terra region.

  4. Design of a nuclear-powered rover for lunar or Martian exploration

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Trellue, H.R.; Trautner, R.; Houts, M.G.; Poston, D.I.; Giovig, K.; Baca, J.A.; Lipinski, R.J.


    To perform more advanced studies on the surface of the moon or Mars, a rover must provide long-term power (≥10 kW e ). However, a majority of rovers in the past have been designed for much lower power levels (i.e., on the order of watts) or for shorter operating periods using stored power. Thus, more advanced systems are required to generate additional power. One possible design for a more highly powered rover involves using a nuclear reactor to supply energy to the rover and material from the surface of the moon or Mars to shield the electronics from high neutron fluxes and gamma doses. Typically, one of the main disadvantages of using a nuclear-powered rover is that the required shielding would be heavy and expensive to include as part of the payload on a mission. Obtaining most of the required shielding material from the surface of the moon or Mars would reduce the cost of the mission and still provide the necessary power. This paper describes the basic design of a rover that uses the Heatpipe Power System (HPS) as an energy source, including the shielding and reactor control issues associated with the design. It also discusses briefly the amount of power that can be produced by other power methods (solar/photovoltaic cells, radioisotope power supplies, dynamic radioisotope power systems, and the production of methane or acetylene fuel from the surface of Mars) as a comparison to the HPS

  5. Sleep stability and cognitive function in an Arctic Martian analogue. (United States)

    Gríofa, Marc O; Blue, Rebecca S; Cohen, Kenneth D; O'Keeffe, Derek T


    Human performance is affected by sleep disruption and sleep deprivation can critically affect mission outcome in both spaceflight and other extreme environments. In this study, the seven-person crew (four men, three women) lived a Martian sol (24.65 h) for 37 d during a long-term stay at the Flashline Mars Arctic Research Station (FMARS) on Devon Island, Canada. Crewmembers underwent cardiopulmonary monitoring for signs of circadian disruption and completed a modified Pittsburgh Sleep Diary to monitor subjective fatigue. Crewmembers underwent cognitive testing to identify the effects, if any, of sleep disruption upon cognitive skill. A Martian sol was implemented for 37 d during the Arctic mission. Each crewmember completed an adapted version of the Pittsburgh Sleep Diary in tandem with electrocardiograph (ECG) cardiopulmonary monitoring of sleep by the Cardiac Adapted Sleep Parameters Electrocardiogram Recorder (CASPER). Crewmembers also underwent cognitive testing during this time period. Sleep diary data indicate improvement in alertness with the onset of the sol (fatigue decreasing from 5.1 to 4.0, alertness increasing from 6.1 to 7.0). Cardiopulmonary data suggest sleep instability, though trends were not statistically significant. Crewmember decision speed time scores improved from pre-Mars to Mars (average improving from 66.5 to 84.0%), though the remainder of cognitive testing results were not significant. While subjective data demonstrate improved sleep and alertness during the sol, objective data demonstrate no significant alteration of sleep patterns. There was no apparent cognitive decline over the course of the mission.

  6. The development of a Martian atmospheric Sample collection canister (United States)

    Kulczycki, E.; Galey, C.; Kennedy, B.; Budney, C.; Bame, D.; Van Schilfgaarde, R.; Aisen, N.; Townsend, J.; Younse, P.; Piacentine, J.

    The collection of an atmospheric sample from Mars would provide significant insight to the understanding of the elemental composition and sub-surface out-gassing rates of noble gases. A team of engineers at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), California Institute of Technology have developed an atmospheric sample collection canister for Martian application. The engineering strategy has two basic elements: first, to collect two separately sealed 50 cubic centimeter unpressurized atmospheric samples with minimal sensing and actuation in a self contained pressure vessel; and second, to package this atmospheric sample canister in such a way that it can be easily integrated into the orbiting sample capsule for collection and return to Earth. Sample collection and integrity are demonstrated by emulating the atmospheric collection portion of the Mars Sample Return mission on a compressed timeline. The test results achieved by varying the pressure inside of a thermal vacuum chamber while opening and closing the valve on the sample canister at Mars ambient pressure. A commercial off-the-shelf medical grade micro-valve is utilized in the first iteration of this design to enable rapid testing of the system. The valve has been independently leak tested at JPL to quantify and separate the leak rates associated with the canister. The results are factored in to an overall system design that quantifies mass, power, and sensing requirements for a Martian atmospheric Sample Collection (MASC) canister as outlined in the Mars Sample Return mission profile. Qualitative results include the selection of materials to minimize sample contamination, preliminary science requirements, priorities in sample composition, flight valve selection criteria, a storyboard from sample collection to loading in the orbiting sample capsule, and contributions to maintaining “ Earth” clean exterior surfaces on the orbiting sample capsule.

  7. Martian Dune Ripples as Indicators of Recent Surface Wind Patterns (United States)

    Johnson, M.; Zimbelman, J. R.


    Sand dunes have been shown to preserve the most recent wind patterns in their ripple formations. This investigation continues the manual documentation of ripples on Martian dunes in order to assess surface wind flow. Study sites investigated must have clear HiRISE frames and be able to represent diverse locations across the surface, decided primarily by their spread of latitude and longitude values. Additionally, frames with stereo pairs are preferred because of their ability to create digital terrain models. This will assist in efforts to relate dune slopes and obstacles to ripple patterns. The search and analysis period resulted in 40 study sites with mapped ripples. Lines were drawn perpendicular to ripple crests across three adjacent ripples in order to document both ripple wavelength from line length and inferred wind direction from azimuth. It is not possible to infer a unique wind direction from ripple orientation alone and therefore these inferred directions have a 180 degree ambiguity. Initial results from all study sites support previous observations that the Martian surface has many dune types in areas with adequate sand supply. The complexity of ripple patterns varies greatly across sites as well as within individual sites. Some areas of uniform directionality for hundreds of kilometers suggest a unimodal wind regime while overlapping patterns suggest multiple dominant winds or seasonally varying winds. In most areas, form flow related to dune shape seems to have a large effect on orientation and must be considered along with the dune type. As long as the few steep slip faces on these small dunes are avoided, form flow can be considered the dominant cause of deviation from the regional wind direction. Regional results, wind roses, and comparisons to previous work will be presented for individual sites.

  8. Some potentialities of living organisms under simulated Martian conditions. (United States)

    Lozina-Lozinsky, L K; Bychenkova, V N; Zaar, E I; Levin, V L; Rumyantseva, V M


    Temperature, humidity, pressure, composition of the atmosphere and radiation are the main factors conditioning life on the surface of Mars. When studying the Martian ecology, one must know the total effect of these factors. One may expect that, as a result of adaptation to low temperatures, there is a corresponding shift in the temperature optimum of enzymatic activity. Dryness is the main obstacle to active life. We suggest the presence of some soil moisture and water vapour. Moreover, there can be areas of permafrost. This minimum supply of water and periodic fluctuations of humidity may create conditions for the existence of drought-resistant organisms. Decreased atmospheric pressure alone does not affect micro-organisms, plants, protozoa and even insects. Ciliates reproduce in a flowing atmosphere of pure nitrogen containing 0.0002-0.0005% oxygen as an impurity. Protozoa may also develop in an atmosphere of 98-99% carbon dioxide mixed with 1% O2. Therefore, even traces of oxygen in the Martian atmosphere would be sufficient for aerobic unicellular organisms. Cells and organisms on earth have acquired various ways of protection from uv light, and therefore may increase their resistance further by adaptation or selection. The resistance of some organisms to ionizing radiation is high enough to enable them to endure hard ionizing radiation of the sun. Experiments with unicellular [correction of unicellar] organisms show that the effect of short wave uv radiation depends on the intensity of visible light, long-wave solar uv radiation, temperatures, cell repair processes, and the state of cell components, i.e. whether the cell was frozen, dried or hydrated.

  9. MarsSI: Martian surface data processing information system (United States)

    Quantin-Nataf, C.; Lozac'h, L.; Thollot, P.; Loizeau, D.; Bultel, B.; Fernando, J.; Allemand, P.; Dubuffet, F.; Poulet, F.; Ody, A.; Clenet, H.; Leyrat, C.; Harrisson, S.


    MarsSI (Acronym for Mars System of Information,, is a web Geographic Information System application which helps managing and processing martian orbital data. The MarsSI facility is part of the web portal called PSUP (Planetary SUrface Portal) developed by the Observatories of Paris Sud (OSUPS) and Lyon (OSUL) to provide users with efficient and easy access to data products dedicated to the martian surface. The portal proposes 1) the management and processing of data thanks to MarsSI and 2) the visualization and merging of high level (imagery, spectral, and topographic) products and catalogs via a web-based user interface (MarsVisu). The portal PSUP as well as the facility MarsVisu is detailed in a companion paper (Poulet et al., 2018). The purpose of this paper is to describe the facility MarsSI. From this application, users are able to easily and rapidly select observations, process raw data via automatic pipelines, and get back final products which can be visualized under Geographic Information Systems. Moreover, MarsSI also contains an automatic stereo-restitution pipeline in order to produce Digital Terrain Models (DTM) on demand from HiRISE (High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment) or CTX (Context Camera) pair-images. This application is funded by the European Union's Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007-2013) (ERC project eMars, No. 280168) and has been developed in the scope of Mars, but the design is applicable to any other planetary body of the solar system.

  10. Thermal tides and Martian dust storms: Direct evidence for coupling

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Leovy, C.B.; Zurek, R.W.


    Observations of surface pressure oscillations at the Viking 1 and Viking 2 lander sites on Mars indicate that the thermally driven global atmospheric tides were closely coupled to the dust content of the Martian atmosphere, especially during northern fall and winter, when two successive global dust storms occurred. The onset of each of these global storms was marked by substantial, nearly simultaneous increases in the dust opacity and in the range of the daily surface pressure variation observed at both lander sites. Although both the diurnal and semidiurnal tidal surface pressure components were amplified at Lander 1 during the onset of a global dust storm, the semidiurnal component was greatly enhanced in relation to the diurnal tide. Semidiurnal wind components were prominent at both lander sites during the height of the global dust storm. We have attempted to interpret these observations using simplified dynamical models. In particular, the semidiurnal wind component can be successfully related to the observed surface pressure variation using a simplified model of a semidiurnally forced Ekman boundary layer. On the other hand, a classical atmospheric tidal model shows that the preferential enhancement of the semidiurnal surface pressure oscillation at Lander 1 can be produced by a tidal heating distribution which places most of the heating (per unit mass) above 10-km altitude. Furthermore, when a dust storm expands to global scale, it does so rather quickly, and the total atmospheric heating at the peak of the dust storm can represent more than 50% of the available insolation. The Viking observations suggest that a number of mechanisms are important for the generation and decay of these episodic Martian global dust storms

  11. MAVEN Observations of Magnetic Reconnection on the Dayside Martian Magnetosphere (United States)

    DiBraccio, Gina A.; Espley, Jared R.; Connerney, John E. P.; Brain, David A.; Halekas, Jasper S.; Mitchell, David L.; Harada, Yuki; Hara, Takuya


    The Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN (MAVEN) mission offers a unique opportunity to investigate the complex solar wind-planetary interaction at Mars. The Martian magnetosphere is formed as the interplanetary magnetic field (IMF) drapes around the planet's ionosphere and localized crustal magnetic fields. As the solar wind interacts with this induced magnetosphere, magnetic reconnection can occur at any location where a magnetic shear is present. Reconnection between the IMF and the induced and crustal fields facilitates a direct plasma exchange between the solar wind and the Martian ionosphere. Here we address the occurrence of magnetic reconnection on the dayside magnetosphere of Mars using MAVEN magnetic field and plasma data. When reconnection occurs on the dayside, a non-zero magnetic field component normal to the obstacle, B_N, will result. Using minimum variance analysis, we measure BN by transforming Magnetometer data into boundary-normal coordinates. Selected events are then further examined to identify plasma heating and energization, in the form of Alfvénic outflow jets, using Solar Wind Ion Analyzer measurements. Additionally, the topology of the crustal fields is validated from electron pitch angle distributions provided by the Solar Wind Electron Analyzer. To understand which parameters are responsible for the onset of reconnection, we test the dependency of the dimensionless reconnection rate, calculated from BN measurements, on magnetic field shear angle and plasma beta (the ratio of plasma pressure to magnetic pressure). We assess the global impact of reconnection on Mars' induced magnetosphere by combining analytical models with MAVEN observations to predict the regions where reconnection may occur. Using this approach we examine how IMF orientation and magnetosheath parameters affect reconnection on a global scale. With the aid of analytical models we are able to assess the role of reconnection on a global scale to better understand which

  12. The Martian Goes To College: Open Inquiry with Science Fiction in the Classroom. (United States)

    Beatty, L.; Patterson, J. D.


    Storytelling is an ancient art; one that can get lost in the reams of data available in a typical geology or astronomy classroom. But storytelling draws us to a magical place. Our students, with prior experience in either a geology or astronomy course, were invited to explore Mars in a special topics course at Johnson County Community College through reading The Martian by Andy Weir. As they traveled with astronaut Mark Watney, the students used Google Mars, Java Mission-planning and Analysis for Remote Sensing (JMARS), and learning modules from the Mars for Earthlings web site to investigate the terrain and the processes at work in the past and present on Mars. Our goal was to apply their understanding of processes on Earth in order to explain and predict what they observed on Mars courtesy of the remote sensing opportunities available from Viking, Pathfinder, the Mars Exploration Rovers, and Maven missions; sort of an inter-planetary uniformitarianism. Astronaut Mark Watney's fictional journey from Acidalia Planitia to Schiaparelli Crater was analyzed using learning modules in Mars for Earthlings and exercises that we developed based on Google Mars, JMARS, Rotating Sky Explorer, and Science Friday podcasts. Each student also completed an individual project that either focused on a particular region that Astronaut Mark Watney traveled through or a problem that he faced. Through this open-inquiry learning style, they determined some processes that shaped Mars such as crater impacts, volcanism, fluid flow, mass movement, and groundwater sapping and also investigated the efficacy of solar energy as a power source based on location and the likelihood of regolith potential as a mineral matter source for soil.

  13. Ar-40/Ar-39 Studies of Martian Meteorite RBT 04262 and Terrestrial Standards (United States)

    Park, J.; Herzog, G. F.; Turrin, B.; Lindsay, F. N.; Delaney, J. S.; Swisher, C. C., III; Nagao, K.; Nyquist, L. E.


    Park et al. recently presented an Ar-40/Ar-39 dating study of maskelynite separated from the Martian meteorite RBT 04262. Here we report an additional study of Ar-40/Ar-39 patterns for smaller samples, each consisting of only a few maskelynite grains. Considered as a material for Ar-40/Ar-39 dating, the shock-produced glass maskelynite has both an important strength (relatively high K concentration compared to other mineral phases) and some potentially problematic weaknesses. At Rutgers, we have been analyzing small grains consisting of a single phase to explore local effects that might be averaged and remain hidden in larger samples. Thus, to assess the homogeneity of the RBT maskelynite and for comparison with the results of, we analyzed six approx. 30 microgram samples of the same maskelynite separate they studied. Furthermore, because most Ar-40/Ar-39 are calculated relative to the age of a standard, we present new Ar-40/Ar-39 age data for six standards. Among the most widely used standards are sanidine from Fish Canyon (FCs) and various hornblendes (hb3gr, MMhb-1, NL- 25), which are taken as primary standards because their ages have been determined by independent, direct measurements of K and A-40.

  14. Thermal System Modeling for Lunar and Martian Surface Regenerative Fuel Cell Systems (United States)

    Gilligan, Ryan Patrick; Smith, Phillip James; Jakupca, Ian Joseph; Bennett, William Raymond; Guzik, Monica Christine; Fincannon, Homer J.


    The Advanced Exploration Systems (AES) Advanced Modular Power Systems (AMPS) Project is investigating different power systems for various lunar and Martian mission concepts. The AMPS Fuel Cell (FC) team has created two system-level models to evaluate the performance of regenerative fuel cell (RFC) systems employing different fuel cell chemistries. Proton Exchange Membrane fuel cells PEMFCs contain a polymer electrolyte membrane that separates the hydrogen and oxygen cavities and conducts hydrogen cations (protons) across the cell. Solid Oxide fuel cells (SOFCs) operate at high temperatures, using a zirconia-based solid ceramic electrolyte to conduct oxygen anions across the cell. The purpose of the modeling effort is to down select one fuel cell chemistry for a more detailed design effort. Figures of merit include the system mass, volume, round trip efficiency, and electrolyzer charge power required. PEMFCs operate at around 60 degrees Celsius versus SOFCs which operate at temperatures greater than 700 degrees Celsius. Due to the drastically different operating temperatures of the two chemistries the thermal control systems (TCS) differ. The PEM TCS is less complex and is characterized by a single pump cooling loop that uses deionized water coolant and rejects heat generated by the system to the environment via a radiator. The solid oxide TCS has its own unique challenges including the requirement to reject high quality heat and to condense the steam produced in the reaction. This paper discusses the modeling of thermal control systems for an extraterrestrial RFC that utilizes either a PEM or solid oxide fuel cell.

  15. Constraints on the formation of the Martian crustal dichotomy from remnant crustal magnetism (United States)

    Citron, Robert I.; Zhong, Shijie


    The Martian crustal dichotomy characterizing the topographic difference between the northern and southern hemispheres is one of the most important features on Mars. However, the formation mechanism for the dichotomy remains controversial with two competing proposals: exogenic (e.g., a giant impact) and endogenic (e.g., degree-1 mantle convection) mechanisms. Another important observation is the Martian crustal remnant magnetism, which shows a much stronger field in the southern hemisphere than in the northern hemisphere and also magnetic lineations. In this study, we examine how exogenic and endogenic mechanisms for the crustal dichotomy are constrained by the crustal remnant magnetism. Assuming that the dichotomy is caused by a giant impact in the northern hemisphere, we estimate that the average thickness of ejecta in the southern hemisphere is 20-25 km. While such a giant impact may cause crustal demagnetization in the northern hemisphere, we suggest that the impact could also demagnetize the southern hemisphere via ejecta thermal blanketing, impact demagnetization, and heat transfer from the hot layer of ejecta, thus posing a challenge for the giant impact model. We explore how the pattern of magnetic lineations relates to endogenic theories of dichotomy formation, specifically crustal production via degree-1 mantle convection. We observe that the pattern of lineations roughly corresponds to concentric circles about a single pole, and determine the pole for the concentric circles at 76.5° E and 84.5° S, which nearly overlaps with the centroid of the thickened crust in the southern hemisphere. We suggest that the crustal magnetization pattern, magnetic lineations, and crustal dichotomy (i.e., thickened crust in the highlands) can be explained by a simple endogenic process; one-plume convection causes melting and crustal production above the plume in the southern hemisphere, and strong crustal magnetization and magnetic lineations are formed in the southern

  16. Ice exposures and landscape evolution in the Martian mid-latitudes (United States)

    Dundas, C. M.; Bramson, A. M.; Ojha, L.; Wray, J. J.; Mellon, M. T.; Byrne, S.; McEwen, A. S.; Putzig, N. E.; Viola, D.; Sutton, S.


    The large-scale geographic distribution of Martian shallow ground ice is now relatively well-known, but the vertical structure of the ice is not as well understood. Here we report on erosional scarps in kilometer-scale pits near ±55-60 degrees latitude that expose cross-sections through ice-rich mantling deposits covering much of the mid-latitudes. HiRISE images of the scarps reveal ice-rich deposits (i.e., not regolith-pore-filling ice) that are >100 m thick and occur within 1 m of the top of the scarps. CRISM spectra confirm the presence of water ice through late summer, implying exposed ground ice rather than seasonal frost. SHARAD sounding radar data show some candidate reflectors similar to those inferred to be from the base of excess ice deposits elsewhere on Mars, but no internal structure is resolved. Ice-exposing impacts and thermokarst landforms convey information about excess ice abundance in the upper few meters, but not its deeper structure. The overall structure of the ice table is simple, with massive ice (sometimes layered) under a relatively thin lithic mantle, plus a boulder-rich interior lens in one scarp. The latter may be partly ice-cemented. The ice is commonly fractured. These observations demonstrate how deep ice sheets link with the shallow ice table, at least locally. The likely origin of the ice is accumulation of snow with some admixed dust during a different climate. This snow accumulation could be related to 370 ka changes observed at the poles [1] but some ice sheets may be tens of Myr old [2]. the origin of superposed boulder-sized rocks is puzzling; possible explanations include glacial flow, impact gardening, or some form of frost heave or cryoturbation. Repeat HiRISE observations demonstrate that the scarps are actively retreating, as boulders have fallen from one scarp and there are albedo changes elsewhere. This activity demonstrates that local sublimation is contributing to present-day Martian landscape evolution and is an

  17. Automated Detection of Craters in Martian Satellite Imagery Using Convolutional Neural Networks (United States)

    Norman, C. J.; Paxman, J.; Benedix, G. K.; Tan, T.; Bland, P. A.; Towner, M.


    Crater counting is used in determining surface age of planets. We propose improvements to martian Crater Detection Algorithms by implementing an end-to-end detection approach with the possibility of scaling the algorithm planet-wide.

  18. Constraining the Source Craters of the Martian Meteorites: Implications for Prioritiziation of Returned Samples from Mars (United States)

    Herd, C. D. K.; Tornabene, L. L.; Bowling, T. J.; Walton, E. L.; Sharp, T. G.; Melosh, H. J.; Hamilton, J. S.; Viviano, C. E.; Ehlmann, B. L.


    We have made advances in constraining the potential source craters of the martian meteorites to a relatively small number. Our results have implications for Mars chronology and the prioritization of samples for Mars Sample Return.

  19. The Use of Returned Martian Samples to Evaluate the Possibility of Extant Life on Mars (United States)

    iMOST Team; ten Kate, I. L.; Mackelprang, R.; Rettberg, P.; Smith, C. L.; Altieri, F.; Amelin, Y.; Ammannito, E.; Anand, M.; Beaty, D. W.; Benning, L. G.; Bishop, J. L.; Borg, L. E.; Boucher, D.; Brucato, J. R.; Busemann, H.; Campbell, K. A.; Carrier, B. L.; Czaja, A. D.; Debaille, V.; Des Marais, D. J.; Dixon, M.; Ehlmann, B. L.; Farmer, J. D.; Fernandez-Remolar, D. C.; Fogarty, J.; Glavin, D. P.; Goreva, Y. S.; Grady, M. M.; Hallis, L. J.; Harrington, A. D.; Hausrath, E. M.; Herd, C. D. K.; Horgan, B.; Humayun, M.; Kleine, T.; Kleinhenz, J.; Mangold, N.; Mayhew, L. E.; McCoy, J. T.; McCubbin, F. M.; McLennan, S. M.; McSween, H. Y.; Moser, D. E.; Moynier, F.; Mustard, J. F.; Niles, P. B.; Ori, G. G.; Raulin, F.; Rucker, M. A.; Schmitz, N.; Sefton-Nash, E.; Sephton, M. A.; Shaheen, R.; Shuster, D. L.; Siljestrom, S.; Spry, J. A.; Steele, A.; Swindle, T. D.; Tosca, N. J.; Usui, T.; Van Kranendonk, M. J.; Wadhwa, M.; Weiss, B. P.; Werner, S. C.; Westall, F.; Wheeler, R. M.; Zipfel, J.; Zorzano, M. P.


    The astrobiological community is highly interested in interrogating returned martian samples for evidence of extant life. A single observation with one method will not constitute evidence of extant life — it will require a suite of investigations.

  20. Pizza or Pancake? Formation Models of Gas Escape Biosignatures in Terrestrial and Martian Sediments (United States)

    Bonaccorsi, R.; Fairen, A. G.; Baker, L.; McKay, C. P.; Willson, D.


    Fine-grained sedimentary hollowed structures were imaged in Gale Crater, but no biomarkers identified to support biology. Our observation-based (gas escape) terrestrial model could inform on possible martian paleoenvironments at time of formation.

  1. Atmospheric Modeling of the Martian Polar Regions: CRISM EPF Coverage During the South Polar Spring Recession (United States)

    Brown, A. J.; McGuire, P.; Wolff, M. J.


    We describe efforts to model dust and ice aerosols content and soils and icy surface reflectance in the Martian southern polar region during spring recession (Ls = 152-320) using CRISM emission phase function (EPF) observations.

  2. Micro-Raman spectroscopy of plagioclase and maskelynite in Martian meteorites: Evidence of progressive shock metamorphism


    Fritz,Jorg; Greshake,Ansgar; Stoffler,Dieter


    We present the first systematic Micro-Raman spectroscopic investigation of plagioclase of different degree of shock metamorphism in Martian meteorites. The equilibrium shock pressure of all plagioclase phases of seventeen unpaired Martian meteorites was determined by measuring the shock-induced reduction of the refractive index. Systematic variations in the recorded Raman spectra of the plagioclase phases correlate with increasing shock pressure. In general, the shock induced deformation of t...

  3. JAWS: Just Add Water System - A device for detection of nucleic acids in Martian ice caps

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Hansen, Anders J.; Willerslev, Eske; Mørk, Søren


    with a regulation of pH and salt concentrations e.g. the MOD systems and could be installed on a planetary probe melting its way down the Martian ice caps e.g. the NASA Cryobot. JAWS can be used for detection of remains of ancient life preserved in the Martian ice as well as for detection of contamination brought...... to the planet from Earth....

  4. Origin and Reactivity of the Martian Soil: A 2003 Micromission (United States)

    Yen, Albert S.; Kim, S. Sam; Marshall, John; Murray, Bruce C.


    The role of water in the development of the martian surface remains a fundamental scientific question. Did Mars have one or more "warm and wet" climatic episodes where liquid water was stable at the surface? If so, the mineral phases present in the soils should be consistent with a history of aqueous weathering. More generally, the formation of hydrated mineral phases on Mars is a strong indicator of past habitable surface environments. The primary purpose of this investigation is to help resolve the question of whether such aqueous indicators are present on Mars by probing the upper meter for diagnostic mineral species. According to Burns [1993], the formation of the ferric oxides responsible for the visible color of Mars are the result of dissolution of Fe (+2) phases from basalts followed by aqueous oxidation and precipitation of Fe" mineral assemblages. These precipitates likely included iron oxyhydroxides such as goethite (a-FeOOH) and lepidocrocite (g-FeOOH), but convincing evidence for these phases at the surface is still absent. The stability of these minerals is enhanced beneath the surface, and thus we propose a subsurface search for hydroxylated iron species as a test for a large-scale chemical weathering process based on interactions with liquid water. It is also possible that the ferric minerals on Mars are not aqueous alteration products of the rocks. A chemical study of the Pathfinder landing site concluded that the soils are not directly derived from the surrounding rocks and are enhanced in Mg and Fe. The additional source of these elements might be from other regions of Mars and transported by winds, or alternatively, from exogenic sources. Gibson [1970] proposed that the spectral reflectivity of Mars is consistent with oxidized meteoritic material. Yen and Murray [1998] further extend Gibson's idea and show, in the laboratory, that metallic iron can be readily oxidized to maghemite and hematite under present-day martian surface conditions (in the

  5. Activity and stability of a complex bacterial soil community under simulated Martian conditions (United States)

    Hansen, Aviaja Anna; Merrison, Jonathan; Nørnberg, Per; Aagaard Lomstein, Bente; Finster, Kai


    A simulation experiment with a complex bacterial soil community in a Mars simulation chamber was performed to determine the effect of Martian conditions on community activity, stability and survival. At three different depths in the soil core short-term effects of Martian conditions with and without ultraviolet (UV) exposure corresponding to 8 Martian Sol were compared. Community metabolic activities and functional diversity, measured as glucose respiration and versatility in substrate utilization, respectively, decreased after UV exposure, whereas they remained unaffected by Martian conditions without UV exposure. In contrast, the numbers of culturable bacteria and the genetic diversity were unaffected by the simulated Martian conditions both with and without UV exposure. The genetic diversity of the soil community and of the colonies grown on agar plates were evaluated by denaturant gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) on DNA extracts. Desiccation of the soil prior to experimentation affected the functional diversity by decreasing the versatility in substrate utilization. The natural dominance of endospores and Gram-positive bacteria in the investigated Mars-analogue soil may explain the limited effect of the Mars incubations on the survival and community structure. Our results suggest that UV radiation and desiccation are major selecting factors on bacterial functional diversity in terrestrial bacterial communities incubated under simulated Martian conditions. Furthermore, these results suggest that forward contamination of Mars is a matter of great concern in future space missions.

  6. Effects of hillslope gully stabilization on erosion and sediment production in the Torreon Wash watershed, New Mexico, 2009–12 (United States)

    Matherne, Anne Marie; Tillery, Anne C.; Douglas-Mankin, Kyle R.


    Sediment erosion and deposition in two sets of paired (treated and untreated) upland drainages in the Torreon Wash watershed, upper Rio Puerco Basin, New Mexico, were examined over a 3 1/2-year period from spring 2009 through fall 2012. The objective was to evaluate the effectiveness of shallow, loose-stone check dams, or “one-rock dams,” as a hillslope gully erosion stabilization and mitigation method, and its potential for retaining upland eroded soils and decreasing delivery of sediment to lower ephemeral stream channels. Two high-resolution topographic surveys, completed at the beginning and end of the study period, were used to assess the effects of the mitigation measures at paired-drainage sites in both Penistaja Arroyo and Papers Wash watersheds, and at six main-stem-channel cross-section clusters along Penistaja Arroyo and Torreon Wash in the Torreon Wash watershed.For both drainage pairs, the treated drainage had greater sediment aggradation near the channel than the untreated drainage. Erosion was the dominant geomorphic process in the untreated Penistaja Arroyo drainage, whereas aggradation was the dominant process in the other three drainages. For the Penistaja Arroyo paired drainages, the treated site showed a 51-percent increase in area aggraded and 67-percent increase in volume aggraded per area analyzed over the untreated site. Both Papers Wash drainages showed net aggradation, but with similar treatment effect, with the treated site showing a 29-percent increase in area aggraded and 60-percent increase in volume aggraded per area analyzed over the untreated site. In the untreated Penistaja Arroyo drainage, the calculated minimum erosion rate was 0.0055 inches per year (in/yr; 0.14 millimeters per year [mm/yr]), whereas the calculated aggradation rates for the three drainages for which aggradation was the dominant geomorphic process were 0.0063 in/yr (0.16 mm/yr) for the Penistaja Arroyo treated drainage, 0.012 in/yr (0.31 mm/yr) for the Papers

  7. Structure of Ion Outflow in the Martian Magnetotail (United States)

    McFadden, J. P.; Mitchell, D.; Luhmann, J. G.; Connerney, J. E. P.; Jakosky, B. M.


    The Suprathermal And Thermal Ion Composition (STATIC) sensor on the MAVEN spacecraft provides a detailed look at the structure of ion outflow in the Martian magnetotail including ion composition, energization, and flow. Mars' magnetotail contains a mixture of cold (multi-species ions, tailward-moving cold multi-species ions, suprathermal ions of a few tens of eV, warm (about 100 eV) proton populations, and heavy (primarily O+) pickup ions at energies from 1 to 10 keV which may display several simultaneous peaks in energy flux. The cold tailward-moving ions represent a significant fraction of the Martian ion loss, perhaps comparable to loses from molecular oxygen dissociation. The suprathermal tail that accompanies the cold ions varies greatly and provides clues to ion escape. The warm protons, on first examination, appear to be of sheath origin, displaying a similar energy distribution and accompanied by a tenuous warm population at M/Q=2 (which could be either solar wind alphas or molecular hydrogen ions of ionospheric origin). STATIC produces a weak ghost peak at M/Q=11-12 when observing molecular hydrogen ions, but not alphas, often allowing the instrument to distinguish the source of protons. Measurements show the warm protons are of ionospheric origin in the central tail and transition to sheath plasma in the umbra. Energetic (1-10 keV) pickup oxygen in the magnetotail is produced on the nightside, near the pole where the IMF convection electric field points toward the planet, the same hemisphere where sputtering occurs. When two spectral peaks are observed, these tailward-moving ions differ in direction by relatively small angles (about 20 degrees). These peaks can persist for tens of minutes indicating approximately time-stationary acceleration, and therefore acceleration in potential fields. Magnetotail structure and geometry can be inferred not only from the local magnetic field, but also from the measured electron distributions which indicate source

  8. Constraints on mechanisms for the growth of gully alcoves in Gasa crater, Mars, from two-dimensional stability assessments of rock slopes (United States)

    Okubo, C.H.; Tornabene, L.L.; Lanza, N.L.


    The value of slope stability analyses for gaining insight into the geologic conditions that would facilitate the growth of gully alcoves on Mars is demonstrated in Gasa crater. Two-dimensional limit equilibrium methods are used in conjunction with high-resolution topography derived from stereo High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) imagery. These analyses reveal three conditions that may produce observed alcove morphologies through slope failure: (1) a ca >10m thick surface layer that is either saturated with H2O ground ice or contains no groundwater/ice at all, above a zone of melting H2O ice or groundwater and under dynamic loading (i.e., seismicity), (2) a 1-10m thick surface layer that is saturated with either melting H2O ice or groundwater and under dynamic loading, or (3) a >100m thick surface layer that is saturated with either melting H2O ice or groundwater and under static loading. This finding of three plausible scenarios for slope failure demonstrates how the triggering mechanisms and characteristics of future alcove growth would be affected by prevailing environmental conditions. HiRISE images also reveal normal faults and other fractures tangential to the crowns of some gully alcoves that are interpreted to be the result of slope instability, which may facilitate future slope movement. Stability analyses show that the most failure-prone slopes in this area are found in alcoves that are adjacent to crown fractures. Accordingly, crown fractures appear to be a useful indicator of those alcoves that should be monitored for future landslide activity. ?? 2010.

  9. Spatiotemporal response of the water cycle to land use conversions in a typical hilly-gully basin on the Loess Plateau, China (United States)

    Qiu, Linjing; Wu, Yiping; Wang, Lijing; Lei, Xiaohui; Liao, Weihong; Hui, Ying; Meng, Xianyong


    The hydrological effects of the Grain for Green project (GFGP) on the Loess Plateau have been extensively debated due to the complexity of the water system and its multiple driving factors. The aim of this study was to investigate the response of the hydrological cycle to the GFGP measures based in a case study of the Yanhe Basin, a typical hilly-gully area on the Loess Plateau of China. First, we analyzed the land use and land cover (LULC) changes from 1990 to 2010. Then, we evaluated the effects of LULC changes and sloping land conversion on the main hydrological components in the basin using the Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT). The results indicated that cropland exhibited a decreasing trend, declining from 40.2 % of the basin area in 1990 to 17.6 % in 2010, and that the woodland and grassland areas correspondingly increased. With the land use changes from 1990 to 2010, the water yield showed a decreasing trend which was mainly due to decrease in surface runoff. In contrast, evapotranspiration (ET) showed an increasing trend over the same period, resulting in a persistent decrease in soil water. The conversion of sloping cropland to grassland or woodland exerted negative effects on water yield and soil water. Compared with the land use condition in 2010, the negative effects were most evident where cropland with a slope ≥ 15° was converted to woodland, with decreases in surface runoff and soil water of 17.1 and 6.4 %, respectively. These results suggest that the expansive reforestation on sloping land in the loess hilly-gully region decreased water yield and increased ET, resulting in reduced soil water. The results of this study can be used to support sustainable land use planning and water resource management on the Loess Plateau in China.

  10. Tracing sediment sources in the Williams River catchment using caesium-137 and heavy metals: towards an assessment of the relative importance of surface erosion and gully erosion

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Krause, A.K.; Kalma, J.D.; Loughran, R.J.


    Recent sediment sourcing in the 1175km 2 Williams River catchment near Newcastle, NSW, has involved the use of caesium-137 ( 137 Cs) and heavy metals to identify zones of erosion and estimate erosion rates. Sediment sources to the Williams River include sheet erosion from forested and grazed lands, stream channels (especially banks), gullies and roads. The fallout environmental radioisotope 137 Cs was used to assess the erosion status of five vegetated slopes using soil sampling along transects. The net loss or gain of 137 Cs at each sampling point was compared with the 137 Cs level at a reference site at the slope crest. Net soil loss at each point was calculated from an Australian regression model relating net soil loss from runoff-erosion plots to 137 Cs deficit in soils (n=34; r=0.84). Net soil gain was calculated using the regression model in reverse mode. A weighted net soil loss (or gain) was then calculated for each slope transect. Results showed low net soil loss, ranging from zero to 0.64 t ha -1 yr 1 , suggesting that slopes were not major contributors of sediment to the Williams River. A small sub-catchment south of Wirragulla Hill, typical of the lower Williams region, was selected for more detailed tracing of sediment sources. The catchment contains gullies, sheet-erosion exposed sub-soil, grassland and one unsealed road. Heavy metals and 137 Cs have been used to fingerprint the sources, and these measurements will be compared with suspended sediment collected from drainage water in the creek. Only preliminary results have been obtained for this component of the study. The paper will assess these two approaches for the identification of sediment sources and discuss practical applications in water resources management

  11. Evidence for a Heterogeneous Distribution of Water in the Martian Interior (United States)

    McCubbin, Francis; Boyce, Jeremy W.; Srinvasan, Poorna; Santos, Alison R.; Elardo, Stephen M.; Filiberto, Justin; Steele, Andrew; Shearer, Charles K.


    The abundance and distribution of H2O within the terrestrial planets, as well as its timing of delivery, is a topic of vital importance for understanding the chemical and physical evolution of planets and their potential for hosting habitable environments. Analysis of planetary materials from Mars, the Moon, and the eucrite parent body (i.e., asteroid 4Vesta) have confirmed the presence of H2O within their interiors. Moreover, H and N isotopic data from these planetary materials suggests H2O was delivered to the inner solar system very early from a common source, similar in composition to the carbonaceous chondrites. Despite the ubiquity of H2O in the inner Solar System, the only destination with any prospects for past or present habitable environments at this time, outside of the Earth, is Mars. Although the presence of H2O within the martian interior has been confirmed, very little is known regarding its abundance and distribution within the martian interior and how the martian water inventory has changed over time. By combining new analyses of martian apatites within a large number of martian meteorite types with previously published volatile data and recently determined mineral-melt partition coefficients for apatite, we report new insights into the abundance and distribution of volatiles in the martian crust and mantle. Using the subset of samples that did not exhibit crustal contamination, we determined that the enriched shergottite mantle source has 36-73 ppm H2O and the depleted shergottite mantle source has 14-23 ppm H2O. This result is consistent with other observed geochemical differences between enriched and depleted shergottites and supports the idea that there are at least two geochemically distinct reservoirs in the martian mantle. We also estimated the H2O content of the martian crust using the revised mantle H2O abundances and known crust-mantle distributions of incompatible lithophile elements. We determined that the bulk martian crust has

  12. Soil and nutrient losses in erosion gullies at different degrees of restoration Perda de solo e nutrientes em voçorocas com diferentes níveis de recuperação

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Roriz Luciano Machado


    Full Text Available The most advanced stage of water erosion, the gully, represents severe problems in different contexts, both in rural and urban environments. In the search for a stabilization of the process in a viable manner it is of utmost importance to assess the efficiency of evaluation methodologies. For this purpose, the efficiency of low-cost conservation practices were tested for the reduction of soil and nutrient losses caused by erosion from gullies in Pinheiral, state of Rio de Janeiro. The following areas were studied: gully recovered by means of physical and biological strategies; gullies in recovering stage, by means of physical strategies only, and gullies under no restoration treatment. During the summer of 2005/2006, the following data sets were collected for this study: soil classification of each of the eroded gully areas; planimetric and altimetric survey; determination of rain erosivity indexes; determination of amount of soil sediment; sediment grain size characteristics; natural amounts of nutrients Ca, Mg, K and P, as well as total C and N concentrations. The results for the three first measurements were 52.5, 20.5, and 29.0 Mg in the sediments from the gully without intervention, and of 1.0, 1.7 and 1.8 Mg from the gully with physical interventions, indicating an average reduction of 95 %. The fully recovered gully produced no sediment during the period. The data of total nutrient loss from the three gullies under investigation showed reductions of 98 % for the recovering gully, and 99 % for the fully recovered one. As for the loss of nutrients, the data indicate a nutrient loss of 1,811 kg from for the non-treated gully. The use of physical and biological interventions made it possible to reduce overall nutrient loss by more than 96 %, over the entire rainy season, as compared to the non-treated gully. Results show that the methods used were effective in reducing soil and nutrient losses from gullies.A forma mais avançada da erosão h

  13. The analysis of water in the Martian regolith. (United States)

    Anderson, D M; Tice, A R


    One of the scientific objectives of the Viking Mission to Mars was to accomplish an analysis of water in the Martian regolith. The analytical scheme originally envisioned was severely compromised in the latter stages of the Lander instrument package design. Nevertheless, a crude soil water analysis was accomplished. Samples from each of the two widely separated sites yielded roughly 1 to 3% water by weight when heated successively to several temperatures up to 500 degrees C. A significant portion of this water was released in the 200 degrees to 350 degrees C interval indicating the presence of mineral hydrates of relatively low thermal stability, a finding in keeping with the low temperatures generally prevailing on Mars. The presence of a duricrust at one of the Lander sites is taken as possible evidence for the presence of hygroscopic minerals on Mars. The demonstrated presence of atmospheric water vapor and thermodynamic calculations lead to the belief that adsorbed water could provide a relatively favorable environment for endolithic organisms on Mars similar to types recently discovered in the dry antarctic deserts.

  14. Evidence From Hydrogen Isotopes in Meteorites for a Martian Permafrost (United States)

    Usui, T.; Alexander, C. M. O'D.; Wang, J.; Simon, J. I.; Jones, J. H.


    Fluvial landforms on Mars suggest that it was once warm enough to maintain persistent liquid water on its surface. The transition to the present cold and dry Mars is closely linked to the history of surface water, yet the evolution of surficial water is poorly constrained. We have investigated the evolution of surface water/ ice and its interaction with the atmosphere by measurements of hydrogen isotope ratios (D/H: deuterium/ hydrogen) of martian meteorites. Hydrogen is a major component of water (H2O) and its isotopes fractionate significantly during hydrological cycling between the atmosphere, surface waters, ground ice, and polar cap ice. Based on in situ ion microprobe analyses of three geochemically different shergottites, we reported that there is a water/ice reservoir with an intermediate D/H ratio (delta D = 1,000?2500 %) on Mars. Here we present the possibility that this water/ice reservoir represents a ground-ice/permafrost that has existed relatively intact over geologic time.

  15. Large sulfur isotope fractionations in Martian sediments at Gale crater (United States)

    Franz, H. B.; McAdam, A. C.; Ming, D. W.; Freissinet, C.; Mahaffy, P. R.; Eldridge, D. L.; Fischer, W. W.; Grotzinger, J. P.; House, C. H.; Hurowitz, J. A.; McLennan, S. M.; Schwenzer, S. P.; Vaniman, D. T.; Archer, P. D., Jr.; Atreya, S. K.; Conrad, P. G.; Dottin, J. W., III; Eigenbrode, J. L.; Farley, K. A.; Glavin, D. P.; Johnson, S. S.; Knudson, C. A.; Morris, R. V.; Navarro-González, R.; Pavlov, A. A.; Plummer, R.; Rampe, E. B.; Stern, J. C.; Steele, A.; Summons, R. E.; Sutter, B.


    Variability in the sulfur isotopic composition in sediments can reflect atmospheric, geologic and biological processes. Evidence for ancient fluvio-lacustrine environments at Gale crater on Mars and a lack of efficient crustal recycling mechanisms on the planet suggests a surface environment that was once warm enough to allow the presence of liquid water, at least for discrete periods of time, and implies a greenhouse effect that may have been influenced by sulfur-bearing volcanic gases. Here we report in situ analyses of the sulfur isotopic compositions of SO2 volatilized from ten sediment samples acquired by NASA’s Curiosity rover along a 13 km traverse of Gale crater. We find large variations in sulfur isotopic composition that exceed those measured for Martian meteorites and show both depletion and enrichment in 34S. Measured values of δ34S range from -47 +/- 14‰ to 28 +/- 7‰, similar to the range typical of terrestrial environments. Although limited geochronological constraints on the stratigraphy traversed by Curiosity are available, we propose that the observed sulfur isotopic signatures at Gale crater can be explained by equilibrium fractionation between sulfate and sulfide in an impact-driven hydrothermal system and atmospheric processing of sulfur-bearing gases during transient warm periods.

  16. The role of igneous sills in shaping the Martian uplands (United States)

    Wilhelms, D. E.; Baldwin, R. J.


    Relations among geologic units and landforms suggest that igneous sills lie beneath much of the intercrater and intracrater terrain of the Martian uplands. The igneous rocks crop out along the upland-lowland front and in crater floors and other depressions that are low enough to intersect the sill's intrusion horizons. It is suggested that heat from the cooling sills melted some of the ice contained in overlying fragmental deposits, creating valley networks by subsurface flow of the meltwater. Terrains with undulatory, smooth surfaces and softened traces of valleys were created by more direct contact with the sills. Widespread subsidence following emplacement of the sills deformed both them and the nonvolcanic deposits that overlie them, accounting for the many structures that continue from ridged plains into the hilly uplands. Crater counts show that the deposit that became valleyed, softened, and ridged probably began to form (and to acquire interstitial ice) during or shortly after the Middle Noachian Epoch, and continued to form as late as the Early Hesperian Epoch. The upper layers of this deposit, many of the visible valleys, and the ridged plains and postulated sills all have similar Early Hesperian ages. Continued formation of valleys is indicated by their incision of fresh-appearing crater ejecta. The dependence of valley formation on internal processes implies that Mars did not necessarily have a dense early atmosphere or warm climate.

  17. Distribution of small channels on the Martian surface (United States)

    Pieri, D.


    The distribution of small channels on Mars has been mapped from Mariner 9 images at the 1:5,000,000 scale. The small channels referred to here are small valleys ranging in width from the resolution limit of the Mariner 9 wide-angle images (about 1 km) to about 10 km. The greatest density of small channels occurs in dark cratered terrain. This dark zone forms a broad subequatorial band around the planet. The observed distribution may be the result of decreased small-channel visibility in bright areas due to obscuration by a high albedo dust or sediment mantle. Crater densities within two small-channel segments show crater size-frequency distributions consistent with those of the oldest of the heavily cratered plains units. Such crater densities coupled with the almost exclusive occurrence of small channels in old cratered terrain and the generally degraded appearance of small channels in the high-resolution images (about 100 m) imply a major episode of small-channel formation early in Martian geologic history.

  18. Influence of carbon dioxide clouds on early martian climate. (United States)

    Mischna, M A; Kasting, J F; Pavlov, A; Freedman, R


    Recent studies have shown that clouds made of carbon dioxide ice may have warmed the surface of early Mars by reflecting not only incoming solar radiation but upwelling IR radiation as well. However, these studies have not treated scattering self-consistently in the thermal IR. Our own calculations, which treat IR scattering properly, confirm these earlier calculations but show that CO2 clouds can also cool the surface, especially if they are low and optically thick. Estimating the actual effect of CO2 clouds on early martian climate will require three-dimensional models in which cloud location, height, and optical depth, as well as surface temperature and pressure, are determined self-consistently. Our calculations further confirm that CO2 clouds should extend the outer boundary of the habitable zone around a star but that there is still a finite limit beyond which above-freezing surface temperatures cannot be maintained by a CO2-H2O atmosphere. For our own Solar System, the absolute outer edge of the habitable zone is at approximately 2.4 AU.

  19. Survival of a microbial soil community under Martian conditions (United States)

    Hansen, A. A.; Noernberg, P.; Merrison, J.; Lomstein, B. Aa.; Finster, K. W.


    Because of the similarities between Earth and Mars early history the hypothesis was forwarded that Mars is a site where extraterrestrial life might have and/or may still occur(red). Sample-return missions are planned by NASA and ESA to test this hypothesis. The enormous economic costs and the logistic challenges of these missions make earth-based model facilities inevitable. The Mars simulation system at University of Aarhus, Denmark allows microbiological experiments under Mars analogue conditions. Thus detailed studies on the effect of Mars environmental conditions on the survival and the activity of a natural microbial soil community were carried out. Changes in the soil community were determined with a suite of different approaches: 1) total microbial respiration activity was investigated with 14C-glucose, 2) the physiological profile was investigated by the EcoLog-system, 3) colony forming units were determined by plate counts and 4) the microbial diversity on the molecular level was accessed with Denaturing Gradient Gel Electrophoresis. The simulation experiments showed that a part of the bacterial community survived Martian conditions corresponding to 9 Sol. These and future simulation experiments will contribute to our understanding of the possibility for extraterrestrial and terrestrial life on Mars.

  20. Waves in the Martian Atmosphere: Results from MGS Radio Occultations (United States)

    Flasar, F. M.; Hinson, D. P.; Tyler, G. L.


    Temperatures retrieved from Mars Global Surveyor radio occultations have been searched for evidence of waves. Emphasis has been on the initial series of occultations between 29 deg N and 64 deg S, obtained during the early martian southern summer, L(sub s) = 264 deg - 308 deg. The profiles exhibit an undulatory behavior that is suggestive of vertically propagating waves. wavelengths approximately 10 km are often dominant, but structure on smaller scales is evident. The undulatory structure is most pronounced between latitudes 29 deg N and 10 deg S, usually in regions of "interesting" topography, e.g., in the Tharsis region and near the edge of Syrtis Major. Several temperature profiles, particularly within 30 deg of the equator, exhibit lapse rates that locally become superadiabatic near the 0.4-mbar level or at higher altitudes. This implies that the waves are "breaking" and depositing horizontal momentum into the atmosphere. Such a deposition may play an important role in modulating the atmospheric winds, and characterizing the spatial and temporal distribution of these momentum transfers can provide important clues to understanding how the global circulation is maintained.

  1. Eddy transport of water vapor in the Martian atmosphere (United States)

    Murphy, J. R.; Haberle, Robert M.


    Viking orbiter measurements of the Martian atmosphere suggest that the residual north polar water-ice cap is the primary source of atmospheric water vapor, which appears at successively lower northern latitudes as the summer season progresses. Zonally symmetric studies of water vapor transport indicate that the zonal mean meridional circulation is incapable of transporting from north polar regions to low latitudes the quantity of water vapor observed. This result has been interpreted as implying the presence of nonpolar sources of water. Another possibility is the ability of atmospheric wave motions, which are not accounted for in a zonally symmetric framework, to efficiently accomplish the transport from a north polar source to the entirety of the Northern Hemisphere. The ability or inability of the full range of atmospheric motions to accomplish this transport has important implications regarding the questions of water sources and sinks on Mars: if the full spectrum of atmospheric motions proves to be incapable of accomplishing the transport, it strengthens arguments in favor of additional water sources. Preliminary results from a three dimensional atmospheric dynamical/water vapor transport numerical model are presented. The model accounts for the physics of a subliming water-ice cap, but does not yet incorporate recondensation of this sublimed water. Transport of vapor away from this water-ice cap in this three dimensional framework is compared with previously obtained zonally symmetric (two dimensional) results to quantify effects of water vapor transport by atmospheric eddies.

  2. MAVEN observations of magnetic reconnection in the Martian magnetotail (United States)

    Harada, Y.; Halekas, J. S.; McFadden, J. P.; Mitchell, D. L.; Mazelle, C. X.; Connerney, J. E. P.; Espley, J. R.; Larson, D. E.; Brain, D. A.; Andersson, L.; DiBraccio, G. A.; Collinson, G.; Livi, R.; Hara, T.; Ruhunusiri, S.; Jakosky, B. M.


    Magnetic reconnection is a fundamental process that changes magnetic field topology and converts magnetic energy into particle energy. Although reconnection may play a key role in controlling ion escape processes at Mars, the fundamental properties of local physics and global dynamics of magnetic reconnection in the Martian environment remain unclear owing to the lack of simultaneous measurements of ions, electrons, and magnetic fields by modern instrumentation. Here we present comprehensive MAVEN observations of reconnection signatures in the near-Mars magnetotail. The observed reconnection signatures include (i) Marsward bulk flows of H+, O+, and O2+ ions, (ii) counterstreaming ion beams along the current sheet normal direction, (iii) Hall magnetic fields, and (iv) trapped electrons with two-sided loss cones. The measured velocity distribution functions of different ion species exhibit mass-dependent characteristics which are qualitatively consistent with previous multi-species kinetic simulations and terrestrial tail observations. The MAVEN observations demonstrate that the near-Mars magnetotail provides a unique environment for studying multi-ion reconnection.

  3. Radiation chemistry in exploration of Mars

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Zagorski, Z.P.


    Problems of exploration of Mars are seldom connected with radiation research. Improvements in such approach, more and more visible, are reported in this paper, written by the present author working on prebiotic chemistry and origins of life on Earth. Objects on Mars subjected to radiation are very different from those on Earth. Density of the Martian atmosphere is by two orders smaller than over Earth and does not protect the surface of Mars from ionizing radiations, contrary to the case of Earth, shielded by the equivalent of ca. 3 meters of concrete. High energy protons from the Sun are diverted magnetically around Earth, and Mars is deprived of that protection. The radiolysis of martian '' air '' (95.3% of carbon dioxide) starts with the formation of CO 2 + , whereas the primary product over Earth is N 2 + ion radical. The lack of water vapor over Mars prevents the formation of many secondary products. The important feature of Martian regolith is the possibility of the presence of hydrated minerals, which could have been formed milliards years ago, when (probably) water was present on Mars. The interface of the atmosphere and the regolith can be the site of many chemical reactions, induced also by intensive UV, which includes part of the vacuum UV. Minerals like sodalite, discovered on Mars can contribute as reagents in many reactions. Conclusions are dedicated to questions of the live organisms connected with exploration of Mars; from microorganisms, comparatively resistant to ionizing radiation, to human beings, considered not to be fit to manned flight, survival on Mars and return to Earth. Pharmaceuticals proposed as radiobiological protection cannot improve the situation. Exploration over the distance of millions of kilometers performed successfully without presence of man, withstands more easily the presence of ionizing radiation. (author)

  4. Martian Feeling: An Analogue Study to Simulate a Round-Trip to Mars using the International Space Station (United States)

    Felix, C. V.; Gini, A.

    When talking about human space exploration, Mars missions are always present. It is clear that sooner or later, humanity will take this adventure. Arguably the most important aspect to consider for the success of such an endeavour is the human element. The safety of the crew throughout a Martian mission is a top priority for all space agencies. Therefore, such a mission should not take place until all the risks have been fully understood and mitigated. A mission to Mars presents unique human and technological challenges in terms of isolation, confinement, autonomy, reliance on mission control, communication delays and adaptation to different gravity levels. Analogue environments provide the safest way to simulate these conditions, mitigate the risks and evaluate the effects of long-term space travel on the crew. Martian Feeling is one of nine analogue studies, from the Mars Analogue Path (MAP) report [1], proposed by the TP Analogue group of ISU Masters class 2010. It is an integrated analogue study which simulates the psychological, physiological and operational conditions that an international, six-person, mixed gender crew would experience on a mission to Mars. Set both onboard the International Space Station (ISS) and on Earth, the Martian Feeling study will perform a ``dress rehearsal'' of a mission to Mars. The study proposes to test both human performance and operational procedures in a cost-effective manner. Since Low Earth Orbit (LEO) is more accessible than other space-based locations, an analogue studies in LEO would provide the required level of realism to a simulated transit mission to Mars. The sustained presence of microgravity and other elements of true spaceflight are features of LEO that are neither currently feasible nor possible to study in terrestrial analogue sites. International collaboration, economics, legal and ethical issues were considered when the study was proposed. As an example of international collaboration, the ISS would

  5. Planning for the Collection and Analysis of Samples of Martian Granular Materials Potentially to be Returned by Mars Sample Return (United States)

    Carrier, B. L.; Beaty, D. W.


    NASA's Mars 2020 rover is scheduled to land on Mars in 2021 and will be equipped with a sampling system capable of collecting rock cores, as well as a specialized drill bit for collecting unconsolidated granular material. A key mission objective is to collect a set of samples that have enough scientific merit to justify returning to Earth. In the case of granular materials, we would like to catalyze community discussion on what we would do with these samples if they arrived in our laboratories, as input to decision-making related to sampling the regolith. Numerous scientific objectives have been identified which could be achieved or significantly advanced via the analysis of martian rocks, "regolith," and gas samples. The term "regolith" has more than one definition, including one that is general and one that is much more specific. For the purpose of this analysis we use the term "granular materials" to encompass the most general meaning and restrict "regolith" to a subset of that. Our working taxonomy includes the following: 1) globally sourced airfall dust (dust); 2) saltation-sized particles (sand); 3) locally sourced decomposed rock (regolith); 4) crater ejecta (ejecta); and, 5) other. Analysis of martian granular materials could serve to advance our understanding areas including habitability and astrobiology, surface-atmosphere interactions, chemistry, mineralogy, geology and environmental processes. Results of these analyses would also provide input into planning for future human exploration of Mars, elucidating possible health and mechanical hazards caused by the martian surface material, as well as providing valuable information regarding available resources for ISRU and civil engineering purposes. Results would also be relevant to matters of planetary protection and ground-truthing orbital observations. We will present a preliminary analysis of the following, in order to generate community discussion and feedback on all issues relating to: What are the

  6. DIPS space exploration initiative safety

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Dix, T.E.


    The Dynamic Isotope Power Subsystem has been identified for potential applications for the Space Exploration Initiative. A qualitative safety assessment has been performed to demonstrate the overall safety adequacy of the Dynamic Isotope Power Subsystem for these applications. Mission profiles were defined for reference lunar and martian flights. Accident scenarios were qualitatively defined for all mission phases. Safety issues were then identified. The safety issues included radiation exposure, fuel containment, criticality, diversion, toxic materials, heat flux to the extravehicular mobility unit, and disposal. The design was reviewed for areas where safety might be further improved. Safety would be improved by launching the fuel separate from the rest of the subsystem on expendable launch vehicles, using a fuel handling tool during unloading of the hot fuel canister, and constructing a cage-like structure around the reversible heat removal system lithium heat pipes. The results of the safety assessment indicate that the DIPS design with minor modifications will produce a low risk concept

  7. Resprout and survival of willows (Salix purpurea and S. incana), Poplars (Populus nigra) and Tamaris (Tamarix gallica) cuttings in marly gullies with Southern aspect in a mountainous and Mediterranean climate (Southern Alps, France) (United States)

    Rey, Freddy; Labonne, Sophie; Dangla, Laure; Lavandier, Géraud


    In the Southern French Alps under a mountainous and Mediterranean climate, a current strategy of bioengineering is developed for trapping sediment in marly gullies with surface area less than 1 ha. It is based on the use of structures in the form of brush layers and brush mats of cuttings on deadwood microdams. Purple and white Willows (Salix purpurea and S. incana) are recommended here as they proved their efficiency to resprout and survive in such environment. However, these species installed in Southern gullies did not survive in previous experiments, due to the too harsh conditions of solar radiation and drought. We thus decided to test other species, namely black Poplar (Populus nigra) and Tamaris (Tamarix gallica), which proved their resistance to drought conditions in other experiments. To this view, bioengineering structures have been built in 2010 in eroded marly gullies in the Roubines and Fontaugier catchments (Southern Alps, France). We tested two installation modalities: one in spring and a second in autumn. Seventy-eight bioengineering structures (50 in spring and 28 in autumn), among which 32 made with Poplar cuttings and 28 with Tamaris cuttings, as well as 11 structures with purple Willow and 7 with white Willow as controls, were built in 6 experimental gullies. After 3 observation years for each modality (2010 to 2012, and 2011 to 2013, respectively), results first revealed that Willow species succeeded in surviving in gullies in Southern aspect (76 % for the cuttings installed in spring and 52 % for those installed in autumn), which is in contradiction with previous results. Second, Poplar showed a good ability to survive (62 % for the cuttings installed in spring and 33 % for those installed in autumn). Tamaris obtained the worst score with 26 % and 38 % of survival for the cuttings installed in spring and autumn, respectively. Globally, excepted for Tamaris, survival rates were better for the cuttings installed in spring. The bioengineering



    J. Dong; Z. Sun; W. Rao; Y. Jia; L. Meng; C. Wang; B. Chen


    An orbiter and a descent module will be delivered to Mars in the Chinese first Mars exploration mission. The descent module is composed of a landing platform and a rover. The module will be released into the atmosphere by the orbiter and make a controlled landing on Martian surface. After landing, the rover will egress from the platform to start its science mission. The rover payloads mainly include the subsurface radar, terrain camera, multispectral camera, magnetometer, anemometer to achiev...

  9. Investigation of small scale roughness properties of Martian terrains using Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter data. (United States)

    Ivanov, A. B.; Rossi, A.


    HIRISE image processing in the existing data processing pipeline and improve it at the same time. Currently the workflow is not finished: DEM units are relative and are not in elevation. We have been able to derive successful DEMs from CTX data Becquerel [14] and Crommelin craters as well as for some areas in the North Polar Layered Terrain. Due to its tremendous resolution HIRISE data showing great surface detail, hence allowing better correlation than other sensors considered in this work. In all cases DEM were showing considerable potential for exploration of terrain characteristics. Next steps include cross validation results with DEM produced by other teams and sensors (HRSC [6], HIRISE [7]) and providing elevation in terms of absolute height over a MOLA areoid. MRO imaging data allows us an unprecedented look at Martian terrain. This work provides a step forward derivation of DEM from HIRISE and CTX datasets and currently undergoing validation vs. other existing datasets. We will present our latest results for layering structures in both North and South Polar Layered deposits as well as layered structures inside Becquerel and Crommelin craters. Digital Elevation models derived from the CTX sensor can also be utilized effectively as a input for clutter reduction models, which are in turn used for the ground penetrating SHARAD instrument [13]. References. [1] R. Arvidson, et al. Mars exploration program 2007 phoenix landing site selection and characteristics. Journal of Geophysical Research-Planets, 113, JUN 19 2008. [2] M. Golombek, et al. Assessment of mars exploration rover landing site predictions. Nature, 436(7047):44-48, JUL 7 2005. [3] K. E. Herkenhoff, et al. Meter-scale morphology of the north polar region of mars. Science, 317(5845):1711-1715, SEP 21 2007. [4] A. B. Ivanov. Ten-Meter Scale Topography and Roughness of Mars Exploration Rovers Landing Sites and Martian Polar Regions. volume 34 of Lunar and Planetary Inst. Technical Report, pages 2084-+, Mar

  10. Viking Lander image analysis of Martian atmospheric dust (United States)

    Pollack, James B.; Ockert-Bell, Maureen E.; Shepard, Michael K.


    We have reanalyzed three sets of Viking Lander 1 and 2 (VL1 and VL2) images of the Martian atmosphere to better evaluate the radiative properties of the atmospheric dust particles. The properties of interest are the first two moments of the size distribution, the single-scattering albedo, the dust single-scattering phase function, and the imaginary index of refraction. These properties provide a good definition of the influence that the atmospheric dust has on heating of the atmosphere. Our analysis represents a significant improvement over past analyses (Pollack et al. 1977,1979) by deriving more accurate brightnesses closer to the sun, by carrying out more precise analyses of the data to acquire the quantities of interest, and by using a better representation of scattering by nonspherical particles. The improvements allow us to better define the diffraction peak and hence the size distribution of the particles. For a lognormal particle size distribution, the first two moments of the size distribution, weighted by the geometric cross section, are found. The geometric cross-section weighted mean radius (r(sub eff)) is found to be 1.85 +/- 0.3 microns at VL2 during northern summer when dust loading was low and 1.52 +/- 0.3 microns at VL1 during the first dust storm. In both cases the best cross-section weighted mean variance (nu(eff)) of the size distribution is equal to 0.5 +/- 0.2 microns. The changes in size distribution, and thus radiative properties, do not represent a substantial change in solar energy deposition in the atmosphere over the Pollack et al. (1977,1979) estimates.

  11. Methane storage capacity of the early martian cryosphere (United States)

    Lasue, Jeremie; Quesnel, Yoann; Langlais, Benoit; Chassefière, Eric


    Methane is a key molecule to understand the habitability of Mars due to its possible biological origin and short atmospheric lifetime. Recent methane detections on Mars present a large variability that is probably due to relatively localized sources and sink processes yet unknown. In this study, we determine how much methane could have been abiotically produced by early Mars serpentinization processes that could also explain the observed martian remanent magnetic field. Under the assumption of a cold early Mars environment, a cryosphere could trap such methane as clathrates in stable form at depth. The extent and spatial distribution of these methane reservoirs have been calculated with respect to the magnetization distribution and other factors. We calculate that the maximum storage capacity of such a clathrate cryosphere is about 2.1 × 1019-2.2 × 1020 moles of CH4, which can explain sporadic releases of methane that have been observed on the surface of the planet during the past decade (∼1.2 × 109 moles). This amount of trapped methane is sufficient for similar sized releases to have happened yearly during the history of the planet. While the stability of such reservoirs depends on many factors that are poorly constrained, it is possible that they have remained trapped at depth until the present day. Due to the possible implications of methane detection for life and its influence on the atmospheric and climate processes on the planet, confirming the sporadic release of methane on Mars and the global distribution of its sources is one of the major goals of the current and next space missions to Mars.

  12. Pyroxene microstructure in the Northwest Africa 856 martian meteorite (United States)

    Leroux, Hugues; Devouard, Bertrand; Cordier, Patrick; Guyot, François


    Transmission electron microscopy was used to examine pyroxene microstructure in the Northwest Africa (NWA) 856 martian meteorite to construct its cooling and shock histories. All pyroxenes contain strained coherent pigeonite/augite exsolution lamellae on (001). The average width and periodicity of lamellae are 80 and 400 nm, respectively, indicating a cooling rate below 0.1 °C/hr for the parent rock. Pigeonite and augite are topotactic, with strained coherent interfaces parallel to (001). The closure temperature for Ca-Fe, Mg interdiffusion, estimated from the composition at the augite pigeonite interface, is about 700 °C. Tweed texture in augite reveals that a spinodal decomposition occurred. Locally, tweed evolved toward secondary pigeonite exsolutions on (001). Due to the decreasing diffusion rate with decreasing temperature, "M-shaped" concentration profiles developed in augite lamellae. Pigeonite contains antiphase boundaries resulting from the C2/c to P21/c space group transition that occurred during cooling. The reconstructive phase transition from P21/c clinopyroxene to orthopyroxene did not occur. The deformation (shock) history of the meteorites is revealed by the presence of dislocations and mechanical twins. Dislocations are found in glide configuration, with the [001](100) glide system preferentially activated. They exhibit strong interaction with the strained augite/pigeonite interfaces and did not propagate over large distances. Twins are found to be almost all parallel to (100) and show moderate interaction with the augite/pigeonite interfaces. These twins are responsible for the plastic deformation of the pyroxene grains. Comparison with microstructure of shocked clinopyroxene (experimentally or naturally shocked) suggests that NWA 856 pyroxenes are not strongly shocked.

  13. Martian Dust Devil Electron Avalanche Process and Associated Electrochemistry (United States)

    Jackson, Telana L.; Farrell, William M.; Delory, Gregory T.; Nithianandam, Jeyasingh


    Mars' dynamic atmosphere displays localized dust devils and larger, global dust storms. Based on terrestrial analog studies, electrostatic modeling, and laboratory work these features will contain large electrostatic fields formed via triboelectric processes. In the low-pressure Martian atmosphere, these fields may create an electron avalanche and collisional plasma due to an increase in electron density driven by the internal electrical forces. To test the hypothesis that an electron avalanche is sustained under these conditions, a self-consistent atmospheric process model is created including electron impact ionization sources and electron losses via dust absorption, electron dissociation attachment, and electron/ion recombination. This new model is called the Dust Devil Electron Avalanche Model (DDEAM). This model solves simultaneously nine continuity equations describing the evolution of the primary gaseous chemical species involved in the electrochemistry. DDEAM monitors the evolution of the electrons and primary gas constituents, including electron/water interactions. We especially focus on electron dynamics and follow the electrons as they evolve in the E field driven collisional gas. When sources and losses are self-consistently included in the electron continuity equation, the electron density grows exponentially with increasing electric field, reaching an equilibrium that forms a sustained time-stable collisional plasma. However, the character of this plasma differs depending upon the assumed growth rate saturation process (chemical saturation versus space charge). DDEAM also shows the possibility of the loss of atmospheric methane as a function of electric field due to electron dissociative attachment of the hydrocarbon. The methane destruction rates are presented and can be included in other larger atmospheric models.

  14. Confirmation of Soluble Sulfate at the Phoenix Landing Site: Implications for Martian Geochemistry and Habitability (United States)

    Kounaves, S. P.; Hecht, M. H.; Kapit, J.; Quinn, R. C.; Catling, D. C.; Clark, B. C.; Ming, D. W.; Gospodinova, K.; Hredzak, P.; McElhoney, K.; hide


    Over the past several decades, elemental sulfur in martian soils and rocks has been detected by a number of missions using X-ray spectroscopy [1-3]. Optical spectroscopy has also provided evidence for widespread sulfates on Mars [4,5]. The ubiquitous presence of sulfur in soils has been interpreted as a widely distributed sulfate mineralogy [6]. However, direct confirmation as to the identity and solubility of the sulfur species in martian soil has never been obtained. One goal of the Wet Chemistry Laboratory (WCL) [7] on board the 2007 Phoenix Mars Lander [8] was to determine soluble sulfate in the martian soil. The WCL received three primary samples. Each sample was added to 25 mL of leaching solution and analysed for solvated ionic species, pH, and conductivity [9,10]. The analysis also showed a discrepancy between charge balance, ionic strength, and conductivity, suggesting unidentified anionic species.

  15. Correlations Between Surficial Sulfur and a REE Crustal Assimilation Signature in Martian Shergottites (United States)

    Jones, J. H.; Franz, H. B.


    Compared to terrestrial basalts, the Martian shergottite meteorites have an extraordinary range of Sr and Nd isotopic signatures. In addition, the S isotopic compositions of many shergottites show evidence of interaction with the Martian surface/ atmosphere through mass-independent isotopic fractionations (MIF, positive, non-zero delta(exp 33)S) that must have originated in the Martian atmosphere, yet ultimately were incorporated into igneous sulfides (AVS - acid-volatile sulfur). These positive delta(exp 33)S signatures are thought to be governed by solar UV photochemical processes. And to the extent that S is bound to Mars and not lost to space from the upper atmosphere, a positive delta(exp 33)S reservoir must be mass balanced by a complementary negative reservoir.

  16. Saltation under Martian gravity and its influence on the global dust distribution (United States)

    Musiolik, Grzegorz; Kruss, Maximilian; Demirci, Tunahan; Schrinski, Björn; Teiser, Jens; Daerden, Frank; Smith, Michael D.; Neary, Lori; Wurm, Gerhard


    Dust and sand motion are a common sight on Mars. Understanding the interaction of atmosphere and Martian soil is fundamental to describe the planet's weather, climate and surface morphology. We set up a wind tunnel to study the lift of a mixture between very fine sand and dust in a Mars simulant soil. The experiments were carried out under Martian gravity in a parabolic flight. The reduced gravity was provided by a centrifuge under external microgravity. The onset of saltation was measured for a fluid threshold shear velocity of 0.82 ± 0.04 m/s. This is considerably lower than found under Earth gravity. In addition to a reduction in weight, this low threshold can be attributed to gravity dependent cohesive forces within the sand bed, which drop by 2/3 under Martian gravity. The new threshold for saltation leads to a simulation of the annual dust cycle with a Mars GCM that is in agreement with observations.

  17. Methylated silicates may explain the release of chlorinated methane from Martian soil (United States)

    Bak, Ebbe N.; Jensen, Svend J. Knak; Nørnberg, Per; Finster, Kai


    The only organic compounds that have been detected in the Martian soil are simple chlorinated compounds released from heated surface material. However, the sources of the organic carbon are in dispute. Wind abraded silicates, which are widespread on the Martian surface, can sequester atmospheric methane which generates methylated silicates and thus could provide a mechanism for accumulation of reduced carbon in the surface soil. In this study we show that thermal volatilization of methylated silicates in the presence of perchlorate leads to the production of chlorinated methane. Thus, methylated silicates could be a source of the organic carbon released as chlorinated methane upon thermal volatilization of Martian soil samples. Further, our experiments show that the ratio of the different chlorinated compounds produced is dependent on the mass ratio of perchlorate to organic carbon in the soil.

  18. Organic and inorganic interpretations of the martian UV-IR reflectance spectrum

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Pang, K D; Ajello, J M [Jet Propulsion Lab., Pasadena, CA (USA); Chun, S F.S. [California Univ., San Francisco (USA). School of Medicine; Nansheng, Z [Beijing Planetarium (China); Minji, L [Beijing Glass Institute (China)


    The Viking gas chromatography-mass spectrometer analysis of martian soil samples are discussed, in particular why no organic molecules were detected at the landing sites, whether the sterility of the two sites is representative of the entire planet and if there are locations on Mars more conducive to the formation and preservation of organics. The destruction of organic compounds has been simulated in Mars-like laboratory conditions and the possible planetwide destructive mechanism considered. The UV and IR reflectance spectra of Mars has been re-examined for any evidence of organic molecules and an upper limit on the organic carbon content of average martian soil has been set. The results reveal that the average martian soil is organic-poor, makes an unfavourable habitat for life forms based on carbon chemistry, and there is no reason to believe that organic molecules are preferentially preserved anywhere on the planet.

  19. Organic and inorganic interpretations of the martian UV-IR reflectance spectrum

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Pang, K.D.; Ajello, J.M.; Chun, S.F.S.; Minji, L.


    The Viking gas chromatography-mass spectrometer analysis of martian soil samples are discussed, in particular why no organic molecules were detected at the landing sites, whether the sterility of the two sites is representative of the entire planet and if there are locations on Mars more conducive to the formation and preservation of organics. The destruction of organic compounds has been simulated in Mars-like laboratory conditions and the possible planetwide destructive mechanism considered. The UV and IR reflectance spectra of Mars has been re-examined for any evidence of organic molecules and an upper limit on the organic carbon content of average martian soil has been set. The results reveal that the average martian soil is organic-poor, makes an unfavourable habitat for life forms based on carbon chemistry, and there is no reason to believe that organic molecules are preferentially preserved anywhere on the planet. (U.K.)

  20. Iron oxide and hydroxide precipitation from ferrous solutions and its relevance to Martian surface mineralogy (United States)

    Posey-Dowty, J.; Moskowitz, B.; Crerar, D.; Hargraves, R.; Tanenbaum, L.


    Experiments were performed to examine if the ubiquitousness of a weak magnetic component in all Martian surface fines tested with the Viking Landers can be attributed to ferric iron precipitation in aqueous solution under oxidizing conditions at neutral pH. Ferrous solutions were mixed in deionized water and various minerals were added to separate liquid samples. The iron-bearing additives included hematite, goethite, magnetite, maghemite, lepidocrocite and potassium bromide blank at varying concentrations. IR spectroscopic scans were made to identify any precipitates resulting from bubbling oxygen throughout the solutions; the magnetic properties of the precipitates were also examined. The data indicated that the lepidocrocite may have been preferentially precipitated, then aged to maghemite. The process would account for the presumed thin residue of maghemite on the present Martian surface, long after abundant liquid water on the Martian surface vanished.

  1. Iron oxide and hydroxide precipitation from ferrous solutions and its relevance to Martian surface mineralogy

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Posey-Dowty, J.; Moskowitz, B.; Crerar, D.; Hargraves, R.; Tanenbaum, L.


    Experiments were performed to examine if the ubiquitousness of a weak magnetic component in all Martian surface fines tested with the Viking Landers can be attributed to ferric iron precipitation in aqueous solution under oxidizing conditions at neutral pH. Ferrous solutions were mixed in deionized water and various minerals were added to separate liquid samples. The iron-bearing additives included hematite, goethite, magnetite, maghemite, lepidocrocite and potassium bromide blank at varying concentrations. IR spectroscopic scans were made to identify any precipitates resulting from bubbling oxygen throughout the solutions; the magnetic properties of the precipitates were also examined. The data indicated that the lepidocrocite may have been preferentially precipitated, then aged to maghemite. The process would account for the presumed thin residue of maghemite on the present Martian surface, long after abundant liquid water on the Martian surface vanished. 40 references

  2. Experimental Demonstration of the Formation of Liquid Brines under Martian Polar Conditions in the Michigan Mars Environmental Chamber (United States)

    Fischer, Erik; Martinez, German; Elliott, Harvey; Borlina, Caue; Renno, Nilton


    Liquid water is one of the necessary ingredients for the development of life as we know it. The behavior of various liquid states of H2O such as liquid brine, undercooled liquid interfacial water, subsurface melt water and ground water [1] needs to be understood in order to address the potential habitability of Mars for microbes and future human exploration. It has been shown thermodynamically that liquid brines can exist under Martian polar conditions [2, 3]. We have developed the Michigan Mars Environmental Chamber (MMEC) to simulate the entire range of Martian surface and shallow subsurface conditions with respect to temperature, pressure, relative humidity, solar radiation and soil wetness at equatorial and polar latitudes. Our experiments in the MMEC show that deliquescence of NaClO4, Mg(ClO4)2 and Ca(ClO4)2 occurs diurnally under the environmental conditions of the Phoenix landing site when these salts get in contact with water ice. Since Phoenix detected these salts and water ice at the landing site, including frost formation, it is extremely likely that deliquescence occurs at the Phoenix landing site. By layering NaClO4, Mg(ClO4)2 or Ca(ClO4)2 on top of a pure water ice slab at 800 Pa and 190 K and raising the temperature stepwise across the eutectic temperature of the perchlorate salts, we observe distinct changes in the Raman spectra of the samples when deliquescence occurs. When crossing the eutectic temperatures of NaClO4 (236 K), Mg(ClO4)2 (205 K) and Ca(ClO4)2 (199 K) [4, 5], the perchlorate band of the Raman spectrum shows a clear shift from 953 cm-1 to 936 cm-1. Furthermore, the appearance of a broad O-H vibrational stretching spectrum between 3244 cm-1 and 3580 cm-1 is another indicator of deliquescence. This process of deliquescence occurs on the order of seconds when the perchlorate salt is in contact with water ice. On the contrary, when the perchlorate salt is only subjected to water vapor in the Martian atmosphere, deliquescence was not

  3. The DREAMS experiment flown on the ExoMars 2016 mission for the study of Martian environment during the dust storm season (United States)

    Bettanini, C.; Esposito, R.; Debei, S.; Molfese, C.; Colombatti, G.; Aboudan, A.; Brucato, J. R.; Cortecchia, F.; Di Achille, G.; Guizzo, G. P.; Friso, E.; Ferri, F.; Marty, L.; Mennella, V.; Molinaro, R.; Schipani, P.; Silvestro, S.; Mugnuolo, R.; Pirrotta, S.; Marchetti, E.; Harri, A.-M.; Montmessin, F.; Wilson, C.; Arruego Rodriguez, I.; Abbaki, S.; Apestigue, V.; Bellucci, G.; Berthelier, J. J.; Calcutt, S. B.; Forget, F.; Genzer, M.; Gilbert, P.; Haukka, H.; Jimenez, J. J.; Jimenez, S.; Josset, J. L.; Karatekin, O.; Landis, G.; Lorenz, R.; Martinez, J.; Möhlmann, D.; Moirin, D.; Palomba, E.; Pateli, M.; Pommereau, J.-P.; Popa, C. I.; Rafkin, S.; Rannou, P.; Renno, N. O.; Schmidt, W.; Simoes, F.; Spiga, A.; Valero, F.; Vazquez, L.; Vivat, F.; Witasse, O.


    The DREAMS (Dust characterization, Risk assessment and Environment Analyser on the Martian Surface) experiment on Schiaparelli lander of ExoMars 2016 mission was an autonomous meteorological station designed to completely characterize the Martian atmosphere on surface, acquiring data not only on temperature, pressure, humidity, wind speed and direction, but also on solar irradiance, dust opacity and atmospheric electrification, to measure for the first time key parameters linked to hazard conditions for future manned explorations. Although with very limited mass and energy resources, DREAMS would be able to operate autonomously for at least two Martian days (sols) after landing in a very harsh environment as it was supposed to land on Mars during the dust storm season (October 2016 in Meridiani Planum) relying on its own power supply. ExoMars mission was successfully launched on 14th March 2016 and Schiaparelli entered the Mars atmosphere on October 20th beginning its 'six minutes of terror' journey to the surface. Unfortunately, some unexpected behavior during the parachuted descent caused an unrecoverable critical condition in navigation system of the lander driving to a destructive crash on the surface. The adverse sequence of events at 4 km altitude triggered the transition of the lander in surface operative mode, commanding switch on the DREAMS instrument, which was therefore able to correctly power on and send back housekeeping data. This proved the nominal performance of all DREAMS hardware before touchdown demonstrating the highest TRL of the unit for future missions. This paper describes this experiment in terms of scientific goals, design, performances, testing and operational capabilities with an overview of in flight performances and available mission data.

  4. Strategies for Distinguishing Abiotic Chemistry from Martian Biochemistry in Samples Returned from Mars (United States)

    Glavin, D. P.; Burton, A. S.; Callahan, M. P.; Elsila, J. E.; Stern, J. C.; Dworkin, J. P.


    A key goal in the search for evidence of extinct or extant life on Mars will be the identification of chemical biosignatures including complex organic molecules common to all life on Earth. These include amino acids, the monomer building blocks of proteins and enzymes, and nucleobases, which serve as the structural basis of information storage in DNA and RNA. However, many of these organic compounds can also be formed abiotically as demonstrated by their prevalence in carbonaceous meteorites [1]. Therefore, an important challenge in the search for evidence of life on Mars will be distinguishing between abiotic chemistry of either meteoritic or martian origin from any chemical biosignatures from an extinct or extant martian biota. Although current robotic missions to Mars, including the 2011 Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) and the planned 2018 ExoMars rovers, will have the analytical capability needed to identify these key classes of organic molecules if present [2,3], return of a diverse suite of martian samples to Earth would allow for much more intensive laboratory studies using a broad array of extraction protocols and state-of-theart analytical techniques for bulk and spatially resolved characterization, molecular detection, and isotopic and enantiomeric compositions that may be required for unambiguous confirmation of martian life. Here we will describe current state-of-the-art laboratory analytical techniques that have been used to characterize the abundance and distribution of amino acids and nucleobases in meteorites, Apollo samples, and comet- exposed materials returned by the Stardust mission with an emphasis on their molecular characteristics that can be used to distinguish abiotic chemistry from biochemistry as we know it. The study of organic compounds in carbonaceous meteorites is highly relevant to Mars sample return analysis, since exogenous organic matter should have accumulated in the martian regolith over the last several billion years and the

  5. Mars Gardens in the University - Red Thumbs: Growing Vegetables in Martian regolith simulant. (United States)

    Guinan, Edward Francis


    Over the next few decades NASA and private enterprise missions plan to send manned missions to Mars with the ultimate aim to establish a permanent human presence on this planet. For a self-sustaining colony on Mars it will be necessary to provide food by growing plants in sheltered greenhouses on the Martian surface. As part of an undergraduate student project in Astrobiology at Villanova University, experiments are being carried out, testing how various plants grow in Martian regolith. A wide sample of plants are being grown and tested in Mars regolith simulant commercially available from The Martian Garden (TheMartian This Mars regolith simulant is based on Mojave Mars Simulant (MMS) developed by NASA and JPL for the Mars Phoenix mission. The MMS is based on the Mojave Saddleback basalt similar that used by JPL/NASA. Additional reagents were added to this iron rich basalt to bring the chemical content close to actual Mars regolith. The MMS used is an approximately 90% similar to regolith found on the surface of Mars - excluding poisonous perchlorates commonly found on actual Mars surface.The students have selected various vegetables and herbs to grow and test. These include carrots, spinach, dandelions, kale, soy beans, peas, onions, garlic and of course potatoes and sweet potatoes. Plants were tested in various growing conditions, using different fertilizers, and varying light conditions and compared with identical “control plants” grown in Earth soil / humus. The results of the project will be discussed from an education view point as well as from usefulness for fundamental research.We thank The Martian Garden for providing Martian regolith simulant at education discounted prices.

  6. Plasma and wave properties downstream of Martian bow shock: Hybrid simulations and MAVEN observations (United States)

    Dong, Chuanfei; Winske, Dan; Cowee, Misa; Bougher, Stephen W.; Andersson, Laila; Connerney, Jack; Epley, Jared; Ergun, Robert; McFadden, James P.; Ma, Yingjuan; Toth, Gabor; Curry, Shannon; Nagy, Andrew; Jakosky, Bruce


    Two-dimensional hybrid simulation codes are employed to investigate the kinetic properties of plasmas and waves downstream of the Martian bow shock. The simulations are two-dimensional in space but three dimensional in field and velocity components. Simulations show that ion cyclotron waves are generated by temperature anisotropy resulting from the reflected protons around the Martian bow shock. These proton cyclotron waves could propagate downward into the Martian ionosphere and are expected to heat the O+ layer peaked from 250 to 300 km due to the wave-particle interaction. The proton cyclotron wave heating is anticipated to be a significant source of energy into the thermosphere, which impacts atmospheric escape rates. The simulation results show that the specific dayside heating altitude depends on the Martian crustal field orientations, solar cycles and seasonal variations since both the cyclotron resonance condition and the non/sub-resonant stochastic heating threshold depend on the ambient magnetic field strength. The dayside magnetic field profiles for different crustal field orientation, solar cycle and seasonal variations are adopted from the BATS-R-US Mars multi-fluid MHD model. The simulation results, however, show that the heating of O+ via proton cyclotron wave resonant interaction is not likely in the relatively weak crustal field region, based on our simplified model. This indicates that either the drift motion resulted from the transport of ionospheric O+, or the non/sub-resonant stochastic heating mechanism are important to explain the heating of Martian O+ layer. We will investigate this further by comparing the simulation results with the available MAVEN data. These simulated ion cyclotron waves are important to explain the heating of Martian O+ layer and have significant implications for future observations.

  7. Extended survival of several organisms and amino acids under simulated martian surface conditions (United States)

    Johnson, A. P.; Pratt, L. M.; Vishnivetskaya, T.; Pfiffner, S.; Bryan, R. A.; Dadachova, E.; Whyte, L.; Radtke, K.; Chan, E.; Tronick, S.; Borgonie, G.; Mancinelli, R. L.; Rothschild, L. J.; Rogoff, D. A.; Horikawa, D. D.; Onstott, T. C.


    Recent orbital and landed missions have provided substantial evidence for ancient liquid water on the martian surface as well as evidence of more recent sedimentary deposits formed by water and/or ice. These observations raise serious questions regarding an independent origin and evolution of life on Mars. Future missions seek to identify signs of extinct martian biota in the form of biomarkers or morphological characteristics, but the inherent danger of spacecraft-borne terrestrial life makes the possibility of forward contamination a serious threat not only to the life detection experiments, but also to any extant martian ecosystem. A variety of cold and desiccation-tolerant organisms were exposed to 40 days of simulated martian surface conditions while embedded within several centimeters of regolith simulant in order to ascertain the plausibility of such organisms' survival as a function of environmental parameters and burial depth. Relevant amino acid biomarkers associated with terrestrial life were also analyzed in order to understand the feasibility of detecting chemical evidence for previous biological activity. Results indicate that stresses due to desiccation and oxidation were the primary deterrent to organism survival, and that the effects of UV-associated damage, diurnal temperature variations, and reactive atmospheric species were minimal. Organisms with resistance to desiccation and radiation environments showed increased levels of survival after the experiment compared to organisms characterized as psychrotolerant. Amino acid analysis indicated the presence of an oxidation mechanism that migrated downward through the samples during the course of the experiment and likely represents the formation of various oxidizing species at mineral surfaces as water vapor diffused through the regolith. Current sterilization protocols may specifically select for organisms best adapted to survival at the martian surface, namely species that show tolerance to radical

  8. Solar wind modulation of the Martian ionosphere observed by Mars Global Surveyor

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    J.-S. Wang


    Full Text Available Electron density profiles in the Martian ionosphere observed by the radio occultation experiment on board Mars Global Surveyor have been analyzed to determine if the densities are influenced by the solar wind. Evidence is presented that the altitude of the maximum ionospheric electron density shows a positive correlation to the energetic proton flux in the solar wind. The solar wind modulation of the Martian ionosphere can be attributed to heating of the neutral atmosphere by the solar wind energetic proton precipitation. The modulation is observed to be most prominent at high solar zenith angles. It is argued that this is consistent with the proposed modulation mechanism.

  9. Animated Optical Microscope Zoom in from Phoenix Launch to Martian Surface (United States)


    [figure removed for brevity, see original site] Click on image for animation This animated camera view zooms in from NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander launch site all the way to Phoenix's Microscopy and Electrochemistry and C Eonductivity Analyzer (MECA) aboard the spacecraft on the Martian surface. The final frame shows the soil sample delivered to MECA as viewed through the Optical Microscope (OM) on Sol 17 (June 11, 2008), or the 17th Martian day. The Phoenix Mission is led by the University of Arizona, Tucson, on behalf of NASA. Project management of the mission is by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. Spacecraft development is by Lockheed Martin Space Systems, Denver.

  10. Production of reactive oxygen species from abraded silicates. Implications for the reactivity of the Martian soil (United States)

    Bak, Ebbe N.; Zafirov, Kaloyan; Merrison, Jonathan P.; Jensen, Svend J. Knak; Nørnberg, Per; Gunnlaugsson, Haraldur P.; Finster, Kai


    The results of the Labeled Release and the Gas Exchange experiments conducted on Mars by the Viking Landers show that compounds in the Martian soil can cause oxidation of organics and a release of oxygen in the presence of water. Several sources have been proposed for the oxidizing compounds, but none has been validated in situ and the cause of the observed oxidation has not been resolved. In this study, laboratory simulations of saltation were conducted to examine if and under which conditions wind abrasion of silicates, a process that is common on the Martian surface, can give rise to oxidants in the form of hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) and hydroxyl radicals (ṡOH). We found that silicate samples abraded in simulated Martian atmospheres gave rise to a significant production of H2O2 and ṡOH upon contact with water. Our experiments demonstrated that abraded silicates could lead to a production of H2O2 facilitated by atmospheric O2 and inhibited by carbon dioxide. Furthermore, during simulated saltation the silicate particles became triboelectrically charged and at pressures similar to the Martian surface pressure we observed glow discharges. Electrical discharges can cause dissociation of CO2 and through subsequent reactions lead to a production of H2O2. These results indicate that the reactions linked to electrical discharges are the dominant source of H2O2 during saltation of silicates in a simulated Martian atmosphere, given the low pressure and the relatively high concentration of CO2. Our experiments provide evidence that wind driven abrasion could enhance the reactivity of the Martian soil and thereby could have contributed to the oxidation of organic compounds and the O2 release observed in the Labeled Release and the Gas Exchange experiments. Furthermore, the release of H2O2 and ṡOH from abraded silicates could have a negative effect on the persistence of organic compounds in the Martian soil and the habitability of the Martian surface.

  11. Mud Volcanoes - Analogs to Martian Cones and Domes (by the Thousands!) (United States)

    Allen, Carlton C.; Oehler, Dorothy


    laboratory analyses of surface samples collected from mud volcanoes in Azerbaijan, Taiwan and Japan. X-ray diffraction, visible / near infrared reflectance spectroscopy and Raman spectroscopy show that the samples are dominated by mixed-layer smectite clays, along with quartz, calcite and pyrite. Thin section analysis by optical and scanning electron microscopy confirms the mineral identifications. These samples also contain chemical and morphological biosignatures, including common microfossils, with evidence of partial replacement by pyrite. The bulk samples contain approximately 1 wt% total organic carbon and 0.4 mg / gm volatile hydrocarbons. The thousands of features in Acidalia Planitia cited as analogous to terrestrial mud volcanoes clearly represent an important element in the sedimentary record of Mars. Their location, in the distal depocenter for massive Hesperian-age floods, suggests that they contain fine-grained sediments from a large catchment area in the martian highlands. We have proposed these features as a new class of exploration target that can provide access to minimally-altered material from significant depth. By analogy to terrestrial mud volcanoes, these features may also be excellent sites for the sampling martian organics and subsurface microbial life, if such exist or ever existed.

  12. Population control of Martian Trojans by the Yarkovsky & YORP effects (United States)

    Christou, Apostolos; Borisov, Galin; Jacobson, Seth A.; Colas, Francois; dell'Oro, Aldo; Cellino, Alberto; Bagnulo, Stefano


    Mars is the only terrestrial planet supporting a stable population of Trojan asteroids. One, (5261) Eureka, has a family of smaller asteroids of similar composition (Borisov et al, 2017; Polishook et al, 2017) that likely separated from Eureka within the last 1 Gyr (Ćuk et al, 2015). Two other Trojans, (101429) 1998 VF31 and (121514) 1999 UJ7, of similar size and on similar orbits to Eureka, are not associated with families of asteroids, begging the question of what makes Eureka special.The Yarkovsky-O'Keefe-Radzievskii-Paddack (YORP) effect may have formed the Eureka family (Christou, 2013; Ćuk et al, 2015) by the spinning off of ``YORPlets’’, a mechanism also responsible for close orbital pairs of small Main Belt asteroids (Pravec et al, 2010). Eureka’s fast rotation rate (P=2.69 hr; Koehn et al, 2014), right at the so-called ``spin barrier’’ (Warner et al, 2009), apparently supports this.We obtained photometry of 101429 and 121514 to find out their rotation periods. We find an unusually long, ˜50 hr period for 121514; the asteroid may be in a ``tumbling’’ rotational state that inhibits YOPRlet production. On the other hand, the faster (P=7.7 hr) rotation we obtain for 101429 does not preclude it from having been spun up to the rotational fission limit during the most recent 10s of Myr.Instead, 101429’s location near a secular resonance (Scholl et al, 2005) may lead to rapid loss of any YORPlet asteroids. Indeed, test particles started at 101429’s orbit and evolving under the Yarkovsky effect escape within a few hundred Myr, several times faster than particles started near Eureka. We conclude that the stability enjoyed by asteroids in Eureka’s orbital vicinity, combined with the ability to readily populate that vicinity with new asteroids, are likely responsible for Eureka’s status as the only Martian Trojan with a family.

  13. Temperature Inversions and Nighttime Convection in the Martian Tropics (United States)

    Hinson, D. P.; Spiga, A.; Lewis, S.; Tellmann, S.; Paetzold, M.; Asmar, S. W.; Häusler, B.


    We are using radio occultation measurements from Mars Express, Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, and Mars Global Surveyor to characterize the diurnal cycle in the lowest scale height above the surface. We focus on northern spring and summer, using observations from 4 Martian years at local times of 4-5 and 15-17 h. We supplement the observations with results obtained from large-eddy simulations and through data assimilation by the UK spectral version of the LMD Mars Global Circulation Model. We previously investigated the depth of the daytime convective boundary layer (CBL) and its variations with surface elevation and surface properties. We are now examining unusual aspects of the temperature structure observed at night. Most important, predawn profiles in the Tharsis region contain an unexpected layer of neutral static stability at pressures of 200-300 Pa with a depth of 4-5 km. The mixed layer is bounded above by a midlevel temperature inversion and below by another strong inversion adjacent to the surface. The sharp temperature minimum at the base of the midlevel inversion suggests the presence of a thin water ice cloud layer, with the further implication that radiative cooling at cloud level can induce convective activity at lower altitudes. Conversely, nighttime profiles in Amazonis show no sign of a midlevel inversion or a detached mixed layer. These regional variations in the nighttime temperature structure appear to arise in part from large-scale variations in topography, which have several notable effects. First, the CBL is much deeper in the Tharsis region than in Amazonis, owing to a roughly 6-km difference in surface elevation. Second, large-eddy simulations show that daytime convection is not only deeper above Tharsis but also considerably more intense than it is in Amazonis. Finally, the daytime surface temperatures are comparable in the two regions, so that Tharsis acts as an elevated heat source throughout the CBL. These topographic effects are expected

  14. Global Scale Analysis of Martian Landslide Mobility and Paleoenvironmental Clues (United States)

    Crosta, Giovanni Battista; De Blasio, Fabio Vittorio; Frattini, Paolo


    The mobility of landslides on Mars is studied based on a database of 3,118 events. To establish the volume of the landslides for the whole data set based on the deposit area, a new volume-area relationship based on a representative data set of 222 landslides is used. By plotting the H/L ratio between fall height H and runout L versus volume, the landslide mobility is analyzed and compared with existing empirical relationships for Martian and terrestrial landslides. By analyzing the mobility in terms of normalized residuals, that is, the relative deviation of the H/L ratio from the data set best-fit line, mobility is found to depend on both the landslide location on Mars and the landslide typology. This allows us to identify four different types of high-mobility (hypermobile) landslides. Three classes of high-mobility landslides are associated respectively to meteoroid impact, the Olympus Mons aureoles, and landslides with Toreva-block failure style, and their mobility can be explained by the peculiar flow mechanics. The fourth class includes landslides associated with isolated craters, those in the regions wetted by the putative Oceanus Borealis, and the ones at high latitudes. We suggest that the common factor behind all the hypermobile landslides of this fourth kind is the presence of ice. This is confirmed by our data showing that landslides increase in mobility with latitude. The latitudinal trend mirrors the distribution of ice as detected by radar, neutron probes, and the presence of glacial and layered ejecta morphologies. Because the overall landslide distribution supports the presence of ice-lubricated conditions, two ice lubrication models are presented showing how ice melting within or underneath the landslides could enhance mobility. By proper analysis in terms of apparent friction residuals, we find that the mobility of landslides in Valles Marineris with the largest landslide concentration is lower than average. We explain this circumstance partly

  15. Muon radiography for exploration of Mars geology

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    S. Kedar


    Full Text Available Muon radiography is a technique that uses naturally occurring showers of muons (penetrating particles generated by cosmic rays to image the interior of large-scale geological structures in much the same way as standard X-ray radiography is used to image the interior of smaller objects. Recent developments and application of the technique to terrestrial volcanoes have demonstrated that a low-power, passive muon detector can peer deep into geological structures up to several kilometers in size, and provide crisp density profile images of their interior at ten meter scale resolution. Preliminary estimates of muon production on Mars indicate that the near horizontal Martian muon flux, which could be used for muon radiography, is as strong or stronger than that on Earth, making the technique suitable for exploration of numerous high priority geological targets on Mars. The high spatial resolution of muon radiography also makes the technique particularly suited for the discovery and delineation of Martian caverns, the most likely planetary environment for biological activity. As a passive imaging technique, muon radiography uses the perpetually present background cosmic ray radiation as the energy source for probing the interior of structures from the surface of the planet. The passive nature of the measurements provides an opportunity for a low power and low data rate instrument for planetary exploration that could operate as a scientifically valuable primary or secondary instrument in a variety of settings, with minimal impact on the mission's other instruments and operation.

  16. Viking landing sites, remote-sensing observations, and physical properties of Martian surface materials (United States)

    Moore, H.J.; Jakosky, B.M.


    Important problems that confront future scientific exploration of Mars include the physical properties of Martian surface materials and the geologic processes that formed the materials. The design of landing spacecraft, roving vehicles, and sampling devices and the selection of landing sites, vehicle traverses, and sample sites will be, in part, guided by the physical properties of the materials. Four materials occur in the sample fields of the Viking landers: (1) drift, (2) crusty to cloddy, (3) blocky, and (4) rock. The first three are soillike. Drift materials is weak, loose, and porous. We estimate that it has a dielectric constant near 2.4 and a thermal inertia near 1 ?? 10-3 to 3 ?? 10-3 (cal cm-2 sec 1 2 K-1) because of its low bulk density, fine grain size, and small cohesion. Crusty to cloddy material is expected to have a dielectric constant near 2.8 and a thermal inertia near 4 ?? 10-3 to 7 ?? 10-3 because of its moderate bulk density and cementation of grains. Blocky material should have a dielectric constant near 3.3 and a thermal inertia near 7 ?? 10-3 to 9 ?? 10-3 because of its moderate bulk density and cementation. Common basaltic rocks have dielectric constans near 8 and thermal inertias near 30 ?? 10-3 to 60 ?? 10-3. Comparisons of estimated dielectric constants and thermal inertias of the materials at the landing sites with those obtained remotely by Earth-based radars and Viking Orbiter thermal sensors suggest that the materials at the landing sites are good analogs for materials elsewhere on Mars. Correlation of remotely estimated dielectric constant and thermal inertias indicates two modal values for paired values of dielectric constants and thermal inertias near (A) 2 and 2 ?? 10-3 and (B) 3 and 6 ?? 10-3, respectively. These two modes are comparable to the dielectric constants and thermal inertias for drift and crusty to cloddy material, respectively. Dielectric constants and thermal inertias for blocky material are larger but conistent

  17. Desert Cyanobacteria under simulated space and Martian conditions (United States)

    Billi, D.; Ghelardini, P.; Onofri, S.; Cockell, C. S.; Rabbow, E.; Horneck, G.


    The environment in space and on planets such as Mars, can be lethal to living organisms and high levels of tolerance to desiccation, cold and radiation are needed for survival: rock-inhabiting cyanobacteria belonging to the genus Chroococcidiopsis can fulfil these requirements [1]. These cyanobacteria constantly appear in the most extreme and dry habitats on Earth, including the McMurdo Dry Valleys (Antarctica) and the Atacama Desert (Chile), which are considered the closest terrestrial analogs of two Mars environmental extremes: cold and aridity. In their natural environment, these cyanobacteria occupy the last refuges for life inside porous rocks or at the stone-soil interfaces, where they survive in a dry, dormant state for prolonged periods. How desert strains of Chroococcidiopsis can dry without dying is only partially understood, even though experimental evidences support the existence of an interplay between mechanisms to avoid (or limit) DNA damage and repair it: i) desert strains of Chroococcidiopsis mend genome fragmentation induced by ionizing radiation [2]; ii) desiccation-survivors protect their genome from complete fragmentation; iii) in the dry state they show a survival to an unattenuated Martian UV flux greater than that of Bacillus subtilis spores [3], and even though they die following atmospheric entry after having orbited the Earth for 16 days [4], they survive to simulated shock pressures up to 10 GPa [5]. Recently additional experiments were carried out at the German Aerospace Center (DLR) of Cologne (Germany) in order to identify suitable biomarkers to investigate the survival of Chroococcidiopsis cells present in lichen-dominated communities, in view of their direct and long term space exposition on the International Space Station (ISS) in the framework of the LIchens and Fungi Experiments (LIFE, EXPOSEEuTEF, ESA). Multilayers of dried cells of strains CCMEE 134 (Beacon Valley, Antarctica), and CCMEE 123 (costal desert, Chile ), shielded by

  18. The Political Morphology of Drainage—How Gully Formation Links to State Formation in the Choke Mountains of Ethiopia

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Smit, H.; Muche, Rahel; Ahlers, Rhodante; van der Zaag, P.


    To understand why soil erosion is persistent despite three decades of massive investments in soil conservation, this paper explores how drainage and soil conservation change a hill slope in the Choke Mountains. By paying close attention to the practices that reshape the hill, we account for the

  19. Exploration Review (United States)

    Wilburn, D.R.; Stanley, K.A.


    This summary of international mineral exploration activities for 2012 draws upon information from industry sources, published literature and U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) specialists. The summary provides data on exploration budgets by region and mineral commodity, identifies significant mineral discoveries and areas of mineral exploration, discusses government programs affecting the mineral exploration industry and presents analyses of exploration activities performed by the mineral industry. Three sources of information are reported and analyzed in this annual review of international exploration for 2012: 1) budgetary statistics expressed in U.S. nominal dollars provided by SNL Metals Economics Group (MEG) of Halifax, Nova Scotia; 2) regional and site-specific exploration activities that took place in 2012 as compiled by the USGS and 3) regional events including economic, social and political conditions that affected exploration activities, which were derived from published sources and unpublished discussions with USGS and industry specialists.

  20. Exploration technology

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Roennevik, H.C. [Saga Petroleum A/S, Forus (Norway)


    The paper evaluates exploration technology. Topics discussed are: Visions; the subsurface challenge; the creative tension; the exploration process; seismic; geology; organic geochemistry; seismic resolution; integration; drilling; value creation. 4 refs., 22 figs.

  1. Improved Lunar and Martian Regolith Simulant Production, Phase I (United States)

    National Aeronautics and Space Administration — NASA's new exploration initiative created immediate need for materials science and technology research to enable safe human travel and work on future lunar or...

  2. Repository exploration

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Pentz, D.L.


    This paper discusses exploration objectives and requirements for a nuclear repository in the U.S.A. The importance of designing the exploration program to meet the system performance objectives is emphasized and some examples of the extent of exploration required before the License Application for Construction Authorization is granted are also discussed

  3. Model of the fine-grain component of martian soil based on Viking lander data

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Nussinov, M.D.; Chernyak, Y.B.; Ettinger, J.L.


    A model of the fine-grain component of the Martian soil is proposed. The model is based on well-known physical phenomena, and enables an explanation of the evolution of the gases released in the GEX (gas exchange experiments) and GCMS (gas chromatography-mass spectrometer experiments) of the Viking landers. (author)

  4. Luminescence dating on Mars: OSL characteristics of Martian analogue materials and GCR dosimetry

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Jain, M.; Andersen, C.E.; Bøtter-Jensen, L.


    , and sedimentary precipitates such as sulphates and chlorides. We present here a preliminary investigation of the luminescence characteristics (sensitivity, dose response, fading) of some Martian analogue mineral and rock samples. These materials are likely to be zeroed by the solar UV light (200-300nm) under sub...

  5. Chemosynthesis in deep-sea red-clay: Linking concepts to probable martian life

    Digital Repository Service at National Institute of Oceanography (India)

    Das, A.; Mourya, B.S.; Mamatha, S.S.; Khadge, N.H.; LokaBharathi, P.A.

    of microbial biogeochemistry are used in the pres- ent deep-sea analogue studies and would be imple- mented for actual Martian soil samples in future: Microbial abundance in terms of total counts » Diversity of culture dependent and independent Chemos... soils done earlier by Viking I robots [5, Bianciardi et. al, 2012

  6. Martian Cryogenic Carbonate Formation: Stable Isotope Variations Observed in Laboratory Studies (United States)

    Socki, Richard A.; Niles, Paul B.; Sun, Tao; Fu, Qi; Romanek, Christopher S.; Gibson, Everett K. Jr.


    The history of water on Mars is tied to the formation of carbonates through atmospheric CO2 and its control of the climate history of the planet. Carbonate mineral formation under modern martian atmospheric conditions could be a critical factor in controlling the martian climate in a means similar to the rock weathering cycle on Earth. The combination of evidence for liquid water on the martian surface and cold surface conditions suggest fluid freezing could be very common on the surface of Mars. Cryogenic calcite forms easily from freezing solutions when carbon dioxide degasses quickly from Ca-bicarbonate-rich water, a process that has been observed in some terrestrial settings such as arctic permafrost cave deposits, lake beds of the Dry Valleys of Antarctica, and in aufeis (river icings) from rivers of N.E. Alaska. A series of laboratory experiments were conducted that simulated cryogenic carbonate formation on Mars in order to understand their isotopic systematics. The results indicate that carbonates grown under martian conditions show variable enrichments from starting bicarbonate fluids in both carbon and oxygen isotopes beyond equilibrium values.

  7. Biological life support systems for martian missions: some problems and prospects (United States)

    Tikhomirov, A. A.; Ushakova, S. A.; Kovaleva, N. P.; Lasseur, C.

    Taking into account the experience of scientific researches obtained during experiments in the BIOS - 3 of the Institute of Biophysics of Siberian Branch of Russian Academy of Science (IBP SB RAS) and the MELISSA program (ESA), approaches in creation biological life support systems for a flight period and a fixed-site base of Martian mission are considered. Various alternate variants of designing of elements of BLSS based on use of Chlorella and/or Spirulina, and also greenhouses with higher plants for the flight period of Martian mission are analyzed. For this purpose construction of BLSS ensuring full closure of matter turnover according to gas exchange and water and partial closure on the human's exometabolites is supposed. For the fixed site Martian station BLSS based on use of higher plants with a various degree of closure of internal mass exchange are suggested. Various versions of BLSS configuration and degree of closure of mass exchange depending on duration of Martian mission, the diet type of a crew and some other conditions are considered. Special attention is given to problems of reliability and tolerance of matter turnover processes in BLSS which maintenance is connected, in particular, with additional oxygen reproduction inside a system. Technologies for realization of BLSS of various configurations are offered and justified. The auxiliary role of the physicochemical methods in BLSS functioning both for the flight period and for the crew stay on Mars is justified.

  8. Describing the Components of the Water Transport in the Martian Atmosphere (United States)

    Montmessin, F.; Haberle, R. M.; forget, F.; Rannou, P.; Cabane, M.


    In this paper, we examine the meteorological components driving water transport in the Martian atmosphere. A particular emphasis is given to the role of residual mean circulation and water ice clouds in determining the geographical partitioning of water vapor and frost.

  9. Formation of martian araneiforms by gas-driven erosion of granular material

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    de Villiers, S.; Nermoen, A.; Jamtveit, B.


    Sublimation at the lower surface of a seasonal sheet of translucent CO2 ice at high southern latitudes during the Martian spring, and rapid outflow of the CO2 gas generated in this manner through holes in the ice, has been proposed as the origin of dendritic 100 m–1 km scale branched channels known...

  10. Intercomparison of Martian Lower Atmosphere Simulated Using Different Planetary Boundary Layer Parameterization Schemes (United States)

    Natarajan, Murali; Fairlie, T. Duncan; Dwyer Cianciolo, Alicia; Smith, Michael D.


    We use the mesoscale modeling capability of Mars Weather Research and Forecasting (MarsWRF) model to study the sensitivity of the simulated Martian lower atmosphere to differences in the parameterization of the planetary boundary layer (PBL). Characterization of the Martian atmosphere and realistic representation of processes such as mixing of tracers like dust depend on how well the model reproduces the evolution of the PBL structure. MarsWRF is based on the NCAR WRF model and it retains some of the PBL schemes available in the earth version. Published studies have examined the performance of different PBL schemes in NCAR WRF with the help of observations. Currently such assessments are not feasible for Martian atmospheric models due to lack of observations. It is of interest though to study the sensitivity of the model to PBL parameterization. Typically, for standard Martian atmospheric simulations, we have used the Medium Range Forecast (MRF) PBL scheme, which considers a correction term to the vertical gradients to incorporate nonlocal effects. For this study, we have also used two other parameterizations, a non-local closure scheme called Yonsei University (YSU) PBL scheme and a turbulent kinetic energy closure scheme called Mellor- Yamada-Janjic (MYJ) PBL scheme. We will present intercomparisons of the near surface temperature profiles, boundary layer heights, and wind obtained from the different simulations. We plan to use available temperature observations from Mini TES instrument onboard the rovers Spirit and Opportunity in evaluating the model results.

  11. The investigation of Martian dune fields using very high resolution photogrammetric measurements and time series analysis (United States)

    Kim, J.; Park, M.; Baik, H. S.; Choi, Y.


    At the present time, arguments continue regarding the migration speeds of Martian dune fields and their correlation with atmospheric circulation. However, precisely measuring the spatial translation of Martian dunes has rarely conducted only a very few times Therefore, we developed a generic procedure to precisely measure the migration of dune fields with recently introduced 25-cm resolution High Resolution Imaging Science Experimen (HIRISE) employing a high-accuracy photogrammetric processor and sub-pixel image correlator. The processor was designed to trace estimated dune migration, albeit slight, over the Martian surface by 1) the introduction of very high resolution ortho images and stereo analysis based on hierarchical geodetic control for better initial point settings; 2) positioning error removal throughout the sensor model refinement with a non-rigorous bundle block adjustment, which makes possible the co-alignment of all images in a time series; and 3) improved sub-pixel co-registration algorithms using optical flow with a refinement stage conducted on a pyramidal grid processor and a blunder classifier. Moreover, volumetric changes of Martian dunes were additionally traced by means of stereo analysis and photoclinometry. The established algorithms have been tested using high-resolution HIRISE images over a large number of Martian dune fields covering whole Mars Global Dune Database. Migrations over well-known crater dune fields appeared to be almost static for the considerable temporal periods and were weakly correlated with wind directions estimated by the Mars Climate Database (Millour et al. 2015). Only over a few Martian dune fields, such as Kaiser crater, meaningful migration speeds (>1m/year) compared to phtotogrammetric error residual have been measured. Currently a technical improved processor to compensate error residual using time series observation is under developing and expected to produce the long term migration speed over Martian dune

  12. Escape of the martian protoatmosphere and initial water inventory. (United States)

    Erkaev, N V; Lammer, H; Elkins-Tanton, L T; Stökl, A; Odert, P; Marcq, E; Dorfi, E A; Kislyakova, K G; Kulikov, Yu N; Leitzinger, M; Güdel, M


    Latest research in planet formation indicates that Mars formed within a few million years (Myr) and remained as a planetary embryo that never grew to a more massive planet. It can also be expected from dynamical models that most of Mars' building blocks consisted of material that formed in orbital locations just beyond the ice line which could have contained [Formula: see text] of H 2 O. By using these constraints, we estimate the nebula-captured and catastrophically outgassed volatile contents during the solidification of Mars' magma ocean and apply a hydrodynamic upper atmosphere model for the study of the soft X-ray and extreme ultraviolet (XUV) driven thermal escape of the martian protoatmosphere during the early active epoch of the young Sun. The amount of gas that has been captured from the protoplanetary disk into the planetary atmosphere is calculated by solving the hydrostatic structure equations in the protoplanetary nebula. Depending on nebular properties such as the dust grain depletion factor, planetesimal accretion rates and luminosities, hydrogen envelopes with masses [Formula: see text] to [Formula: see text] could have been captured from the nebula around early Mars. Depending on the before mentioned parameters, due to the planets low gravity and a solar XUV flux that was [Formula: see text] times stronger compared to the present value, our results indicate that early Mars would have lost its nebular captured hydrogen envelope after the nebula gas evaporated, during a fast period of [Formula: see text]. After the solidification of early Mars' magma ocean, catastrophically outgassed volatiles with the amount of [Formula: see text] H 2 O and [Formula: see text] CO 2 could have been lost during [Formula: see text], if the impact related energy flux of large planetesimals and small embryos to the planet's surface lasted long enough, that the steam atmosphere could have been prevented from condensing. If this was not the case, then our results suggest

  13. Propagation of stationary Rossby waves in the Martian lower atmosphere (United States)

    Ghosh, Priyanka; Thokuluwa, Ramkumar

    The Martian lower atmospheric (-1.5 km to 29.3 km) temperature, measured by radio occultation technique during the Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) mission launched by US in November 1996, at the Northern winter hemispheric latitude of about 63(°) N clearly shows a statistically significant (above 95 percent confidential level white noise) and strong 3.5-day oscillation during 1-10 January 2006. This strong signal occurs in the longitudinal sectors of 0-30(°) E and 190-230(°) E but statistically insignificant in almost all the other longitudes. This 180 degree separation between the two peaks of occurrence of strong 3.5 day oscillation indicates that this may be associated with zonal wave number 2 structure global scale wave. At the lowest height of -1.5 km, the power observed in the longitude of 0-30(°) E is 50 K (2) and it increased gradually to the maximum power of 130 K (2) at the height of 0.8 - 1.7 km. Above this height, the power decreased monotonously and gradually to insignificant level at the height of 3.7 km (20 K (2) ). This gradual decrease of power above the height of 1.7 km indicates that radiative damping (infra red cooling due to large abundance of CO _{2} molecules and dust particles) would have played an important role in the dissipation of waves. The height and longitudinal profiles of phase of the 3.5-day wave indicate that this wave is a vertically standing and eastward propagating planetary wave respectively. Since the statistically significant spectral amplitude occurs near the high topography structures, it seems that the wave is generated by flows over the topography. In the Northern winter, it is possible that the large gradient of temperature between the low and high latitudes would lead to flow of winds from the tropical to polar latitudes. Due to the Coriolis effect, this flow would in turn move towards the right and incite wave generation when the air flows over the high topographic structures. This lead to speculate that the observed 3

  14. LEW 88516: A Meteorite Compositionally Close to the "Martian Mantle" (United States)

    Dreibus, G.; Jochum, K. H.; Palme, H.; Spettel, B.; Wlotzka, F.; Wanke, H.


    Several samples from a total of 250 mg of the recently discovered Antarctic shergottite LEW 88516 were analysed for major and trace elements by neutron activation techniques, SSMS, and a carbon-sulfur analyser. Results are presented in Table 1, together with data on ALHA 77005 (Wanke et al., 1976). This and earlier results (Boynton et al., 1992; Lindstrom et al.,1992) show the close compositional similarity of Lew 88516 to ALHA 77005. A major difference between the two shergottites is the much lower iodine content of the ALHA 77005 meteorite. The absence of similar variations in Br and Cl confirms earlier suggestions of an Antarctic source for the I excess. In a Mg/Si vs. Al/Si diagram (Fig. 1) the LEW 88516 meteorite plots at the intersection of a Shergotty parent (SPB) body fractionation trend and a line connecting enstatite chondrites and CM chondrites. The position of LEW 88516 and also of ALHA 77005 in the vicinity of ordinary chondrites is indicative of their relatively primitive composition. Lithophile trace elements show some enhancement of Sc and V over heavy REE and depletion of light REE, suggesting either a residual character for the two meteorites or assimilation of a cumulate phase during their formation. Comparatively high Ni and Co also reflect the more mafic character of the two meteorites. The present analysis and the earlier data on ALHA 77005 unambiguously demonstrate the presence of Ir in an abundance range typical for the terrestrial upper mantle. A similar Ir level was found in Chassigny, but the more fractionated Shergotty has 100 times lower Ir contents. The presence of Ir in the martian mantle samples may be the result of sulfide-silicate equilibration. The sulfides in Lew 88516 are small pyrrhotite grains (5-30 micron, 52 atom% S) and occur often together with ilmenite, at grain boundaries of the major silicate minerals. Sulfides contain an average of 1.8% Ni. However, the major fraction of Ni must reside in oxides and/or silicates as the

  15. Enrichment of Inorganic Martian Dust Simulant with Carbon Component can Provoke Neurotoxicity (United States)

    Pozdnyakova, Natalia; Pastukhov, Artem; Dudarenko, Marina; Borysov, Arsenii; Krisanova, Natalia; Nazarova, Anastasia; Borisova, Tatiana


    Carbon is the most abundant dust-forming element in the interstellar medium. Tremendous amount of meteorites containing plentiful carbon and carbon-enriched dust particles have reached the Earth daily. National Institute of Health panel accumulates evidences that nano-sized air pollution components may have a significant impact on the central nervous system (CNS) in health and disease. During inhalation, nano-/microsized particles are efficiently deposited in nasal, tracheobronchial, and alveolar regions and can be transported to the CNS. Based on above facts, here we present the study, the aims of which were: 1) to upgrade inorganic Martian dust simulant derived from volcanic ash (JSC-1a/JSC, ORBITEC Orbital Technologies Corporation, Madison, Wisconsin) by the addition of carbon components, that is, nanodiamonds and carbon dots; 2) to analyse acute effects of upgraded simulant on key characteristics of synaptic neurotransmission; and 3) to compare above effects with those of inorganic dust and carbon components per se. Acute administration of carbon-containing Martian dust analogues resulted in a significant decrease in transporter-mediated uptake of L-[14C]glutamate (the major excitatory neurotransmitter) and [3H]GABA (the main inhibitory neurotransmitter) by isolated rat brain nerve terminals. The extracellular level of both neurotransmitters increased in the presence of carbon-containing Martian dust analogues. These effects were associated with action of carbon components of upgraded Martian dust simulant, but not with its inorganic constituent. This fact indicates that carbon component of native Martian dust can have deleterious effects on extracellular glutamate and GABA homeostasis in the CNS, and so glutamate- and GABA-ergic neurotransmission disballansing exitation and inhibition.

  16. Remote Sensing Observations and Numerical Simulation for Martian Layered Ejecta Craters (United States)

    Li, L.; Yue, Z.; Zhang, C.; Li, D.


    To understand past Martian climates, it is important to know the distribution and nature of water ice on Mars. Impact craters are widely used ubiquitous indicators for the presence of subsurface water or ice on Mars. Remote sensing observations and numerical simulation are powerful tools for investigating morphological and topographic features on planetary surfaces, and we can use the morphology of layered ejecta craters and hydrocode modeling to constrain possible layering and impact environments. The approach of this work consists of three stages. Firstly, the morphological characteristics of the Martian layered ejecta craters are performed based on Martian images and DEM data. Secondly, numerical modeling layered ejecta are performed through the hydrocode iSALE (impact-SALE). We present hydrocode modeling of impacts onto targets with a single icy layer within an otherwise uniform basalt crust to quantify the effects of subsurface H2O on observable layered ejecta morphologies. The model setup is based on a layered target made up of a regolithic layer (described by the basalt ANEOS), on top an ice layer (described by ANEOS equation of H2O ice), in turn on top of an underlying basaltic crust. The bolide is a 0.8 km diameter basaltic asteroid hitting the Martian surface vertically at a velocity of 12.8 km/s. Finally, the numerical results are compared with the MOLA DEM profile in order to analyze the formation mechanism of Martian layered ejecta craters. Our simulations suggest that the presence of an icy layer significantly modifies the cratering mechanics, and many of the unusual features of SLE craters may be explained by the presence of icy layers. Impact cratering on icy satellites is significantly affected by the presence of subsurface H2O.

  17. MetNet - In situ observational Network and Orbital platform to investigate the Martian environment (United States)

    Harri, Ari-Matti; Leinonen, Jussi; Merikallio, Sini; Paton, Mark; Haukka, Harri; Polkko, Jouni


    MetNet Mars Mission is an in situ observational network and orbital platform mission to investigate the Martian environment and it has been proposed to European Space Agency in response to Call for proposals for the first planning cycle of Cosmic Vision 2015-2025 D/SCI/DJS/SV/val/21851. The MetNet Mars Mission is to be implemented in collaboration with ESA, FMI, LA, IKI and the payload providing science teams. The scope of the MetNet Mission is to deploy 16 MetNet Landers (MNLs) on the Martian surface by using inflatable descent system structures accompanied by an atmospheric sounder and data relay onboard the MetNet Orbiter (MNO), which is based on ESA Mars Express satellite platform. The MNLs are attached on the three sides of the satellite and most of the MNLs are deployed to Mars separately a few weeks prior to the arrival to Mars. The MetNet Orbiter will perform continuous atmospheric soundings thus complementing the accurate in situ observations at the Martian ground produced by the MetNet observation network, as well as the orbiter will serve as the primary data relay between the MetNet Landers and the Earth. The MNLs are equipped with a versatile science payload focused on the atmospheric science of Mars. Detailed characterisation of the Martian atmospheric circulation patterns, boundary layer phenomena, and climatological cycles, as well as interior investigations, require simultaneous in situ meteorological, seismic and magnetic measurements from networks of stations on the Martian surface. MetNet Mars Mission will also provide a crucial support for the safety of large landing missions in general and manned Mars missions in particular. Accurate knowledge of atmospheric conditions and weather data is essential to guarantee safe landings of the forthcoming Mars mission elements.

  18. Martian Bow Shock and Magnetic Pile-Up Barrier Formation Due to the Exosphere Ion Mass-Loading

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Eojin Kim


    Full Text Available Bow shock, formed by the interaction between the solar wind and a planet, is generated in different patterns depending on the conditions of the planet. In the case of the earth, its own strong magnetic field plays a critical role in determining the position of the bow shock. However, in the case of Mars of which has very a small intrinsic magnetic field, the bow shock is formed by the direct interaction between the solar wind and the Martian ionosphere. It is known that the position of the Martian bow shock is affected by the mass loading-effect by which the supersonic solar wind velocity becomes subsonic as the heavy ions originating from the planet are loaded on the solar wind. We simulated the Martian magnetosphere depending on the changes of the density and velocity of the solar wind by using the three-dimensional magnetohydrodynamic model built by modifying the comet code that includes the mass loading effect. The Martian exosphere model of was employed as the Martian atmosphere model, and only the photoionization by the solar radiation was considered in the ionization process of the neutral atmosphere. In the simulation result under the normal solar wind conditions, the Martian bow shock position in the subsolar point direction was consistent with the result of the previous studies. The three-dimensional simulation results produced by varying the solar wind density and velocity were all included in the range of the Martian bow shock position observed by Mariner 4, Mars 2, 3, 5, and Phobos 2. Additionally, the simulation result also showed that the change of the solar wind density had a greater effect on the Martian bow shock position than the change of the solar wind velocity. Our result may be useful in analyzing the future observation data by Martian probes.

  19. Ambler - An autonomous rover for planetary exploration (United States)

    Bares, John; Hebert, Martial; Kanade, Takeo; Krotkov, Eric; Mitchell, Tom


    The authors are building a prototype legged rover, called the Ambler (loosely an acronym for autonomous mobile exploration robot) and testing it on full-scale, rugged terrain of the sort that might be encountered on the Martian surface. They present an overview of their research program, focusing on locomotion, perception, planning, and control. They summarize some of the most important goals and requirements of a rover design and describe how locomotion, perception, and planning systems can satisfy these requirements. Since the program is relatively young (one year old at the time of writing) they identify issues and approaches and describe work in progress rather than report results. It is expected that many of the technologies developed will be applicable to other planetary bodies and to terrestrial concerns such as hazardous waste assessment and remediation, ocean floor exploration, and mining.

  20. The Mineralogy, Geochemistry, and Redox State of Multivalent Cations During the Crystallization of Primitive Shergottitic Liquids at Various (f)O2. Insights into the (f)O2 Fugacity of the Martian Mantle and Crustal Influences on Redox Conditions of Martian Magmas. (United States)

    Shearer, C. K.; Bell, A. S.; Burger, P. V.; Papike, J. J.; Jones, J.; Le, L.; Muttik, N.


    The (f)O2 [oxygen fugacity] of crystallization for martian basalts has been estimated in various studies to range from IW-1 to QFM+4 [1-3]. A striking geochemical feature of the shergottites is the large range in initial Sr isotopic ratios and initial epsilon(sup Nd) values. Studies by observed that within the shergottite group the (f)O2 [oxygen fugacity] of crystallization is highly correlated with these chemical and isotopic characteristics with depleted shergottites generally crystallizing at reduced conditions and enriched shergottites crystallizing under more oxidizing conditions. More recent work has shown that (f)O2 [oxygen fugacity] changed during the crystallization of these magmas from one order of magnitude in Y980459 (Y98) to several orders of magnitude in Larkman Nunatak 06319. These real or apparent variations within single shergottitic magmas have been attributed to mixing of a xenocrystic olivine component, volatile loss-water disassociation, auto-oxidation during crystallization of mafic phases, and assimilation of an oxidizing crustal component (e.g. sulfate). In contrast to the shergottites, augite basalts such as NWA 8159 are highly depleted yet appear to be highly oxidized (e.g. QFM+4). As a first step in attempting to unravel petrologic complexities that influence (f)O2 [oxygen fugacity] in martian magmas, this study explores the effect of (f)O2 [oxygen fugacity] on the liquid line of descent (LLD) for a primitive shergottite liquid composition (Y98). The results of this study will provide a fundamental basis for reconstructing the record of (f)O2 [oxygen fugacity] in shergottites and other martian basalts, its effect on both mineral chemistries and valence state partitioning, and a means for examining the role of crystallization (and other more complex processes) on the petrologic linkages between olivine-phyric and pyroxene-plagioclase shergottites.

  1. Automated Classification of Martian Morphology Using a Terrain Fingerprinting Method

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

    Koenders, R.; Lindenbergh, R.C.; Zegers, T.E.


    The planet Mars has a relatively short human exploration history, while the size of the scientific community studying Mars is also smaller than its Earth equivalent. On the other hand the interest in Mars is large, basically because it is the planet in the solar system most similar to Earth. Several

  2. Mission Operations of the Mars Exploration Rovers (United States)

    Bass, Deborah; Lauback, Sharon; Mishkin, Andrew; Limonadi, Daniel


    A document describes a system of processes involved in planning, commanding, and monitoring operations of the rovers Spirit and Opportunity of the Mars Exploration Rover mission. The system is designed to minimize command turnaround time, given that inherent uncertainties in terrain conditions and in successful completion of planned landed spacecraft motions preclude planning of some spacecraft activities until the results of prior activities are known by the ground-based operations team. The processes are partitioned into those (designated as tactical) that must be tied to the Martian clock and those (designated strategic) that can, without loss, be completed in a more leisurely fashion. The tactical processes include assessment of downlinked data, refinement and validation of activity plans, sequencing of commands, and integration and validation of sequences. Strategic processes include communications planning and generation of long-term activity plans. The primary benefit of this partition is to enable the tactical portion of the team to focus solely on tasks that contribute directly to meeting the deadlines for commanding the rover s each sol (1 sol = 1 Martian day) - achieving a turnaround time of 18 hours or less, while facilitating strategic team interactions with other organizations that do not work on a Mars time schedule.

  3. Geology of Mars after the first 40 years of exploration

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Rossi, Angelo Pio; Van Gasselt, Stephan


    The knowledge of Martian geology has increased enormously in the last 40 yr. Several missions orbiting or roving Mars have revolutionized our understanding of its evolution and geological features, which in several ways are similar to Earth, but are extremely different in many respects. The impressive dichotomy between the two Martian hemispheres is most likely linked to its impact cratering history, rather than internal dynamics such as on Earth. Mars' volcanism has been extensive, very long-lived and rather constant in its setting. Water was available in large quantities in the distant past of Mars, when a magnetic field and more vigorous tectonics were active. Exogenic forces have been shaping Martian landscapes and have led to a plethora of landscapes shaped by wind, water and ice. Mars' dynamical behavior continues, with its climatic variation affecting climate and geology until very recent times. This paper tries to summarize major highlights in Mars' Geology, and points to deeper and more extensive sources of important scientific contributions and future exploration. (invited reviews)

  4. What can in situ ion chromatography offer for Mars exploration? (United States)

    Shelor, C Phillip; Dasgupta, Purnendu K; Aubrey, Andrew; Davila, Alfonso F; Lee, Michael C; McKay, Christopher P; Liu, Yan; Noell, Aaron C


    The successes of the Mars exploration program have led to our unprecedented knowledge of the geological, mineralogical, and elemental composition of the martian surface. To date, however, only one mission, the Phoenix lander, has specifically set out to determine the soluble chemistry of the martian surface. The surprising results, including the detection of perchlorate, demonstrated both the importance of performing soluble ion measurements and the need for improved instrumentation to unambiguously identify all the species present. Ion chromatography (IC) is the state-of-the-art technique for soluble ion analysis on Earth and would therefore be the ideal instrument to send to Mars. A flight IC system must necessarily be small, lightweight, low-power, and have low eluent consumption. We demonstrate here a breadboard system that addresses these issues by using capillary IC at low flow rates with an optimized eluent generator and suppressor. A mix of 12 ions known or plausible for the martian soil, including 4 (oxy)chlorine species, has been separated at flow rates ranging from 1 to 10 μL/min, requiring as little as 200 psi at 1.0 μL/min. This allowed the use of pneumatic displacement pumping from a pressurized aluminum eluent reservoir and the elimination of the high-pressure pump entirely (the single heaviest and most energy-intensive component). All ions could be separated and detected effectively from 0.5 to 100 μM, even when millimolar concentrations of perchlorate were present in the same mixtures.

  5. A massive hydrogen-rich Martian greenhouse recorded in D/H (United States)

    Pahlevan, K.; Schaefer, L. K.; Desch, S. J.; Elkins-Tanton, L. T.


    The deuterium-to-hydrogen (D/H) ratio in Martian atmospheric water ( 6x standard mean ocean water, SMOW) [1,2] is higher than that of known sources [3,4] alluding to a planetary enrichment process. A recent measurement by the Curiosity rover of Hesperian clays yields a D/H value 3x higher than SMOW [5], demonstrating that most enrichment occurred early in planetary history, buttressing the conclusions of Martian meteorite studies [6,7]. Extant models of the isotopic evolution of the Martian hydrosphere have not incorporated primordial H2, despite its likely abundance on early Mars. Here, we report the first 1D climate calculations with an atmospheric composition determined via degassing from a reducing magma ocean to study Martian climate during an early water ocean stage. A reducing Martian magma ocean is expected based on experimental petrology [8], the degassing of which gives rise to an H2-rich steam atmosphere [9] with strong attendant greenhouse warming [10,11] even after the removal of steam via condensation. At the pressures and temperatures prevailing in such a degassed greenhouse, we find that isotopic exchange in the fluid envelope is rapid, strongly concentrating deuterium in water molecules over molecular hydrogen [12]. The subsequent loss of the isotopically light H2-rich atmosphere results in a 2x D/H enrichment in the oceans via isotopic equilibration alone. These calculations suggest that most of the D/H enrichment observed in the first billion years of Martian history is produced by the evolution of a massive ( 100 bar) H2-rich greenhouse in the aftermath of magma ocean crystallization. The proposed link between early planetary process and modern isotopic observable opens a new window into the earliest history of Mars. [1] Owen, T. et al. Science 240, 1767-1770 (1988). [2] Webster, C. R. et al. Science 341, 260-263 (2013). [3] Lunine, J. I. et al. Icarus 165, 1-8, (2003). [4] Marty, B. et al. EPSL 441, 91-102, (2016). [5] Mahaffy, P. et al

  6. The investigation of active Martian dune fields using very high resolution photogrammetric measurements (United States)

    Kim, Jungrack; Kim, Younghwi; Park, Minseong


    At the present time, arguments continue regarding the migration speeds of Martian dune fields and their correlation with atmospheric circulation. However, precisely measuring the spatial translation of Martian dunes has succeeded only a very few times—for example, in the Nili Patera study (Bridges et al. 2012) using change-detection algorithms and orbital imagery. Therefore, in this study, we developed a generic procedure to precisely measure the migration of dune fields with recently introduced 25-cm resolution orbital imagery specifically using a high-accuracy photogrammetric processor. The processor was designed to trace estimated dune migration, albeit slight, over the Martian surface by 1) the introduction of very high resolution ortho images and stereo analysis based on hierarchical geodetic control for better initial point settings; 2) positioning error removal throughout the sensor model refinement with a non-rigorous bundle block adjustment, which makes possible the co-alignment of all images in a time series; and 3) improved sub-pixel co-registration algorithms using optical flow with a refinement stage conducted on a pyramidal grid processor and a blunder classifier. Moreover, volumetric changes of Martian dunes were additionally traced by means of stereo analysis and photoclinometry. The established algorithms have been tested using high-resolution HIRISE time-series images over several Martian dune fields. Dune migrations were iteratively processed both spatially and volumetrically, and the results were integrated to be compared to the Martian climate model. Migrations over well-known crater dune fields appeared to be almost static for the considerable temporal periods and were weakly correlated with wind directions estimated by the Mars Climate Database (Millour et al. 2015). As a result, a number of measurements over dune fields in the Mars Global Dune Database (Hayward et al. 2014) covering polar areas and mid-latitude will be demonstrated

  7. Iron Isotopes in Spherical Hematite and Goethite Concretions from the Navajo Sandstone (Utah, USA): A Prospective Study for "Martian Blueberries" (United States)

    Busigny, V.; Dauphas, N.


    Iron isotopes of terrestrial hematite and goethite concretions provide clues on fluid transport, reservoir sizes, redox variations and biotic versus abiotic processes. This opens several avenues of research for future work on Martian blueberries.

  8. Visualisation of very high resolution Martian topographic data and its application on landing site selection and rover route navigation (United States)

    Kim, J.; Lin, S.; Hong, J.; Park, D.; Yoon, S.; Kim, Y.


    High resolution satellite imagery acquired from orbiters are able to provide detailed topographic information and therefore are recognised as an important tool for investigating planetary and terrestrial topography. The heritage of in-orbit high resolution imaging technology is now implemented in a series of Martian Missions, such as HiRISE (High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment) and CTX (Context Camera) onboard the MRO (Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter). In order to fully utilise the data derived from image systems carried on various Mars orbiters, the generalised algorithms of image processing and photogrammetric Mars DTM extraction have been developed and implemented by Kim and Muller (2009), in which non-rigorous sensor model and hierarchical geomatics control were employed. Due to the successful “from medium to high” control strategy performed during processing, stable horizontal and vertical photogrammetric accuracy of resultant Mars DTM was achievable when compared with MOLA (Mars Obiter Laser Altimeter) DTM. Recently, the algorithms developed in Kim and Muller (2009) were further updated by employing advanced image matcher and improved sensor model. As the photogrammetric qualities of the updated topographic products are verified and the spatial solution can be up to sub-meter scale, they are of great value to be exploited for Martian rover landing site selection and rover route navigation. To this purpose, the DTMs and ortho-rectified imagery obtained from CTX and HiRISE covering potential future rovers and existing MER (Mars Exploration Rover) landing sites were firstly processed. For landing site selection, the engineering constraints such as slope and surface roughness were computed from DTMs. In addition, the combination of virtual topography and the estimated rover location was able to produce a sophisticated environment simulation of rover’s landing site. Regarding the rover navigation, the orbital DTMs and the images taken from cameras

  9. Alteration of the Carbon and Nitrogen Isotopic Composition in the Martian Surface Rocks Due to Cosmic Ray Exposure (United States)

    Pavlov, A. A.; Pavlov, A. K.; Ostryakov, V. M.; Vasilyev, G. I.; Mahaffy, P.; Steele, A.


    C-13/C-12 and N-15/N-14 isotopic ratios are pivotal for our understanding of the Martian carbon cycle, history of the Martian atmospheric escape, and origin of the organic compounds on Mars. Here we demonstrate that the carbon and nitrogen isotopic composition of the surface rocks on Mars can be significantly altered by the continuous exposure of Martian surface to cosmic rays. Cosmic rays can effectively produce C-13 and N-15 isotopes via spallation nuclear reactions on oxygen atoms in various Martian rocks. We calculate that in the top meter of the Martian rocks, the rates of production of both C-13 and N-15 due to galactic cosmic rays (GCRs) exposure can vary within 1.5-6 atoms/cm3/s depending on rocks' depth and chemical composition. We also find that the average solar cosmic rays can produce carbon and nitrogen isotopes at a rate comparable to GCRs in the top 5-10 cm of the Martian rocks. We demonstrate that if the total carbon content in a surface Martian rock is <10 ppm, then the "light," potentially "biological" C-13/C-12 ratio would be effectively erased by cosmic rays over 3.5 billion years of exposure. We found that for the rocks with relatively short exposure ages (e.g., 100 million years), cosmogenic changes in N-15/N-14 ratio are still very significant. We also show that a short exposure to cosmic rays of Allan Hills 84001 while on Mars can explain its high-temperature heavy nitrogen isotopic composition (N-15/N-14). Applications to Martian meteorites and the current Mars Science Laboratory mission are discussed.

  10. Science Driven Human Exploration of Mars (United States)

    McKay, Christopher P.


    Mars appears to be cold dry and dead world. However there is good evidence that early in its history it had liquid water, more active volcanism, and a thicker atmosphere. Mars had this earth-like environment over three and a half billion years ago, during the same time that life appeared on Earth. The main question in the exploration of Mars then is the search for a independent origin of life on that planet. Ecosystems in cold, dry locations on Earth - such as the Antarctic - provide examples of how life on Mars might have survived and where to look for fossils. Fossils are not enough. We will want to determine if life on Mars was a separate genesis from life on Earth. For this determination we need to access intact martian life; possibly frozen in the deep old permafrost. Human exploration of Mars will probably begin with a small base manned by a temporary crew, a necessary first start. But exploration of the entire planet will require a continued presence on the Martian surface and the development of a self sustaining community in which humans can live and work for very long periods of time. A permanent Mars research base can be compared to the permanent research bases which several nations maintain in Antarctica at the South Pole, the geomagnetic pole, and elsewhere. In the long run, a continued human presence on Mars will be the most economical way to study that planet in detail. 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. Additional information is contained in the original extended abstract.

  11. Some consequences of a liquid water saturated regolith in early Martian history (United States)

    Fuller, A. O.; Hargraves, R. B.


    Flooding of low-lying areas of the Martian regolith may have occurred early in the planet's history when a comparatively dense primitive atmosphere existed. If this model is valid, the following are some pedogenic and mineralogical consequences to be expected. Fluctuation of the water table in response to any seasonal or longer term causes would have resulted in precipitation of ferric oxyhydroxides with the development of a vesicular duricrust (or hardpan). Disruption of such a crust by scarp undercutting or frost heaving accompanied by wind deflation of fines could account for the boulders visible on Utopia Planitia in the vicinity of the second Viking lander site. Laboratory and field evidence on earth suggests that under weakly oxidizing conditions lepidocrocite (rather than goethite) would have preferentially formed in the Martian regolith from the weathering of ferrous silicates, accompanied by montmorillonite, nontronite, and cronstedtite. Maghemite may have formed as a low-temperature dehydrate of lepidocrocite or directly from ferrous precursors.

  12. Structural parallels between terrestrial microbialites and Martian sediments: are all cases of `Pareidolia'? (United States)

    Rizzo, Vincenzo; Cantasano, Nicola


    The study analyses possible parallels of the microbialite-known structures with a set of similar settings selected by a systematic investigation from the wide record and data set of images shot by NASA rovers. Terrestrial cases involve structures both due to bio-mineralization processes and those induced by bacterial metabolism, that occur in a dimensional field longer than 0.1 mm, at micro, meso and macro scales. The study highlights occurrence on Martian sediments of widespread structures like microspherules, often organized into some higher-order settings. Such structures also occur on terrestrial stromatolites in a great variety of `Microscopic Induced Sedimentary Structures', such as voids, gas domes and layer deformations of microbial mats. We present a suite of analogies so compelling (i.e. different scales of morphological, structural and conceptual relevance), to make the case that similarities between Martian sediment structures and terrestrial microbialites are not all cases of `Pareidolia'.

  13. Martian volcanism: festoon-like ridges on terrestrial basalt flows and implications for Mars

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Theilig, E.; Greeley, R.


    The Fink and Fletcher, and Fink model was used to assess and compare flow rheology for two terrestrial basalt flows and one Martian flow with previous studies. Based on the morphologic similarities between the Martian flows and the Icelandic flows and knowledge of the emplacement of the terrestrial flows, the flows west of Arsia Mons are considered to have been emplaced as large sheet flows from basaltic flood style eruptions. Festoon ridges represent folding of the surface crust in the last stages of emplacement when viscosities would be high due to cooling. Alternatively, the lava may have had a high crystallinity or was erupted at low temperatures. In addition, increased compressive stress behind halted flow fronts or in ponded areas may have contributed to ridge formation

  14. A Comet Engulfs Mars: MAVEN Observations of Comet Siding Spring's Influence on the Martian Magnetosphere (United States)

    Espley, Jared R.; Dibraccio, Gina A.; Connerney, John E. P.; Brain, David; Gruesbeck, Jacob; Soobiah, Yasir; Halekas, Jasper S.; Combi, Michael; Luhmann, Janet; Ma, Yingjuan


    The nucleus of comet C/2013 A1 (Siding Spring) passed within 141,000?km of Mars on 19 October 2014. Thus, the cometary coma and the plasma it produces washed over Mars for several hours producing significant effects in the Martian magnetosphere and upper atmosphere. We present observations from Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN's (MAVEN's) particles and field's instruments that show the Martian magnetosphere was severely distorted during the comet's passage. We note four specific major effects: (1) a variable induced magnetospheric boundary, (2) a strong rotation of the magnetic field as the comet approached, (3) severely distorted and disordered ionospheric magnetic fields during the comet's closest approach, and (4) unusually strong magnetosheath turbulence lasting hours after the comet left. We argue that the comet produced effects comparable to that of a large solar storm (in terms of incident energy) and that our results are therefore important for future studies of atmospheric escape, MAVEN's primary science objective.

  15. Martian Pyroxenes in the Shergottite Meteorites; Zagami, SAU005, DAG476 and EETA79001 (United States)

    Stephen, N.; Benedix, G. K.; Bland, P.; Hamilton, V. E.


    The geology and surface mineralogy of Mars is characterised using remote sensing techniques such as thermal emission spectroscopy (TES) from instruments on a number of spacecraft currently orbiting Mars or gathered from roving missions on the Martian surface. However, the study of Martian meteorites is also important in efforts to further understand the geological history of Mars or to interpret mission data as they are believed to be the only available samples that give us direct clues as to Martian igneous processes [1]. We have recently demonstrated that the spectra of Martian-specific minerals can be determined using micro-spectroscopy [2] and that these spectra can be reliably obtained from thin sections of Martian meteorites [3]. Accurate modal mineralogy of these meteorites is also important [4]. In this study we are using a variety of techniques to build upon previous studies of these particular samples in order to fully characterise the nature of the 2 common pyroxenes found in Martian Shergottites; pigeonite and augite [5], [6]. Previous studies have shown that the Shergottite meteorites are dominated by pyroxene (pigeonite and augite in varying quantities) [4], [5], commonly but not always olivine, plagioclase or maskelynite/glass and also hydrous minerals, which separate the Martian meteorites from other achondrites [7]. Our microprobe study of meteorites Zagami, EETA79001, SAU005 and DAG476 in thin-section at the Natural History Museum, London shows a chemical variability within both the pigeonite and augite composition across individual grains in all thin sections; variation within either Mg or Ca concentration varies from core to rim within the grains. This variation can also be seen in modal mineralogy maps using SEM-derived element maps and the Photoshop® technique previously described [4], and in new micro-spectroscopy data, particularly within the Zagami meteorite. New mineral spectra have been gathered from the Shergottite thin-sections by

  16. Modelling of the dose-rate variations with depth in the Martian regolith using GEANT4

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Morthekai, P.; Jain, M.; Dartnell, L.; Murray, A.S.; Botter-Jensen, L.; Desorgher, L.


    The environmental radiation field at the Martian surface consists mainly of Galactic Cosmic Rays (GCR) and charged particles ejected during the Solar Particle Events (SPE). Interactions between these radiation fluxes and the regolith result in a complex radiation field that varies both as a function of depth and time and can only be quantified using radiation transport models. We first describe here the main issues and constraints in deriving Martian dose rates. Preliminary results, obtained using the GEANT4 Monte Carlo simulation tool kit, suggest the surface dose rate is ∼63 mGy a -1 during quiet periods in solar activity. The accuracy of the model predictions has been tested by comparison with published observations of cosmic ray dose-rate variation in the Earth's atmosphere

  17. Crater size-frequency distributions and a revised Martian relative chronology

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Barlow, N.G.


    A relative plotting technique is applied to Viking 1:2M photomosaics of 25,826 Martian craters of diameter greater than 8 km and age younger than that of the Martian surface. The size-frequency distribution curves are calculated and analyzed in detail, and the results are presented in extensive tables and maps. It is found that about 60 percent of the crater-containing lithologic units, including many small volcanoes and the ridged planes, were formed during the heavy-bombardment period (HBP), while 40 percent arose after the HBP. Wide region-to-region variation in the crater density is noted, and localized age estimates are provided. 42 references

  18. Hydrogen Isotopes Record the History of the Martian Hydrosphere and Atmosphere (United States)

    Usui, T.; Simon, J. I.; Jones, J. H.; Kurokawa, H.; Sato, M.; Alexander, C. M. O'D; Wang, J.


    The surface geology and geomorphology of Mars indicates that it was once warm enough to maintain a large body of liquid water on its surface, though such a warm environment might have been transient. The transition to the present cold and dry Mars is closely linked to the history of surface water, yet the evolution of surficial water is poorly constrained. This study presents insights from hydrogen isotopes for the origin and evolution of Martian water reservoirs.

  19. Prototype detector development for measurement of high altitude Martian dust using a future orbiter platform (United States)

    Pabari, Jayesh; Patel, Darshil; Chokhawala, Vimmi; Bogavelly, Anvesh


    Dust devils mostly occur during the mid of Southern hemisphere summer on Mars and play a key role in the background dust opacity. Due to continuous bombardment of micrometeorites, secondary ejecta come out from the Moons of the Mars and can easily escape. This phenomenon can contribute dust around the Moons and therefore, also around the Mars. Similar to the Moons of the Earth, the surfaces of the Martian Moons get charged and cause the dust levitation to occur, adding to the possible dust source. Also, interplanetary dust particles may be able to reach the Mars and contribute further. It is hypothesized that the high altitude Martian dust could be in the form of a ring or tori around the Mars. However, no such rings have been detected to the present day. Typically, width and height of the dust torus is ~5 Mars radii wide (~16950 km) in both the planes as reported in the literature. Recently, very high altitude dust at about 1000 km has been found by MAVEN mission and it is expected that the dust may be concentrated at about 150 to 500 km. However, a langmuir probe cannot explain the source of such dust particles. It is a puzzling question to the space scientist how dust has reached to such high altitudes. A dedicated dust instrument on future Mars orbiter may be helpful to address such issues. To study origin, abundance, distribution and seasonal variation of Martian dust, a Mars Orbit Dust Experiment (MODEX) is proposed. In order to measure the Martian dust from a future orbiter, design of a prototype of an impact ionization dust detector has been initiated at PRL. This paper presents developmental aspects of the prototype dust detector and initial results. The further work is underway.

  20. MGS Radio Science Electron Density Profiles: Interannual Variability and Implications for the Martian Neutral Atmosphere (United States)

    Bougher, S. W.; Engel, S.; Hinson, D. P.; Murphy, J. R.


    Martian electron density profiles provided by the Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) Radio Science (RS) experiment over the 95-200 km altitude range indicate what the height of the electron peak and the longitudinal structure of the peak height are sensitive indicators of the physical state of the Mars lower and upper atmospheres. The present analysis is carried out on five sets of occultation profiles, all at high solar zenith angles (SZA). Variations spanning 2 Martian years are investigated near aphelion conditions at high northern latitudes (64.7 - 77.6 N) making use of four of these data sets. A mean ionospheric peak height of 133.5 - 135 km is obtained near SZA = 78 - 82 deg.; a corresponding mean peak density of 7.3 - 8.5 x l0(exp 4)/ qu cm is also measured during solar moderate conditions at Mars. Strong wave number 2 - 3 oscillations in peak heights are consistently observed as a function of longitude over the 2 Martian years. These observed ionospheric features are remarkably similar during aphelion conditions 1 Martian year apart. This year-to-year repeatability in the thermosphere-ionosphere structure is consistent with that observed in multiyear aphelion temperature data of the Mars lower atmosphere. Coupled Mars general circulation model (MGCM) and Mars thermospheric general circulation model (MTGCM) codes are run for Mars aphelion conditions, yielding mean and longitude variable ionospheric peak heights that reasonably match RS observations. A tidal decomposition of MTGCM thermospheric densities shows that observed ionospheric wave number 3 features are linked to a non-migrating tidal mode with semidiurnal period (sigma = 2) and zonal wave number 1 (s = -1) characteristics. The height of this photochemically determined ionospheric peak should be monitored regularly.

  1. The Martian polar caps: Stability and water transport at low obliquities (United States)

    Henderson, B. G.; Jakosky, B. M.


    The seasonal cycle of water on Mars is regulated by the two polar caps. In the winter hemisphere, the seasonal CO2 deposits at a temperature near 150 K acts as a cold trap to remove water vapor from the atmosphere. When summer returns, water is pumped back into the atmosphere by a number of mechanisms, including release from the receding CO2 frost, diffusion from the polar regolith, and sublimation from a water-ice residual cap. These processes drive an exchange of water vapor between the polar caps that helps shape the Martian climate. Thus, understanding the behavior of the polar caps is important for interpreting the Martian climate both now and at other epochs. Mars' obliquity undergoes large variations over large time scales. As the obliquity decreases, the poles receive less solar energy so that more CO2 condenses from the atmosphere onto the poles. It has been suggested that permanent CO2 condenses from the atmosphere onto the poles. It has been suggested that permanent CO2 caps might form at the poles in response to a feedback mechanism existing between the polar cap albedo, the CO2 pressure, and the dust storm frequency. The year-round presence of the CO2 deposits would effectively dry out the atmosphere, while diffusion of water from the regolith would be the only source of water vapor to the atmosphere. We have reviewed the CO2 balance at low obliquity taking into account the asymmetries which make the north and south hemispheres different. Our analysis linked with a numerical model of the polar caps leads us to believe that one summertime cap will always lose its CO2 cover during a Martian year, although we cannot predict which cap this will be. We conclude that significant amounts of water vapor will sublime from the exposed cap during summer, and the Martian atmosphere will support an active water cycle even at low obliquity.

  2. Localized Models of Charged Particle Motion in Martian Crustal Magnetic Cusps (United States)

    Brain, D. A.; Poppe, A. R.; Jarvinen, R.; Dong, Y.; Egan, H. L.; Fang, X.


    The induced magnetosphere of Mars is punctuated by localized but strong crustal magnetic fields that are observed to play host to a variety of phenomena typically associated with global magnetic fields, such as auroral processes and particle precipitation, field-aligned current systems, and ion outflow. Each of these phenomena occur on the night side, in small-scale magnetic `cusp' regions of vertically aligned field. Cusp regions are not yet capable of being spatially resolved in global scale models that include the ion kinetics necessary for simulating charged particle transport along cusps. Local models are therefore necessary if we are to understand how cusp processes operate at Mars. Here we present the first results of an effort to model the kinetic particle motion and electric fields in Martian cusps. We are adapting both a 1.5D Particle-in-Cell (PIC) model for lunar magnetic cusps regions to the Martian case and a hybrid model framework (used previously for the global Martian plasma interaction and for lunar magnetic anomaly regions) to cusps in 2D. By comparing the models we can asses the importance of electron kinetics in particle transport along cusp field lines. In this first stage of our study we model a moderately strong nightside cusp, with incident hot hydrogen plasma from above, and cold planetary (oxygen) plasma entering the simulation from below. We report on the spatial and temporal distribution of plasma along cusp field lines for this initial case.

  3. Survival and death of the haloarchaeon Natronorubrum strain HG-1 in a simulated martian environment (United States)

    Peeters, Z.; Vos, D.; ten Kate, I. L.; Selch, F.; van Sluis, C. A.; Sorokin, D. Yu.; Muijzer, G.; Stan-Lotter, H.; van Loosdrecht, M. C. M.; Ehrenfreund, P.


    Halophilic archaea are of interest to astrobiology due to their survival capabilities in desiccated and high salt environments. The detection of remnants of salty pools on Mars stimulated investigations into the response of haloarchaea to martian conditions. Natronorubrum sp. strain HG-1 is an extremely halophilic archaeon with unusual metabolic pathways, growing on acetate and stimulated by tetrathionate. We exposed Natronorubrum strain HG-1 to ultraviolet (UV) radiation, similar to levels currently prevalent on Mars. In addition, the effects of low temperature (4, -20, and -80 °C), desiccation, and exposure to a Mars soil analogue from the Atacama desert on the viability of Natronorubrum strain HG-1 cultures were investigated. The results show that Natronorubrum strain HG-1 cannot survive for more than several hours when exposed to UV radiation equivalent to that at the martian equator. Even when protected from UV radiation, viability is impaired by a combination of desiccation and low temperature. Desiccating Natronorubrum strain HG-1 cells when mixed with a Mars soil analogue impaired growth of the culture to below the detection limit. Overall, we conclude that Natronorubrum strain HG-1 cannot survive the environment currently present on Mars. Since other halophilic microorganisms were reported to survive simulated martian conditions, our results imply that survival capabilities are not necessarily shared between phylogenetically related species.

  4. The engineering of a nuclear thermal landing and ascent vehicle utilizing indigenous Martian propellant

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Zubrin, R.M.


    The following paper reports on a design study of a novel space transportation concept known as a ''NIMF'' (Nuclear rocket using Indigenous Martian Fuel.) The NIMF is a ballistic vehicle which obtains its propellant out of the Martian air by compression and liquefaction of atmospheric CO 2 . This propellant is subsequently used to generate rocket thrust at a specific impulse of 264 s by being heated to high temperature (2800 K) gas in the NIMFs' nuclear thermal rocket engines. The vehicle is designed to provide surface to orbit and surface to surface transportation, as well as housing, for a crew of three astronauts. It is capable of refueling itself for a flight to its maximum orbit in less than 50 days. The ballistic NIMF has a mass of 44.7 tonnes and, with the assumed 2800 K propellant temperature, is capable of attaining highly energetic (250 km by 34000 km elliptical) orbits. This allows it to rendezvous with interplanetary transfer vehicles which are only very loosely bound into orbit around Mars. If a propellant temperature of 2000 K is assumed, then low Mars orbit can be attained; while if 3100 K is assumed, then the ballistic NIMF is capable of injecting itself onto a minimum energy transfer orbit to Earth in a direct ascent from the Martian surface

  5. Cosmogenic nuclides in the Martian surface: constraints for sample recovery and transport

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Englert, P.A.J.


    Stable and radioactive cosmogenic nuclides and radiation damage effects such as cosmic ray tracks can provide information on the surface history of Mars. A recent overview on developments in cosmogenic nuclide research for historical studies of predominantly extraterrestrial materials was published previously. The information content of cosmogenic nuclides and radiation damage effects produced in the Martian surface is based on the different ways of interaction of the primary galactic and solar cosmic radiation (GCR, SCR) and the secondary particle cascade. Generally the kind and extent of interactions as seen in the products depend on the following factors: (1) composition, energy and intensity of the primary SCR and GCR; (2) composition, energy and intensity of the GCR-induced cascade of secondary particles; (3) the target geometry, i.e., the spatial parameters of Martian surface features with respect to the primary radiation source; (4) the target chemistry, i.e., the chemical composition of the Martian surface at the sampling location down to the minor element level or lower; and (5) duration of the exposure. These factors are not independent of each other and have a major influence on sample taking strategies and techniques

  6. Looking for a Source of Water in Martian Basltic Breccia NWA 7034 (United States)

    Muttik, N.; Agee, C. B.; McCubbin, F. M.; McCuttcheon, W. A.; Provencio, P. P.; Keller, L. P.; Santos, A. R..; Shearer, C. K.


    The recently described martian meteorite NWA 7034 has high water content compared to other SNC meteorites. Deuterium to hydrogen isotope ratio measurements indicates that there are two distinct delta-D components in NWA 7034, a low temperature (150-500degC) light component around -100per mille and a high temperature (300-1000degC) heavy component around +300per mille. NWA 7034 contains iron-rich phases that are likely secondary aqueous alteration products. They are commonly found as spheroidal objects of various sizes that are often rich in Fe-Ti oxides and possibly iron hydroxides. Iron oxides and oxyhydroxides are very common in weathered rocks and soils on Earth and Mars and they are important components of terrestrial and Martian dust. In NWA 7034 iron-rich phases are found throughout the fine-grained basaltic groundmass of the meteorite. The total amount of martian H2O in NWA 7034 is reported to be 6000 ppm, and in this study we attempt to determine the phase distribution of this H2O by texturally describing and characterizing hydrous phases in NWA 7034, using Fourier transform infrared spectrometry (FTIR) and transmission electron microscopy (TEM).

  7. Extraction of Water from Martian Regolith Simulant via Open Reactor Concept (United States)

    Trunek, Andrew J.; Linne, Diane L.; Kleinhenz, Julie E.; Bauman, Steven W.


    To demonstrate proof of concept water extraction from simulated Martian regolith, an open reactor design is presented along with experimental results. The open reactor concept avoids sealing surfaces and complex moving parts. In an abrasive environment like the Martian surface, those reactor elements would be difficult to maintain and present a high probability of failure. A general lunar geotechnical simulant was modified by adding borax decahydrate (Na2B4O7·10H2O) (BDH) to mimic the 3 percent water content of hydrated salts in near surface soils on Mars. A rotating bucket wheel excavated the regolith from a source bin and deposited the material onto an inclined copper tray, which was fitted with heaters and a simple vibration system. The combination of vibration, tilt angle and heat was used to separate and expose as much regolith surface area as possible to liberate the water contained in the hydrated minerals, thereby increasing the efficiency of the system. The experiment was conducted in a vacuum system capable of maintaining a Martian like atmosphere. Evolved water vapor was directed to a condensing system using the ambient atmosphere as a sweep gas. The water vapor was condensed and measured. Processed simulant was captured in a collection bin and weighed in real time. The efficiency of the system was determined by comparing pre- and post-processing soil mass along with the volume of water captured.

  8. Martian crustal dichotomy: product of accretion and not a specific event?

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Frey, H.; Schultz, R.A.; Maxwell, T.A.


    Attempts to explain the fundamental crustal dichotomy on Mars range from purely endogenic to extreme exogenic processes, but to date no satisfactory theory has evolved. What is accepted is: (1) the dichotomy is an ancient feature of the Martian crust, and (2) the boundary between the cratered highlands and northern plains which marks the dichotomy in parts of Mars has undergone significant and variable modification during the observable parts of Martian history. Some ascribe it to a single mega-impact event, essentially an instantaneous rearrangement of the crustal structures (topography and lithospheric thickness). Others prefer an internal mechanism: a period of vigorous convection subcrustally erodes the northern one third of Mars, causing foundering and isostatic lowering of that part of Mars. The evidence for each theory is reviewed, with the conclusion that there is little to recommend either. An alternative is suggested: the formation of the crustal dichotomy on Mars was not a specific tectonic event but a byproduct of the accretionary process and therefore a primordial characteristic of the Martian crust, predating the oldest recognizable landforms

  9. Martian analogue test site - pilbara craton, western Australia (United States)

    Brown, A.; Allwood, A.; Walter, M. R.; van Kranendonk, M.

    All exploration for life elsewhere depends on extrapolation from our knowledge of Earth. If the target is former microbial life, for example on Mars, there is no better analogue on Earth than the 3.5 billion year old rocks of the Pilbara region, Western Australia. This area is home to signs of the earliest life on Earth in the form of microbe, many famous stromatolitic horizons and carbon isotope biosignatures. These occur in a volcanic terrain, with weathering and hydrothermal alteration, which also has some similarity to Mars. The geology of this region is known in detail after decades of mapping and other studies. Current work includes studies to resolve disputes about the biogenicity of the microfossils and stromatolites. On balance, biological origins are most likely. In any event, problems of demonstrating biogenicity on other planets will be far more severe, and the work on the Pilbara materials will illuminate those problems. Also underway is mineral mapping of the volcanic, hydrothermal and fossiliferous units using both airborne and hand-held short-wave infrared spectrometers, We are able to map the fossiliferous units using this technique and contend that it would be a powerful