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Sample records for martian regolith results

  1. Martian regolith geochemistry and sampling techniques

    Science.gov (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.

  2. Martian regolith geochemistry and sampling techniques

    Science.gov (United States)

    Clark, B. C.

    1988-01-01

    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.

  3. Mars Gardens in the University - Red Thumbs: Growing Vegetables in Martian regolith simulant.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Guinan, Edward Francis

    2018-01-01

    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 Garden.com). 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.

  4. Extraction of Water from Martian Regolith Simulant via Open Reactor Concept

    Science.gov (United States)

    Trunek, Andrew J.; Linne, Diane L.; Kleinhenz, Julie E.; Bauman, Steven W.

    2018-01-01

    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.

  5. Some consequences of a liquid water saturated regolith in early Martian history

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fuller, A. O.; Hargraves, R. B.

    1978-01-01

    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.

  6. Experimental Investigation of InSight HP3 Mole Interaction with Martian Regolith Simulant. Quasi-Static and Dynamic Penetration Testing

    Science.gov (United States)

    Marshall, Jason P.; Hudson, Troy L.; Andrade, José E.

    2017-10-01

    The InSight mission launches in 2018 to characterize several geophysical quantities on Mars, including the heat flow from the planetary interior. This quantity will be calculated by utilizing measurements of the thermal conductivity and the thermal gradient down to 5 meters below the Martian surface. One of the components of InSight is the Mole, which hammers into the Martian regolith to facilitate these thermal property measurements. In this paper, we experimentally investigated the effect of the Mole's penetrating action on regolith compaction and mechanical properties. Quasi-static and dynamic experiments were run with a 2D model of the 3D cylindrical mole. Force resistance data was captured with load cells. Deformation information was captured in images and analyzed using Digitial Image Correlation (DIC). Additionally, we used existing approximations of Martian regolith thermal conductivity to estimate the change in the surrounding granular material's thermal conductivity due to the Mole's penetration. We found that the Mole has the potential to cause a high degree of densification, especially if the initial granular material is relatively loose. The effect on the thermal conductivity from this densification was found to be relatively small in first-order calculations though more complete thermal models incorporating this densification should be a subject of further investigation. The results obtained provide an initial estimate of the Mole's impact on Martian regolith thermal properties.

  7. 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

    2017-10-01

    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.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2017-01-01

    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.

  9. 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.

    2007-01-01

    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

  10. Robust and Elastic Lunar and Martian Structures from 3D-Printed Regolith Inks

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jakus, Adam E.; Koube, Katie D.; Geisendorfer, Nicholas R.; Shah, Ramille N.

    2017-03-01

    Here, we present a comprehensive approach for creating robust, elastic, designer Lunar and Martian regolith simulant (LRS and MRS, respectively) architectures using ambient condition, extrusion-based 3D-printing of regolith simulant inks. The LRS and MRS powders are characterized by distinct, highly inhomogeneous morphologies and sizes, where LRS powder particles are highly irregular and jagged and MRS powder particles are rough, but primarily rounded. The inks are synthesized via simple mixing of evaporant, surfactant, and plasticizer solvents, polylactic-co-glycolic acid (30% by solids volume), and regolith simulant powders (70% by solids volume). Both LRS and MRS inks exhibit similar rheological and 3D-printing characteristics, and can be 3D-printed at linear deposition rates of 1-150 mm/s using 300 μm to 1.4 cm-diameter nozzles. The resulting LRS and MRS 3D-printed materials exhibit similar, but distinct internal and external microstructures and material porosity (~20-40%). These microstructures contribute to the rubber-like quasi-static and cyclic mechanical properties of both materials, with young’s moduli ranging from 1.8 to 13.2 MPa and extension to failure exceeding 250% over a range of strain rates (10-1-102 min-1). Finally, we discuss the potential for LRS and MRS ink components to be reclaimed and recycled, as well as be synthesized in resource-limited, extraterrestrial environments.

  11. Insights into the Martian Regolith from Martian Meteorite Northwest Africa 7034

    Science.gov (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

    2015-01-01

    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

  12. The analysis of water in the Martian regolith.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Anderson, D M; Tice, A R

    1979-12-01

    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.

  13. Volatiles in the Martian regolith

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Clark, B.C.; Baird, A.K.

    1979-01-01

    An inventory of released volatiles on Mars has been derived based upon Viking measurements of atmospheric and surface chemical composition, and upon the inferred mineralogy of a ubiquitous regolith, assumed to average 200m in depth. This model is consistent with the relative abundances of volatiles (except for S) on the Earth's surface, but implies one-fifteenth of the volatile release of Earth if starting materials were comparable. All constituents are accommodated as chemical components of, or absorbed phases on, regolith materials--without the necessity of invoking unobservable deposits of carbonates, nitrates, or permafrost ice

  14. Near-UV Transmittance of Basalt Dust as an Analog of the Martian Regolith: Implications for Sensor Calibration and Astrobiology

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    J. Martínez-Frías

    2006-06-01

    Full Text Available The Martian regolith is exposed to solar irradiation in the near-UV (200-390 nm.Basalt is one of the main components of the dust on Mars surface. The near-UV irradiationof basalt dust on Mars is simulated experimentally in order to determine the transmittance asa function of the mass and thickness of the dust. This data can serve to quantify theabsorption of dust deposited on sensors aiming to measure the UV intensity on Marssurface. The minimum thickness of the dust that corresponds to near-zero-transmittance inthe near-UV is measured. Hypothetical Martian microorganisms living on the dusty regolithat deeper layers would be preserved from the damaging solar UV irradiation.

  15. Growth of cyanobacteria on Martian Regolith Simulant after exposure to vacuum

    Science.gov (United States)

    Arai, Mayumi; Sato, Seigo; Ohmori, Masayuki; Tomita-Yokotani, Kaori; Hashimoto, Hirofumi; Yamashita, Masamichi

    Habitation on Mars is one of our challenges in this century. The growth of cyanobacteria on Martian Regolith Simulant (MRS) was studied with two species of terrestrial cyanobacteria, Nostoc, and one species of other cyanobacterium, Synechosystis. Their vacuum tolerances was examined in order to judge feasibility of the use of cyanobacteria to creat habitable environment on a distant planet. The viability of cyanobacteria tested was evaluated by the microscopic observation after staining by FDA (fluorescein diacetate). A part of them were also re-incubated again in a liquid culture medium, and viability and the chlorophyll production were examined in detail. Nostoc was found to grow for over 140 days with their having normal function of chlorophyll synthesis on the MRS. After the exposure to high vacuum environment (10-5 Pa) for a year, Nostoc sp. started growth. Chlorophyll was produced after this vacuum exposure as well. The A'MED (Arai's Mars Ecosystem Dome, A'MED) is designed to install on Mars for conducting agricultural production in it. We performed the fundamental experiment with MRS. These results show a possibility that cyanobacteria could adapt to MRS, and grow under the low pressure environment expected on Mars.

  16. Preservation of Biomarkers from Cyanobacteria Mixed with Mars­Like Regolith Under Simulated Martian Atmosphere and UV Flux

    Science.gov (United States)

    Baqué, Mickael; Verseux, Cyprien; Böttger, Ute; Rabbow, Elke; de Vera, Jean-Pierre Paul; Billi, Daniela

    2016-06-01

    The space mission EXPOSE-R2 launched on the 24th of July 2014 to the International Space Station is carrying the BIOMEX (BIOlogy and Mars EXperiment) experiment aimed at investigating the endurance of extremophiles and stability of biomolecules under space and Mars-like conditions. In order to prepare the analyses of the returned samples, ground-based simulations were carried out in Planetary and Space Simulation facilities. During the ground-based simulations, Chroococcidiopsis cells mixed with two Martian mineral analogues (phyllosilicatic and sulfatic Mars regolith simulants) were exposed to a Martian simulated atmosphere combined or not with UV irradiation corresponding to the dose received during a 1-year-exposure in low Earth orbit (or half a Martian year on Mars). Cell survival and preservation of potential biomarkers such as photosynthetic and photoprotective pigments or DNA were assessed by colony forming ability assays, confocal laser scanning microscopy, Raman spectroscopy and PCR-based assays. DNA and photoprotective pigments (carotenoids) were detectable after simulations of the space mission (570 MJ/m2 of UV 200-400 nm irradiation and Martian simulated atmosphere), even though signals were attenuated by the treatment. The fluorescence signal from photosynthetic pigments was differently preserved after UV irradiation, depending on the thickness of the samples. UV irradiation caused a high background fluorescence of the Martian mineral analogues, as revealed by Raman spectroscopy. Further investigation will be needed to ensure unambiguous identification and operations of future Mars missions. However, a 3-month exposure to a Martian simulated atmosphere showed no significant damaging effect on the tested cyanobacterial biosignatures, pointing out the relevance of the latter for future investigations after the EXPOSE-R2 mission. Data gathered during the ground-based simulations will contribute to interpret results from space experiments and guide our

  17. Influence of Martian regolith analogs on the activity and growth of methanogenic archaea, with special regard to long-term desiccation

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Janosch eSchirmack

    2015-03-01

    Full Text Available Methanogenic archaea have been studied as model organisms for possible life on Mars for several reasons: they can grow lithoautotrophically by using hydrogen and carbon dioxide as energy and carbon sources, respectively; they are anaerobes; and they evolved at a time when conditions on early Earth are believed to have looked similar to those of early Mars. As Mars is currently dry and cold and as water might be available only at certain time intervals, any organism living on this planet would need to cope with desiccation. On Earth there are several regions with low water availability as well, e.g. permafrost environments, desert soils and salt pans. Here, we present the results of a set of experiments investigating the influence of different Martian regolith analogs on the metabolic activity and growth of three methanogenic strains exposed to culture conditions as well as long-term desiccation. In most cases, concentrations below 1 %wt of regolith in the media resulted in an increase of methane production rates, whereas higher concentrations decreased the rates, thus prolonging the lag phase. Further experiments showed that methanogenic archaea are capable of producing methane when incubated on a water-saturated sedimentary matrix of regolith lacking nutrients. Survival of methanogens under these conditions was analyzed with a 400 day desiccation experiment in the presence of regolith analogs. All tested strains of methanogens survived the desiccation period as it was determined through reincubation on fresh medium and via qPCR following propidium monoazide treatment to identify viable cells. The survival of long-term desiccation and the ability of active metabolism on water-saturated MRAs strengthens the possibility of methanogenic archaea or physiologically similar organisms to exist in environmental niches on Mars. The best results were achieved in presence of a phyllosilicate, which provides insights of possible positive effects in habitats

  18. Resistance of Terrestrial Microbial Communities to Impack of Physical Conditinos of Subsurface Layers of Martian Regolith

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cheptsov, V. S.; Vorobyova, E. A.

    2017-05-01

    Currently, astrobiology is focused on Mars as one of the most perspective objects in the Solar System to search for microbial life. It was assumed that the putative biosphere of Mars could be cryopreserved and had been stored for billions of years in anabiotic state like microbial communities of Arctic and Antarctic permafrost deposits have been preserved till now for millions of years. In this case microbial cells should be not able to repair the damages or these processes have to be significantly depressed, and the main factor causing cell's death should be ionizing radiation. In a series of experiments we simulated the effects of combination of physical factors known as characteristics of the Martian regolith (and close to the space environment) on the natural microbial communities inhabiting xerophytic harsh habitats with extreme temperature conditions: polar permafrost and desert soils. The aim of the study was to examine the cumulative effect of factors (gamma radiation, low temperature, low pressure) to assess the possibility of metabolic reactions, and to find limits of the viability of natural microbial communities after exposure to the given conditions. It was found that microbial biomarkers could be reliably detected in soil samples after radiation dose accumulation up to 1 MGy (not further investigated) in combination with exposure to low temperature and low pressure. Resistance to extremely high doses of radiation in simulated conditions proves that if there was an Earth-like biosphere on the early Mars microorganisms could survive in the surface or subsurface layers of the Martian regolith for more than tens of millions of years after climate change. The study gives also some new grounds for the approval of transfer of viable microorganisms in space.

  19. Mars Regolith Water Extractor, Phase I

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Aeronautics and Space Administration — The Mars Regolith Water Extractor (MRWE) is a system for acquiring water from the Martian soil. In the MRWE, a stream of CO2 is heated by solar energy or waste heat...

  20. Magnesium Based Rockets for Martian Exploration, Phase I

    Data.gov (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)...

  1. Evolution and Transport of Water in the Upper Regolith of Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hudson, T. L.; Aharonson, O.; Schorghofer, N.; Hecht, M. H.; Bridges, N. T.; Green, J. R.

    2003-01-01

    Long standing theoretical predictions [1-3], as well as recent spacecraft observations [4] indicate that large quantities of ice is present in the high latitudes upper decimeters to meters of the Martian regolith. At shallower depths and warmer locations small amounts of H2O, either adsorbed or free, may be present transiently. An understanding of the evolution of water based on theoretical and experimental considerations of the processes operating at the Martian environment is required. In particular, the porosity, diffusivity, and permeability of soils and their effect on water vapor transport under Mars-like conditions have been estimated, but experimental validation of such models is lacking. Goal: Three related mechanisms may affect water transport in the upper Martian regolith. 1) diffusion along a concentration gradient under isobaric conditions, 2) diffusion along a thermal gradient, which may give rise to a concentration gradient as ice sublimes or molecules desorb from the regolith, and 3) hydraulic flow, or mass motion in response to a pressure gradient. Our combined theoretical and experimental investigation seeks to disentangle these mechanisms and determine which process(es) are dominant in the upper regolith over various timescales. A detailed one-dimensional model of the upper regolith is being created which incorporates water adsorption/ desorption, condensation, porosity, diffusivity, and permeability effects. Certain factors such as diffusivity are difficult to determine theoretically due to the wide range of intrinsic grain properties such as particle sizes, shapes, packing densities, and emergent properties such as tortuosity. An experiment is being designed which will allow us to more accurately determine diffusivity, permeability, and water desorption isotherms for regolith simulants.

  2. 3D Additive Construction with Regolith for Surface Systems

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Aeronautics and Space Administration — Planetary surface exploration on Asteroids, the Moon, Mars and Martian Moons will require the stabilization of loose, fine, dusty regolith to avoid the effects of...

  3. 3D Additive Construction with Regolith for Surface Systems

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mueller, Robert P.

    2014-01-01

    Planetary surface exploration on Asteroids, the Moon, Mars and Martian Moons will require the stabilization of loose, fine, dusty regolith to avoid the effects of vertical lander rocket plume impingement, to keep abrasive and harmful dust from getting lofted and for dust free operations. In addition, the same regolith stabilization process can be used for 3 Dimensional ( 3D) printing, additive construction techniques by repeating the 2D stabilization in many vertical layers. This will allow in-situ construction with regolith so that materials will not have to be transported from Earth. Recent work in the NASA Kennedy Space Center (KSC) Surface Systems Office (NE-S) Swamp Works and at the University of Southern California (USC) under two NASA Innovative Advanced Concept (NIAC) awards have shown promising results with regolith (crushed basalt rock) materials for in-situ heat shields, bricks, landing/launch pads, berms, roads, and other structures that could be fabricated using regolith that is sintered or mixed with a polymer binder. The technical goals and objectives of this project are to prove the feasibility of 3D printing additive construction using planetary regolith simulants and to show that they have structural integrity and practical applications in space exploration.

  4. Chemical composition of Martian fines

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    1982-01-01

    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.

  5. Martian Environment Electrostatic Precipitator

    Science.gov (United States)

    McDougall, Michael Owen

    2016-01-01

    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.

  6. Mg-Sulfate Salts as Possible Water Reservoirs in Martian Regolith

    Science.gov (United States)

    Vaniman, D. T.; Bish, D. L.; Chipera, S. J.; Carey, J. W.; Feldman, W. C.

    2003-12-01

    analysis of this amorphous solid shows that it contains ˜26% H2O (compared with 47% in crystalline hexahydrite), and its observed macroscopic expansion behavior suggests that it can reversibly hydrate and dehydrate. Although neither epsomite nor hexahydrite is likely to be stable near the surface of Mars, their amorphous derivatives or crystalline forms of the lower hydrates might be present (preliminary thermogravimetric data indicate that kieserite is likely to be stable). However, the limited rehydration of structurally degraded hexahydrite indicates that unrealistically large amounts ( ˜50%) would be required in the upper meter of regolith to account for the higher water contents ( ˜13%) suggested for some martian equatorial regions; even larger amounts of kieserite ( ˜100%) would be required. A more important role for sulfates may be in the formation of a low-permeability salt crust that could restrict dewatering of underlying soil horizons.

  7. Using the Viking biology experimental results to obtain chemical information about Martian regolith

    Science.gov (United States)

    Plumb, Robert C.

    1992-01-01

    Although initially formulated as biology experiments, most of the results produced by the Viking Labeled Release (LR), Gas Exchange (GEX), and Pyrolytic Release (PR) experiments have been reproduced by chemical means. The experiments do not need more study as 'biological' phenomena, but they do deserve much more careful consideration from a chemical viewpoint. They are the only 'wet-chemical' experiments that scientists have performed on another planet, but they have not found very general use as sources of scientific information. There is a large set of potentially useful chemical observations, e.g., the three resolvable and precisely measured kinetic components of the release of C-14-labeled gases, the thermal sensitivity and magnitudes of the oxidation reaction(s) of the LR experiments, the kinetics and magnitude of the O2 and CO2 release of the GEX experiments, the thermal sensitivity of the GEX results, the differences between the thermal sensitivity of the GEX and the thermal sensitivity of the LR responses, and the kinetics and magnitudes of the LR successive injection reabsorption effect. It should be possible to test many chemical aspects of hypothetical martian phenomena in experiments using the biology experimental configurations and derive much valuable information by comparisons with the Viking observations.

  8. The mineralogic evolution of the Martian surface through time: Implications from chemical reaction path modeling studies

    Science.gov (United States)

    Plumlee, G. S.; Ridley, W. I.; Debraal, J. D.; Reed, M. H.

    1993-01-01

    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.

  9. Assessing extraterrestrial regolith material simulants for in-situ resource utilization based 3D printing

    OpenAIRE

    Goulas, A; Binner, JGP; Harris, RA; Friel, RJ

    2017-01-01

    This research paper investigates the suitability of ceramic multi-component materials, which are found on the Martian and Lunar surfaces, for 3D printing (aka Additive Manufacturing) of solid structures. 3D printing is a promising solution as part of the cutting edge field of future in situ space manufacturing applications. 3D printing of physical assets from simulated Martian and Lunar regolith was successfully performed during this work by utilising laser-based powder bed fusion equipment. ...

  10. Study of the formation of duricrusts on the martian surface and their effect on sampling equipment

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2017-01-01

    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.

  11. Inorganic analyses of Martian surface samples at the Viking landing sites

    Science.gov (United States)

    Clark, B. C.; Castro, A. J.; Rowe, C. D.; Baird, A. K.; Evans, P. H.; Rose, H. J., Jr.; Toulmin, P., III; Keil, K.; Kelliher, W. C.

    1976-01-01

    Elemental analyses of fines in the Martian regolith at two widely separated landing sites, Chryse Planitia and Utopia Planitia, produced remarkably similar results. At both sites, the uppermost regolith contains abundant Si and Fe, with significant concentrations of Mg, Al, S, Ca, and Ti. The S concentration is one to two orders of magnitude higher, and K (less than 0.25% by weight) is at least 5 times lower than the average for earth's crust. The trace elements Sr, Y, and possibly Zr have been detected at concentrations near or below 100 parts per million. Pebble-sized fragments sampled at Chryse contain more S than the bulk fines and are thought to be pieces of a sulfate-cemented duricrust.

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    J. M. Ward

    2007-07-01

    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.

  13. Comets, volcanism, the salt-rich regolith, and cycling of volatiles on Mars

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Clark, B.C.

    1987-01-01

    The composition of the Martian surface and its evolution are examined, reviewing the results of recent theoretical models and composition estimates based on Viking-lander analyses. The data are compiled in tables and characterized in detail, and a high degree of variation among the predictions is noted. The discussion centers on the possible roles of comets (as sources of volatiles), the salt-rich regolith (as an important water sink), and volcanic activity (interfering with volatile-recycling processes and eventually producing a volatile-depleted surface layer). 45 references

  14. Extraction and Capture of Water from Martian Regolith Experimental Proof-of-Concept

    Science.gov (United States)

    Linne, Diane; Kleinhenz, Julie; Bauman, Steve; Johnson, Kyle

    2016-01-01

    Mars Design Reference Architecture 5.0:Lists in-situ resource utilization (ISRU) as enabling for robust human Mars missionsLO2LCH4 ascent propulsion 25,000 kg oxygen from atmosphere for ascent and life support Atmospheric based ISRU processes less operationally complex than surface based limited concept evaluation to date and Mars surface water property and distribution uncertainty would not allow [Mars soil water processing] to be base lined at this time Limited Concept Evaluation to Date Lunar regolith O2 extraction processing experience Lunar regolith is fluidized and heated to high temperatures with H2 to produce H2O from iron-bearing minerals Mars similarity concept: Soil placed in fluidized bed reactor Heated to moderate temperatures Inert gas flow used to fluidize the bed and help with water desorption Challenges: High-temperature dusty seals Working gas requires downstream separation and recycling to reduce consumables loss Batch process heating thermally inefficient.

  15. Extended survival of several organisms and amino acids under simulated martian surface conditions

    Science.gov (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.

    2011-02-01

    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

  16. Where to search for martian biota?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tasch, Paul

    1997-07-01

    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?

  17. Planning for the Collection and Analysis of Samples of Martian Granular Materials Potentially to be Returned by Mars Sample Return

    Science.gov (United States)

    Carrier, B. L.; Beaty, D. W.

    2017-12-01

    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

  18. Regolith thickness over Sinus Iridum: Results from morphology and size-frequency distribution of small impact craters

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fa, Wenzhe; Liu, Tiantian; Zhu, Meng-Hua; Haruyama, Junichi

    2014-08-01

    High-resolution optical images returned from recent lunar missions provide a new chance for estimation of lunar regolith thickness using morphology and the size-frequency distribution of small impact craters. In this study, regolith thickness over the Sinus Iridum region is estimated using Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Camera (LROC) Narrow Angle Cameras (NACs) images. A revised relationship between crater geometry and regolith thickness is proposed based on old experimental data that takes into considering the effect of the illumination angle of the images. In total, 227 high-resolution LROC NAC images are used, and 378,556 impact craters with diameters from 4.2 to 249.8 m are counted, and their morphologies are identified. Our results show that 50% of the Sinus Iridum region has a regolith thickness between 5.1 and 10.7 m, and the mean and median regolith thicknesses are 8.5 and 8.0 m, respectively. There are substantial regional variations in the regolith thickness, with its median value varying from 2.6 to 12.0 m for most regions. Local variations of regolith thickness are found to be correlated with the lunar surface age: the older the surface, the greater the thickness. In addition, sporadically distributed impact ejecta and crater rays are associated with relatively larger regolith thickness, which might result from excavation and transport of materials during the formation of the secondaries of Copernican-aged craters. Our estimated regolith thickness can help with future analysis of Chang'E-3 lunar penetrating radar echoes and studies of the subsurface stratigraphic structure of the Moon.

  19. The chemical reactivity of the Martian soil and implications for future missions

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zent, Aaron P.; Mckay, Christopher P.

    1994-01-01

    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.

  20. Benefits of Mars ISRU Regolith Water Processing: A Case Study for the NASA Evolvable Mars Campaign

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kleinhenz, Julie; Paz, Aaron; Mueller, Robert

    2016-01-01

    ISRU of Mars resources was baselined in 2009 Design Reference Architecture (DRA) 5.0, but only for Oxygen production using atmospheric CO2. The Methane (LCH4) needed for ascent propulsion of the Mars Ascent Vehicle (MAV) would need to be brought from Earth. However: Extracting water from the Martian Regolith enables the production of both Oxygen and Methane from Mars resources: Water resources could also be used for other applications including: Life support, radiation shielding, plant growth, etc. Water extraction was not baselined in DRA5.0 due to perceived difficulties and complexity in processing regolith. The NASA Evolvable Mars Campaign (EMC) requested studies to look at the quantitative benefits and trades of using Mars water ISRUPhase 1: Examined architecture scenarios for regolith water retrieval. Completed October 2015. Phase 2: Deep dive of one architecture concept to look at end-to-end system size, mass, power of a LCH4/LO2 ISRU production system

  1. Radiation transport simulation of the Martian GCR surface flux and dose estimation using spherical geometry in PHITS compared to MSL-RAD measurements.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Flores-McLaughlin, John

    2017-08-01

    Planetary bodies and spacecraft are predominantly exposed to isotropic radiation environments that are subject to transport and interaction in various material compositions and geometries. Specifically, the Martian surface radiation environment is composed of galactic cosmic radiation, secondary particles produced by their interaction with the Martian atmosphere, albedo particles from the Martian regolith and occasional solar particle events. Despite this complex physical environment with potentially significant locational and geometric dependencies, computational resources often limit radiation environment calculations to a one-dimensional or slab geometry specification. To better account for Martian geometry, spherical volumes with respective Martian material densities are adopted in this model. This physical description is modeled with the PHITS radiation transport code and compared to a portion of measurements from the Radiation Assessment Detector of the Mars Science Laboratory. Particle spectra measured between 15 November 2015 and 15 January 2016 and PHITS model results calculated for this time period are compared. Results indicate good agreement between simulated dose rates, proton, neutron and gamma spectra. This work was originally presented at the 1st Mars Space Radiation Modeling Workshop held in 2016 in Boulder, CO. Copyright © 2017. Published by Elsevier Ltd.

  2. The Martian polar caps: Stability and water transport at low obliquities

    Science.gov (United States)

    Henderson, B. G.; Jakosky, B. M.

    1992-01-01

    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.

  3. Additive Construction using Basalt Regolith Fines

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mueller, Robert P.; Sibille, Laurent; Hintze, Paul E.; Lippitt, Thomas C.; Mantovani, James G.; Nugent, Matthew W.; Townsend, Ivan I.

    2014-01-01

    Planetary surfaces are often covered in regolith (crushed rock), whose geologic origin is largely basalt. The lunar surface is made of small-particulate regolith and areas of boulders located in the vicinity of craters. Regolith composition also varies with location, reflecting the local bedrock geology and the nature and efficiency of the micrometeorite-impact processes. In the lowland mare areas (suitable for habitation), the regolith is composed of small granules (20 - 100 microns average size) of mare basalt and volcanic glass. Impacting micrometeorites may cause local melting, and the formation of larger glassy particles, and this regolith may contain 10-80% glass. Studies of lunar regolith are traditionally conducted with lunar regolith simulant (reconstructed soil with compositions patterned after the lunar samples returned by Apollo). The NASA Kennedy Space Center (KSC) Granular Mechanics & Regolith Operations (GMRO) lab has identified a low fidelity but economical geo-technical simulant designated as Black Point-1 (BP-1). It was found at the site of the Arizona Desert Research and Technology Studies (RATS) analog field test site at the Black Point lava flow in adjacent basalt quarry spoil mounds. This paper summarizes activities at KSC regarding the utilization of BP-1 basalt regolith and comparative work with lunar basalt simulant JSC-1A as a building material for robotic additive construction of large structures. In an effort to reduce the import or in-situ fabrication of binder additives, we focused this work on in-situ processing of regolith for construction in a single-step process after its excavation. High-temperature melting of regolith involves techniques used in glassmaking and casting (with melts of lower density and higher viscosity than those of metals), producing basaltic glass with high durability and low abrasive wear. Most Lunar simulants melt at temperatures above 1100 C, although melt processing of terrestrial regolith at 1500 C is not

  4. Remote Sensing Observations and Numerical Simulation for Martian Layered Ejecta Craters

    Science.gov (United States)

    Li, L.; Yue, Z.; Zhang, C.; Li, D.

    2018-04-01

    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.

  5. Measurements of Regolith Simulant Thermal Conductivity Under Asteroid and Mars Surface Conditions

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ryan, A. J.; Christensen, P. R.

    2017-12-01

    Laboratory measurements have been necessary to interpret thermal data of planetary surfaces for decades. We present a novel radiometric laboratory method to determine temperature-dependent thermal conductivity of complex regolith simulants under rough to high vacuum and across a wide range of temperatures. This method relies on radiometric temperature measurements instead of contact measurements, eliminating the need to disturb the sample with thermal probes. We intend to determine the conductivity of grains that are up to 2 cm in diameter and to parameterize the effects of angularity, sorting, layering, composition, and eventually cementation. We present the experimental data and model results for a suite of samples that were selected to isolate and address regolith physical parameters that affect bulk conductivity. Spherical glass beads of various sizes were used to measure the effect of size frequency distribution. Spherical beads of polypropylene and well-rounded quartz sand have respectively lower and higher solid phase thermal conductivities than the glass beads and thus provide the opportunity to test the sensitivity of bulk conductivity to differences in solid phase conductivity. Gas pressure in our asteroid experimental chambers is held at 10^-6 torr, which is sufficient to negate gas thermal conduction in even our coarsest of samples. On Mars, the atmospheric pressure is such that the mean free path of the gas molecules is comparable to the pore size for many regolith particulates. Thus, subtle variations in pore size and/or atmospheric pressure can produce large changes in bulk regolith conductivity. For each sample measured in our martian environmental chamber, we repeat thermal measurement runs at multiple pressures to observe this behavior. Finally, we present conductivity measurements of angular basaltic simulant that is physically analogous to sand and gravel that may be present on Bennu. This simulant was used for OSIRIS-REx TAGSAM Sample Return

  6. Methanogens and Martian natural resources: Investigations regarding the possibility of biogenic methane on Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Chastain, Brendon Kelly

    Archaeal methanogens were suggested as terrestrial models of possible subsurface martian microbial life prior to the actual detection of methane in Mars' atmosphere. This idea gained even more interest after the methane on Mars was observed. However, the amount of methane detected was very small, and release of methane was localized and episodic. This led some scientists to doubt that an active or ancient biosphere could be the source of the methane. Moreover, even extremophilic methanogens have not been shown to metabolize in conditions exactly analogous to those known to be available on Mars. The following chapters present a realistic and viable mechanism that allows a large or ancient biosphere to be the original source of the observed methane, and they detail experimental work that was done in order to systematically investigate nutritional and conditional variables related to those that might be available in the martian subsurface. The results of the experimental work indicate that some components of Mars' regolith can support methanogenic metabolism without being detrimental to the organisms, and that certain known components of Mars' regolith can promote periods of methanogenic dormancy without being lethal to the methanogens. The results of the experimental studies also show that material known to exist at and near Mars' surface has the potential to supply electrons for biological methanogenesis and that methanogenic metabolism can occur even when artificial media, buffers, and reductants are omitted in order to create more Mars-relevant conditions. These findings may have implications regarding the viability of methanogenic organisms as a source of the observed methane and should assist future efforts to study methanogenic metabolism in conditions exactly analogous to those available in niches on Mars.

  7. Data processing of the active neutron experiment DAN for a Martian regolith investigation

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Sanin, A.B., E-mail: sanin@mx.iki.rssi.ru [Space Research Institute (IKI), RAS, Moscow (Russian Federation); Mitrofanov, I.G.; Litvak, M.L.; Lisov, D.I. [Space Research Institute (IKI), RAS, Moscow (Russian Federation); Starr, R. [Catholic University of America, Washington, DC (United States); Boynton, W. [University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ (United States); Behar, A.; DeFlores, L. [Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA (United States); Fedosov, F.; Golovin, D. [Space Research Institute (IKI), RAS, Moscow (Russian Federation); Hardgrove, C. [University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN (United States); Harshman, K. [University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ (United States); Jun, I. [Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA (United States); Kozyrev, A.S. [Space Research Institute (IKI), RAS, Moscow (Russian Federation); Kuzmin, R.O. [Space Research Institute (IKI), RAS, Moscow (Russian Federation); Vernadsky Institute for Geochemistry and Analytical Chemistry, Moscow (Russian Federation); Malakhov, A. [Space Research Institute (IKI), RAS, Moscow (Russian Federation); Milliken, R. [Brown University, Providence, RI (United States); Mischna, M. [Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA (United States); Moersch, J. [University of Tennessee, Knoxville, TN (United States); Mokrousov, M.I. [Space Research Institute (IKI), RAS, Moscow (Russian Federation); and others

    2015-07-21

    Searching for water in the soil of Gale Crater is one of the primary tasks for the NASA Mars Science Laboratory rover named Curiosity. The primary task of the Dynamic Albedo of Neutrons (DAN) experiment on board the rover is to investigate and qualitatively characterize the presence of water along the rover’s traverse across Gale Crater. The water depth distribution may be found from measurements of neutrons generated by the Pulsing Neutron Generator (PNG) included in the DAN instrument, scattered by the regolith and returned back to the detectors. This paper provides a description of the data processing of such measurements and data products of DAN investigation.

  8. Mars Surveyor Program '01 Mars Environmental Compatibility Assessment wet chemistry lab: a sensor array for chemical analysis of the Martian soil

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kounaves, Samuel P.; Lukow, Stefan R.; Comeau, Brian P.; Hecht, Michael H.; Grannan-Feldman, Sabrina M.; Manatt, Ken; West, Steven J.; Wen, Xiaowen; Frant, Martin; Gillette, Tim

    2003-01-01

    The Mars Environmental Compatibility Assessment (MECA) instrument was designed, built, and flight qualified for the now canceled MSP (Mars Surveyor Program) '01 Lander. The MECA package consisted of a microscope, electrometer, material patch plates, and a wet chemistry laboratory (WCL). The primary goal of MECA was to analyze the Martian soil (regolith) for possible hazards to future astronauts and to provide a better understanding of Martian regolith geochemistry. The purpose of the WCL was to analyze for a range of soluble ionic chemical species and electrochemical parameters. The heart of the WCL was a sensor array of electrochemically based ion-selective electrodes (ISE). After 20 months storage at -23 degrees C and subsequent extended freeze/thawing cycles, WCL sensors were evaluated to determine both their physical durability and analytical responses. A fractional factorial calibration of the sensors was used to obtain slope, intercept, and all necessary selectivity coefficients simultaneously for selected ISEs. This calibration was used to model five cation and three anion sensors. These data were subsequently used to determine concentrations of several ions in two soil leachate simulants (based on terrestrial seawater and hypothesized Mars brine) and four actual soil samples. The WCL results were compared to simulant and soil samples using ion chromatography and inductively coupled plasma optical emission spectroscopy. The results showed that flight qualification and prolonged low-temperature storage conditions had minimal effects on the sensors. In addition, the analytical optimization method provided quantitative and qualitative data that could be used to accurately identify the chemical composition of the simulants and soils. The WCL has the ability to provide data that can be used to "read" the chemical, geological, and climatic history of Mars, as well as the potential habitability of its regolith.

  9. Low Force Penetration of Icy Regolith

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mantovani, J. G.; Galloway, G. M.; Zacny, K.

    2016-01-01

    A percussive cone penetrometer measures the strength of granular material by using percussion to deliver mechanical energy into the material. A percussive cone penetrometer was used in this study to penetrate a regolith ice mixture by breaking up ice and decompacting the regolith. As compared to a static cone penetrometer, percussion allows low reaction forces to push a penetrometer probe tip more easily into dry regolith in a low gravity environment from a planetary surface rover or a landed spacecraft. A percussive cone penetrates icy regolith at ice concentrations that a static cone cannot penetrate. In this study, the percussive penetrator was able to penetrate material under 65 N of down-force which could not be penetrated using a static cone under full body weight. This paper discusses using a percussive cone penetrometer to discern changes in the concentration of water-ice in a mixture of lunar regolith simulant and ice to a depth of one meter. The rate of penetration was found to be a function of the ice content and was not significantly affected by the down-force. The test results demonstrate that this method may be ideal for a small platform in a reduced gravity environment. However, there are some cases where the system may not be able to penetrate the icy regolith, and there is some risk of the probe tip becoming stuck so that it cannot be retracted. It is also shown that a percussive cone penetrometer could be used to prospect for water ice in regolith at concentrations as high as 8 by weight.

  10. Oxygen in the Martian atmosphere: Regulation of PO2 by the deposition of iron formations on Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Burns, Roger G.

    1992-01-01

    During Earth's early history, and prior to the evolution of its present day oxygenated atmosphere, extensive iron rich siliceous sedimentary rocks were deposited, consisting of alternating layers of silica (chert) and iron oxide minerals (hematite and magnetite). The banding in iron formations recorded changes of atmosphere-hydrosphere interactions near sea level in the ancient ocean, which induced the oxidation of dissolved ferrous iron, precipitation of insoluble ferric oxides and silica, and regulation of oxygen in Earth's early atmosphere. Similarities between the Archean Earth and the composition of the present day atmosphere on Mars, together with the pervasive presence of ferric oxides in the Martian regolith suggest that iron formation might also have been deposited on Mars and influenced the oxygen content of the Martian atmosphere. Such a possibility is discussed here with a view to assessing whether the oxygen content of the Martian atmosphere has been regulated by the chemical precipitation of iron formations on Mars.

  11. Radiation Shielding of Lunar Regolith/Polyethylene Composites and Lunar Regolith/Water Mixtures

    Science.gov (United States)

    Johnson, Quincy F.; Gersey, Brad; Wilkins, Richard; Zhou, Jianren

    2011-01-01

    Space radiation is a complex mixed field of ionizing radiation that can pose hazardous risks to sophisticated electronics and humans. Mission planning for lunar exploration and long duration habitat construction will face tremendous challenges of shielding against various types of space radiation in an attempt to minimize the detrimental effects it may have on materials, electronics, and humans. In late 2009, the Lunar Crater Observation and Sensing Satellite (LCROSS) discovered that water content in lunar regolith found in certain areas on the moon can be up to 5.6 +/-2.8 weight percent (wt%) [A. Colaprete, et. al., Science, Vol. 330, 463 (2010). ]. In this work, shielding studies were performed utilizing ultra high molecular weight polyethylene (UHMWPE) and aluminum, both being standard space shielding materials, simulated lunar regolith/ polyethylene composites, and simulated lunar regolith mixed with UHMWPE particles and water. Based on the LCROSS findings, radiation shielding experiments were conducted to test for shielding efficiency of regolith/UHMWPE/water mixtures with various percentages of water to compare relative shielding characteristics of these materials. One set of radiation studies were performed using the proton synchrotron at the Loma Linda Medical University where high energy protons similar to those found on the surface of the moon can be generated. A similar experimental protocol was also used at a high energy spalation neutron source at Los Alamos Neutron Science Center (LANSCE). These experiments studied the shielding efficiency against secondary neutrons, another major component of space radiation field. In both the proton and neutron studies, shielding efficiency was determined by utilizing a tissue equivalent proportional counter (TEPC) behind various thicknesses of shielding composite panels or mixture materials. Preliminary results from these studies indicated that adding 2 wt% water to regolith particles could increase shielding of

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2017-12-01

    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

  13. Luna 24 regolith breccias: A possible source of the fine size material of the Luna 24 regolith

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rode, O. D.; Lindstrom, M. M.

    1994-01-01

    The regolith breccias from the Luna 24 core were analyzed. The Luna 24 regolith is a mixture of fine and coarse grain materials. The comparable analysis of the grain size distributions, the modal and chemical compositions of the breccias, and the regolith from the same levels show that the friable slightly litificated breccia with a friable fine grain matrix may be a source of fine grain material of the Luna 24 present day regolith.

  14. An Investigation of the Mechanical Properties of Some Martian Regolith Simulants with Respect to the Surface Properties at the InSight Mission Landing Site

    Science.gov (United States)

    Delage, Pierre; Karakostas, Foivos; Dhemaied, Amine; Belmokhtar, Malik; Lognonné, Philippe; Golombek, Matt; De Laure, Emmanuel; Hurst, Ken; Dupla, Jean-Claude; Kedar, Sharon; Cui, Yu Jun; Banerdt, Bruce

    2017-10-01

    In support of the InSight mission in which two instruments (the SEIS seismometer and the HP3 heat flow probe) will interact directly with the regolith on the surface of Mars, a series of mechanical tests were conducted on three different regolith simulants to better understand the observations of the physical and mechanical parameters that will be derived from InSight. The mechanical data obtained were also compared to data on terrestrial sands. The density of the regolith strongly influences its mechanical properties, as determined from the data on terrestrial sands. The elastoplastic compression volume changes were investigated through oedometer tests that also provided estimates of possible changes in density with depth. The results of direct shear tests provided values of friction angles that were compared with that of a terrestrial sand, and an extrapolation to lower density provided a friction angle compatible with that estimated from previous observations on the surface of Mars. The importance of the contracting/dilating shear volume changes of sands on the dynamic penetration of the mole was determined, with penetration facilitated by the ˜1.3 Mg/m3 density estimated at the landing site. Seismic velocities, measured by means of piezoelectric bender elements in triaxial specimens submitted to various isotropic confining stresses, show the importance of the confining stress, with lesser influence of density changes under compression. A power law relation of velocity as a function of confining stress with an exponent of 0.3 was identified from the tests, allowing an estimate of the surface seismic velocity of 150 m/s. The effect on the seismic velocity of a 10% proportion of rock in the regolith was also studied. These data will be compared with in situ data measured by InSight after landing.

  15. Vertical transport of water in the Martian boundary layer

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    1993-01-01

    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.

  16. [Possibility of exacerbation of allergy by lunar regolith].

    Science.gov (United States)

    Horie, Masanori; Kambara, Tatsunori; Kuroda, Etsushi; Miki, Takeo; Honma, Yoshiyuki; Aoki, Shigeru; Morimoto, Yasuo

    2012-09-01

    Japan, U.S.A. and other foreign space agencies have plans for the construction of a lunar base and long-term stay of astronauts on the moon. The surface of the moon is covered by a thick layer of soil that includes fine particles called "lunar regolith", which is formed by meteorite impact and space weathering. Risk assessment of particulate matter on the moon is important for astronauts working in microgravity on the moon. However, there are few investigations about the biological influences of lunar regolith. Especially, there is no investigation about allergic activity to lunar regolith. The main chemical components of lunar regolith are SiO2, Al2O3, CaO, FeO, etc. Of particular interest, approximately 50% of lunar regolith consists of SiO2. There is a report that the astronauts felt hay fever-like symptoms from the inhalation of the lunar regolith. Yellow sand, whose chemical components are similar to lunar regolith, enhances allergenic reactions, suggesting the possibility that lunar regolith has an adjuvant-like activity. Although intraperitoneal administration of lunar regolith with ovalbumin to mouse did not show enhancement of allergenic reactions, further evaluation of lunar regolith's potential to exacerbate the effects of allergies is essential for development of the moon.

  17. Manganese, Metallogenium, and Martian Microfossils

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    1999-01-01

    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.

  18. SSERVI Analog Regolith Simulant Testbed Facility

    Science.gov (United States)

    Minafra, J.; Schmidt, G. K.

    2016-12-01

    SSERVI's goals include supporting planetary researchers within NASA, other government agencies; private sector and hardware developers; competitors in focused prize design competitions; and academic sector researchers. The SSERVI Analog Regolith Simulant Testbed provides opportunities for research scientists and engineers to study the effects of regolith analog testbed research in the planetary exploration field. This capability is essential to help to understand the basic effects of continued long-term exposure to a simulated analog test environment. The current facility houses approximately eight tons of JSC-1A lunar regolith simulant in a test bin consisting of a 4 meter by 4 meter area. SSERVI provides a bridge between several groups, joining together researchers from: 1) scientific and exploration communities, 2) multiple disciplines across a wide range of planetary sciences, and 3) domestic and international communities and partnerships. This testbed provides a means of consolidating the tasks of acquisition, storage and safety mitigation in handling large quantities of regolith simulant Facility hardware and environment testing scenarios include, but are not limited to the following; Lunar surface mobility, Dust exposure and mitigation, Regolith handling and excavation, Solar-like illumination, Lunar surface compaction profile, Lofted dust, Mechanical properties of lunar regolith, and Surface features (i.e. grades and rocks) Numerous benefits vary from easy access to a controlled analog regolith simulant testbed, and planetary exploration activities at NASA Research Park, to academia and expanded commercial opportunities in California's Silicon Valley, as well as public outreach and education opportunities.

  19. A drilling tool design and in situ identification of planetary regolith mechanical parameters

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zhang, Weiwei; Jiang, Shengyuan; Ji, Jie; Tang, Dewei

    2018-05-01

    The physical and mechanical properties as well as the heat flux of regolith are critical evidence in the study of planetary origin and evolution. Moreover, the mechanical properties of planetary regolith have great value for guiding future human planetary activities. For planetary subsurface exploration, an inchworm boring robot (IBR) has been proposed to penetrate the regolith, and the mechanical properties of the regolith are expected to be simultaneously investigated during the penetration process using the drilling tool on the IBR. This paper provides a preliminary study of an in situ method for measuring planetary regolith mechanical parameters using a drilling tool on a test bed. A conical-screw drilling tool was designed, and its drilling load characteristics were experimentally analyzed. Based on the drilling tool-regolith interaction model, two identification methods for determining the planetary regolith bearing and shearing parameters are proposed. The bearing and shearing parameters of lunar regolith simulant were successfully determined according to the pressure-sinkage tests and shear tests conducted on the test bed. The effects of the operating parameters on the identification results were also analyzed. The results indicate a feasible scheme for future planetary subsurface exploration.

  20. Depth and stratigraphy of regolith. Site descriptive modelling SDM-Site Laxemar

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Nyman, Helena; Sohlenius, Gustav; Stroemgren, Maarten; Brydsten, Lars

    2008-06-01

    At the Laxemar-Simpevarp site, numerical and descriptive modelling are performed both for the deep bedrock and for the surface systems. The surface geology and regolith depth are important parameters for e.g. hydrogeological and geochemical modelling and for the over all understanding of the area. Regolith refers to all the unconsolidated deposits overlying the bedrock. The regolith depth model (RDM) presented here visualizes the stratigraphical distribution of the regolith as well as the elevation of the bedrock surface. The model covers 280 km 2 including both terrestrial and marine areas. In the model the stratigraphy is represented by six layers (Z1-Z6) that corresponds to different types of regolith. The model is geometric and the properties of the layers are assigned by the user according to the purpose. The GeoModel program, which is an ArcGIS extension, was used for modelling the regolith depths. A detailed topographical Digital Elevation Model (DEM) and a map of Quaternary deposits were used as input to the model. Altogether 319 boreholes and 440 other stratigraphical observations were also used. Furthermore a large number of depth data interpreted from geophysical investigations were used; refraction seismic measurements from 51 profiles, 11,000 observation points from resistivity measurements and almost 140,000 points from seismic and sediment echo sounding data. The results from the refraction seismic and resistivity measurements give information about the total regolith depths, whereas most other data also give information about the stratigraphy of the regolith. Some of the used observations did not reach the bedrock surface. They do, however, describe the minimum regolith depth at each location and were therefore used where the regolith depth would have been thinner without using the observation point. A large proportion of the modelled area has a low data density and the area was therefore divided into nine domains. These domains were defined based

  1. Depth and stratigraphy of regolith. Site descriptive modelling SDM-Site Laxemar

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Nyman, Helena (SWECO Position, Stockholm (Sweden)); Sohlenius, Gustav (Geological Survey of Sweden (SGU), Uppsala (Sweden)); Stroemgren, Maarten; Brydsten, Lars (Umeaa Univ., Umeaa (Sweden))

    2008-06-15

    At the Laxemar-Simpevarp site, numerical and descriptive modelling are performed both for the deep bedrock and for the surface systems. The surface geology and regolith depth are important parameters for e.g. hydrogeological and geochemical modelling and for the over all understanding of the area. Regolith refers to all the unconsolidated deposits overlying the bedrock. The regolith depth model (RDM) presented here visualizes the stratigraphical distribution of the regolith as well as the elevation of the bedrock surface. The model covers 280 km2 including both terrestrial and marine areas. In the model the stratigraphy is represented by six layers (Z1-Z6) that corresponds to different types of regolith. The model is geometric and the properties of the layers are assigned by the user according to the purpose. The GeoModel program, which is an ArcGIS extension, was used for modelling the regolith depths. A detailed topographical Digital Elevation Model (DEM) and a map of Quaternary deposits were used as input to the model. Altogether 319 boreholes and 440 other stratigraphical observations were also used. Furthermore a large number of depth data interpreted from geophysical investigations were used; refraction seismic measurements from 51 profiles, 11,000 observation points from resistivity measurements and almost 140,000 points from seismic and sediment echo sounding data. The results from the refraction seismic and resistivity measurements give information about the total regolith depths, whereas most other data also give information about the stratigraphy of the regolith. Some of the used observations did not reach the bedrock surface. They do, however, describe the minimum regolith depth at each location and were therefore used where the regolith depth would have been thinner without using the observation point. A large proportion of the modelled area has a low data density and the area was therefore divided into nine domains. These domains were defined based on

  2. Strategies for Distinguishing Abiotic Chemistry from Martian Biochemistry in Samples Returned from Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Glavin, D. P.; Burton, A. S.; Callahan, M. P.; Elsila, J. E.; Stern, J. C.; Dworkin, J. P.

    2012-01-01

    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

  3. Martian North Polar Water-Ice Clouds During the Viking Era

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tamppari, L. K.; Bass, D. S.

    2000-01-01

    The Viking Orbiters determined that the surface of Mars' northern residual cap consists of water ice. Observed atmospheric water vapor abundances in the equatorial regions have been related to seasonal exchange between reservoirs such as the polar caps, the regolith and between different phases in the atmosphere. Kahn modeled the physical characteristics of ice hazes seen in Viking Orbiter imaging limb data, hypothesizing that ice hazes provide a method for scavenging water vapor from the atmosphere and accumulating it into ice particles. Given that Jakosky found that these particles had sizes such that fallout times were of order one Martian sol, these water-ice hazes provided a method for returning more water to the regolith than that provided by adsorption alone. These hazes could also explain the rapid hemispheric decrease in atmospheric water in late northern summer as well as the increase during the following early spring. A similar comparison of water vapor abundance versus polar cap brightness has been done for the north polar region. They have shown that water vapor decreases steadily between L(sub s) = 100-150 deg while polar cap albedo increases during the same time frame. As a result, they suggested that late summer water-ice deposition onto the ice cap may be the cause of the cap brightening. This deposition could be due to adsorption directly onto the cap surface or to snowfall. Thus, an examination of north polar waterice clouds could lend insight into the fate of the water vapor during this time period. Additional information is contained in the original extended abstract.

  4. Experimental Investigation of Adsorption Kinetics: Implications for Diurnals Variations of Martian Atmospheric Water.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Slank, R.; Farris, H. N.; Chevrier, V.

    2017-12-01

    Introduction: Ice at Mars' equatorial regions is unstable at geologically short timescales, due to factors like thermal properties of the regolith and depth [1]. The distribution of ice is governed by thermodynamics and kinetics, which largely depends on diffusive and adsorptive properties of the regolith [2] and are studied through simulation experiments on regolith analogs. Numerical models of water ice stability [3] often require kinetic parameters that are lacking for Mars relevant materials. Previous measurements were limited to clays [4] or did not account for temperature dependence [5]. Method: Measurements of input parameters are performed for different regoliths relevant to observations of the Martian surface: smectite, basalt, JSC-Mars 1, and nanophase ferric oxides [6]. While diffusive properties of some of these materials are well understood [7; 1; 8; 9], we seek to determine adsorption parameters, specifically the temperature dependencies for kinetics. Adsorption kinetic constants are derived from the change in mass of water adsorbed as a function of time on a thin layer ( 1mm thick) of regolith, resulting in minimum diffusion and maximum surface in contact with the atmosphere. The samples are baked for 24 hours at 100°C and then sealed in a desiccators placed in a freezer to cool the sample. All experiments are run in the Aries Mars Simulation Chamber. The chamber is evacuated to less that 1 mbar, filled with dry CO2 gas to atmospheric pressure, and chilled to the determined temperature. Once conditions are stable, the sample is measured and placed in the chamber. The sample is then exposed to a 6 mbar CO2 atmosphere at various temperatures (-12 to 3°C) and humidities (5 to 80%). Experiments are run for 4 to 8 hours, to allow the sample to reach steady state. During this time, mass, pressure, temperature, relative humidity, and water vapor pressure are recorded. References: [1] Beck, P. et al. (2010) JGR 115. [2] Chevrier, V.F. et al. (2008) Icarus

  5. SSERVI Analog Regolith Simulant Testbed Facility

    Science.gov (United States)

    Minafra, Joseph; Schmidt, Gregory; Bailey, Brad; Gibbs, Kristina

    2016-10-01

    The Solar System Exploration Research Virtual Institute (SSERVI) at NASA's Ames Research Center in California's Silicon Valley was founded in 2013 to act as a virtual institute that provides interdisciplinary research centered on the goals of its supporting directorates: NASA Science Mission Directorate (SMD) and the Human Exploration & Operations Mission Directorate (HEOMD).Primary research goals of the Institute revolve around the integration of science and exploration to gain knowledge required for the future of human space exploration beyond low Earth orbit. SSERVI intends to leverage existing JSC1A regolith simulant resources into the creation of a regolith simulant testbed facility. The purpose of this testbed concept is to provide the planetary exploration community with a readily available capability to test hardware and conduct research in a large simulant environment.SSERVI's goals include supporting planetary researchers within NASA, other government agencies; private sector and hardware developers; competitors in focused prize design competitions; and academic sector researchers.SSERVI provides opportunities for research scientists and engineers to study the effects of regolith analog testbed research in the planetary exploration field. This capability is essential to help to understand the basic effects of continued long-term exposure to a simulated analog test environment.The current facility houses approximately eight tons of JSC-1A lunar regolith simulant in a test bin consisting of a 4 meter by 4 meter area, including dust mitigation and safety oversight.Facility hardware and environment testing scenarios could include, Lunar surface mobility, Dust exposure and mitigation, Regolith handling and excavation, Solar-like illumination, Lunar surface compaction profile, Lofted dust, Mechanical properties of lunar regolith, Surface features (i.e. grades and rocks)Numerous benefits vary from easy access to a controlled analog regolith simulant testbed, and

  6. BRDF of Salt Pan Regolith Samples

    Science.gov (United States)

    Georgiev, Georgi T.; Gatebe, Charles K.; Butler, James J.; King, Michael D.

    2008-01-01

    Laboratory Bi-directional Reflectance Distribution Function (BRDF) measurements of salt pan regolith samples are presented in this study in an effort to understand the role of spatial and spectral variability of the natural biome. The samples were obtained from Etosha Pan, Namibia (19.20 deg S, 15.93 deg E, alt. 1100 m). It is shown how the BRDF depends on the measurement geometry - incident and scatter angles and on the sample particle sizes. As a demonstration of the application of the results, airborne BRDF measurements acquires with NASA's Cloud Absorption Radiometer (CAR) over the same general site where the regolith samples were collected are compared with the laboratory results. Good agreement between laboratory measured and field measured BRDF is reported.

  7. Exploring Regolith Depth and Cycling on Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fassett, C.; Needham, D. H.; Watters, W. A.; Hundal, C.

    2017-12-01

    Regolith or loose sediment is ubiquitous on the surface of Mars, but our understanding of how this fragmental layer forms and evolves with time is limited. In particular, how regolith thickness varies spatially on Mars is not well known. A common perspective is to start from the canonical model for lunar regolith, which is not unreasonable, given that both Mars and the Moon are heavily cratered surfaces. However, this lunar-like paradigm is not supported by observations of Mars from recent missions. On Mars, bedrock exposures are more common and bedrock is generally closer to the surface than on the Moon, and the processes modifying the regolith differ substantially on the two bodies. Moreover, boulders on the Moon have much shorter lifetimes than on Mars, so boulders are much less common on the lunar surface. The sediment transport processes infilling craters differs dramatically on these two bodies as well. On Mars, fine-grained sediment is efficiently transported (advectively) by wind and trapped in craters rapidly after they form. Lateral transport of lunar regolith is comparatively inefficient and dominated by slow impact-driven (diffusive) transport of regolith. The goal of this contribution is to discuss observational constraints on Mars' regolith depth, and to place observations into a model for Mars landform evolution and regolith cycle. Our operating hypothesis is that the inter-crater surface on Mars is comparatively starved of fine-grained sediment (compared to the Moon), because transport and trapping of fines in craters out-competes physical weathering. Moreover, thick sedimentary bodies on Mars often get (weakly) cemented and lithified due to interactions with fluids, even in the most recent, Amazonian epoch. This is consistent with what is observed at the MER and MSL landing sites and what is known from the SNC meteorites.

  8. Detecting Volatiles Deep in the Lunar Regolith

    Science.gov (United States)

    Crotts, A.; Heggy, E.; Ciarletti, V.; Colaprete, A.; Moghaddam, M.; Siegler, M. A.

    2015-12-01

    There is increasing theoretical and empirical evidence, from the Apollo era and after, of volatiles deep in the lunar interior, in the crust and deeper, both hydrogen-rich and otherwise. This comes in the form of fire fountain samples from Apollo 15 and Apollo 17, of hydrated minerals excavated by impacts which reach the base of the lunar crust e.g., crater Bullialdus, of hydration of apatite and other minerals, as well as predictions of a water-concentrated layer along with the KREEP material at the base of the lunar crust. We discuss how the presence of these volatiles might be directly explored. In particular water vapor molecules percolating to the surface through lunar regolith might be expected to stick and freeze into the regolith, at depths of several meters depending on the regolith temperature profile, porosity and particle size distribution, quantities that are not well known beyond two meters depth. To explore these depths in the regolith we use and propose several modes of penetrating radar. We will present results using the SELENE/Kaguya's Lunar Sounding RADAR (LSR) to probe the bulk volatile dielectric and loss structure properties of the regolith in various locations, both within permanently shadowed regions (PSRs) and without, and within neutron suppression regions (NSRs) as traced by epithermal neutrons and without. We also propose installation of ground penetrating RADAR (GPR) on a roving lunar platform that should be able to probe between 0.2 and 1.6 GHz, which will provide a probe of the entire depth of the lunar regolith as well as a high-resolution (about 4 cm FWHM) probe of the upper meter or two of the lunar soil, where other probes of volatiles such as epithermal neutron absorption or drilling might be employed. We discuss predictions for what kinds of volatile density profiles might be distinguished in this way, and whether these will be detected from orbit as NSRs, whether these must be restricted to PSRs, and how these might appear in

  9. Spatial Patterns between Regolith Thickness and Forest Productivity in the Southern Sierra CZO

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ferrell, R. M.; Ferrell, D. F.; Hartsough, P. C.; O'Geen, T. T.

    2015-12-01

    Soil in conjunction with underlying weathered bedrock make up what is referred to as regolith, which can be thought of as the substrate that actively contributes water and nutrients to above ground biomass. As a result, regolith thickness is an important regulating factor of forest health and drought tolerance in the Sierra Nevada. Our project examined the relationships between landscape position, regolith thickness, and tree productivity within a sub watershed of the Southern Sierra Critical Zone Observatory. We hypothesized that tree productivity will increase with increasing regolith thickness. Data was collected in the summer of 2015 at sixty-five sites within a 522-ha watershed averaging 1180m in elevation with a MAP of 80cm and a MAT of 11C. Sites were randomly selected from a grid and then stratified in the field to capture representative samples from different landscape positions. Regolith was sampled using a hand auger with attachable extensions. At each site we augered to hard bedrock or a maximum depth of 7.56 m, which ever was shallower. Biomass measurements were made for all conifer species (DBH>20cm) within a 10m radius of the primary auger hole. Tree age was measured from a representative tree for all species in the plots. Preliminary findings suggest that there is a weak correlation between landscape position/slope and regolith thickness, likely due to differences in lithology. It also appears that terrain shape can result in conflicting outcomes: 1. It can focus water to promote physical and chemical weathering and thick regolith; or, 2. water focusing can result in landscape scouring, removing soil and weathered bedrock to create shallow regolith. Productivity appears to be a function of regolith thickness, effective precipitation and landscape position. Water collecting areas in the lower watershed are shallow to bedrock, but typically receive high amounts of effective precipitation resulting in greater tree productivity. Moreover, thick regolith

  10. Characterising and modelling regolith stratigraphy using multiple geophysical techniques

    Science.gov (United States)

    Thomas, M.; Cremasco, D.; Fotheringham, T.; Hatch, M. A.; Triantifillis, J.; Wilford, J.

    2013-12-01

    -registration, depth correction, etc.) each geophysical profile was evaluated by matching the core data. Applying traditional geophysical techniques, the best profiles were inverted using the core data creating two-dimensional (2-D) stratigraphic regolith models for each transect, and evaluated using independent validation. Next, in a test of an alternative method borrowed from digital soil mapping, the best preprocessed geophysical profiles were co-registered and stratigraphic models for each property created using multivariate environmental correlation. After independent validation, the qualities of the latest models were compared to the traditionally derived 2-D inverted models. Finally, the best overall stratigraphic models were used in conjunction with local environmental data (e.g. geology, geochemistry, terrain, soils) to create conceptual regolith hillslope models for each transect highlighting important features and processes, e.g. morphology, hydropedology and weathering characteristics. Results are presented with recommendations regarding the use of geophysics in modelling regolith stratigraphy at fine scales.

  11. A simulated regolith medium for multi-wavelength studies

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wilkman, O.; Muinonen, K.; Parviainen, H.; Näränen, J.

    2012-04-01

    Effects arising from the small-scale surface structure are significant in remote studies of regolith surfaces on atmosphereless solar system bodies, such as the Moon, Mercury and the asteroids. The important properties determining these effects are the porosity of the regolith and the roughness of the interface between the bulk material and empty space. We concentrate on the regolith effects in visible light photometry and X-ray spectrometry. The fluorescent X-ray spectrum induced by solar X-rays contains information about the elemental abundances of the surface material, while the photometry can be used to constrain surface properties such as porosity. We have developed a computer model simulating a regolith medium consisting of spherical particles with variable size distribution and properties. The bulk properties of the medium, such as porosity and surface roughness, can be varied. The model can then be used in ray-tracing simulations of the regolith effects in both visible light scattering and X-ray fluorescence. In photometric studies the scattering law of the constituent particles can be chosen to take into account scattering phenomena such as coherent backscattering. In the X-ray simulations, we can choose the elemental abundances of the material and the spectrum of the incident X-ray radiation. The ray-tracing simulations then allow us to determine the characteristics of the emitted radiation in different observational geometries. We present results from various studies which have been based on our regolith model. The model has been used to simulate the regolith effects on X-ray fluorescence spectra under specific situations. These can be compared to laboratory measurements. The visible light simulations have been applied in a study of the shadowing effects in photometry. The model was also used in a study of lunar photometry from SMART-1/AMIE data. Applications in the analysis of X-ray spectrometry from the BepiColombo MIXS/SIXS instruments are planned. An

  12. Construction with Regolith

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mueller, Robert P.

    2017-01-01

    CLASS node of SSERVI at FSI, The Technology and Future of In-Situ Resource Utilization (ISRU): ACapstone Graduate Seminar Orlando, FL. This seminar will discuss the use of regolith and robotics in extra terrestrialconstruction.

  13. Advanced Additive Manufacturing Feedstock from Molten Regolith Electrolysis

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Aeronautics and Space Administration — Demonstrate the feasibility of Molten Regolith Electrolysis (MRE) Reactor start by initiating resistive-heating of the regolith past its melting point using...

  14. Aqueous extracts of a Mars analogue regolith that mimics the Phoenix landing site do not inhibit spore germination or growth of model spacecraft contaminants Bacillus subtilis 168 and Bacillus pumilus SAFR-032

    Science.gov (United States)

    Nicholson, Wayne L.; McCoy, Lashelle E.; Kerney, Krystal R.; Ming, Douglas W.; Golden, D. C.; Schuerger, Andrew C.

    2012-08-01

    Because Mars is a primary target for life detection and habitability assessment missions, its exploration is also by necessity a Planetary Protection issue. The recent finding of significant levels of perchlorate (ClO4-) in regolith sampled from the Phoenix landing site raises the question of its potential biotoxicity to putative indigenous martian life, microbial forward contaminants from Earth, or future human visitors. To address this issue, an analogue regolith was constructed based on regolith chemistry data from the Phoenix landing site. A Mars Aqueous Regolith Extract (MARE) was prepared from the Phoenix analogue regolith and analyzed by ion chromatography. The MARE contained (mg/L) the cations Na+ (1411 ± 181), Mg2+ (1051 ± 160), Ca2+ (832 ± 125), and K+ (261 ± 29), and the anions SO42-(5911±993), ClO4-(5316±1767), Cl(171±25) and F- (2.0 ± 0.4). Nitrogen-containing species NO3-(773±113) and NO2-(6.9±2.3) were also present as a result of regolith preparation procedures, but their relevance to Mars is at present unknown. The MARE was tested for potential toxic effects on two model spacecraft contaminants, the spore-forming bacteria Bacillus subtilis strain 168 and Bacillus pumilus strain SAFR-032. In B. subtilis, spore germination and initial vegetative growth (up to ˜5 h) was not inhibited in a rich complex medium prepared with the MARE, but growth after 5 h was significantly suppressed in medium prepared using the MARE. Both B. subtilis and B. pumilus exhibited significantly higher rates of spore germination and growth in the MARE vs. DW with no additions (likely due to endogenous spore nutrients), but germination and growth was further stimulated by addition of glucose and a combination of buffered inorganic salts (K2HPO4, KH2PO4, (NH4)2SO4, and MgSO4). The data indicate that the aqueous environment in the regolith from the Phoenix landing site containing high levels of perchlorate does not pose a significant barrier to growth of putative

  15. PROGRA2 experiment: new results for dust clouds and regoliths

    Science.gov (United States)

    Renard, J.-B.; Hadamcik, E.; Worms, J.-C.; Levasseur-Regourd, A.-C.; Daugeron, D.

    With the CNES-sponsored PROGRA2 facility, linear polarization of scattered light is performed on various types of dust clouds in microgravity during parabolic flights onboard the CNES- and ESA-sponsored A300 Zéro-G aircraft. Clouds of fluffy aggregates are also studied on the ground when lifted by an air-draught. The effect of the physical properties of the particles, such as the grains size and size distribution, the real part of the refractive index, and the structure is currently being studied. The size distribution of the agglomerates is measured in the field of view from the polarized component images. The large number of phase curves already obtained in the various conditions of measurements, in order to build a database (about 160 curves) allows us to better connect the physical properties with the observed polarization of the dust in the clouds. The aim is to compare these curves with those obtained in the solar system by remote-sensing and in-situ techniques for interplanetary dust, cometary coma, and solid particles in planetary atmospheres (Renard et al., 2003). Measurements on layers of particles (i.e. on the ground) are then compared with remote measurements on asteroidal regoliths and planetary surfaces. New phase curves will be presented and discussed i.e. for quartz samples, crystals, fluffy mixtures of alumina and silica, and a high porosity ``regolith'' analogue made of micron-sized silica spheres. This work will contribute to the choice of the samples to be studied with the IMPACT/ICAPS instrument onboard the ISS. J.-B. Renard, E. Hadamcik, T. Lemaire, J.-C. Worms and A.-C. Levasseur-Regourd (2003). Polarization imaging of dust cloud particles: improvement and applications of the PROGRA2 instrument, ASR 31, 12, 2511-2518.

  16. Unravelling regolith material types using Mg/Al and K/Al plot to support field regolith identification in the savannah regions of NW Ghana, West Africa

    Science.gov (United States)

    Arhin, Emmanuel; Zango, Saeed M.

    2015-12-01

    The XRF analytical method was used to measure the weight % of the major oxides in regolith samples. The metal weight % of Mg, K and Al were calculated from their oxides and were normalised relative to immobile Al calculated from its oxide. The plot of Mg/Al and K/Al identified the regolith of the study area to consist of 137 transported clays, 4 ferruginous sediments or ferricrete, 2 lateritic duricrust and 4 saprolites. Surface regolith that had undergone secondary transformation and shows compositional overlaps were 4 transported clays with Fe-oxide impregnation may be referred to as nodular laterite and 5 ferruginous saprolites. The variable regolith materials features identified from the 154 samples enabled the characterisation and identification of the different sample materials because an overprint of bedrock geochemistry is reflected in the regolith. Plot of Mg/Al and K/Al highlighted the compositional variability of the regolith samples and refute the notion of the homogeneity of all the sampled materials in the area. The study thus recognized Mg/Al versus K/Al plots to be used in supporting field identification of regolith mapping units particularly in complex regolith terrains of savannah regions of Ghana and in similar areas where geochemical exploration surveys are being carried out under cover.

  17. Low Temperature Regolith Bricks for In-Situ Structural Material

    Science.gov (United States)

    Grossman, Kevin; Sakthivel, Tamil S.; Mantovani, James; Seal, Sudipta

    2016-01-01

    Current technology for producing in-situ structural materials on future missions to Mars or the moon relies heavily on energy-intensive sintering processes to produce solid bricks from regolith. This process requires heating the material up to temperatures in excess of 1000 C and results in solid regolith pieces with compressive strengths in the range of 14000 to 28000 psi, but are heavily dependent on the porosity of the final material and are brittle. This method is currently preferred over a low temperature cementation process to prevent consumption of precious water and other non-renewable materials. A high strength structural material with low energy requirements is still needed for future colonization of other planets. To fulfill these requirements, a nano-functionalization process has been developed to produce structural bricks from regolith simulant and shows promising mechanical strength results. Functionalization of granular silicate particles into alkoxides using a simple low temperature chemical process produces a high surface area zeolite particles that are held together via inter-particle oxygen bonding. Addition of water in the resulting zeolite particles produces a sol-gel reaction called "inorganic polymerization" which gives a strong solid material after a curing process at 60 C. The aqueous solution by-product of the reaction is currently being investigated for its reusability; an essential component of any ISRU technology. For this study, two batches of regolith bricks are synthesized from JSC-1A; the first batch from fresh solvents and chemicals, the second batch made from the water solution by-product of the first batch. This is done to determine the feasibility of recycling necessary components of the synthesis process, mainly water. Characterization including BET surface area, SEM, and EDS has been done on the regolith bricks as well as the constituent particles,. The specific surface area of 17.53 sq m/g (average) of the granular regolith

  18. Lunar regolith stratigraphy analysis based on the simulation of lunar penetrating radar signals

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lai, Jialong; Xu, Yi; Zhang, Xiaoping; Tang, Zesheng

    2017-11-01

    The thickness of lunar regolith is an important index of evaluating the quantity of lunar resources such as 3He and relative geologic ages. Lunar penetrating radar (LPR) experiment of Chang'E-3 mission provided an opportunity of in situ lunar subsurface structure measurement in the northern mare imbrium area. However, prior work on analyzing LPR data obtained quite different conclusions of lunar regolith structure mainly because of the missing of clear interface reflectors in radar image. In this paper, we utilized finite-difference time-domain (FDTD) method and three models of regolith structures with different rock density, number of layers, shapes of interfaces, and etc. to simulate the LPR signals for the interpretation of radar image. The simulation results demonstrate that the scattering signals caused by numerous buried rocks in the regolith can mask the horizontal reflectors, and the die-out of radar echo does not indicate the bottom of lunar regolith layer and data processing such as migration method could recover some of the subsurface information but also result in fake signals. Based on analysis of simulation results, we conclude that LPR results uncover the subsurface layered structure containing the rework zone with multiple ejecta blankets of small crater, the ejecta blanket of Chang'E-3 crater, and the transition zone and estimate the thickness of the detected layer is about 3.25 m.

  19. [Evaluation of Cellular Effects Caused by Lunar Regolith Simulant Including Fine Particles].

    Science.gov (United States)

    Horie, Masanori; Miki, Takeo; Honma, Yoshiyuki; Aoki, Shigeru; Morimoto, Yasuo

    2015-06-01

    The National Aeronautics and Space Administration has announced a plan to establish a manned colony on the surface of the moon, and our country, Japan, has declared its participation. The surface of the moon is covered with soil called lunar regolith, which includes fine particles. It is possible that humans will inhale lunar regolith if it is brought into the spaceship. Therefore, an evaluation of the pulmonary effects caused by lunar regolith is important for exploration of the moon. In the present study, we examine the cellular effects of lunar regolith simulant, whose components are similar to those of lunar regolith. We focused on the chemical component and particle size in particular. The regolith simulant was fractionated to lunar regolith simulant such as cell membrane damage, induction of oxidative stress and proinflammatory effect.

  20. Relative chronology of Martian volcanoes

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Landheim, R.; Barlow, N.G.

    1991-01-01

    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

  1. Regolith Derived Heat Shield for Planetary Body Entry and Descent System with In Situ Fabrication

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hogue, Michael D.; Meuller, Robert P.; Sibille, Laurent; Hintze, Paul E.; Rasky, Daniel J.

    2012-01-01

    . Platinum, titanium, helium 3, and other metals, elements and minerals are all high-value commodities in limited supply on Earth, and it may be profitable to mine these substances throughout the Solar System and return them to Earth, if an economical method can be found. To date, several private corporations have been launched to pursue these goals. Because the heat shield is the last element to be used in an Earth-return mission, a high penalty is paid in the propellant mass required to carry the heat shield to the destination and back. If the heat shield could be manufactured in space, and then outfitted on the spacecraft prior to the reentry at Earth, then significant propellant and mass savings could be achieved during launch and space operations. Preliminary mission architecture scenarios are described, which explain the potential benefits that may be derived from using an in-situ fabricated regolith heat shield. In order to prove that this is a feasible technology concept, this project successfully fabricated heat shield materials from mineral simulant materials of lunar and Martian regolith by two methods: 1) Sintering and 2) Binding the simulant with a "room-temperature vulcanizing" (RTV) silicone formulated to withstand high temperatures. Initially a third type of fabrication was planned using the hot waste stream from regolith ISRU processes. This fabrication method was discarded since the resulting samples would be too dense and brittle for heat shields. High temperature flame tests at KSC and subsequent arc jet tests at Ames Research Center (ARC) have proved promising. These coupon tests show favorable materials properties and have the potential to be a new way of fabricating heat shields for space entry into planetary atmospheres.

  2. Differential rates of feldspar weathering in granitic regoliths

    Science.gov (United States)

    White, A.F.; Bullen, T.D.; Schulz, M.S.; Blum, A.E.; Huntington, T.G.; Peters, N.E.

    2001-01-01

    time. Differential feldspar weathering in the low-permeability Panola bedrock environment is more dependent on relative feldspar solubilities than on differences in kinetic reaction rates. Such weathering is very sensitive to primary and secondary hydraulic conductivities (qp and qs), which control both the fluid volumes passing through the regolith and the thermodynamic saturation of the feldspars. Bedrock permeability is primarily intragranular and is created by internal weathering of networks of interconnected plagioclase phenocrysts. Saprolite permeability is principally intergranular and is the result of dissolution of silicate phases during isovolumetric weathering. A secondary to primary hydraulic conductivity ratio of qs/qp = 150 in the Panola bedrock results in kinetically controlled plagioclase dissolution but thermodynamically inhibited K-feldspar reaction. This result is in accord with calculated chemical saturation states for groundwater sampled in the Panola Granite. In contrast, greater secondary conductivities in the Davis Run saprolite, qs/qp = 800, produces both kinetically controlled plagioclase and K-feldspar dissolution. Faster plagioclase reaction, leading to bedrock weathering in the Panola Granite but not at Davis Run, is attributed to a higher anorthite component of the plagioclase and a wetter and warmer climate. In addition, the Panola Granite has an abnormally high content of disseminated calcite, the dissolution of which precedes the plagioclase weathering front, thus creating additional secondary permeability. Copyright ?? 2001 Elsevier Science Ltd.

  3. Instrumented Moles for Planetary Subsurface Regolith Studies

    Science.gov (United States)

    Richter, L. O.; Coste, P. A.; Grzesik, A.; Knollenberg, J.; Magnani, P.; Nadalini, R.; Re, E.; Romstedt, J.; Sohl, F.; Spohn, T.

    2006-12-01

    Soil-like materials, or regolith, on solar system objects provide a record of physical and/or chemical weathering processes on the object in question and as such possess significant scientific relevance for study by landed planetary missions. In the case of Mars, a complex interplay has been at work between impact gardening, aeolian as well as possibly fluvial processes. This resulted in regolith that is texturally as well as compositionally layered as hinted at by results from the Mars Exploration Rover (MER) missions which are capable of accessing shallow subsurface soils by wheel trenching. Significant subsurface soil access on Mars, i.e. to depths of a meter or more, remains to be accomplished on future missions. This has been one of the objectives of the unsuccessful Beagle 2 landed element of the ESA Mars Express mission having been equipped with the Planetary Underground Tool (PLUTO) subsurface soil sampling Mole system capable of self-penetration into regolith due to an internal electro-mechanical hammering mechanism. This lightweight device of less than 900 g mass was designed to repeatedly obtain and deliver to the lander regolith samples from depths down to 2 m which would have been analysed for organic matter and, specifically, organic carbon from potential extinct microbial activity. With funding from the ESA technology programme, an evolved Mole system - the Instrumented Mole System (IMS) - has now been developed to a readiness level of TRL 6. The IMS is to serve as a carrier for in situ instruments for measurements in planetary subsurface soils. This could complement or even eliminate the need to recover samples to the surface. The Engineering Model hardware having been developed within this effort is designed for accommodating a geophysical instrument package (Heat Flow and Physical Properties Package, HP3) that would be capable of measuring regolith physical properties and planetary heat flow. The chosen design encompasses a two-body Mole

  4. Analysis of Water Extraction From Lunar Regolith

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hegde, U.; Balasubramaniam, R.; Gokoglu, S.

    2012-01-01

    Distribution of water concentration on the Moon is currently an area of active research. Recent studies suggest the presence of ice particles, and perhaps even ice blocks and ice-cemented regolith on the Moon. Thermal extraction of the in-situ water is an attractive means of sa tisfying water requirements for a lunar mission. In this paper, a model is presented to analyze the processes occurring during the heat-up of icy regolith and extraction of the evolved water vapor. The wet regolith is assumed to be present in an initially evacuated and sealed cell which is subsequently heated. The first step of the analysis invol ves calculating the gradual increase of vapor pressure in the closed cell as the temperature is raised. Then, in the second step, the cell is evacuated to low pressure (e.g., vacuum), allowing the water vapor to leave the cell and be captured. The parameters affecting water vap or pressure build-up and evacuation for the purpose of extracting water from lunar regolith are discussed in the paper. Some comparisons wi th available experimental measurements are also made.

  5. The Nature of C Asteroid Regolith from Meteorite Observations

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zolensky, M.; Mikouchi, T.; Hagiya, K.; Ohsumi, K.; Komatsu, M.; Jenniskens, P.; Le, L.; Yin, Q.-Z; Kebukawa, Y.; Fries, M.

    2013-01-01

    Regolith from C (and related) asteroid bodies are a focus of the current missions Dawn at Ceres, Hayabusa 2 and OSIRIS REx. An asteroid as large as Ceres is expected to be covered by a mature regolith, and as Hayabusa demonstrated, flat and therefore engineeringly-safe ponded deposits will probably be the sampling sites for both Hayabusa 2 and OSIRIS REx. Here we examine what we have learned about the mineralogy of fine-grained asteroid regolith from recent meteorite studies and the examination of the samples harvested from asteroid Itokawa by Hayabusa.

  6. Martian volcanism: A review

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Carr, M.H.

    1987-01-01

    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

  7. Experimental demonstration of Martian soil simulant removal from a surface using a pulsed plasma jet

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ticoş, C. M.; Scurtu, A.; Toader, D.; Banu, N.

    2015-03-01

    A plasma jet produced in a small coaxial plasma gun operated at voltages up to 2 kV and working in pure carbon dioxide (CO2) at a few Torr is used to remove Martian soil simulant from a surface. A capacitor with 0.5 mF is charged up from a high voltage source and supplies the power to the coaxial electrodes. The muzzle of the coaxial plasma gun is placed at a few millimeters near the dusty surface and the jet is fired parallel with the surface. Removal of dust is imaged in real time with a high speed camera. Mars regolith simulant JSC-Mars-1A with particle sizes up to 5 mm is used on different types of surfaces made of aluminium, cotton fabric, polyethylene, cardboard, and phenolic.

  8. Experimental demonstration of Martian soil simulant removal from a surface using a pulsed plasma jet.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ticoş, C M; Scurtu, A; Toader, D; Banu, N

    2015-03-01

    A plasma jet produced in a small coaxial plasma gun operated at voltages up to 2 kV and working in pure carbon dioxide (CO2) at a few Torr is used to remove Martian soil simulant from a surface. A capacitor with 0.5 mF is charged up from a high voltage source and supplies the power to the coaxial electrodes. The muzzle of the coaxial plasma gun is placed at a few millimeters near the dusty surface and the jet is fired parallel with the surface. Removal of dust is imaged in real time with a high speed camera. Mars regolith simulant JSC-Mars-1A with particle sizes up to 5 mm is used on different types of surfaces made of aluminium, cotton fabric, polyethylene, cardboard, and phenolic.

  9. The rate of dielectric breakdown weathering of lunar regolith in permanently shadowed regions

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jordan, A. P.; Stubbs, T. J.; Wilson, J. K.; Schwadron, N. A.; Spence, H. E.

    2017-02-01

    Large solar energetic particle events may cause dielectric breakdown in the upper 1 mm of regolith in permanently shadowed regions (PSRs). We estimate how the resulting breakdown weathering compares to meteoroid impact weathering. Although the SEP event rates measured by the Cosmic Ray Telescope for the Effects of Radiation (CRaTER) on the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) are too low for breakdown to have significantly affected the regolith over the duration of the LRO mission, regolith gardened by meteoroid impacts has been exposed to SEPs for ∼106 yr. Therefore, we estimate that breakdown weathering's production rate of vapor and melt in the coldest PSRs is up to 1.8 - 3.5 ×10-7 kg m-2 yr-1 , which is comparable to that produced by meteoroid impacts. Thus, in PSRs, up to 10-25% of the regolith may have been melted or vaporized by dielectric breakdown. Breakdown weathering could also be consistent with observations of the increased porosity ("fairy castles") of PSR regolith. We also show that it is conceivable that breakdown-weathered material is present in Apollo soil samples. Consequently, breakdown weathering could be an important process within PSRs, and it warrants further investigation.

  10. Experimental Determination of in Situ Utilization of Lunar Regolith for Thermal Energy Storage

    Science.gov (United States)

    Richter, Scott W.

    1993-01-01

    A Lunar Thermal Energy from Regolith (LUTHER) experiment has been designed and fabricated at the NASA Lewis Research Center to determine the feasibility of using lunar soil as thermal energy storage media. The experimental apparatus includes an alumina ceramic canister (25.4 cm diameter by 45.7 cm length) which contains simulated lunar regolith, a heater (either radiative or conductive), 9 heat shields, a heat transfer cold jacket, and 19 type B platinum rhodium thermocouples. The simulated lunar regolith is a basalt, mined and processed by the University of Minnesota, that closely resembles the lunar basalt returned to earth by the Apollo missions. The experiment will test the effects of vacuum, particle size, and density on the thermophysical properties of the regolith. The properties include melt temperature (range), specific heat, thermal conductivity, and latent heat of storage. Two separate tests, using two different heaters, will be performed to study the effect of heating the system using radiative and conductive heat transfer. The physical characteristics of the melt pattern, material compatibility of the molten regolith, and the volatile gas emission will be investigated by heating a portion of the lunar regolith to its melting temperature (1435 K) in a 10(exp -4) pascal vacuum chamber, equipped with a gas spectrum analyzer. A finite differencing SINDA model was developed at NASA Lewis Research Center to predict the performance of the LUTHER experiment. The analytical results of the code will be compared with the experimental data generated by the LUTHER experiment. The code will predict the effects of vacuum, particle size, and density has on the heat transfer to the simulated regolith.

  11. The noble gas concentrations of the Martian meteorites GRV 99027 and paired NWA 7906/NWA 7907

    Science.gov (United States)

    Stephenson, Peter C.; Lin, Yangting; Leya, Ingo

    2017-12-01

    Here we present the isotopic concentrations of He, Ne, Ar, Kr, and Xe for the three Martian meteorites, namely Grove Mountains 99027 (GRV 99027), Northwest Africa 7906 (NWA 7906), and Northwest Africa 7907 (NWA 7907). The cosmic ray exposure (CRE) age for GRV 99027 of 5.7 ± 0.4 Ma (1σ) is consistent with CRE ages for other poikilitic basaltic shergottites and suggests that all were ejected in a single event 5.6 Ma ago. After correcting for an estimated variable sodium concentration, the CRE ages for NWA 7906 and NWA 7907 of 5.4 ± 0.4 and 4.9 ± 0.4 Ma (1σ), respectively, are in good agreement with the CRE age of 5 Ma favored by Cartwright et al. for NWA 7034. The data, therefore, support the conclusion that all three basaltic regolith breccias are paired. The 40Ar gas retention age for NWA 7907 of 1.3 Ga is in accord with Cartwright et al. For NWA 7906, we were unable to determine a 40Ar gas retention age. The 4He gas retention ages for NWA 7906 and 7907 are in the range of 200 Ma and are much shorter than the 40Ar gas retention age of NWA 7907, indicating that about 86-88% of the radiogenic 4He has been lost. The Kr and Xe isotopic concentrations in GRV 99027 are composed almost exclusively of Martian interior (MI) gases, while for NWA 7906 and NWA 7907, they indicate gases from the MI, elementally fractionated air, and possibly Martian atmosphere.

  12. Hydrological and Climatic Significance of Martian Deltas

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2017-10-01

    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.

  13. Lunar Regolith Particle Shape Analysis

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kiekhaefer, Rebecca; Hardy, Sandra; Rickman, Douglas; Edmunson, Jennifer

    2013-01-01

    Future engineering of structures and equipment on the lunar surface requires significant understanding of particle characteristics of the lunar regolith. Nearly all sediment characteristics are influenced by particle shape; therefore a method of quantifying particle shape is useful both in lunar and terrestrial applications. We have created a method to quantify particle shape, specifically for lunar regolith, using image processing. Photomicrographs of thin sections of lunar core material were obtained under reflected light. Three photomicrographs were analyzed using ImageJ and MATLAB. From the image analysis measurements for area, perimeter, Feret diameter, orthogonal Feret diameter, Heywood factor, aspect ratio, sieve diameter, and sieve number were recorded. Probability distribution functions were created from the measurements of Heywood factor and aspect ratio.

  14. Photovoltaic array for Martian surface power

    Science.gov (United States)

    Appelbaum, J.; Landis, G. A.

    1992-01-01

    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.

  15. Electrical stress and strain in lunar regolith simulants

    Science.gov (United States)

    Marshall, J.; Richard, D.; Davis, S.

    2011-11-01

    Experiments to entrain dust with electrostatic and fluid-dynamic forces result in particulate clouds of aggregates rather than individual dust grains. This is explained within the framework of Griffith-flaw theory regarding the comminution/breakage of weak solids. Physical and electrical inhomogeneities in powders are equivalent to microcracks in solids insofar as they facilitate failure at stress risers. Electrical charging of powders induces bulk sample stresses similar to mechanical stresses experienced by strong solids, depending on the nature of the charging. A powder mass therefore "breaks" into clumps rather than separating into individual dust particles. This contrasts with the expectation that electrical forces on the Moon will eject a submicron population of dust from the regolith into the exosphere. A lunar regolith will contain physical and electrostatic inhomogeneities similar to those in most charged powders.

  16. REE enrichment in granite-derived regolith deposits of the southeast United States: Prospective source rocks and accumulation processes

    Science.gov (United States)

    Foley, Nora K.; Ayuso, Robert A.; Simandl, G.J.; Neetz, M.

    2015-01-01

    The Southeastern United States contains numerous anorogenic, or A-type, granites, which constitute promising source rocks for REE-enriched ion adsorption clay deposits due to their inherently high concentrations of REE. These granites have undergone a long history of chemical weathering, resulting in thick granite-derived regoliths, akin to those of South China, which supply virtually all heavy REE and Y, and a significant portion of light REE to global markets. Detailed comparisons of granite regolith profiles formed on the Stewartsville and Striped Rock plutons, and the Robertson River batholith (Virginia) indicate that REE are mobile and can attain grades comparable to those of deposits currently mined in China. A REE-enriched parent, either A-type or I-type (highly fractionated igneous type) granite, is thought to be critical for generating the high concentrations of REE in regolith profiles. One prominent feature we recognize in many granites and mineralized regoliths is the tetrad behaviour displayed in REE chondrite-normalized patterns. Tetrad patterns in granite and regolith result from processes that promote the redistribution, enrichment, and fractionation of REE, such as late- to post- magmatic alteration of granite and silicate hydrolysis in the regolith. Thus, REE patterns showing tetrad effects may be a key for discriminating highly prospective source rocks and regoliths with potential for REE ion adsorption clay deposits.

  17. Geographic information system datasets of regolith-thickness data, regolith-thickness contours, raster-based regolith thickness, and aquifer-test and specific-capacity data for the Lost Creek Designated Ground Water Basin, Weld, Adams, and Arapahoe Counties, Colorado

    Science.gov (United States)

    Arnold, L. Rick

    2010-01-01

    These datasets were compiled in support of U.S. Geological Survey Scientific-Investigations Report 2010-5082-Hydrogeology and Steady-State Numerical Simulation of Groundwater Flow in the Lost Creek Designated Ground Water Basin, Weld, Adams, and Arapahoe Counties, Colorado. The datasets were developed by the U.S. Geological Survey in cooperation with the Lost Creek Ground Water Management District and the Colorado Geological Survey. The four datasets are described as follows and methods used to develop the datasets are further described in Scientific-Investigations Report 2010-5082: (1) ds507_regolith_data: This point dataset contains geologic information concerning regolith (unconsolidated sediment) thickness and top-of-bedrock altitude at selected well and test-hole locations in and near the Lost Creek Designated Ground Water Basin, Weld, Adams, and Arapahoe Counties, Colorado. Data were compiled from published reports, consultant reports, and from lithologic logs of wells and test holes on file with the U.S. Geological Survey Colorado Water Science Center and the Colorado Division of Water Resources. (2) ds507_regthick_contours: This dataset consists of contours showing generalized lines of equal regolith thickness overlying bedrock in the Lost Creek Designated Ground Water Basin, Weld, Adams, and Arapahoe Counties, Colorado. Regolith thickness was contoured manually on the basis of information provided in the dataset ds507_regolith_data. (3) ds507_regthick_grid: This dataset consists of raster-based generalized thickness of regolith overlying bedrock in the Lost Creek Designated Ground Water Basin, Weld, Adams, and Arapahoe Counties, Colorado. Regolith thickness in this dataset was derived from contours presented in the dataset ds507_regthick_contours. (4) ds507_welltest_data: This point dataset contains estimates of aquifer transmissivity and hydraulic conductivity at selected well locations in the Lost Creek Designated Ground Water Basin, Weld, Adams, and

  18. Assessing the Feasibility of Using Co-electrolysis to Concurrently Convert Carbon Dioxide and Water into Methane and Oxygen for Propellant and Life Support on Mars

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Aeronautics and Space Administration — By using co-electrolysis with task-specific ionic liquids (TSILs), water from Martian regolith and carbon dioxide from the Martian atmosphere may be simultaneously...

  19. Oxidant enhancement in martian dust devils and storms: implications for life and habitability.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Atreya, Sushil K; Wong, Ah-San; Renno, Nilton O; Farrell, William M; Delory, Gregory T; Sentman, Davis D; Cummer, Steven A; Marshall, John R; Rafkin, Scot C R; Catling, David C

    2006-06-01

    We investigate a new mechanism for producing oxidants, especially hydrogen peroxide (H2O2), on Mars. Large-scale electrostatic fields generated by charged sand and dust in the martian dust devils and storms, as well as during normal saltation, can induce chemical changes near and above the surface of Mars. The most dramatic effect is found in the production of H2O2 whose atmospheric abundance in the "vapor" phase can exceed 200 times that produced by photochemistry alone. With large electric fields, H2O2 abundance gets large enough for condensation to occur, followed by precipitation out of the atmosphere. Large quantities of H2O2 would then be adsorbed into the regolith, either as solid H2O2 "dust" or as re-evaporated vapor if the solid does not survive as it diffuses from its production region close to the surface. We suggest that this H2O2, or another superoxide processed from it in the surface, may be responsible for scavenging organic material from Mars. The presence of H2O2 in the surface could also accelerate the loss of methane from the atmosphere, thus requiring a larger source for maintaining a steady-state abundance of methane on Mars. The surface oxidants, together with storm electric fields and the harmful ultraviolet radiation that readily passes through the thin martian atmosphere, are likely to render the surface of Mars inhospitable to life as we know it.

  20. RASSOR - Regolith Advanced Surface Systems Operations Robot

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gill, Tracy R.; Mueller, Rob

    2015-01-01

    The Regolith Advanced Surface Systems Operations Robot (RASSOR) is a lightweight excavator for mining in reduced gravity. RASSOR addresses the need for a lightweight (robot that is able to overcome excavation reaction forces while operating in reduced gravity environments such as the moon or Mars. A nominal mission would send RASSOR to the moon to operate for five years delivering regolith feedstock to a separate chemical plant, which extracts oxygen from the regolith using H2 reduction methods. RASSOR would make 35 trips of 20 kg loads every 24 hours. With four RASSORs operating at one time, the mission would achieve 10 tonnes of oxygen per year (8 t for rocket propellant and 2 t for life support). Accessing craters in space environments may be extremely hard and harsh due to volatile resources - survival is challenging. New technologies and methods are required. RASSOR is a product of KSC Swamp Works which establishes rapid, innovative and cost effective exploration mission solutions by leveraging partnerships across NASA, industry and academia.

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

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ford, A. B.

    2015-12-01

    "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

  2. Abundance and Isotopic Composition of Gases in the Martian Atmosphere: First Results from the Mars Curiosity Rover

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mahaffy, Paul; Webster, Chris R.; Atreya, Sushil K.; Franz, Heather; Wong, Michael; Conrad, Pamela G.; Harpold, Dan; Jones, John J.; Leshin, Laurie, A.; Manning, Heidi; hide

    2013-01-01

    Repeated measurements of the composition of the Mars atmosphere from Curiosity Rover yield a (40)Ar/N2 ratio 1.7 times greater and the (40)Ar/(36)Ar ratio 1.6 times smaller than the Viking Lander values in 1976. The unexpected change in (40)Ar/N2 ratio probably results from different instrument characteristics although we cannot yet rule out some unknown atmospheric process. The new (40)Ar/(36)Ar ratio is more aligned with Martian meteoritic values. Besides Ar and N2 the Sample Analysis at Mars instrument suite on the Curiosity Rover has measured the other principal components of the atmosphere and the isotopes. The resulting volume mixing ratios are: CO2 0.960(+/- 0.007); (40)Ar 0.0193(+/- 0.0001); N2 0.0189(+/- 0.0003); O2 1.45(+/- 0.09) x 10(exp -3); and CO 5.45(+/- 3.62) x 10(exp 4); and the isotopes (40)Ar/(36)Ar 1.9(+/- 0.3) x 10(exp 3), and delta (13)C and delta (18)O from CO2 that are both several tens of per mil more positive than the terrestrial averages. Heavy isotope enrichments support the hypothesis of large atmospheric loss. Moreover, the data are consistent with values measured in Martian meteorites, providing additional strong support for a Martian origin for these rocks.

  3. Constant Volume Combustion Engine for Planetary Ascent Vehicles, Phase I

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Aeronautics and Space Administration — The Mars Sample Return mission is being planned to return samples of Martian rock, regolith, and atmosphere to Earth for scientific analysis. The Martian sample size...

  4. Workshop on past and present solar radiation: the record in meteoritic and lunar regolith material

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Pepin, R.O.; Mckay, D.S.

    1986-01-01

    The principal question addressed in the workshop was the extent to which asteroidal and lunar regoliths have collected and preserved, in meteoritic regolith breccias and in lunar soils and regolith breccias, a record of the flux, energy, and compositional history of the solar wind and solar flares. Six central discussion topics were identified. They are: (1)Trapped solar wind and flare gases, tracks, and micrometeorite pits in regolith components; (2)Comparison between lunar regolith breccias, meteoritic regolith breccias, and the lunar soil; (3)The special role of regolith breccias and the challenge of dating their times of compaction; (4)Implications of the data for the flux and compositional history of solar particle emission, composition, and physical mechanisms in the solar source regions, and the composition of the early nebula; (5)How and to what extent have records of incident radiation been altered in various types of grains; (6) Future research directions

  5. Parameters and structure of lunar regolith in Chang'E-3 landing area from lunar penetrating radar (LPR) data

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dong, Zehua; Fang, Guangyou; Ji, Yicai; Gao, Yunze; Wu, Chao; Zhang, Xiaojuan

    2017-01-01

    Chang'E-3 (CE-3) landed in the northwest Mare Imbrium, a region that has not been explored before. Yutu rover that released by CE-3 lander carried the first lunar surface penetrating radar (LPR) for exploring lunar regolith thickness and subsurface shallow geological structures. In this paper, based on the LPR data and the Panoramic Camera (PC) data, we first calculate the lunar surface regolith parameters in CE-3 landing area including its permittivity, density, conductivity and FeO + TiO2 content. LPR data provides a higher spatial resolution and more accuracy for the lunar regolith parameters comparing to other remote sensing techniques, such as orbit radar sounder and microwave sensing or earth-based powerful radar. We also derived the regolith thickness and its weathered rate with much better accuracy in the landing area. The results indicate that the regolith growth rate is much faster than previous estimation, the regolith parameters are not uniform even in such a small study area and the thickness and growth rate of lunar regolith here are different from other areas in Mare Imbrium. We infer that the main reason should be geological deformation that caused by multiple impacts of meteorites in different sizes.

  6. Calibrating the Regolith X-ray Imaging Spectrometer (REXIS)

    OpenAIRE

    McIntosh, Missy; Hong, Jaesub; Allen, Branden; Grindlay, Jonathan

    2014-01-01

    This paper describes the onboard calibration process of REXIS (the Regolith X-ray Imaging Spectrometer), an instrument on OSIRIS-REx. OSIRIS-REx, scheduled to be launched in 2016, is a planetary mission intending to return a regolith sample from a near Earth asteroid called Bennu. REXIS, a student-led collaboration between Harvard and MIT, is a soft X-ray (0.5-7.5 keV) coded-aperture telescope with four X-ray CCDs and a gold coated stainless steel mask. REXIS will measure the surface elementa...

  7. The Strata-1 Regolith Dynamics Experiment: Class 1E Science on ISS

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fries, Marc; Graham, Lee; John, Kristen

    2016-01-01

    The Strata-1 experiment studies the evolution of small body regolith through long-duration exposure of simulant materials to the microgravity environment on the International Space Station (ISS). This study will record segregation and mechanical dynamics of regolith simulants in a microgravity and vibration environment similar to that experienced by regolith on small Solar System bodies. Strata-1 will help us understand regolith dynamics and will inform design and procedures for landing and setting anchors, safely sampling and moving material on asteroidal surfaces, processing large volumes of material for in situ resource utilization (ISRU) purposes, and, in general, predicting the behavior of large and small particles on disturbed asteroid surfaces. This experiment is providing new insights into small body surface evolution.

  8. Martian Gullies: H2O or CO2 snow?

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2007-05-01

    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.

  9. Moessbauer mineralogy on the Moon: The lunar regolith

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Morris, Richard V.; Klingelhoefer, Goestar; Korotev, Randy L.; Shelfer, Tad D.

    1998-01-01

    A first-order requirement for spacecraft missions that land on solid planetary objects is instrumentation for mineralogical analyses. For purposes of providing diagnostic information about naturally-occurring materials, the element iron is particularly important because it is abundant and multivalent. Knowledge of the oxidation state of iron and its distribution among iron-bearing mineralogies tightly constrains the types of materials present and provides information about formation and modification (weathering) processes. Because Moessbauer spectroscopy is sensitive to both the valence of iron and its local chemical environment, the technique is unique in providing information about both the relative abundance of iron-bearing phases and oxidation state of the iron. The Moessbauer mineralogy of lunar regolith samples (primarily soils from the Apollo 16 and 17 missions to the Moon) were measured in the laboratory to demonstrate the strength of the technique for in-situ mineralogical exploration of the Moon. The regolith samples were modeled as mixtures of five iron-bearing phases: olivine, pyroxene, glass, ilmenite, and metal. Based on differences in relative proportions of iron associated with these phases, volcanic-ash regolith can be distinguished from impact-derived regolith, impact-derived soils of different geologic affinity (e.g., highlands and maria) can be distinguished on the basis of their constituent minerals, and soil maturity can be estimated. The total resonant absorption area of the Moessbauer spectrum can be used to estimate total FeO concentrations

  10. Hydrogen Isotopic Composition of Apatite in Northwest Africa 7034: A Record of the "Intermediate" H-Isotopic Reservoir in the Martian Crust?

    Science.gov (United States)

    McCubbin, F. M.; Barnes, J. J.; Santos, A. R.; Boyce, J. W.; Anand, M.; Franchi, I. A.; Agee, C. B.

    2016-01-01

    Northwest Africa (NWA) 7034 and its pairings comprise a regolith breccia with a basaltic bulk composition [1] that yields a better match than any other martian meteorite to visible-infrared reflectance spectra of the martian surface measured from orbit [2]. The composition of the fine-grained matrix within NWA 7034 bears a striking resemblance to the major element composition estimated for the martian crust, with several exceptions. The NWA 7034 matrix is depleted in Fe, Ti, and Cr and enriched in Al, Na, and P [3]. The differences in Al and Fe are the most substantial, but the Fe content of NWA 7034 matrix falls within the range reported for the southern highlands crust [6]. It was previously suggested by [4] that NWA 7034 was sourced from the southern highlands based on the ancient 4.4 Ga ages recorded in NWA 7034/7533 zircons [4, 5]. In addition, the NWA 7034 matrix material is enriched in incompatible trace elements by a factor of 1.2-1.5 [7] relative to estimates of the bulk martian crust. The La/Yb ratio of the bulk martian crust is estimated to be approximately 3 [7], and the La/Yb of the NWA 7034 matrix materials ranges from approximately 3.9 to 4.4 [3, 8], indicating a higher degree of LREE enrichment in the NWA 7034 matrix materials. This elevated La/Yb ratio and enrichment in incompatible lithophile trace elements is consistent with NWA 7034 representing a more geochemically enriched crustal terrain than is represented by the bulk martian crust, which would be expected if NWA 7034 represents the bulk crust from the southern highlands. Given the similarities between NWA 7034 and the martian crust, NWA 7034 may represent an important sample for constraining the composition of the martian crust, particularly the ancient highlands. In the present study, we seek to constrain the H isotopic composition of the martian crust using Cl-rich apatite in NWA 7034. Usui et al., [9] recently proposed that a H isotopic reservoir exists within the martian crust that has

  11. Decameter-Scale Regolith Textures on Mercury

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kreslavsky, M. A.; Zharkova, A. Yu.; Head, J. W.

    2018-05-01

    Like on the Moon, regolith gardening smooths the surface. Small craters are in equilibrium. “Elephant hide“ typical on the lunar slopes is infrequent on Mercury. Finely Textured Slope Patches have no analog on the Moon.

  12. Three-Dimensional (3D) Additive Construction: Printing with Regolith

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tsoras, Alexandra

    2013-01-01

    Three dimensional (3D) printing is a new and booming topic in many realms of research and engineering technology. When it comes to space science and aerospace engineering, it can be useful in numerous ways. As humans travel deeper into space and farther from Earth, sending large quantities of needed supplies from Earth for a mission becomes astronomically expensive and less plausible. In order to reach further to new places, In Situ Resource Utilization (ISRU), a project that pushes for technologies to use materials already present in the destination's environment, is necessary. By using materials already available in space such as regolith from the Moon, Mars, or an asteroid's surface, fewer materials need to be brought into space on a launched vehicle. This allows a vehicle to be filled with more necessary supplies for a deep space mission that may not be found in space, like food and fuel. This project's main objective was to develop a 3D printer that uses regolith to "print" large structures, such as a dome, to be used as a heat shield upon a vehicle's reentry into the atmosphere or even a habitat. 3D printing is a growing technology that uses many different methods to mix, heat, and mold a material into a specific shape. In order to heat the regolith enough to stick together into a solid shape, it must be sintered at each layer of material that is laid. Sintering is a process that heats and compresses a powdered material until it fuses into a solid, which requires a lot of energy input. As an alternative, a polymer can be mixed with the regolith before or as it is sent to the 3D printer head to be placed in the specific shape. The addition of the polymer, which melts and binds at much lower temperatures than sintering temperatures, greatly decreases the required heating temperature and energy input. The main task of the project was to identify a functional material for the printer. The first step was to find a miscible. polymer/solvent solution. This solution

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

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2013-12-01

    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

  14. Nitrogen and Martian Habitability: Insights from Five Years of Curiosity Measurements

    Science.gov (United States)

    Stern, J. C.; Sutter, B.; Navarro-Gonzalez, R.; McKay, C.; Ming, D. W.; Mahaffy, P. R.; Archer, D., Jr.; Franz, H. B.; Freissinet, C.; Jackson, W. A.; Conrad, P. G.; Glavin, D. P.; Trainer, M. G.; Malespin, C.; McAdam, A.; Eigenbrode, J. L.; Teinturier, S.; Manning, C.

    2017-12-01

    The detection of "fixed" N on Mars in the form of nitrate by the Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instrument suite on the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) Curiosity Rover [1] has major implications for martian habitability. "Follow the nitrogen" has been proposed as a strategy in the search for both extant and extinct life on Mars [e.g., 2]. Nitrogen is so crucial to life on Earth that life developed metabolic pathways to break the triple bond of N2 and "fix" atmospheric nitrogen to more biologically available molecules for use in proteins and informational polymers. Sequestration of nitrate in regolith has long been predicted to contribute to the removal of N from the martian atmosphere [e.g., 3], and our detections confirm that nitrogen fixation was occurring on ancient Mars. Detections of fixed nitrogen, particularly within the context of the habitable environment in Yellowknife Bay characterized by the MSL payload, are an important tool to assess whether life ever could have existed on ancient Mars. We present 5 years of analyses and interpretation of nitrate in solid martian drilled and scooped samples by SAM on MSL. Nitrate abundance reported by SAM in situ measurements ranges from non-detection to 681 ± 304 mg/kg [1,4] in the samples examined to date. The measured abundances are consistent with nitrogen fixation via impact generated thermal shock on ancient Mars and/or dry deposition from photochemistry of thermospheric NO. We review the integration of SAM data with terrestrial Mars analog work in order to better understand the timing of nitrogen fixation and mobility of nitrogen on Mars, and thus its availability to putative biology. In particular, the relationship between nitrate and other soluble salts, such as perchlorate, may help reveal the timing of nitrogen fixation and post-depositional behavior of nitrate on Mars [4]. Finally, we present a comparison of isotopic composition (δ15N) of nitrate with δ15N of atmospheric nitrogen (δ15N ≈ 574‰, [5

  15. Distribution and Origin of Amino Acids in Lunar Regolith Samples

    Science.gov (United States)

    Elsila, J. E.; Callahan, M. P.; Glavin, D. P.; Dworkin, J. P.; McLain, H. L.; Noble, S. K.; Gibson, E. K., Jr.

    2015-01-01

    The existence of organic compounds on the lunar surface has been a question of interest from the Apollo era to the present. Investigations of amino acids immediately after collection of lunar samples yielded inconclusive identifications, in part due to analytical limitations including insensitivity to certain compounds, an inability to separate enantiomers, and lack of compound-specific isotopic measurements. It was not possible to determine if the detected amino acids were indigenous to the lunar samples or the result of terrestrial contamination. Recently, we presented initial data from the analysis of amino acid abundances in 12 lunar regolith samples and discussed those results in the context of four potential amino acid sources [5]. Here, we expand on our previous work, focusing on amino acid abundances and distributions in seven regolith samples and presenting the first compound-specific carbon isotopic ratios measured for amino acids in a lunar sample.

  16. The Lunar Regolith as a Recorder of Cosmic History

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cooper, Bonnie; McKay, D.; Riofrio, L.

    2012-01-01

    The Moon can be considered a giant tape recorder containing the history of the solar system and Universe. The lunar regolith (soil) has recorded the early history of the Moon, Earth, the solar system and Universe. A major goal of future lunar exploration should be to find and play back existing fragments of that tape . By reading the lunar tape, we can uncover a record of planetary bombardment, as well as solar and stellar variability. The Moon can tell us much about our place in the Universe. The lunar regolith has likely recorded the original meteoritic bombardment of Earth and Moon, a violent cataclysm that may have peaked around 4 Gyr, and the less intense bombardment occurring since that time. This impact history is preserved on the Moon as regolith layers, ejecta layers, impact melt rocks, and ancient impact breccias. The impact history of the Earth and Moon possibly had profound effects on the origin and development of life. Decrease in meteor bombardment allowed life to develop on Earth. Life may have developed first on another body, such as Mars, then arrived via meteorite on Earth. The solar system may have experienced bursts of severe radiation from the Sun, other stars, or from unknown sources. The lunar regolith has recorded this radiation history in the form of implanted solar wind, solar flare materials and radiation damage. Lunar soil can be found sandwiched between layers of basalt or pyroclastic deposits. This filling constitutes a buried time capsule that is likely to contain well-preserved ancient regolith. Study of such samples will show us how the solar system has evolved and changed over time. The lunar tape recorder can provide detailed information on specific portions of solar and stellar variability. Data from the Moon also offers clues as to whether so-called fundamental constants have changed over time.

  17. On The Development of Additive Construction Technologies for Application to Development of Lunar/Martian Surface Structures Using In-Situ Materials

    Science.gov (United States)

    Werkheiser, Niki; Fiske, Michael; Edmunson, Jennifer; Khoshnevis, Behrokh

    2015-01-01

    For long-duration missions on other planetary bodies, the use of in-situ materials will become increasingly critical. As man's presence on these bodies expands, so must the breadth of the structures required to accommodate them including habitats, laboratories, berms, radiation shielding for natural radiation and surface reactors, garages, solar storm shelters, greenhouses, etc. Planetary surface structure manufacturing and assembly technologies that incorporate in-situ resources provide options for autonomous, affordable, pre-positioned environments with radiation shielding features and protection from micrometeorites, exhaust plume debris, and other hazards. This is important because gamma and particle radiation constitute a serious but reducible threat to long-term survival of human beings, electronics, and other materials in space environments. Also, it is anticipated that surface structures will constitute the primary mass element of lunar or Martian launch requirements. The ability to use in-situ materials to construct these structures will provide a benefit in the reduction of up-mass that would otherwise make long-term Moon or Mars structures cost prohibitive. The ability to fabricate structures in situ brings with it the ability to repair these structures, which allows for self-sufficiency necessary for long-duration habitation. Previously, under the auspices of the MSFC In Situ Fabrication and Repair (ISFR) project and more recently, under the joint MSFC/KSC Additive Construction with Mobile Emplacement (ACME) project, the MSFC Surface Structures Group has been developing materials and construction technologies to support future planetary habitats with in situ resources. One such technology, known as Contour Crafting (additive construction), is shown in Figure 1, along with a typical structure fabricated using this technology. This paper will present the results to date of these efforts, including development of novel nozzle concepts for advanced layer

  18. Echo simulation of lunar penetrating radar: based on a model of inhomogeneous multilayer lunar regolith structure

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dai, Shun; Su, Yan; Xiao, Yuan; Feng, Jian-Qing; Xing, Shu-Guo; Ding, Chun-Yu

    2014-12-01

    Lunar Penetrating Radar (LPR) based on the time domain Ultra-Wideband (UWB) technique onboard China's Chang'e-3 (CE-3) rover, has the goal of investigating the lunar subsurface structure and detecting the depth of lunar regolith. An inhomogeneous multi-layer microwave transfer inverse-model is established. The dielectric constant of the lunar regolith, the velocity of propagation, the reflection, refraction and transmission at interfaces, and the resolution are discussed. The model is further used to numerically simulate and analyze temporal variations in the echo obtained from the LPR attached on CE-3's rover, to reveal the location and structure of lunar regolith. The thickness of the lunar regolith is calculated by a comparison between the simulated radar B-scan images based on the model and the detected result taken from the CE-3 lunar mission. The potential scientific return from LPR echoes taken from the landing region is also discussed.

  19. Echo simulation of lunar penetrating radar: based on a model of inhomogeneous multilayer lunar regolith structure

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Dai Shun; Su Yan; Xiao Yuan; Feng Jian-Qing; Xing Shu-Guo; Ding Chun-Yu

    2014-01-01

    Lunar Penetrating Radar (LPR) based on the time domain Ultra-Wideband (UWB) technique onboard China's Chang'e-3 (CE-3) rover, has the goal of investigating the lunar subsurface structure and detecting the depth of lunar regolith. An inhomogeneous multi-layer microwave transfer inverse-model is established. The dielectric constant of the lunar regolith, the velocity of propagation, the reflection, refraction and transmission at interfaces, and the resolution are discussed. The model is further used to numerically simulate and analyze temporal variations in the echo obtained from the LPR attached on CE-3's rover, to reveal the location and structure of lunar regolith. The thickness of the lunar regolith is calculated by a comparison between the simulated radar B-scan images based on the model and the detected result taken from the CE-3 lunar mission. The potential scientific return from LPR echoes taken from the landing region is also discussed

  20. Liquid Water in the Extremely Shallow Martian Subsurface

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pavlov, A.; Shivak, J. N.

    2012-01-01

    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.

  1. Assessing the elements mobility through the regolith and their potential as tracers for hydrological processes

    Science.gov (United States)

    Moragues-Quiroga, Cristina; Hissler, Christophe; Chabaux, François; Legout, Arnaud; Stille, Peter

    2017-04-01

    Regoliths encompass different materials from the fresh bedrock to the top of the organic horizons. The regolith is a major component of the critical zone where fluxes of water, energy, solutes and matter occur. Therefore, its bio-physico-chemical properties drastically impact the water that percolates and/or stores in its different parts (organic and mineral soil horizons, and weathered and fractured bedrock). In order to better understand the critical zone functioning, we propose to assess the interaction between chemical elements from the regolith matrix and water during drainage infiltration. For this, we focus firstly on the potential mobility of different groups of major and trace elements according to a leaching experiment made on 10 different layers of a 7.5 m depth slate regolith, which covers a large part of the Rhenish Massif. Secondly, we carried out Sr-Nd-Pb-U-Th isotope analyses for 5 of these samples in both the untreated and leached samples. Given the specific chemical and mineralogical composition of each sampled material, our approach enables to trace the origin of major and trace elements and eventually assess their mobility. The results deliver valuable information on exchange processes at the water-mineral interface in the different zones of the regolith, which could improve the selection of tracers for the study of hydrological processes.

  2. Distribution of Amino Acids in Lunar Regolith

    Science.gov (United States)

    Elsila, J. E.; Callahan, M. P.; Glavin, D. P.; Dworkin, J. P.; Noble, S. K.; Gibson, E. K., Jr.

    2014-01-01

    One of the most eagerly studied questions upon initial return of lunar samples was whether significant amounts of organic compounds, including amino acids, were present. Analyses during the 1970s produced only tentative and inconclusive identifications of indigenous amino acids. Those analyses were hampered by analytical difficulties including relative insensitivity to certain compounds, the inability to separate chiral enantiomers, and the lack of compound-specific isotopic measurements, which made it impossible to determine whether the detected amino acids were indigenous to the lunar samples or the results of contamination. Numerous advances have been made in instrumentation and methodology for amino acid characterization in extraterrestrial samples in the intervening years, yet the origin of amino acids in lunar regolith samples has been revisited only once for a single lunar sample, (3) and remains unclear. Here, we present initial data from the analyses of amino acid abundances in 12 lunar regolith samples. We discuss these abundances in the context of four potential amino acid sources: (1) terrestrial biological contamination; (2) contamination from lunar module (LM) exhaust; (3) derivation from solar windimplanted precursors; and (4) exogenous delivery from meteorites.

  3. Preliminary Broadband Measurements of Dielectric Permittivity of Planetary Regolith Analog Materials Using a Coaxial Airline

    Science.gov (United States)

    Boivin, A.; Tsai, C. A.; Ghent, R. R.; Daly, M. G.

    2014-12-01

    When considering radar observations of airless bodies containing regolith, the radar backscatter coefficient is dependent upon the complex dielectric permittivity of the regolith materials. In many current applications of imaging radar data, uncertainty in the dielectric permittivity precludes quantitative estimates of such important parameters as regolith thickness and depth to buried features (e.g., lava flows on the Aristarchus Plateau on the Moon and the flows that surround the Quetzalpetlatl Corona on Venus). For asteroids, radar is an important tool for detecting and characterizing regoliths. Many previous measurements of the real and/or complex parts of the dielectric permittivity have been made, particularly for the Moon (on both Apollo samples and regolith analogues). However, no studies to date have systematically explored the relationship between permittivity and the various mineralogical components such as presence of FeO and TiO2. For lunar materials, the presence of the mineral ilmenite (FeTiO3), which contains equal portions FeO and TiO2, is thought to be the dominant factor controlling the loss tangent (tanδ, the ratio of the imaginary and real components of the dielectric permittivity). Ilmenite, however, is not the only mineral to contain iron in the lunar soil and our understanding of the effect of iron on the loss tangent is insufficient. Beyond the Moon, little is known about the effects on permittivity of carbonaceous materials. This is particularly relevant for missions to asteroids, such as the OSIRIS-REx mission to (101955) Bennu, a carbonaceous asteroid whose regolith composition is largely unknown. Here we present preliminary broadband (300 Mhz to 14 GHz) measurements on materials intended as planetary regolith analogs. Our ultimate goal is to establish a database of the effects of a wide range mineralogical components on dielectric permittivity, in support of the OSIRIS REx mission and ongoing Earth-based radar investigation of the Moon

  4. Physical properties of the martian surface from the Viking 1 lander: preliminary results

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Shorthill, R.W.; Hutton, R.E.; Moore, H.J. II; Scott, R.E.; Spitzer, C.R.

    1976-01-01

    The purpose of the physical properties experiment is to determine the characteristics of the martian ''soil'' based on the use of the Viking lander imaging system, the surface sampler, and engineering sensors. Viking 1 lander made physical contact with the surface of Mars at 11:53:07.1 hours on 20 July 1976 G.M.T. Twenty-five seconds later a high-resolution image sequence of the area around a footpad was started which contained the first information about surface conditions on Mars. The next image is a survey of the martian landscape in front of the lander, including a view of the top support of two of the landing legs. Each leg has a stroke gauge which extends from the top of the leg support an amount equal to the crushing experienced by the shock absorbers during touchdown. Subsequent images provided views of all three stroke gauges which, together with the knowledge of the impact velocity, allow determination of ''soil'' properties. In the images there is evidence of surface erosion from the engines. Several laboratory tests were carried out prior to the mission with a descent engine to determine what surface alterations might occur during a Mars landing. On sol 2 the shroud, which protected the surface sampler collector head from biological contamination, was ejected onto the surface. Later a cylindrical pin which dropped from the boom housing of the surface sampler during the modified unlatching sequence produced a crater (the second Mars penetrometer experiment). These two experiments provided further insight into the physical properties of the martian surface

  5. The Martian Water Cycle Based on 3-D Modeling

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    1999-01-01

    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.

  6. A Subsurface Soil Composition and Physical Properties Experiment to Address Mars Regolith Stratigraphy

    Science.gov (United States)

    Richter, L.; Sims, M.; Economou, T.; Stoker, C.; Wright, I.; Tokano, T.

    2004-01-01

    Previous in-situ measurements of soil-like materials on the surface of Mars, in particular during the on-going Mars Exploration Rover missions, have shown complex relationships between composition, exposure to the surface environment, texture, and local rocks. In particular, a diversity in both compositional and physical properties could be established that is interpreted to be diagnostic of the complex geologic history of the martian surface layer. Physical and chemical properties vary laterally and vertically, providing insight into the composition of rocks from which soils derive, and environmental conditions that led to soil formation. They are central to understanding whether habitable environments existed on Mars in the distant past. An instrument the Mole for Soil Compositional Studies and Sampling (MOCSS) - is proposed to allow repeated access to subsurface regolith on Mars to depths of up to 1.5 meters for in-situ measurements of elemental composition and of physical and thermophysical properties, as well as for subsurface sample acquisition. MOCSS is based on the compact PLUTO (PLanetary Underground TOol) Mole system developed for the Beagle 2 lander and incorporates a small X-ray fluorescence spectrometer within the Mole which is a new development. Overall MOCSS mass is approximately 1.4 kilograms. Taken together, the MOCSS science data support to decipher the geologic history at the landing site as compositional and textural stratigraphy if they exist - can be detected at a number of places if the MOCSS were accommodated on a rover such as MSL. Based on uncovered stratigraphy, the regional sequence of depositional and erosional styles can be constrained which has an impact on understanding the ancient history of the Martian near-surface layer, considering estimates of Mars soil production rates of 0.5... 1.0 meters per billion years on the one hand and Mole subsurface access capability of approximately 1.5 meters. An overview of the MOCSS, XRS

  7. Wind tunnel simulation of Martian sand storms

    Science.gov (United States)

    Greeley, R.

    1980-01-01

    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.

  8. Electrodynamics of the Martian Ionosphere

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2017-12-01

    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.

  9. Luminescence Dating of Martian Polar Deposits: Concepts and Preliminary Measurements Using Martian Soil Analogs

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2000-08-01

    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.

  10. Evolution of Regolith Feed Systems for Lunar ISRU 02 Production Plants

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mueller, Robert P.; Townsend, Ivan I., III; Mantovani, James G.; Metzger, Philip T.

    2010-01-01

    The In-Situ Resource Utilization (ISRU) project of the NASA Constellation Program, Exploration Technology Development Program (ETDP) has been engaged in the design and testing of various Lunar ISRU O2 production plant prototypes that can extract chemically bound oxygen from the minerals in the lunar regolith. This work demands that lunar regolith (or simulants) shall be introduced into the O2 production plant from a holding bin or hopper and subsequently expelled from the ISRU O2 production plant for disposal. This sub-system is called the Regolith Feed System (RFS) which exists in a variety of configurations depending on the O2 production plant oxygen being used (e.g. Hydrogen Reduction, Carbothermal, Molten Oxide Electrolysis). Each configuration may use a different technology and in addition it is desirable to have heat recuperation from the spent hot regolith as an integral part of the RFS. This paper addresses the various RFS and heat recuperation technologies and system configurations that have been developed under the NASA ISRU project since 2007. In addition current design solutions and lessons learned from reduced gravity flight testing will be discussed.

  11. Nitrogen-Bearing, Indigenous Carbonaceous Matter in the Nakhla Mars Meteorite

    Science.gov (United States)

    Thomas-Keprta, K. L.; Clemett, S. J.; Messenger, S.; Rahman, Z.; Gibson, E. K.; Wentworth, S. J.; McKay, D. S.

    2017-01-01

    We report the identification of discrete assemblages of nitrogen (N)-rich organic matter entrapped within interior fracture surfaces of the martian meteorite Nakhla. Based on context, composition and isotopic measurements this organic matter is of demonstrably martian origin. The presence of N-bearing organic species is of considerable importance to the habitable potential and chemical evolution of the martian regolith.

  12. Martian surface

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Carr, M.H.

    1987-01-01

    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

  13. Rock fragment distributions and regolith evolution in the Ouachita Mountains, Arkansas, USA

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jonathan D. Phillips; Ken Luckow; Daniel A. Marion; Kristin R. Adams

    2005-01-01

    Rock fragments in the regolith are a persistent property that reflects the combined influences of geologic controls, erosion, deposition, bioturbation, and weathering. The distribution of rock fragments in regoliths of the Ouachita Mountains, Arkansas, shows that sandstone fragments are common in all layers, even if sandstone is absent in parent material. Shale and...

  14. Curation of US Martian Meteorites Collected in Antarctica

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    1998-01-01

    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.

  15. Martian Gullies: Formation by CO2 Fluidification

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2006-12-01

    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.

  16. Composition and structure of the martian atmosphere: preliminary results from Viking 1

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Nier, A.O.; Hanson, W.B.; Seiff, A.; McElroy, M.B.; Spencer, N.W.; Duckett, R.J.; Knight, T.C.D.; Cook, W.S.

    1976-01-01

    Results from the aeroshell-mounted neutral mass spectrometer on Viking 1 indicate that the upper atmosphere of Mars is composed mainly of CO 2 with trace quantities of N 2 , Ar, O, O 2 , and CO. The mixing ratios by volume relative to CO 2 for N 2 , Ar, and O 2 are about 0.06, 0.015, and 0.003, respectively, at an altitude near 135 kilometers. Molecular oxygen (O 2 + ) is a major component of the ionosphere according to results from the retarding potential analyzer. The atmosphere between 140 and 200 kilometers has an average temperature of about 180 0 +- 20 0 K. Atmospheric pressure at the landing site for Viking 1 was 7.3 millibars at an air temperature of 241 0 K. The descent data are consistent with the view that CO 2 should be the major constituent of the lower martian atmosphere

  17. The Viking X ray fluorescence experiment - Analytical methods and early results

    Science.gov (United States)

    Clark, B. C., III; Castro, A. J.; Rowe, C. D.; Baird, A. K.; Rose, H. J., Jr.; Toulmin, P., III; Christian, R. P.; Kelliher, W. C.; Keil, K.; Huss, G. R.

    1977-01-01

    Ten samples of the Martian regolith have been analyzed by the Viking lander X ray fluorescence spectrometers. Because of high-stability electronics, inclusion of calibration targets, and special data encoding within the instruments the quality of the analyses performed on Mars is closely equivalent to that attainable with the same instruments operated in the laboratory. Determination of absolute elemental concentrations requires gain drift adjustments, subtraction of background components, and use of a mathematical response model with adjustable parameters set by prelaunch measurements on selected rock standards. Bulk fines at both Viking landing sites are quite similar in composition, implying that a chemically and mineralogically homogeneous regolith covers much of the surface of the planet. Important differences between samples include a higher sulfur content in what appear to be duricrust fragments than in fines and a lower iron content in fines taken from beneath large rocks than those taken from unprotected surface material. Further extensive reduction of these data will allow more precise and more accurate analytical numbers to be determined and thus a more comprehensive understanding of elemental trends between samples.

  18. Martian Mixed Layer during Pathfinder Mission

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2008-09-01

    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

  19. Sputtering of Lunar Regolith Simulant by Protons and Multicharged Heavy Ions at Solar Wind Energies

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Meyer, Fred W.; Harris, Peter R.; Taylor, C.N.; Meyer, Harry M. III; Barghouty, N.; Adams, J. Jr.

    2011-01-01

    We report preliminary results on sputtering of a lunar regolith simulant at room temperature by singly and multiply charged solar wind ions using quadrupole and time-of-flight (TOF) mass spectrometry approaches. Sputtering of the lunar regolith by solar-wind heavy ions may be an important particle source that contributes to the composition of the lunar exosphere, and is a possible mechanism for lunar surface ageing and compositional modification. The measurements were performed in order to assess the relative sputtering efficiency of protons, which are the dominant constituent of the solar wind, and less abundant heavier multicharged solar wind constituents, which have higher physical sputtering yields than same-velocity protons, and whose sputtering yields may be further enhanced due to potential sputtering. Two different target preparation approaches using JSC-1A AGGL lunar regolith simulant are described and compared using SEM and XPS surface analysis.

  20. Field Testing of a Pneumatic Regolith Feed System During a 2010 ISRU Field Campaign on Mauna Kea, Hawaii

    Science.gov (United States)

    Craft, Jack; Zacny, Kris; Chu, Philip; Wilson, Jack; Santoro, Chris; Carlson, Lee; Maksymuk, Michael; Townsend, Ivan I.; Mueller, Robert P.; Mantovani, James G.

    2010-01-01

    Lunar In Situ Resource Utilization (ISRU) consists of a number of tasks starting with mining of lunar regolith, followed by the transfer of regolith to an oxygen extraction reactor and finally processing the regolith and storing of extracted oxygen. The transfer of regolith from the regolith hopper at the ground level to an oxygen extraction reactor many feet above the surface could be accomplished in different ways, including using a mechanical auger, bucket ladder system or a pneumatic system. The latter system is commonly used on earth when moving granular materials since it offers high reliability and simplicity of operation. In this paper, we describe a pneumatic regolith feed system, delivering feedstock to a Carbothermal reactor and lessons learned from deploying the system during the 2010 ISRU field campaign on the Mauna Kea, Hawaii.

  1. Antarctic Martian Meteorites at Johnson Space Center

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2018-01-01

    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. Zeolites on Mars: Possible environmental indicators in soils and sediments

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Ming, D.W.; Gooding, J.L.

    1988-01-01

    Weathering products should serve as indicators of weathering environments and may provide the best evidence of the nature of climate change on Mars. No direct mineralogical measurements of Martian regolith were performed by the Viking missions, but the biology and X-ray fluorescence experiments provided some information on the physiochemical properties of Martian regolith. Most post-Viking studies of candidate weathering products have emphasized phyllosilicates and Fe-oxides; zeolites are potentially important, but overlooked, candidate Martian minerals. Zeolites would be important on Mars for three different reasons. First, they are major sinks of atmospheric gases and, per unit mass, are stronger and more efficient sorbents than are phyllosilicates. Secondly, they can be virtually unique sorbents and shelters for organic compounds and possible catalysts for organic-based reactions. Finally, their exchangeable ions are good indicators of the chemical properties of solutions with which they have communicated. Accordingly, the search for information on past compositions of the Martian atmosphere and hydrosphere should find zeolites to be rich repositories

  3. Vibrational Locomotion Enabling Subsurface Exploration of Unconsolidated Regolith

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Aeronautics and Space Administration — Proposed effort is to use vibration to propel a small, self-contained device through unconsolidated (loose, granular) material, such as regolith. Small scale robotic...

  4. Investigation of element distributions in Luna-16 regolith

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kuznetsov, R. A.; Lure, B. G.; Minevich, V. Ia.; Stiuf, V. I.; Pankratov, V. B.

    1981-03-01

    The concentrations of 32 elements in fractions of different grain sizes in the samples of the lunar regolith brought back by Luna-16 are determined by means of neutron activation analysis. Four groups of elements are distinguished on the basis of the variations of their concentration with grain size, and concentration variations of the various elements with sample depth are also noted. Chemical leaching of the samples combined with neutron activation also reveals differences in element concentrations in the water soluble, metallic, sulphide, phosphate, rare mineral and rock phases of the samples. In particular, the rare earth elements are observed to be depleted in the regolith with respect to chondritic values, and to be concentrated in the phase extracted with 14 M HNO3.

  5. Mineralogical and chemical properties of the lunar regolith

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mckay, David S.; Ming, Douglas W.

    1989-01-01

    The composition of lunar regolith and its attendant properties are discussed. Tables are provided listing lunar minerals, the abundance of plagioclase feldspar, pyroxene, olivine, and ilmenite in lunar materials, typical compositions of common lunar minerals, and cumulative grain-size distribution for a large number of lunar soils. Also provided are charts on the chemistry of breccias, the chemistry of lunar glass, and the comparative chemistry of surface soils for the Apollo sites. Lunar agglutinates, constructional particles made of lithic, mineral, and glass fragments welded together by a glassy matrix containing extremely fine-grained metallic iron and formed by micrometeoric impacts at the lunar surface, are discussed. Crystalline, igneous rock fragments, breccias, and lunar glass are examined. Volatiles implanted in lunar materials and regolith maturity are also addressed.

  6. Mineralogical sources of groundwater fluoride in Archaen bedrock/regolith aquifers: Mass balances from southern India and north-central Sri Lanka

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    B.M. Hallett

    2015-09-01

    New hydrological insights for the region: An estimate of weathering duration for the in situ regolith in Andhra Pradesh, 250–380 Ka, is close to a previous estimate for southern India. Partial or total destruction of the primary F-bearing bedrock minerals and consistent depletion of F in the remnant minerals result in a much reduced total F content in the regolith. Leaching experiments and field relationships, however, indicate a greater potential for F mobilisation to groundwater from the regolith than the bedrock. Schemes for managed aquifer recharge should beware the risk of mobilising additional F to groundwater.

  7. Survival of microorganisms in smectite clays: Implications for Martian exobiology

    Science.gov (United States)

    Moll, Deborah M.; Vestal, J. Robie

    1992-08-01

    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.

  8. Evaporation Rates for Liquid Water and Ice Under Current Martian Conditions

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2004-01-01

    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.

  9. Soil developments in polar deserts: Implications for exobiology and future Mars missions

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gibson, Everett K., Jr.

    1989-01-01

    Chemical alterations, weathering, and diagenesis of soil profiles from the dry valleys of Antarctica were studied as analogs of regolith development for the Martian regolith. Chemical weathering processes play an important part in soil development within the dry valleys of Antarctica. A suite of core samples were studied which were taken within the valley floors in addition to samples taken in the vicinity of evaporite and brine ponds. Analysis of water soluable cations and anions from core samples were performed along with petrographic analysis of selected samples. It was shown that ionic transport processes operate primarily above the permafrost zone. Abundances of the water soluable ions reflect the nature of secondary minerals produced by evaporation and weathering. Chloride, calcium, and sodium abundances for soils from the cores within the North and South Forks of Wright Valley, reflect the secondary mineralogy of the soil columns. Calculations for Na, Ca, and Cl abundances reflect the appearance of halite and antarcticite. In areas where excess Ca is present, X-ray diffraction studies show the presence of gypsum. It is well known that the Martian surface conditions may be favorable for chemical weathering. Primary silicates would be expected to be reactive with any ground water. It seems likely that Martian subsurface water is available to assist in the weathering of the primary minerals. Such weathering could result in the formation of clays, sulfates, carbonates, hydrates, halides, and zeolites. The dry valley cores have shown that they maybe excellent analogs to weathering processes on the near-surface of Mars. Since movement of water within the near-surface region clearly results in chemical weathering, leaching, and salt formation in the dry valleys, similar processes are probably operating within the Martian regolith.

  10. Dielectric properties estimation of the lunar regolith at CE-3 landing site using lunar penetrating radar data

    Science.gov (United States)

    Feng, Jianqing; Su, Yan; Ding, Chunyu; Xing, Shuguo; Dai, Shun; Zou, Yongliao

    2017-03-01

    The second channel (CH2) of the Lunar Penetrating Radar (LPR) carried on the Chang'e-3 (CE-3) Yutu Rover was used to determine the thickness and structure of the lunar regolith. Accurately revealing the true structure beneath the surface requires knowledge of the dielectric permittivity of the regolith, which allows one to properly apply migration to the radar image. In contrast to simple assumptions in previous studies, this paper takes account of heterogeneity of the regolith and derives regolith's permittivity distribution laterally and vertically by a method widely used in data processing of terrestrial Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR). We find that regolith permittivity at the landing site increases with depth more quickly than previously recognized. At a depth of ∼2.5-3 m, the dielectric constant reaches the value of solid basalt. The radar image was migrated on the basis of the permittivity profile. We do not find any continuous distinct layers or an apparent regolith/rock interface in the migrated radargram, which implies that this area is covered by relatively young, poorly layered deposits.

  11. 2007 Lunar Regolith Simulant Workshop Overview

    Science.gov (United States)

    McLemore, Carole A.; Fikes, John C.; Howell, Joe T.

    2007-01-01

    Workshop findings include: simulant developers must understand simulant users' needs and applications; higher fidelity simulants are needed and needed in larger quantities now; simulants must be characterized to allow "apples-to-apples" comparison of test results; simulant users should confer with simulant experts to assist them in the selection of simulants; safety precautions should be taken in the handling and use of simulants; shipping, storing, and preparation of simulants have important implications; and most importantly, close communications among the simulant community must be maintained and will be continued via telecoms, meetings, and an annual Lunar Regolith Simulant Workshop.

  12. Solubility of C-O-H volatiles in graphite-saturated martian basalts and application to martian atmospheric evolution

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2012-12-01

    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

  13. Measuring the Shock Stage of Asteroid Regolith Grains by Electron Back-Scattered Diffraction

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zolensky, Michael; Martinez, James; Sitzman, Scott; Mikouchi, Takashi; Hagiya, Kenji; Ohsumi, Kazumasa; Terada, Yasuko; Yagi, Naoto; Komatsu, Mutsumi; Ozawa, Hikaru; hide

    2018-01-01

    We have been analyzing Itokawa samples in order to definitively establish the degree of shock experienced by the regolith of asteroid Itokawa, and to devise a bridge between shock determinations by standard light optical petrography, crystal structures as determined by electron and X-ray diffraction. These techniques would then be available for samples returned from other asteroid regoliths.

  14. Telerobotic Perception During Asteroid and Mars Regolith Operations Project

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gaddis, Steven; Zeitlin, Nancy (Compiler); Mueller, Robert (Compiler)

    2015-01-01

    Current space telerobotic systems are constrained to only operating in bright light and dust-free conditions. This project will study the effects of difficult lighting and dust conditions on telerobotic perception systems to better assess and refine regolith operations on other neighboring celestial bodies. In partnership with Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and Caterpillar, Inc., optical, LiDAR and RADAR sensing equipment will be used in performing the study. This project will create a known dust environment in the Swamp Works Granular Mechanics & Regolith Operations (GMRO) Laboratory regolith test bin to characterize the behavior of the sensing equipment in various calibrated lighting and dust conditions. It will also identify potential methods for mitigating the impacts of these undesirable conditions on the performance of the sensing equipment. Enhancing the capability of telerobotic perception systems will help improve life on earth for those working in dangerous, dusty mining conditions, as well as help advance the same technologies used for safer self-driving automobiles in various lighting and weather conditions. It will also prove to be a critical skill needed for advancing robotic and human exploration throughout our solar system, for activities such as mining on an asteroid or pioneering the first colony on Mars.

  15. Electrostatic Beneficiation of Lunar Regolith: Applications in In-Situ Resource Utilization

    Science.gov (United States)

    Trigwell, Steve; Captain, James; Weis, Kyle; Quinn, Jacqueline

    2011-01-01

    Upon returning to the moon, or further a field such as Mars, presents enormous challenges in sustaining life for extended periods of time far beyond the few days the astronauts experienced on the moon during the Apollo missions. A stay on Mars is envisioned to last several months, and it would be cost prohibitive to take all the requirements for such a stay from earth. Therefore, future exploration missions will be required to be self-sufficient and utilize the resources available at the mission site to sustain human occupation. Such an exercise is currently the focus of intense research at NASA under the In-situ Resource Utilization (ISRU) program. As well as oxygen and water necessary for human life, resources for providing building materials for habitats, radiation protection, and landing/launch pads are required. All these materials can be provided by the regolith present on the surface as it contains sufficient minerals and metals oxides to meet the requirements. However, before processing, it would be cost effective if the regolith could be enriched in the mineral(s) of interest. This can be achieved by electrostatic beneficiation in which tribocharged mineral particles are separated out and the feedstock enriched or depleted as required. The results of electrostatic beneficiation of lunar simulants and actual Apollo regolith, in lunar high vacuum are reported in which various degrees of efficient particle separation and mineral enrichment up to a few hundred percent were achieved.

  16. Yamato 980459: Crystallization of Martian Magnesian Magma

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2004-01-01

    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.

  17. Enhanced Mesh-Free Simulation of Regolith Flow, Phase I

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Aeronautics and Space Administration — NASA needs simulation tools capable of predicting the behavior of regolith in proposed excavation, transport, and handling or sample acquisition systems. For...

  18. Borehole depth and regolith aquifer hydraulic characteristics of ...

    African Journals Online (AJOL)

    EJIRO

    composition tend to exhibit similar hydraulic characteristics. But the poor performance of ... mum borehole depth in the regolith aquifer for the area and also reveals that ..... most important end products of chemical weathering of rocks of granitic ...

  19. Indigenous Carbonaceous Matter in the Nakhla Mars Meteorite

    Science.gov (United States)

    Clemett, S. J.; Thomas-Keprta, K. L.; Rahman, Z.; Le, L.; Wentworth, S. J.; Gibson, E. K.; McKay, D. S.

    2016-01-01

    Detailed microanalysis of the Martian meteorite Nakhla has shown there are morphologically distinct carbonaceous features spatially associated with low-T aqueous alteration phases including salts and id-dingsite. A comprehensive suite of analytical instrumentation including optical microscopy, field emission scanning electron microscopy (FESEM), energy dispersive X-ray (EDX) spectroscopy, focused ion beam (FIB) microscopy, transmission electron microscopy (TEM), two-step laser mass spectrometry (mu-L(sup 2)MS), laser mu-Raman spectroscopy, Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), and nanoscale secondary ion mass spectrometry (NanoSIMS) are being used to characterize the carbonaceous matter and host mineralogy. The search for carbonaceous matter on Mars has proved challenging. Viking Landers failed to unambiguously detect simple organics at either of the two landing sites although the Martian surface is estimated to have acquired at least 10(exp15) kg of C as a consequence of meteoritic accretion over the last several Ga. The dearth of organics at the Martian surface has been attributed to various oxidative processes including UV photolysis and peroxide activity. Consequently, investigations of Martian organics need to be focused on the sub-surface regolith where such surface processes are either severely attenuated or absent. Fortuitously since Martian meteorites are derived from buried regolith materials they provide a unique opportunity to study Martian organic geochemistry.

  20. Regolith transport in the Dry Valleys of Antarctica

    Science.gov (United States)

    Putkonen, J.; Rosales, M.; Turpen, N.; Morgan, D.; Balco, G.; Donaldson, M.

    2007-01-01

    The stability of ground surface and preservation of landforms that record past events and environments is of great importance as the geologic and climatic history is evaluated in the Dry Valleys of Antarctica. Currently little is known about the regolith transport that tends to eradicate and confound this record and regolith transport is itself an environmental indicator. Based on analyses of repeat photographs, soil traps, and pebble transport distances, it was found that there is a large spatial variation in topographic diffusivities at least in the annual basis and that counter intuitively the highest topographic diffusivities are found in the alpine valleys that are located farther inland from the coast where the lowest topographic diffusivities were recorded. An average topographic diffusivity for the Dry Valleys was determined to be 10M-5–10-4 m2

  1. Description of regolith at Laxemar-Simpevarp. Site descriptive modelling SDM-Site Laxemar

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Sohlenius, Gustav; Hedenstroem, Anna (Geological Survey of Sweden (SGU), Uppsala (Sweden))

    2008-11-15

    bays where fine-grained sediments can accumulate. The distribution of QD's on both land and sea areas is shown on a map over the whole Laxemar- Simpevarp regional model area. Data obtained from several investigations have been used to produce that map. The accuracy of the map therefore varies and the most detailed information was obtained from the central part of the model area. The geographical distribution and depth of the QD is largely determined by the topography of the underlying bedrock. Areas with exposed bedrock and a thin till cover dominate the whole regional model area, including the sea floor. These areas are crossed by a number of fissure valleys where the regolith cover is considerably thicker. Glacial clay with a thin cover of sand is the dominating surface deposit in the valleys on the sea floor. In the bays and land areas, the valleys are dominated by clay gyttja, which at many locations in the terrestrial areas is covered by a thin layer of peat. There are several glaciofluvial deposits, with a north strike, in the investigated area. The Tuna esker in the western part of the model area is the largest of these deposits. In a morphological sense, that esker is the most significant QD in the model area. In certain areas the till has a more coherent distribution than in the area in general. These areas are characterised by hummocks, which are probably not due to the morphology of the underlying bedrock. The properties of soils have been classified at sites representing ten land classes. These results were used together with the QD map and other geographical information to produce a soil-type map over the terrestrial part of the model area. Podsol, Leptosol and Regosol are the most commonly occurring soil types in the area. Wetlands and areas used as arable land, i.e. for cultivation of crops, are to a large extent covered by different types of Histosol. Most data showing the total depth of the regolith cover were obtained from geophysical

  2. CCD-Based XRD/XRF for Determining Environmental Mineralogy on Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Vaniman, D. T.; Bish, D. L.; Blake, D. F.; Chipera, S. J.

    2000-01-01

    Health effects from Martian dusts will be a concern for any manned Mars missions. Nuisance dusts plagued the Apollo astronauts, but dusts of more hazardous mineralogy, in habitats occupied by Mars astronauts weakened by a long-duration mission, may be more than a nuisance. Chemical hazards in Martian regolith attributable to S, Cl, Br, Cd, and Pb are known or strongly suspected to be present, but terrestrial studies of the health effects of dusts indicate that accurate determination of mineralogy is a critical factor in evaluating inhalation hazards. Mineral inhalation hazards such as the Group-I carcinogenic zeolite erionite, which is demonstrated to cause mesothelioma, cannot be identified by chemical analysis alone. Studies of palagonite analogs raise the possibility that erionite may occur on Mars. In addition to health effects concerns, environmental mineralogy has significant importance in resource extraction, groundwater use, and sustained agriculture. The high sulfur and chlorine content of Martian regolith will affect all of these uses, but the nature of mineralogic reservoirs for S and Cl will determine their uptake and concentration in extracted groundwater and in agricultural applications of regolith. Wet chemistry experiments planned for the Mars Environmental Compatibility Assessment (MECA) will define some of the consequences of water/soil interaction, but an understanding of the mineralogic basis for water-rock reactions is needed to understand the mechanisms of reaction and to apply the results of a few experiments to larger scales and different conditions.

  3. Optical Extinction Measurements of Dust Density in the GMRO Regolith Test Bin

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lane, J.; Mantovani, J.; Mueller, R.; Nugent, M.; Nick, A.; Schuler, J.; Townsend, I.

    2016-01-01

    A regolith simulant test bin was constructed and completed in the Granular Mechanics and Regolith Operations (GMRO) Lab in 2013. This Planetary Regolith Test Bed (PRTB) is a 64 sq m x 1 m deep test bin, is housed in a climate-controlled facility, and contains 120 MT of lunar-regolith simulant, called Black Point-1 or BP-1, from Black Point, AZ. One of the current uses of the test bin is to study the effects of difficult lighting and dust conditions on Telerobotic Perception Systems to better assess and refine regolith operations for asteroid, Mars and polar lunar missions. Low illumination and low angle of incidence lighting pose significant problems to computer vision and human perception. Levitated dust on Asteroids interferes with imaging and degrades depth perception. Dust Storms on Mars pose a significant problem. Due to these factors, the likely performance of telerobotics is poorly understood for future missions. Current space telerobotic systems are only operated in bright lighting and dust-free conditions. This technology development testing will identify: (1) the impact of degraded lighting and environmental dust on computer vision and operator perception, (2) potential methods and procedures for mitigating these impacts, (3) requirements for telerobotic perception systems for asteroid capture, Mars dust storms and lunar regolith ISRU missions. In order to solve some of the Telerobotic Perception system problems, a plume erosion sensor (PES) was developed in the Lunar Regolith Simulant Bin (LRSB), containing 2 MT of JSC-1a lunar simulant. PES is simply a laser and digital camera with a white target. Two modes of operation have been investigated: (1) single laser spot - the brightness of the spot is dependent on the optical extinction due to dust and is thus an indirect measure of particle number density, and (2) side-scatter - the camera images the laser from the side, showing beam entrance into the dust cloud and the boundary between dust and void. Both

  4. Performance analysis of a lunar based solar thermal power system with regolith thermal storage

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Lu, Xiaochen; Ma, Rong; Wang, Chao; Yao, Wei

    2016-01-01

    The manned deep-space exploration is a hot topic of the current space activities. The continuous supply of thermal and electrical energy for the scientific equipment and human beings is a crucial issue for the lunar outposts. Since the night lasts for periods of about 350 h at most locations on the lunar surface, massive energy storage is required for continuous energy supply during the lengthy lunar night and the in-situ resource utilization is demanded. A lunar based solar thermal power system with regolith thermal storage is presented in this paper. The performance analysis is carried out by the finite-time thermodynamics to take into account major irreversible losses. The influences of some key design parameters are analyzed for system optimization. The analytical results shows that the lunar based solar thermal power system with regolith thermal storage can meet the requirement of the continuous energy supply for lunar outposts. - Highlights: • A lunar based solar thermal power system with regolith thermal storage is presented. • The performance analysis is carried out by the finite-time thermodynamics. • The influences of some key design parameters are analyzed.

  5. Geologic processes and sedimentary system on Mars

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Lewis, A S

    1988-01-01

    The subject is covered under following headings: (1) morphology and processes at the martian surface (impact craters, water and ice, landslide, aeolian processes, volcanism, chemical weathering); (2) the sedimentary system (martian geologic documentation, sedimentary balance, regolith, pyroclastics, erosion phenomena, deposit and loss of sediments) as well as (3) summary and final remarks. 72 refs.

  6. The Phoenix Mars Lander Robotic Arm

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bonitz, Robert; Shiraishi, Lori; Robinson, Matthew; Carsten, Joseph; Volpe, Richard; Trebi-Ollennu, Ashitey; Arvidson, Raymond E.; Chu, P. C.; Wilson, J. J.; Davis, K. R.

    2009-01-01

    The Phoenix Mars Lander Robotic Arm (RA) has operated for over 150 sols since the Lander touched down on the north polar region of Mars on May 25, 2008. During its mission it has dug numerous trenches in the Martian regolith, acquired samples of Martian dry and icy soil, and delivered them to the Thermal Evolved Gas Analyzer (TEGA) and the Microscopy, Electrochemistry, and Conductivity Analyzer (MECA). The RA inserted the Thermal and Electrical Conductivity Probe (TECP) into the Martian regolith and positioned it at various heights above the surface for relative humidity measurements. The RA was used to point the Robotic Arm Camera to take images of the surface, trenches, samples within the scoop, and other objects of scientific interest within its workspace. Data from the RA sensors during trenching, scraping, and trench cave-in experiments have been used to infer mechanical properties of the Martian soil. This paper describes the design and operations of the RA as a critical component of the Phoenix Mars Lander necessary to achieve the scientific goals of the mission.

  7. Implantation of Martian Materials in the Inner Solar System by a Mega Impact on Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hyodo, Ryuki; Genda, Hidenori

    2018-04-01

    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.

  8. Martian Bow Shock and Magnetic Pile-Up Barrier Formation Due to the Exosphere Ion Mass-Loading

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Eojin Kim

    2011-03-01

    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.

  9. Grain-Scale Supercharging and Breakdown on Airless Regoliths

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zimmerman, M. I.; Farrell, W. M.; Hartzell, C.M.; Wang, X.; Horanyi, M.; Hurley, D. M.; Hibbitts, K.

    2016-01-01

    Interactions of the solar wind and emitted photoelectrons with airless bodies have been studied extensively. However, the details of how charged particles interact with the regolith at the scale of a single grain have remained largely uncharacterized. Recent efforts have focused upon determining total surface charge under photoemission and solar wind bombardment and the associated electric field and potential. In this work, theory and simulations are used to show that grain-grain charge differences can exceed classical sheath predictions by several orders of magnitude, sometimes reaching dielectric breakdown levels. Temperature-dependent electrical conductivity works against supercharging by allowing current to leak through individual grains; the balance between internal conduction and surface charging controls the maximum possible grain-to-grain electric field. Understanding the finer details of regolith grain charging, conductive equilibrium, and dielectric breakdown will improve future numerical studies of space weathering and dust levitation on airless bodies.

  10. An Electrostatic Precipitator System for the Martian Environment

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2012-01-01

    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

  11. Curiosity analyzes Martian soil samples

    Science.gov (United States)

    Showstack, Randy; Balcerak, Ernie

    2012-12-01

    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.

  12. Local Dynamics of Baroclinic Waves in the Martian Atmosphere

    KAUST Repository

    Kavulich, Michael J.

    2013-11-01

    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.

  13. Local Dynamics of Baroclinic Waves in the Martian Atmosphere

    KAUST Repository

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

    2013-01-01

    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.

  14. Laser induced breakdown spectroscopy library for the Martian environment

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

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

    2011-01-01

    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.

  15. Modeling the Expected Performance of the REgolith X-ray Imaging Spectrometer (REXIS)

    OpenAIRE

    Inamdar, Niraj K.; Binzel, Richard P.; Hong, Jae Sub; Allen, Branden; Grindlay, Jonathan; Masterson, Rebecca A.

    2014-01-01

    OSIRIS-REx is the third spacecraft in the NASA New Frontiers Program and is planned for launch in 2016. OSIRIS-REx will orbit the near-Earth asteroid (101955) Bennu, characterize it, and return a sample of the asteroid's regolith back to Earth. The Regolith X-ray Imaging Spectrometer (REXIS) is an instrument on OSIRIS-REx designed and built by students at MIT and Harvard. The purpose of REXIS is to collect and image sun-induced fluorescent X-rays emitted by Bennu, thereby providing spectrosco...

  16. Regolith-geology mapping with support vector machine: A case study over weathered Ni-bearing peridotites, New Caledonia

    Science.gov (United States)

    De Boissieu, Florian; Sevin, Brice; Cudahy, Thomas; Mangeas, Morgan; Chevrel, Stéphane; Ong, Cindy; Rodger, Andrew; Maurizot, Pierre; Laukamp, Carsten; Lau, Ian; Touraivane, Touraivane; Cluzel, Dominique; Despinoy, Marc

    2018-02-01

    Accurate maps of Earth's geology, especially its regolith, are required for managing the sustainable exploration and development of mineral resources. This paper shows how airborne imaging hyperspectral data collected over weathered peridotite rocks in vegetated, mountainous terrane in New Caledonia were processed using a combination of methods to generate a regolith-geology map that could be used for more efficiently targeting Ni exploration. The image processing combined two usual methods, which are spectral feature extraction and support vector machine (SVM). This rationale being the spectral features extraction can rapidly reduce data complexity by both targeting only the diagnostic mineral absorptions and masking those pixels complicated by vegetation, cloud and deep shade. SVM is a supervised classification method able to generate an optimal non-linear classifier with these features that generalises well even with limited training data. Key minerals targeted are serpentine, which is considered as an indicator for hydrolysed peridotitic rock, and iron oxy-hydroxides (hematite and goethite), which are considered as diagnostic of laterite development. The final classified regolith map was assessed against interpreted regolith field sites, which yielded approximately 70% similarity for all unit types, as well as against a regolith-geology map interpreted using traditional datasets (not hyperspectral imagery). Importantly, the hyperspectral derived mineral map provided much greater detail enabling a more precise understanding of the regolith-geological architecture where there are exposed soils and rocks.

  17. Activity and stability of a complex bacterial soil community under simulated Martian conditions

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hansen, Aviaja Anna; Merrison, Jonathan; Nørnberg, Per; Aagaard Lomstein, Bente; Finster, Kai

    2005-04-01

    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.

  18. The Origin of Amino Acids in Lunar Regolith Samples

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cook, Jamie E.; Callahan, Michael P.; Dworkin, Jason P.; Glavin, Daniel P.; McLain, Hannah L.; Noble, Sarah K.; Gibson, Everett K., Jr.

    2016-01-01

    We analyzed the amino acid content of seven lunar regolith samples returned by the Apollo 16 and Apollo 17 missions and stored under NASA curation since collection using ultrahigh-performance liquid chromatography with fluorescence detection and time-of-flight mass spectrometry. Consistent with results from initial analyses shortly after collection in the 1970s, we observed amino acids at low concentrations in all of the curated samples, ranging from 0.2 parts-per-billion (ppb) to 42.7 ppb in hot-water extracts and 14.5 ppb to 651.1 ppb in 6M HCl acid-vapor-hydrolyzed, hot-water extracts. Amino acids identified in the Apollo soil extracts include glycine, D- and L-alanine, D- and L-aspartic acid, D- and L-glutamic acid, D- and L-serine, L-threonine, and L-valine, all of which had previously been detected in lunar samples, as well as several compounds not previously identified in lunar regoliths: -aminoisobutyric acid (AIB), D-and L-amino-n-butyric acid (-ABA), DL-amino-n-butyric acid, -amino-n-butyric acid, -alanine, and -amino-n-caproic acid. We observed an excess of the L enantiomer in most of the detected proteinogenic amino acids, but racemic alanine and racemic -ABA were present in some samples.

  19. High Fidelity Regolith Simulation Tool for ISRU Applications, Phase I

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Aeronautics and Space Administration — NASA has serious unmet needs for simulation tools capable of predicting the behavior of lunar regolith in proposed excavation, transport and handling systems....

  20. Evolution of Shock Melt Compositions in Lunar Regoliths

    Science.gov (United States)

    Vance, A. M.; Christoffersen, R.; Keller, L. P.; Berger, E. L.; Noble, S. K.

    2016-01-01

    Space weathering processes - driven primarily by solar wind ion and micrometeorite bombardment, are constantly changing the surface regoliths of airless bodies, such as the Moon. It is essential to study lunar soils in order to fully under-stand the processes of space weathering, and how they alter the optical reflectance spectral properties of the lunar surface relative to bedrock. Lunar agglutinates are aggregates of regolith grains fused together in a glassy matrix of shock melt produced during micrometeorite impacts into the lunar regolith. The formation of the shock melt component in agglutinates involves reduction of Fe in the target material to generate nm-scale spherules of metallic Fe (nanophase Fe0 or npFe0). The ratio of elemental Fe, in the form of npFe0, to FeO in a given bulk soil indicates its maturity, which increases with length of surface exposure as well as being typically higher in the finer-size fraction of soils. The melting and mixing process in agglutinate formation remain poorly understood. This includes incomplete knowledge regarding how the homogeneity and overall compositional trends of the agglutinate glass portions (agglutinitic glass) evolve with maturity. The aim of this study is to use sub-micrometer scale X-ray compositional mapping and image analysis to quantify the chemical homogeneity of agglutinitic glass, correlate its homogeneity to its parent soil maturity, and identify the principal chemical components contributing to the shock melt composition variations. An additional focus is to see if agglutinitic glass contains anomalously high Fe sub-micron scale compositional domains similar to those recently reported in glassy patina coatings on lunar rocks.

  1. Root transcriptome remodeling of Arabidopsis in response to high levels of magnesium sulfate

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Aeronautics and Space Administration — Martian regolith (unconsolidated surface material) is a potential medium for plant growth in bioregenerative life support systems during manned missions on Mars....

  2. Microwave Palaeointensity Experiments On Terrestrial and Martian Material

    Science.gov (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

  3. Periglacial and glacial analogs for Martian landforms

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rossbacher, Lisa A.

    1992-01-01

    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.

  4. Evidence for a Heterogeneous Distribution of Water in the Martian Interior

    Science.gov (United States)

    McCubbin, Francis; Boyce, Jeremy W.; Srinvasan, Poorna; Santos, Alison R.; Elardo, Stephen M.; Filiberto, Justin; Steele, Andrew; Shearer, Charles K.

    2016-01-01

    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

  5. Thermal Properties of Lunar Regolith Simulants

    Science.gov (United States)

    Street, Kenneth; Ray, Chandra; Rickman, Doug

    2010-01-01

    Various high temperature chemical processes have been developed to extract oxygen and metals from lunar regolith. These processes are tested using terrestrial analogues of the regolith. But all practical terrestrial analogs contain H2O and/or OH-, the presence of which has substantial impact on important system behaviors. We have undertaken studies of lunar regolith simulants to determine the limits of the simulants to validate key components for human survivability during sustained presence on the moon. Differential Thermal Analysis (DTA) yields information on phase transitions and melting temperatures. Themo-Gravimetric Analysis (TGA) with mass spectrometric (MS) determination of evolved gas species yields chemical information on various oxygenated volatiles (water, carbon dioxide, sulfur oxides, nitrogen oxides and phosphorus oxides) and their evolution temperature profiles. The DTA and TGAMS studies included JSC-1A fine, NU-LHT-2M and its proposed feed stocks: anorthosite; dunite; HQ (high quality) glass and the norite from which HQ glass is produced. Fig 1 is a data profile for anorthosite. The DTA (Fig 1a) indicates exothermic transitions at 355 and 490 C and endothermic transitions at 970 and 1235 C. Below the 355 C transition, water (Molecular Weight, MW, 18 in Fig 1c) is lost accounting for approximately 0.1% mass loss due to water removal (Fig 1b). Just above 490 C a second type of water is lost, presumably bound in lattices of secondary minerals. Between 490 and the 970 transition other volatile oxides are lost including those of hydrogen (third water type), carbon (MW = 44), sulfur (MW = 64 and 80), nitrogen (MW 30 and 46) and possibly phosphorus (MW = 79, 95 or 142). Peaks at MW = 35 and 19 may be attributable to loss of chlorine and fluorine respectively. Negative peaks in the NO (MW = 30) and oxygen (MW = 32) MS profiles may indicate the production of NO2 (MW = 46). Because so many compounds are volatilized in this temperature range quantification of

  6. Nature of Reduced Carbon in Martian Meteorites

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2012-01-01

    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

  7. Nuclear thermal rockets using indigenous Martian propellants

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Zubrin, R.M.

    1989-01-01

    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

  8. The Strata-l Experiment on Microgravity Regolith Segregation

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fries, M.; Abell, P.; Brisset, J.; Britt, D.; Colwell, J.; Durda, D.; Dove, A.; Graham, L.; Hartzell, C.; John, K.; hide

    2016-01-01

    The Strata-1 experiment studies the segregation of small-body regolith through long-duration exposure of simulant materials to the microgravity environment on the International Space Station (ISS). Many asteroids feature low bulk densities, which implies high values of porosity and a mechanical structure composed of loosely bound particles, (i.e. the "rubble pile" model), a prime example of a granular medium. Even the higher-density, mechanically coherent asteroids feature a significant surface layer of loose regolith. These bodies will evolve in response to very small perturbations such as micrometeoroid impacts, planetary flybys, and the YORP effect. A detailed understanding of asteroid mechanical evolution is needed in order to predict the surface characteristics of as-of-yet unvisited bodies, to understand the larger context of samples from sample return missions, and to mitigate risks for both manned and unmanned missions to asteroidal bodies. Due to observation of rocky regions on asteorids such as Eros and Itokawa, it has been hypothesized that grain size distribution with depth on an asteroid may be inhomogeneous: specifically, that large boulders have been mobilized to the surface. In terrestrial environments, this size-dependent sorting to the surface of the sample is called the Brazil Nut Effect. The microgravity and acceleration environment on the ISS is similar that of a small asteroid. Thus, Strata-1 investigates size segregation of regolith in an environment analogous to that of small bodies. Strata-1 consists of four regolith simulants in evacuated tubes, as shown in Figure 1 (Top and Middle). The simulants are (1) a crushed and sieved ordinary chondrite meteorite to simulate an asteroidal surface, (2) a carbonaceous chondrite simulant with a mixture of fine and course particles, and two simplified silicate glass simulants; (3) one with angular and (4) another with spherical particles. These materials were chosen to span a range of granular

  9. Physical properties of Martian meteorites: Porosity and density measurements

    Science.gov (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.

  10. Martian Ionospheric Observation and Modeling

    Science.gov (United States)

    González-Galindo, Francisco

    2018-02-01

    measurements by different space missions. Numerical simulations by computational models able to simulate the processes that shape the ionosphere have also been commonly employed to obtain information about this region, to provide an interpretation of the observations and to fill their gaps. As a result, the Martian ionosphere is today the best known one after that of the Earth. However, there are still areas for which our knowledge is far from being complete. Examples are the details and balance of the mechanisms populating the nightside ionosphere, or a good understanding of the meteoric ionospheric layer and its variability.

  11. Martian gullies: possible formation mechanism by dry granular material..

    Science.gov (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

  12. Apollo 16 regolith breccias and soils - Recorders of exotic component addition to the Descartes region of the moon

    Science.gov (United States)

    Simon, S. B.; Papike, J. J.; Laul, J. C.; Hughes, S. S.; Schmitt, R. A.

    1988-01-01

    Using the subdivision of Apollo 16 regolith breccias into ancient (about 4 Gyr) and younger samples (McKay et al., 1986), with the present-day soils as a third sample, a petrologic and chemical determination of regolith evolution and exotic component addition at the A-16 site was performed. The modal petrologies and mineral and chemical compositions of the regolith breccias in the region are presented. It is shown that the early regolith was composed of fragments of plutonic rocks, impact melt rocks, and minerals and impact glasses. It is found that KREEP lithologies and impact melts formed early in lunar history. The mare components, mainly orange high-TiO2 glass and green low-TiO2 glass, were added to the site after formation of the ancient breccias and prior to the formation of young breccias. The major change in the regolith since the formation of the young breccias is an increase in maturity represented by the formation of fused soil particles with prolonged exposure to micrometeorite impacts.

  13. An extensive phase space for the potential martian biosphere.

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2011-12-01

    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.

  14. Remote Sensing Studies Of The Current Martian Climate

    Science.gov (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.

  15. Martian fluid and Martian weathering signatures identified in Nakhla, NWA 998 and MIL 03346 by halogen and noble gas analysis

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2013-03-01

    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

  16. Production of Oxygen from Lunar Regolith by Molten Oxide Electrolysis

    Science.gov (United States)

    Curreri, Peter A.

    2009-01-01

    This paper describes the use of the molten oxide electrolysis (MOE) process for the extraction of oxygen for life support and propellant, and silicon and metallic elements for use in fabrication on the Moon. The Moon is rich in mineral resources, but it is almost devoid of chemical reducing agents, therefore, molten oxide electrolysis is ideal for extraction, since the electron is the only practical reducing agent. MOE has several advantages over other extraction methods. First, electrolytic processing offers uncommon versatility in its insensitivity to feedstock composition. Secondly, oxide melts boast the twin key attributes of highest solubilizing capacity for regolith and lowest volatility of any candidate electrolytes. The former is critical in ensuring high productivity since cell current is limited by reactant solubility, while the latter simplifies cell design by obviating the need for a gas-tight reactor to contain evaporation losses as would be the case with a gas or liquid phase fluoride reagent operating at such high temperatures. Alternatively, MOE requires no import of consumable reagents (e.g. fluorine and carbon) as other processes do, and does not rely on interfacing multiple processes to obtain refined products. Electrolytic processing has the advantage of selectivity of reaction in the presence of a multi-component feed. Products from lunar regolith can be extracted in sequence according to the stabilities of their oxides as expressed by the values of the free energy of oxide formation (e.g. chromium, manganese, Fe, Si, Ti, Al, magnesium, and calcium). Previous work has demonstrated the viability of producing Fe and oxygen from oxide mixtures similar in composition to lunar regolith by molten oxide electrolysis (electrowinning), also called magma electrolysis having shown electrolytic extraction of Si from regolith simulant. This paper describes recent advances in demonstrating the MOE process by a joint project with participation by NASA KSC and

  17. MetNet Network Mission for Martian Atmospheric Investigations

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2014-07-01

    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.

  18. Water and Regolith Shielding for Surface Reactor Missions

    Science.gov (United States)

    Poston, David I.; Ade, Brian J.; Sadasivan, Pratap; Leichliter, Katrina J.; Dixon, David D.

    2006-01-01

    This paper investigates potential shielding options for surface power fission reactors. The majority of work is focused on a lunar shield that uses a combination of water in stainless-steel cans and lunar regolith. The major advantage of a water-based shield is that development, testing, and deployment should be relatively inexpensive. This shielding approach is used for three surface reactor concepts: (1) a moderated spectrum, NaK cooled, Hastalloy/UZrH reactor, (2) a fast-spectrum, NaK-cooled, SS/UO2 reactor, and (3) a fast-spectrum, K-heat-pipe-cooled, SS/UO2 reactor. For this study, each of these reactors is coupled to a 25-kWt Stirling power system, designed for 5 year life. The shields are designed to limit the dose both to the Stirling alternators and potential astronauts on the surface. The general configuration used is to bury the reactor, but several other options exist as well. Dose calculations are presented as a function of distance from reactor, depth of buried hole, water boron concentration (if any), and regolith repacked density.

  19. Water and Regolith Shielding for Surface Reactor Missions

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Poston, David I.; Sadasivan, Pratap; Dixon, David D.; Ade, Brian J.; Leichliter, Katrina J.

    2006-01-01

    This paper investigates potential shielding options for surface power fission reactors. The majority of work is focused on a lunar shield that uses a combination of water in stainless-steel cans and lunar regolith. The major advantage of a water-based shield is that development, testing, and deployment should be relatively inexpensive. This shielding approach is used for three surface reactor concepts: (1) a moderated spectrum, NaK cooled, Hastalloy/UZrH reactor, (2) a fast-spectrum, NaK-cooled, SS/UO2 reactor, and (3) a fast-spectrum, K-heat-pipe-cooled, SS/UO2 reactor. For this study, each of these reactors is coupled to a 25-kWt Stirling power system, designed for 5 year life. The shields are designed to limit the dose both to the Stirling alternators and potential astronauts on the surface. The general configuration used is to bury the reactor, but several other options exist as well. Dose calculations are presented as a function of distance from reactor, depth of buried hole, water boron concentration (if any), and regolith repacked density

  20. Experimental Measurements of Heat Transfer through a Lunar Regolith Simulant in a Vibro-Fluidized Reactor Oven

    Science.gov (United States)

    Nayagam, Vedha; Berger, Gordon M.; Sacksteder, Kurt R.; Paz, Aaron

    2012-01-01

    Extraction of mission consumable resources such as water and oxygen from the planetary environment provides valuable reduction in launch-mass and potentially extends the mission duration. Processing of lunar regolith for resource extraction necessarily involves heating and chemical reaction of solid material with processing gases. Vibrofluidization is known to produce effective mixing and control of flow within granular media. In this study we present experimental results for vibrofluidized heat transfer in lunar regolith simulants (JSC-1 and JSC-1A) heated up to 900 C. The results show that the simulant bed height has a significant influence on the vibration induced flow field and heat transfer rates. A taller bed height leads to a two-cell circulation pattern whereas a single-cell circulation was observed for a shorter height. Lessons learned from these test results should provide insight into efficient design of future robotic missions involving In-Situ Resource Utilization.

  1. Life on Mars: Evidence from Martian Meteorites

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2009-01-01

    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. Description of regolith at Laxemar-Simpevarp. Site descriptive modelling SDM-Site Laxemar

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Sohlenius, Gustav; Hedenstroem, Anna

    2008-11-01

    bays where fine-grained sediments can accumulate. The distribution of QD's on both land and sea areas is shown on a map over the whole Laxemar- Simpevarp regional model area. Data obtained from several investigations have been used to produce that map. The accuracy of the map therefore varies and the most detailed information was obtained from the central part of the model area. The geographical distribution and depth of the QD is largely determined by the topography of the underlying bedrock. Areas with exposed bedrock and a thin till cover dominate the whole regional model area, including the sea floor. These areas are crossed by a number of fissure valleys where the regolith cover is considerably thicker. Glacial clay with a thin cover of sand is the dominating surface deposit in the valleys on the sea floor. In the bays and land areas, the valleys are dominated by clay gyttja, which at many locations in the terrestrial areas is covered by a thin layer of peat. There are several glaciofluvial deposits, with a north strike, in the investigated area. The Tuna esker in the western part of the model area is the largest of these deposits. In a morphological sense, that esker is the most significant QD in the model area. In certain areas the till has a more coherent distribution than in the area in general. These areas are characterised by hummocks, which are probably not due to the morphology of the underlying bedrock. The properties of soils have been classified at sites representing ten land classes. These results were used together with the QD map and other geographical information to produce a soil-type map over the terrestrial part of the model area. Podsol, Leptosol and Regosol are the most commonly occurring soil types in the area. Wetlands and areas used as arable land, i.e. for cultivation of crops, are to a large extent covered by different types of Histosol. Most data showing the total depth of the regolith cover were obtained from geophysical investigations

  3. Martian Cryogenic Carbonate Formation: Stable Isotope Variations Observed in Laboratory Studies

    Science.gov (United States)

    Socki, Richard A.; Niles, Paul B.; Sun, Tao; Fu, Qi; Romanek, Christopher S.; Gibson, Everett K. Jr.

    2014-01-01

    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.

  4. Do Martian Blueberries Have Pits? -- Artifacts of an Early Wet Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lerman, L.

    2005-03-01

    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.

  5. Plasma and wave properties downstream of Martian bow shock: Hybrid simulations and MAVEN observations

    Science.gov (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

    2015-04-01

    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.

  6. LUNAR OUTGASSING, TRANSIENT PHENOMENA, AND THE RETURN TO THE MOON. II. PREDICTIONS AND TESTS FOR OUTGASSING/REGOLITH INTERACTIONS

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Crotts, Arlin P. S.; Hummels, Cameron

    2009-01-01

    We follow Paper I with predictions of how gas leaking through the lunar surface could influence the regolith, as might be observed via optical transient lunar phenomena (TLPs) and related effects. We touch on several processes, but concentrate on low and high flow rate extremes, which are perhaps the most likely. We model explosive outgassing for the smallest gas overpressure at the regolith base that releases the regolith plug above it. This disturbance's timescale and affected area are consistent with observed TLPs; we also discuss other effects. For slow flow, escape through the regolith is prolonged by low diffusivity. Water, found recently in deep magma samples, is unique among candidate volatiles, capable of freezing between the regolith base and surface, especially near the lunar poles. For major outgassing sites, we consider the possible accumulation of water ice. Over geological time, ice accumulation can evolve downward through the regolith. Depending on gases additional to water, regolith diffusivity might be suppressed chemically, blocking seepage and forcing the ice zone to expand to larger areas, up to km 2 scales, again, particularly at high latitudes. We propose an empirical path forward, wherein current and forthcoming technologies provide controlled, sensitive probes of outgassing. The optical transient/outgassing connection, addressed via Earth-based remote sensing, suggests imaging and/or spectroscopy, but aspects of lunar outgassing might be more covert, as indicated above. TLPs betray some outgassing, but does outgassing necessarily produce TLPs? We also suggest more intrusive techniques from radar to in situ probes. Understanding lunar volatiles seems promising in terms of resource exploitation for human exploration of the Moon and beyond, and offers interesting scientific goals in its own right. Many of these approaches should be practiced in a pristine lunar atmosphere, before significant confusing signals likely to be produced upon humans

  7. High Fidelity Multi-Scale Regolith Simulation Tool for ISRU, Phase II

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Aeronautics and Space Administration — NASA has serious unmet needs for simulation tools capable of predicting the behavior of lunar regolith in proposed excavation, transport and handling systems....

  8. Pb evolution in the Martian mantle

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2018-03-01

    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

  9. Cohesion of Mm- to Cm-Sized Asteroid Simulant Grains: An Experimental Study

    Science.gov (United States)

    Brisset, Julie; Colwell, Joshua E.; Dove, Adrienne; Jarmak, Stephanie; Anderson, Seamus

    2017-10-01

    The regolith covering the surfaces of asteroids and planetary satellites is very different from terrestrial soil particles and subject to environmental conditions very different from what is found on Earth. The loose, unconsolidated granular material has angular-shaped grains and a broad size distribution. On small and airless bodies (Earth surface gravity, the cohesion behavior of the regolith grains will dictate the asteroid’s surface morphology and its response to impact or spacecraft contact.Previous laboratory experiments on low-velocity impacts into regolith simulant with grain sizes landing missions to small bodies such as asteroids or Martian moons.

  10. Magnetic Sorting of the Regolith on the Moon: Lunar Swirls

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pieters, C. M.; Garrick-Bethell, I.; Hemingway, D.

    2014-12-01

    All of the mysterious albedo features on the Moon called "lunar swirls" are associated with magnetic anomalies, but not all magnetic anomalies are associated with lunar swirls [1]. It is often hypothesized that the albedo markings are tied to immature regolith on the surface, perhaps due to magnetic shielding of the solar wind and prevention of normal space weathering of the soil. Although interaction of the solar wind with the surface at swirls is indeed affected by the local magnetic field [2], this does not appear to result in immature soils on the surface. Calibrated spectra from the Moon Mineralogy Mapper [M3] (in image format) demonstrate that the high albedo markings for swirls are simply not consistent with immature regolith as is now understood from detailed analyses of lunar samples [eg 3]. However, M3 data show that the high albedo features of swirls are distinct and quite different from normal soils (in both the highlands and the mare). They allexhibit a flatter continuum across the near-infrared, but the actual band strength of ferrous minerals shows little (if any) deviation [4]. Recent analyses of magnetic field direction at swirls [5] mimic the observed albedo patterns (horizontal surface fields in bright areas, vertical surface fields in dark lanes). When coupled with the optical properties of magnetic separates of lunar soils [6] and our knowledge that the magnetic component of the soil results from space weathering [3,6], we propose a new and very simple explanation for these enigmatic albedo markings: the lunar swirls result from magnetic sorting of a well developed regolith. With time, normal gardening of the soil over a magnetic anomaly causes some of the dark magnetic component of the soil to be gradually removed from regions (high albedo areas) and accumulated in others (dark lanes). We are modeling predicted sorting rates using realistic rates of dust production. If this mechanism is tenable, only the origin of these magnetic anomalies

  11. Laser-powered Martian rover

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    1989-01-01

    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.

  12. Physical and chemical properties of the Martian soil: Review of resources

    Science.gov (United States)

    Stoker, C. R.; Gooding, James L.; Banin, A.; Clark, Benton C.; Roush, Ted

    1991-01-01

    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.

  13. Mineralogic and compositional properties of Martian soil and dust: results from Mars Pathfinder

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bell, J.F.; McSween, H.Y.; Crisp, J.A.; Morris, R.V.; Murchie, S.L.; Bridges, N.T.; Johnson, J. R.; Britt, D.T.; Golombek, M.P.; Moore, H.J.; Ghosh, A.; Bishop, J.L.; Anderson, R.C.; Brückner, J.; Economou, T.; Greenwood, J.P.; Gunnlaugsson, H.P.; Hargraves, R.M.; Hviid, S.; Knudsen, J.M.; Madsen, M.B.; Reid, R.; Rieder, R.; Soderblom, L.

    2000-01-01

    Mars Pathfinder obtained multispectral, elemental, magnetic, and physical measurements of soil and dust at the Sagan Memorial Station during the course of its 83 sol mission. We describe initial results from these measurements, concentrating on multispectral and elemental data, and use these data, along with previous Viking, SNC meteorite, and telescopic results, to help constrain the origin and evolution of Martian soil and dust. We find that soils and dust can be divided into at least eight distinct spectral units, based on parameterization of Imager for Mars Pathfinder (IMP) 400 to 1000 nm multispectral images. The most distinctive spectral parameters for soils and dust are the reflectivity in the red, the red/blue reflectivity ratio, the near-IR spectral slope, and the strength of the 800 to 1000 nm absorption feature. Most of the Pathfinder spectra are consistent with the presence of poorly crystalline or nanophase ferric oxide(s), sometimes mixed with small but varying degrees of well-crystalline ferric and ferrous phases. Darker soil units appear to be coarser-grained, compacted, and/or mixed with a larger amount of dark ferrous materials relative to bright soils. Nanophase goethite, akaganeite, schwertmannite, and maghemite are leading candidates for the origin of the absorption centered near 900 nm in IMP spectra. The ferrous component in the soil cannot be well-constrained based on IMP data. Alpha proton X-ray spectrometer (APXS) measurements of six soil units show little variability within the landing site and show remarkable overall similarity to the average Viking-derived soil elemental composition. Differences exist between Viking and Pathfinder soils, however, including significantly higher S and Cl abundances and lower Si abundances in Viking soils and the lack of a correlation between Ti and Fe in Pathfinder soils. No significant linear correlations were observed between IMP spectral properties and APXS elemental chemistry. Attempts at constraining

  14. H-Isotopic Composition of Apatite in Northwest Africa 7034

    Science.gov (United States)

    McCubbin, F. M.; Barnes, J. J.; Santos, A. R.; Boyce, J. W.; Anand, M.; Franchi, I. A.; Agee, C. B.

    2016-01-01

    Northwest Africa (NWA) 7034 and its pairings comprise a regolith breccia with a basaltic bulk composition [1] that yields a better match than any other martian meteorite to estimates of Mars' bulk crust composition [1]. Given the similarities between NWA 7034 and the martian crust, NWA 7034 may represent an important sample for constraining the crustal composition of components that cannot be measured directly by remote sensing. In the present study, we seek to constrain the H isotopic composition of the martian crust using Cl-rich apatite in NWA 7034.

  15. Evidence for methane in Martian meteorites.

    Science.gov (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

    2015-06-16

    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.

  16. Solid-Solid Vacuum Regolith Heat-Exchanger for Oxygen Production, Phase I

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Aeronautics and Space Administration — This SBIR Phase-1 project will demonstrate the feasibility of using a novel coaxial counterflow solid-solid heat exchanger to recover heat energy from spent regolith...

  17. Earth – Mars Similarity Criteria for Martian Vehicles

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Octavian TRIFU

    2010-09-01

    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.

  18. Comparision of the Martian Gullies With Terrestrial Ones

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2005-12-01

    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.

  19. The Nature of C Asteroid Regolith Revealed from the Jbilet Winselwan CM Chondrite

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zolensky, Michael; Mikouchi, Takashi; Hagiya, Kenji; Ohsumi, Kazumasa; Komatsu, Mutsumi; Chan, Queenie H. S.; Le, Loan; Kring, David; Cato, Michael; Fagan, Amy L.

    2016-01-01

    C-class asteroids frequently exhibit reflectance spectra consistent with thermally metamorphosed carbonaceous chondrites, or a mixture of phyllosilicate-rich material along with regions where they are absent. One particularly important example appears to be asteroid 162173 Ryugu, the target of the Hayabusa 2 mission, although most spectra of Ryugu are featureless, suggesting a heterogeneous regolith. Here we explore an alternative cause of dehydration of regolith of C-class asteroids - impact shock melting. Impact shock melting has been proposed to ex-plain some mineralogical characteristics of CB chondrites, but has rarely been considered a major process for hydrous carbonaceous chondrites.

  20. Advanced Water Purification System for In Situ Resource Utilization

    Science.gov (United States)

    Anthony, Stephen M.; Jolley, Scott T.; Captain, James G.

    2013-01-01

    One of NASA's goals is to enable longterm human presence in space, without the need for continuous replenishment of consumables from Earth. In situ resource utilization (ISRU) is the use of extraterrestrial resources to support activities such as human life-support, material fabrication and repair, and radiation shielding. Potential sources of ISRU resources include lunar and Martian regolith, and Martian atmosphere. Water and byproducts (including hydrochloric and hydrofluoric acids) can be produced from lunar regolith via a high-temperature hydrogen reduction reaction and passing the produced gas through a condenser. center dot Due to the high solubility of HCI and HF in water, these byproducts are expected to be present in the product stream (up to 20,000 ppm) and must be removed (less than 10 ppm) prior to water consumption or electrolysis.

  1. Ice exposures and landscape evolution in the Martian mid-latitudes

    Science.gov (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.

    2017-12-01

    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

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

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

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

    1979-01-01

    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

  3. Orbital evolution and origin of the Martian satellites

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Szeto, A.M.K.

    1983-01-01

    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

  4. Electrical Activity in Martian Dust Storms

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2016-12-01

    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.

  5. Modeling the expected performance of the REgolith X-ray Imaging Spectrometer (REXIS)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Inamdar, Niraj K.; Binzel, Richard P.; Hong, Jae Sub; Allen, Branden; Grindlay, Jonathan; Masterson, Rebecca A.

    2014-09-01

    OSIRIS-REx is the third spacecraft in the NASA New Frontiers Program and is planned for launch in 2016. OSIRIS-REx will orbit the near-Earth asteroid (101955) Bennu, characterize it, and return a sample of the asteroid's regolith back to Earth. The Regolith X-ray Imaging Spectrometer (REXIS) is an instrument on OSIRIS-REx designed and built by students at MIT and Harvard. The purpose of REXIS is to collect and image sun-induced fluorescent X-rays emitted by Bennu, thereby providing spectroscopic information related to the elemental makeup of the asteroid regolith and the distribution of features over its surface. Telescopic reflectance spectra suggest a CI or CM chondrite analog meteorite class for Bennu, where this primitive nature strongly motivates its study. A number of factors, however, will influence the generation, measurement, and interpretation of the X-ray spectra measured by REXIS. These include: the compositional nature and heterogeneity of Bennu, the time-variable solar state, X-ray detector characteristics, and geometric parameters for the observations. In this paper, we will explore how these variables influence the precision to which REXIS can measure Bennu's surface composition. By modeling the aforementioned factors, we place bounds on the expected performance of REXIS and its ability to ultimately place Bennu in an analog meteorite class.

  6. Magnesium isotope systematics in Martian meteorites

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2017-09-01

    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

  7. Chemical evolution of the early Martian hydrosphere

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Schaefer, M.W.

    1990-01-01

    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

  8. Composition and structure of the martian upper atmosphere: analysis of results from viking.

    Science.gov (United States)

    McElroy, M B; Kong, T Y; Yung, Y L; Nier, A O

    1976-12-11

    Densities for carbon dioxide measured by the upper atmospheric mass spectrometers on Viking 1 and Viking 2 are analyzed to yield height profiles for the temperature of the martian atmosphere between 120 and 200 kilometers. Densities for nitrogen and argon are used to derive vertical profiles for the eddy diffusion coefficient over the same height range. The upper atmosphere of Mars is surprisingly cold with average temperatures for both Viking 1 and Viking 2 of less than 200 degrees K, and there is significant vertical structure. Model calculations are presented and shown to be in good agreement with measured concentrations of carbon monoxide, oxygen, and nitric oxide.

  9. Corrosion on Mars: An Investigation of Corrosion Mechanisms Under Relevant Simulated Martian Environments

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2017-01-01

    , showed that there is an interaction between the small amount of oxygen present in the Mars gas and the alloy when there is a scratch that removes the protective aluminum oxide film. Further studies are needed to consider many other important components of the Mars environment that can affect this interaction such as: the effect of oxidants, the effect of radiation on their oxidizing properties and the possible catalytic effects of the clays present in the Martian regolith. The results of this one-year project provide strong justification for further investigation of the corrosion mechanism of materials relevant to long-term surface operations in support of future human exploration missions on Mars.

  10. The investigation of active Martian dune fields using very high resolution photogrammetric measurements

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kim, Jungrack; Kim, Younghwi; Park, Minseong

    2016-10-01

    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

  11. Mars analog minerals' spectral reflectance characteristics under Martian surface conditions

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2018-05-01

    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

  12. A Martian origin for the Mars Trojan asteroids

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2017-08-01

    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.

  13. Water in Pyroxene and Olivine from Martian Meteorites

    Science.gov (United States)

    Peslier, A. H.

    2012-01-01

    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

  14. The radiation environment on the surface of Mars - Summary of model calculations and comparison to RAD data.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Matthiä, Daniel; Hassler, Donald M; de Wet, Wouter; Ehresmann, Bent; Firan, Ana; Flores-McLaughlin, John; Guo, Jingnan; Heilbronn, Lawrence H; Lee, Kerry; Ratliff, Hunter; Rios, Ryan R; Slaba, Tony C; Smith, Michael; Stoffle, Nicholas N; Townsend, Lawrence W; Berger, Thomas; Reitz, Günther; Wimmer-Schweingruber, Robert F; Zeitlin, Cary

    2017-08-01

    The radiation environment at the Martian surface is, apart from occasional solar energetic particle events, dominated by galactic cosmic radiation, secondary particles produced in their interaction with the Martian atmosphere and albedo particles from the Martian regolith. The highly energetic primary cosmic radiation consists mainly of fully ionized nuclei creating a complex radiation field at the Martian surface. This complex field, its formation and its potential health risk posed to astronauts on future manned missions to Mars can only be fully understood using a combination of measurements and model calculations. In this work the outcome of a workshop held in June 2016 in Boulder, CO, USA is presented: experimental results from the Radiation Assessment Detector of the Mars Science Laboratory are compared to model results from GEANT4, HETC-HEDS, HZETRN, MCNP6, and PHITS. Charged and neutral particle spectra and dose rates measured between 15 November 2015 and 15 January 2016 and model results calculated for this time period are investigated. Copyright © 2017 The Committee on Space Research (COSPAR). All rights reserved.

  15. Modeling steam pressure under martian lava flows

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dundas, Colin M.; Keszthelyi, Laszlo P.

    2013-01-01

    Rootless cones on Mars are a valuable indicator of past interactions between lava and water. However, the details of the lava–water interactions are not fully understood, limiting the ability to use these features to infer new information about past water on Mars. We have developed a model for the pressurization of a dry layer of porous regolith by melting and boiling ground ice in the shallow subsurface. This model builds on previous models of lava cooling and melting of subsurface ice. We find that for reasonable regolith properties and ice depths of decimeters, explosive pressures can be reached. However, the energy stored within such lags is insufficient to excavate thick flows unless they draw steam from a broader region than the local eruption site. These results indicate that lag pressurization can drive rootless cone formation under favorable circumstances, but in other instances molten fuel–coolant interactions are probably required. We use the model results to consider a range of scenarios for rootless cone formation in Athabasca Valles. Pressure buildup by melting and boiling ice under a desiccated lag is possible in some locations, consistent with the expected distribution of ice implanted from atmospheric water vapor. However, it is uncertain whether such ice has existed in the vicinity of Athabasca Valles in recent history. Plausible alternative sources include surface snow or an aqueous flood shortly before the emplacement of the lava flow.

  16. 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)

    1982-01-07

    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.

  17. 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.

    1982-01-01

    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.)

  18. CNT-Based Smart Electrostatic Filters for Capturing Nanoparticulate Lunar Regolith, Phase I

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Aeronautics and Space Administration — The abrasive, reactive, and ubiquitous nature of lunar regolith created significant and serious problems during the Apollo moon missions. In this Phase I, Agave...

  19. The provenance, formation, and implications of reduced carbon phases in Martian meteorites

    Science.gov (United States)

    Steele, Andrew; McCubbin, Francis M.; Fries, Marc D.

    2016-11-01

    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.

  20. Regolith stratigraphy at the Chang'E-3 landing site as seen by lunar penetrating radar

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fa, Wenzhe; Zhu, Meng-Hua; Liu, Tiantian; Plescia, Jeffrey B.

    2015-12-01

    The Chang'E-3 lunar penetrating radar (LPR) observations at 500 MHz reveal four major stratigraphic zones from the surface to a depth of ~20 m along the survey line: a layered reworked zone (<1 m), an ejecta layer (~2-6 m), a paleoregolith layer (~4-11 m), and the underlying mare basalts. The reworked zone has two to five distinct layers and consists of surface regolith. The paleoregolith buried by the ejecta from a 500 m crater is relatively homogenous and contains only a few rocks. Population of buried rocks increases with depth to ~2 m at first, and then decreases with depth, representing a balance between initial deposition of the ejecta and later turnover of the regolith. Combining with the surface age, the LPR observations indicate a mean accumulation rate of about 5-10 m/Gyr for the surface regolith, which is at least 4-8 times larger than previous estimation.

  1. Apollo 14 regolith breccias - Different glass populations and their potential for charting space time variations

    Science.gov (United States)

    Delano, John W.

    1988-01-01

    Apollo 14 regolith breccias (14313, 14307, 14301, 14049, 14047) have been found to have different populations of nonagglutinitic, mare-derived glasses. These variations appear to not only reflect different source regoliths but also different closure ages for these breccias. Based upon these different glass populations, 14301 is inferred to have a closure age sometime during the epoch of mare volcanism. All of the other four breccias were formed after the termination of mare volcanism with a possible age sequence from old to young of the following: 14307, 14313, 14049, 14047. Due to the relative simplicity of acquiring high-quality chemical data on large numbers of glasses by electron microprobe, mare glass populations allow: (1) classification of regolith breccias with respect to provenance and (2) estimation of their relative and absolute closure ages. The determination of (Ar-40)-(Ar-39) ages on individual glass spherules within breccias using the laser probe should in the future prove to be a promising extension of the present study.

  2. Can plants grow on Mars and the moon: a growth experiment on Mars and moon soil simulants.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wamelink, G W Wieger; Frissel, Joep Y; Krijnen, Wilfred H J; Verwoert, M Rinie; Goedhart, Paul W

    2014-01-01

    When humans will settle on the moon or Mars they will have to eat there. Food may be flown in. An alternative could be to cultivate plants at the site itself, preferably in native soils. We report on the first large-scale controlled experiment to investigate the possibility of growing plants in Mars and moon soil simulants. The results show that plants are able to germinate and grow on both Martian and moon soil simulant for a period of 50 days without any addition of nutrients. Growth and flowering on Mars regolith simulant was much better than on moon regolith simulant and even slightly better than on our control nutrient poor river soil. Reflexed stonecrop (a wild plant); the crops tomato, wheat, and cress; and the green manure species field mustard performed particularly well. The latter three flowered, and cress and field mustard also produced seeds. Our results show that in principle it is possible to grow crops and other plant species in Martian and Lunar soil simulants. However, many questions remain about the simulants' water carrying capacity and other physical characteristics and also whether the simulants are representative of the real soils.

  3. Can plants grow on Mars and the moon: a growth experiment on Mars and moon soil simulants.

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    G W Wieger Wamelink

    Full Text Available When humans will settle on the moon or Mars they will have to eat there. Food may be flown in. An alternative could be to cultivate plants at the site itself, preferably in native soils. We report on the first large-scale controlled experiment to investigate the possibility of growing plants in Mars and moon soil simulants. The results show that plants are able to germinate and grow on both Martian and moon soil simulant for a period of 50 days without any addition of nutrients. Growth and flowering on Mars regolith simulant was much better than on moon regolith simulant and even slightly better than on our control nutrient poor river soil. Reflexed stonecrop (a wild plant; the crops tomato, wheat, and cress; and the green manure species field mustard performed particularly well. The latter three flowered, and cress and field mustard also produced seeds. Our results show that in principle it is possible to grow crops and other plant species in Martian and Lunar soil simulants. However, many questions remain about the simulants' water carrying capacity and other physical characteristics and also whether the simulants are representative of the real soils.

  4. Electrostatic Separation of Lunar Regolith for Size Beneficiation Using Same-Material Tribocharging

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Aeronautics and Space Administration — The success of future long-term manned lunar missions depends on the development of certain key technologies. One such technology, the utilization of lunar regolith...

  5. Triassic regolithization: A major stage of pre-enrichment in the formation of unconformity related deposits in Southern France

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Schmitt, J.M.; Clement, J.Y.

    1989-01-01

    The formation of unconformity related uranium deposits in Canada and Australia is currently thought to have involved some stage of preconcentration within the Proterozoic regolith. Uranium deposits in the southern Massif central (France) are spatially linked to the Mesozoic unconformity. Under this unconformity, rocks of the Hercynian basement as well as Permo-Carboniferous sediments show a regolithic alteration dating back to the Late Permian to Late Triassic period. On the elevated parts of the Triassic landscape, 30 to 50 m deep weathering profiles are preserved. Three main zones can be distinguished: a lower pink coloured zone, showing partly albitized and chloritized rocks: a middle bleached zone with neogenic clays; and an upper reddish zone with Fe-Mn oxyhydroxides. Towards the Triassic basin, much deeper (200-300 m) alteration profiles are observed on Permo-Carboniferous sediments. The two upper regolithic zones are present, but the lower albitized one is very developed with two subzones: analcite/albite at the top, and K-feldspar/albite at the bottom. Geochemical data show that potassium is fixed in the uppermost horizons of the regolith, whereas sodium is transported towards the lower horizons and basin areas and fixed in analcite/albite zones. Uranium, vanadium, copper and less mobile elements such as titanium and zirconium are strongly leached from the weathering profiles in elevated parts of the landscape but are enriched in basin zones of albitization up to 5-15 times. Thus, solutions generated from the weathering profiles have brought about a major redistribution of uranium in the Triassic landscape. The remarkable applanation and tectonic stability of the area as well as a subarid climate seem to have favoured this 'regolithization' process. In southern France, geochemical differentiation during the Triassic has thus given rise to important uranium pre-enrichment, and the regolith is a major control for later uranium deposits. (author). 16 refs, 8

  6. Permeability Barrier Generation in the Martian Lithosphere

    Science.gov (United States)

    Schools, Joe; Montési, Laurent

    2015-11-01

    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

  7. Effects of topographic data quality on estimates of shallow slope stability using different regolith depth models

    Science.gov (United States)

    Baum, Rex L.

    2017-01-01

    Thickness of colluvium or regolith overlying bedrock or other consolidated materials is a major factor in determining stability of unconsolidated earth materials on steep slopes. Many efforts to model spatially distributed slope stability, for example to assess susceptibility to shallow landslides, have relied on estimates of constant thickness, constant depth, or simple models of thickness (or depth) based on slope and other topographic variables. Assumptions of constant depth or thickness rarely give satisfactory results. Geomorphologists have devised a number of different models to represent the spatial variability of regolith depth and applied them to various settings. I have applied some of these models that can be implemented numerically to different study areas with different types of terrain and tested the results against available depth measurements and landslide inventories. The areas include crystalline rocks of the Colorado Front Range, and gently dipping sedimentary rocks of the Oregon Coast Range. Model performance varies with model, terrain type, and with quality of the input topographic data. Steps in contour-derived 10-m digital elevation models (DEMs) introduce significant errors into the predicted distribution of regolith and landslides. Scan lines, facets, and other artifacts further degrade DEMs and model predictions. Resampling to a lower grid-cell resolution can mitigate effects of facets in lidar DEMs of areas where dense forest severely limits ground returns. Due to its higher accuracy and ability to penetrate vegetation, lidar-derived topography produces more realistic distributions of cover and potential landslides than conventional photogrammetrically derived topographic data.

  8. Regolith thickness at the Chang'E-3 landing site from the Lunar Penetrating Radar and impact craters

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fa, W.; Zhu, M.-H.; Liu, T.

    2015-10-01

    The Chang'E-3 lunar penetrating radar (LPR) observations reveal a newly formed regolith layer (<1 m), an ejecta layer (~2-6 m), and a palaeoregolith layer (~4-9 m) from the surface to a depth of ~ 20 m. The thicknesses of the newly formed regolith layer and the palaeoregolith layer are consistent with the estimations based on the excavation depth and morphology of small fresh craters.

  9. Sample Return in Preparation for Human Mission on the Surface of Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Yun, P.

    2018-04-01

    Returned samples of martian regolith will help the science community make an informed decision in choosing the final human landing site and develop a better human mission plan to meet science criteria and IRSU and civil engineering criteria.

  10. Crater size-frequency distributions and a revised Martian relative chronology

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Barlow, N.G.

    1988-01-01

    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

  11. Waves in the Martian Atmosphere: Results from MGS Radio Occultations

    Science.gov (United States)

    Flasar, F. M.; Hinson, D. P.; Tyler, G. L.

    1999-01-01

    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.

  12. Martian extratropical cyclones

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    1979-01-01

    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.

  13. Subsurface Halophilic Microbial Communities in the Hyperarid Core of the Atacama Desert: An Analog for Possible Subsurface Life in Regolith on Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Oren, A.; Warren-Rhodes, K.; Rainey, F. T.; Ewing, S.; McKay, C. P.

    2003-12-01

    The Atacama Desert in its driest portion provides an interesting analog for possible past or present life in the Martian regolith. In the hyperarid core of the Atacama, surface soils are virtually abiotic, with no plants and "near sterile" concentrations of heterotrophic bacteria (i.e., exceedingly low densities of approximately 100 colony forming units per gram soil). The dearth of microbial life at the surface is likely maintained through extremely low water availability, low organic content and the highly oxidizing nature of the soil. In marked contrast to the surface, however, extremely halophilic microorganisms exist in salt layers 1.2-1.5m below the surface. Mineralogical analyses indicate the layers are predominantly halite (70% NaCl) but also contain sodium nitrate (5% NaNO3). Culturing and polar lipid analyses suggest the halophiles are archaeal Halobacterium-like motile rods. Microclimate monitoring at 1m indicates a soil relative humidity of 20% which is stable year-round even during decadal rain events such as that experienced in July 2002. This suggests the layers are isolated from even significant moisture influxes at the surface. Although further research is necessary, important parallels exist between this Earthly desert analog and the possible existence and detection of subsurface life on Mars despite harsh abiotic conditions at the surface.

  14. Population characteristics of submicrometer-sized craters on regolith particles from asteroid Itokawa

    Science.gov (United States)

    Matsumoto, Toru; Hasegawa, S.; Nakao, S.; Sakai, M.; Yurimoto, H.

    2018-03-01

    We investigated impact crater structures on regolith particles from asteroid Itokawa using scanning electron microscopy. We observed the surfaces of 51 Itokawa particles, ranging from 15 μm to 240 μm in size. Craters with average diameters ranging from 10 nm to 2.8 μm were identified on 13 Itokawa particles larger than 80 μm. We examined the abundance, spatial distribution, and morphology of approximately 900 craters on six Itokawa particles. Craters with sizes in excess of 200 nm are widely dispersed, with spatial densities from 2.6 μm2 to 4.5 μm2; a fraction of the craters was locally concentrated with a density of 0.1 μm2. The fractal dimension of the cumulative crater diameters ranges from 1.3 to 2.3. Craters of several tens of nanometers in diameter exhibit pit and surrounding rim structures. Craters of more than 100 nm in diameter commonly have melted residue at their bottom. These morphologies are similar to those of submicrometer-sized craters on lunar regolith. We estimated the impactor flux on Itokawa regolith-forming craters, assuming that the craters were accumulated during direct exposure to the space environment for 102 to 104 yr. The range of impactor flux onto Itokawa particles is estimated to be at least one order of magnitude higher than the interplanetary dust flux and comparable to the secondary impact flux on the Moon. This indicates that secondary ejecta impacts are probably the dominant cratering process in the submicrometer range on Itokawa regolith particles, as well as on the lunar surface. We demonstrate that secondary submicrometer craters can be produced anywhere in centimeter- to meter-sized depressions on Itokawa's surface through primary interplanetary dust impacts. If the surface unevenness on centimeter to meter scales is a significant factor determining the abundance of submicrometer secondary cratering, the secondary impact flux could be independent of the overall shapes or sizes of celestial bodies, and the secondary

  15. The extent of lunar regolith mixing

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Nishiizumi, K.; Imamura, M.; Kohl, C.P.; Murrell, M.T.; Arnold, J.R.; Russ, G.P. III

    1979-01-01

    The activity of solar cosmic-ray-produced 53 Mn has been measured as a function of depth in the upper 100 g/cm 2 (approximately 55 cm) of lunar cores 60009-60010 and 12025-12028. Additional samples which supplement earlier work were analyzed from the Apollo 15 and 16 drill stems. These data, taken in conjunction with previously published results and the 22 Na and 26 Al data of the Battelle Northwest group, indicate that in at least three of the four cases studied the regolith has been measureably disturbed within the last 10 m.y. In one case gardening to > 19 g/cm 2 is required. Activities measured in the uppermost 2 g/cm 2 indicate frequent mixing within this depth range. No undisturbed profiles were observed nor were any major discontinuities observed in the profiles. The Monte Carlo gardening model of Arnold has been used to derive profiles for the gardened moon-wide average of 53 Mn and 26 Al as a function of depth. The 53 Mn and 26 Al experimental results are compared with these theoretical predictions. Agreement is good in several respects, but the calculated depth of disturbance appears to be too low. (Auth.)

  16. Iron Redox Systematics of Shergottites and Martian Magmas

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2010-01-01

    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.

  17. Production of reactive oxygen species from abraded silicates. Implications for the reactivity of the Martian soil

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bak, Ebbe N.; Zafirov, Kaloyan; Merrison, Jonathan P.; Jensen, Svend J. Knak; Nørnberg, Per; Gunnlaugsson, Haraldur P.; Finster, Kai

    2017-09-01

    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.

  18. Iron Redox Systematics of Martian Magmas

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2011-01-01

    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. The Search for Organic Compounds of Martian Origin in Gale Crater by the Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) Instrument on Curiosity

    Science.gov (United States)

    Glavin, Daniel; Freissinet, Caroline; Mahaffy, Paul; Miller, Kristen; Eigenbrode, Jennifer; Summons, Roger; Archer, Douglas, Jr.; Brunner, Anna; Martin, Mildred; Buch, Arrnaud; hide

    2014-01-01

    One of the key objectives of the Mars Science Laboratory rover and the Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instrument suite is to determine the inventory of organic and inorganic volatiles in the atmosphere and surface regolith and rocks to help assess the habitability potential of Gale Crater. The SAM instrument on the Curiosity rover can detect volatile organic compounds thermally evolved from solid samples using a combination of evolved gas analysis (EGA) and gas chromatography mass spectrometry (GCMS) (Mahaffy et al. 2012). The first solid samples analyzed by SAM, a scoop of windblown dust and sand at Rocknest, revealed several chloromethanes and a C4-chlorinated hydrocarbon derived primarily from reactions between a martian oxychlorine phase (e.g. perchlorate) and terrestrial carbon from N-methyl-N-(tertbutyldimethylsilyl)- trifluoroacetamide (MTBSTFA) vapor present in the SAM instrument background (Glavin et al. 2013). After the analyses at Rocknest, Curiosity traveled to Yellowknife Bay and drilled two separate holes in a fluvio-lacustrine sediment (the Sheepbed unit) designated John Klein and Cumberland. Analyses of the drilled materials by both SAM and the CheMin X-Ray Diffraction instrument revealed a mudstone consisting of 20 wt% smectite clays (Ming et al. 2013; Vaniman et al. 2013), which on Earth are known to aid the concentration and preservation of organic matter. Oxychlorine compounds were also detected in the Sheepbed mudstone during pyrolysis; however, in contrast to Rocknest, much higher levels of chloromethanes were released from the Sheepbed materials, suggesting an additional, possibly martian source of organic carbon (Ming et al. 2013). In addition, elevated abundances of chlorobenzene and a more diverse suite of chlorinated alkanes including dichloropropane and dichlorobutane detected in Cumberland compared to Rocknest suggest that martian or meteoritic organic carbon sources may be preserved in the mudstone (Freissinet et al. 2013

  20. Numerical Simulations of the Lunar Penetrating Radar and Investigations of the Geological Structures of the Lunar Regolith Layer at the Chang’E 3 Landing Site

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Chunyu Ding

    2017-01-01

    Full Text Available In the process of lunar exploration, and specifically when studying lunar surface structure and thickness, the established lunar regolith model is usually a uniform and ideal structural model, which is not well-suited to describe the real structure of the lunar regolith layer. The present study aims to explain the geological structural information contained in the channel 2 LPR (lunar penetrating radar data. In this paper, the random medium theory and Apollo drilling core data are used to construct a modeling method based on discrete heterogeneous random media, and the simulation data are processed and collected by the electromagnetic numerical method FDTD (finite-difference time domain. When comparing the LPR data with the simulated data, the heterogeneous random medium model is more consistent with the actual distribution of the media in the lunar regolith layer. It is indicated that the interior structure of the lunar regolith layer at the landing site is not a pure lunar regolith medium but rather a regolith-rock mixture, with rocks of different sizes and shapes. Finally, several reasons are given to explain the formation of the geological structures of the lunar regolith layer at the Chang’E 3 landing site, as well as the possible geological stratification structure.

  1. Joule-Heated Molten Regolith Electrolysis Reactor Concepts for Oxygen and Metals Production on the Moon and Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sibille, Laurent; Dominques, Jesus A.

    2012-01-01

    The maturation of Molten Regolith Electrolysis (MRE) as a viable technology for oxygen and metals production on explored planets relies on the realization of the self-heating mode for the reactor. Joule heat generated during regolith electrolysis creates thermal energy that should be able to maintain the molten phase (similar to electrolytic Hall-Heroult process for aluminum production). Self-heating via Joule heating offers many advantages: (1) The regolith itself is the crucible material, it protects the vessel walls (2) Simplifies the engineering of the reactor (3) Reduces power consumption (no external heating) (4) Extends the longevity of the reactor. Predictive modeling is a tool chosen to perform dimensional analysis of a self-heating reactor: (1) Multiphysics modeling (COMSOL) was selected for Joule heat generation and heat transfer (2) Objective is to identify critical dimensions for first reactor prototype.

  2. Regolith Formation Rates and Evolution from the Diviner Lunar Radiometer

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hayne, P. O.; Ghent, R. R.; Bandfield, J. L.; Vasavada, A. R.; Williams, J. P.; Siegler, M. A.; Lucey, P. G.; Greenhagen, B. T.; Elder, C. M.; Paige, D. A.

    2015-12-01

    Fragmentation and overturn of lunar surface materials produces a layer of regolith, which increases in thickness through time. Experiments on the lunar surface during the Apollo era, combined with remote sensing, found that the upper 10's of cm of regolith exhibit a rapid increase in density and thermal conductivity with depth. This is interpreted to be the signature of impact gardening, which operates most rapidly in the uppermost layers. Gravity data from the GRAIL mission showed that impacts have also extensively fractured the deeper crust. The breakdown and mixing of crustal materials is therefore a central process to lunar evolution and must be understood in order to interpret compositional information from remote sensing and sample analysis. Recently, thermal infrared data from the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO) Diviner radiometer were used to provide the first remote observational constraints on the rate of ejecta breakdown around craters L., Campbell, B. A., Allen, C. C., Carter, L. M., & Paige, D. A. (2014). Constraints on the recent rate of lunar ejecta breakdown and implications for crater ages. Geology, 42(12), 1059-1062.

  3. Distribution, movement, and evolution of the volatile elements in the lunar regolith

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Gibson, E.K. Jr.

    1975-01-01

    The abundances and distributions of carbon, nitrogen, and sulfur in lunar soils are reviewed. Carbon and nitrogen have a predominantly extra-lunar origin in lunar soils and breccias, while sulfur is mostly indigeneous to the Moon. The lunar processes which effect the movement, distribution, and evolution of carbon, nitrogen, and sulfur, along with the volatile alkali elements sodium, potassium, and rubidium during regolith processes are discussed. Possible mechanisms which may result in the addition to or loss from the Moon of these volatile elements are considered. (Auth.)

  4. Distribution, movement, and evolution of the volatile elements in the lunar regolith

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gibson, E. K., Jr.

    1975-01-01

    The abundances and distributions of carbon, nitrogen, and sulfur in lunar soils are reviewed. Carbon and nitrogen have a predominantly extra-lunar origin in lunar soils and breccias, while sulfur is mostly indigeneous to the moon. The lunar processes which effect the movement, distribution, and evolution of carbon, nitrogen, and sulfur, along with the volatile alkali elements sodium, potassium, and rubidium during regolith processes are discussed. Possible mechanisms which may result in the addition to or loss from the moon of these volatile elements are considered.

  5. The Martian Oasis Detector

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2000-07-01

    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

  6. DIHeDRAL: Downhole Regolith Interrogation with Helium-Assisted Drill and LIBS, Phase II

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Aeronautics and Space Administration — Future landed robotic missions to the lunar poles will seek to characterize the properties of subsurface regolith. Current instruments for such in-situ analysis,...

  7. DIHeDRAL: Downhole Regolith Interrogation with Helium-Assisted DRill And LIBS, Phase I

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Aeronautics and Space Administration — Future landed robotic missions to the lunar poles will seek to characterize the properties of subsurface regolith. Current instruments for such in-situ analysis,...

  8. A coupled regolith-lake development model applied to the Forsmark site

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Brydsten, Lars; Stroemgren, Maarten (Umeaa Univ., Umeaa (Sweden))

    2010-11-15

    The Quaternary geology at the Forsmark site has been characterized using both a map of Quaternary deposits and a regolith depth model (RDM) that show the stratigraphy and thickness of different deposits. Regolith refers to all the unconsolidated deposits overlying the bedrock. The surface geology and regolith depth are important parameters for hydrogeological and geochemical modelling and for the overall understanding of the area. The safety assessment analysis should focus on processes involved during a period of 120,000 years, which includes a full glacial cycle; however, the investigations within the site description model do not cover the temporal change of the regolith, a limitation that does not fulfil the requirements for the safety assessment. To this end, this study constructs a model that can predict the surface geology, stratigraphy, and thickness of different strata at any time during a glacial cycle and applies this model to the Forsmark site. The Weichselian ice sheet covered the study area until around 9500 BC. The deglaciation revealed a marine landscape with bedrock, till and glacial clay. For the safety assessment, the most important unconsolidated strata are clay or silt: these small grains can bind nuclear elements more easily than coarser sediment particles. Thick layers of clay can be found where post-glacial clay settled on top of glacial clay, especially where the middle-aged erosion of postglacial clay is missing and where there is an uninterrupted sequence of accumulation of finegrained particles. Such areas could be found in deep marine basins that later become lakes when raised into a supra-marine position. The coupled regolith-lake development model (RLDM) predicts the course of events described above during an interglacial, especially the dynamics of the clay and silt particles. The RLDM is divided into two modules: a marine module that predicts the sediment dynamics caused by wind waves and a lake module that predicts the lake infill

  9. A coupled regolith-lake development model applied to the Forsmark site

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Brydsten, Lars; Stroemgren, Maarten

    2010-11-01

    The Quaternary geology at the Forsmark site has been characterized using both a map of Quaternary deposits and a regolith depth model (RDM) that show the stratigraphy and thickness of different deposits. Regolith refers to all the unconsolidated deposits overlying the bedrock. The surface geology and regolith depth are important parameters for hydrogeological and geochemical modelling and for the overall understanding of the area. The safety assessment analysis should focus on processes involved during a period of 120,000 years, which includes a full glacial cycle; however, the investigations within the site description model do not cover the temporal change of the regolith, a limitation that does not fulfil the requirements for the safety assessment. To this end, this study constructs a model that can predict the surface geology, stratigraphy, and thickness of different strata at any time during a glacial cycle and applies this model to the Forsmark site. The Weichselian ice sheet covered the study area until around 9500 BC. The deglaciation revealed a marine landscape with bedrock, till and glacial clay. For the safety assessment, the most important unconsolidated strata are clay or silt: these small grains can bind nuclear elements more easily than coarser sediment particles. Thick layers of clay can be found where post-glacial clay settled on top of glacial clay, especially where the middle-aged erosion of postglacial clay is missing and where there is an uninterrupted sequence of accumulation of finegrained particles. Such areas could be found in deep marine basins that later become lakes when raised into a supra-marine position. The coupled regolith-lake development model (RLDM) predicts the course of events described above during an interglacial, especially the dynamics of the clay and silt particles. The RLDM is divided into two modules: a marine module that predicts the sediment dynamics caused by wind waves and a lake module that predicts the lake infill

  10. Unusual Iron Redox Systematics of Martian Magmas

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2012-01-01

    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.

  11. Near-opposition martian limb-darkening: Quantification and implication for visible-near-infrared bidirectional reflectance studies.

    Science.gov (United States)

    de Grenier, Muriel; Pinet, Patrick C.

    1995-06-01

    A nearly global coverage of the martian eastern hemisphere, acquired under small phase angles and varying observational geometries conditions, has been produced from 1988 opposition by spectral (0.5-1 μm) imaging data obtained at the Pic du Midi Observatory in France. From this data set, the methodology presented here permits a systematic analysis of martian photometric behavior at a regional scale of 100-300 km in the visible and near-infrared. The quantification of limb-darkening as a function of wavelength and surface albedo gives access in martian regional properties as a function of wavelength and surface albedo and results in the production of visible and near-infrared geometric albedo maps. A linear relation between the limb darkening parameter k and geometric albedo exists in the near infrared. Based on laboratory studies, it suggests a spectral response of particulate type for the martian soil. Conversely, in the visible, the value of k parameter is 0.6 independent of albedo and is consistent with a single scattering photometric behavior in the surface layer. However, the observed change in the martian photometry from single to multiple scattering may be partially due to a large contribution of atmospheric scattering above 0.7 μm. In the absence of a multitemporal dataset analysis, it must be emphasized that the present results are a priori only pertinent to the atmospheric and surface conditions existing on Mars at the time of observation. However, this analysis may contribute to characterize some physical properties, such as surface roughness. In the near-infrared, for bright terrains, k tends to 0.8 and agrees with the presence of very fine particulate materials. Photometry of dark areas is more irregular (0.48 duricrust. Finally, we evaluate the influence of reflectance geometrical effects on the multispectral and spectroscopic data of the martian surface.

  12. The Role of Planetary Dust and Regolith Mechanics in Technology Developments at NASA

    Science.gov (United States)

    Agui, Juan H.

    2011-01-01

    One of NASA's long term goals continues to be the exploration of other planets and orbital bodies in our solar system. Our sustained presence through the installation of stations or bases on these planetary surfaces will depend on developing properly designed habitation modules, mobility systems and supporting infrastructure. NASA Glenn Research Center is involved in several technology developments in support of this overarching goal. Two key developments are in the area of advanced filtration and excavation systems. The first addresses the issues posed by the accumulation of particulate matter over long duration missions and the intrusion of planetary dust into spacecraft and habitat pressurized cabins. The latter supports the operation and infrastructure of insitu resource utilization (ISRU) processes to derive consumables and construction materials from the planetary regolith. These two developments require a basic understanding of the lunar regolith at the micro (particle) to macro (bulk) level. Investigation of the relevant properties of the lunar regolith and characterization of the standard simulant materials used in. testing were important first steps in these developments. The fundamentals and operational concepts of these technologies as well as descriptions of new NASA facilities, including the Particulate Filtration Testing and the NASA Excavation and Traction Testing facilities, and their capabilities for testing and advancing these technologies will be presented. The test data also serves to validate and anchor computational simulation models.

  13. Radiation protection for human missions to the Moon and Mars

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Simonsen, L.C.; Nealy, J.E.

    1991-02-01

    Radiation protection assessments are performed for advanced Lunar and Mars manned missions. The Langley cosmic ray transport code and the nucleon transport code are used to quantify the transport and attenuation of galactic cosmic rays and solar proton flares through various shielding media. Galactic cosmic radiation at solar maximum and minimum, as well as various flare scenarios are considered. Propagation data for water, aluminum, liquid hydrogen, lithium hydride, lead, and lunar and Martian regolith (soil) are included. Shield thickness and shield mass estimates required to maintain incurred doses below 30 day and annual limits (as set for Space Station Freedom and used as a guide for space exploration) are determined for simple geometry transfer vehicles. On the surface of Mars, dose estimates are presented for crews with their only protection being the carbon dioxide atmosphere and for crews protected by shielding provided by Martian regolith for a candidate habitat

  14. SNC meteorites: Clues to martian petrologic evolution

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    McSween, H.Y. Jr.

    1985-01-01

    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

  15. Enrichment of Inorganic Martian Dust Simulant with Carbon Component can Provoke Neurotoxicity

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pozdnyakova, Natalia; Pastukhov, Artem; Dudarenko, Marina; Borysov, Arsenii; Krisanova, Natalia; Nazarova, Anastasia; Borisova, Tatiana

    2017-02-01

    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. Trajectories of martian habitability.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Cockell, Charles S

    2014-02-01

    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.

  17. Filter Media Tests Under Simulated Martian Atmospheric Conditions

    Science.gov (United States)

    Agui, Juan H.

    2016-01-01

    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.

  18. ISRU-Based Robotic Construction Technologies For Lunar And Martian Infrastructures

    Science.gov (United States)

    Khoshnevis, Behrokh; Carlson, Anders; Thangavelu, Madhu

    2017-01-01

    manner. The goal stated in our Phase I proposal was a high fidelity demonstration at D-RATS to be conducted at the conclusion of the Phase II study. In the course of the Phase I study, however, it became clear that such demonstration was neither possible (due to the maximum Phase II budget limitation and the cost of NASA assets and related overhead expenses to support such demonstrations), nor necessary (due to NASA's low TRL expectation of Phase II results). These important facts were revealed to us only after interacting with the NIAC administrators and meetings with potential future partners at JPL and KSC. Accordingly, it was decided by the team that in order to make best use of resources we should investigate novel directions in the adaptation of our fabrication technologies by using in-house laboratories and to produce truly useful technologies and data, and then proceed with high fidelity demonstration at a later opportunity when sufficient resources become available. Furthermore, we have recognized that in addition to our building scale 3D printing technology called Contour Crafting, variations of some of our other fabrication technologies under development are suitable for construction of infrastructure elements such as regolith based ceramic tiles and hence we have decided to include some related preliminary research in this Phase II proposal.

  19. The properties of the lunar regolith at Chang'e-3 landing site: A study based on LPR data

    Science.gov (United States)

    Feng, J.; Su, Y.; Xing, S.; Ding, C.; Li, C.

    2015-12-01

    In situ sampling from surface is difficult in the exploration of planets and sometimes radar sensing is a better choice. The properties of the surface material such as permittivity, density and depth can be obtained by a surface penetrating radar. The Chang'e-3 (CE-3) landed in the northern Mare Imbrium and a Lunar Penetrating Radar (LPR) is carried on the Yutu rover to detect the shallow structure of the lunar crust and the properties of the lunar regolith, which will give us a close look at the lunar subsurface. We process the radar data in a way which consist two steps: the regular preprocessing step and migration step. The preprocessing part includes zero time correction, de-wow, gain compensation, DC removal, geometric positioning. Then we combine all radar data obtained at the time the rover was moving, and use FIR filter to reduce the noise in the radar image with a pass band frequency range 200MHz-600MHz. A normal radar image is obtained after the preprocessing step. Using a nonlinear least squares fitting method, we fit the most hyperbolas in the radar image which are caused by the buried objects or rocks in the regolith and estimate the EM wave propagation velocity and the permittivity of the regolith. For there is a fixed mathematical relationship between dielectric constant and density, the density profile of the lunar regolith is also calculated. It seems that the permittivity and density at the landing site is larger than we thought before. Finally with a model of variable velocities, we apply the Kirchhoff migration method widely used in the seismology to transform the the unfocused space-time LPR image to a focused one showing the object's (most are stones) true location and size. From the migrated image, we find that the regolith depth in the landing site is smaller than previous study and the stone content rises rapidly with depth. Our study suggests that the landing site is a young region and the reworked history of the surface is short, which is

  20. Strata-1: An International Space Station Experiment into Fundamental Regolith Processes in Microgravity

    Science.gov (United States)

    Fries, M.; Abell, P.; Brisset, J.; Britt, D.; Colwell, J.; Durda, D.; Dove, A.; Graham, L.; Hartzell, C.; John, K.; hide

    2016-01-01

    The Strata-1 experiment will study the evolution of asteroidal regolith through long-duration exposure of simulant materials to the microgravity environment on the International Space Station (ISS). Many asteroids feature low bulk densities, which implies high values of porosity and a mechanical structure composed of loosely bound particles, (i.e. the "rubble pile" model), a prime example of a granular medium. Even the higher-density, mechanically coherent asteroids feature a significant surface layer of loose regolith. These bodies are subjected to a variety of forces and will evolve in response to very small perturbations such as micrometeoroid impacts, planetary flybys, and the YORP effect. Our understanding of this dynamical evolution and the inter-particle forces involved would benefit from long-term observations of granular materials exposed to small vibrations in microgravity. A detailed understanding of asteroid mechanical evolution is needed in order to predict the surface characteristics of as-of-yet unvisited bodies, to understand the larger context of samples collected by missions such as OSIRIS-REx and Hayabusa 1 and 2, and to mitigate risks for both manned and unmanned missions to asteroidal bodies. Understanding regolith dynamics will inform designs of how to land and set anchors, safely sample/move material on asteroidal surfaces, process large volumes of material for in situ resource utilization (ISRU) purposes, and, in general, predict behavior of large and small particles on disturbed asteroid surfaces.

  1. Iron snow in the Martian core?

    Science.gov (United States)

    Davies, Christopher J.; Pommier, Anne

    2018-01-01

    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.

  2. A massive hydrogen-rich Martian greenhouse recorded in D/H

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pahlevan, K.; Schaefer, L. K.; Desch, S. J.; Elkins-Tanton, L. T.

    2017-12-01

    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

  3. Potential Use of In Situ Material Composites such as Regolith/Polyethylene for Shielding Space Radiation

    Science.gov (United States)

    Theriot, Corey A.; Gersey, Buddy; Bacon, Eugene; Johnson, Quincy; Zhang, Ye; Norman, Jullian; Foley, Ijette; Wilkins, Rick; Zhou, Jianren; Wu, Honglu

    2010-01-01

    NASA has an extensive program for studying materials and methods for the shielding of astronauts to reduce the effects of space radiation when on the surfaces of the Moon and Mars, especially in the use of in situ materials native to the destination reducing the expense of materials transport. The most studied material from the Moon is Lunar regolith and has been shown to be as efficient as aluminum for shielding purposes (1). The addition of hydrogenous materials such as polyethylene should increase shielding effectiveness and provide mechanical properties necessary of structural materials (2). The neutron radiation shielding effectiveness of polyethylene/regolith stimulant (JSC-1A) composites were studied using confluent human fibroblast cell cultures exposed to a beam of high-energy spallation neutrons at the 30deg-left beam line (ICE house) at the Los Alamos Neutron Science Center. At this angle, the radiation spectrum mimics the energy spectrum of secondary neutrons generated in the upper atmosphere and encountered when aboard spacecraft and high-altitude aircraft. Cell samples were exposed in series either directly to the neutron beam, within a habitat created using regolith composite blocks, or behind 25 g/sq cm of loose regolith bulk material. In another experiment, cells were also exposed in series directly to the neutron beam in T-25 flasks completely filled with either media or water up to a depth of 20 cm to test shielding effectiveness versus depth and investigate the possible influence of secondary particle generation. All samples were sent directly back to JSC for sub-culturing and micronucleus analysis. This presentation is of work performed in collaboration with the NASA sponsored Center for Radiation Engineering and Science for Space Exploration (CRESSE) at Prairie View A&M.

  4. Perchlorates on Mars enhance the bacteriocidal effects of UV light.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wadsworth, Jennifer; Cockell, Charles S

    2017-07-06

    Perchlorates have been identified on the surface of Mars. This has prompted speculation of what their influence would be on habitability. We show that when irradiated with a simulated Martian UV flux, perchlorates become bacteriocidal. At concentrations associated with Martian surface regolith, vegetative cells of Bacillus subtilis in Martian analogue environments lost viability within minutes. Two other components of the Martian surface, iron oxides and hydrogen peroxide, act in synergy with irradiated perchlorates to cause a 10.8-fold increase in cell death when compared to cells exposed to UV radiation after 60 seconds of exposure. These data show that the combined effects of at least three components of the Martian surface, activated by surface photochemistry, render the present-day surface more uninhabitable than previously thought, and demonstrate the low probability of survival of biological contaminants released from robotic and human exploration missions.

  5. Regolith Advanced Surface Systems Operations Robot (RASSOR) Phase 2 and Smart Autonomous Sand-Swimming Excavator

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sandy, Michael

    2015-01-01

    The Regolith Advanced Surface Systems Operations Robot (RASSOR) Phase 2 is an excavation robot for mining regolith on a planet like Mars. The robot is programmed using the Robotic Operating System (ROS) and it also uses a physical simulation program called Gazebo. This internship focused on various functions of the program in order to make it a more professional and efficient robot. During the internship another project called the Smart Autonomous Sand-Swimming Excavator was worked on. This is a robot that is designed to dig through sand and extract sample material. The intern worked on programming the Sand-Swimming robot, and designing the electrical system to power and control the robot.

  6. Martian Neutron Energy Spectrometer (MANES)

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2000-01-01

    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.

  7. On the chemistry of the Martian surface

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Keil, K.

    1978-01-01

    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

  8. On to Mars! chronicles of Martian simulations

    CERN Document Server

    PLETSER, Vladimir

    2018-01-01

    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. .

  9. Benefit of Lunar Regolith on Reflector Mass Savings

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Hatton, Steven A.; El-Genk, Mohamed S.

    2007-01-01

    The 2004 NASA Vision for Space Exploration calls for the return of mankind to the moon by no later than 2020, in preparation for an adventure to Mars and beyond. An envisioned lunar outpost will provide living quarters for initially 5- 10 astronauts for up to 2 weeks, and latter for science experiments, and recovery of mineral and indigenous resources for the day-to-day operation and production of propellant. These activities would require electrical and thermal powers in the order of 10's - 100's of kilowatts 24/7. Potential power options include photovoltaic, requiring massive batteries or fuel cells for energy storage during the long nights on the moon, and nuclear reactor power systems, which are much more compact and operate independent of the sun. This paper examines the benefit of using the lunar regolith as a supplemental neutron reflector on decreasing the launch mass of the Sectored Compact Reactor (SCoRe-S), developed at the Institute for Space and Nuclear Power Studies. In addition to providing at least $2.00 of hot-clean excess reactivity at the beginning of life, various SCoRe-S concepts investigated in this paper are at least $1.00 sub-critical when shutdown, and when the bare reactor cores are submerged in wet sand and flooded with seawater, following a launch abort accident. Design calculations performed using MCNP5 confirmed that using lunar regolith as supplementary reflector reduces the launch mass of the SCoRe-S cores by ∼ 34% - 35%, or 150 - 200 kg, while satisfying the above reactivity requirements

  10. ISRU-Based Robotic Construction Technologies for Lunar and Martian Infrastructures

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Aeronautics and Space Administration — This study hopes to examine how to robotically pour regolith-based concrete on the Moon or Mars. The study team is adapting its current, Earth based technologies...

  11. Martian Atmospheric Pressure Static Charge Elimination Tool

    Science.gov (United States)

    Johansen, Michael R.

    2014-01-01

    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.

  12. Comparison of Direct Solar Energy to Resistance Heating for Carbothermal Reduction of Regolith

    Science.gov (United States)

    Muscatello, Anthony C.; Gustafson, Robert J.

    2011-01-01

    A comparison of two methods of delivering thermal energy to regolith for the carbo thermal reduction process has been performed. The comparison concludes that electrical resistance heating is superior to direct solar energy via solar concentrators for the following reasons: (1) the resistance heating method can process approximately 12 times as much regolith using the same amount of thermal energy as the direct solar energy method because of superior thermal insulation; (2) the resistance heating method is more adaptable to nearer-term robotic exploration precursor missions because it does not require a solar concentrator system; (3) crucible-based methods are more easily adapted to separation of iron metal and glass by-products than direct solar energy because the melt can be poured directly after processing instead of being remelted; and (4) even with projected improvements in the mass of solar concentrators, projected photovoltaic system masses are expected to be even lower.

  13. RESOLVE: Regolith and Environment Science and Oxygen and Lunar Volatile Extraction

    Science.gov (United States)

    Quinn, Jacqueline; Baird, Scott; Colaprete, Anthony; Larson, William; Sanders, Gerald; Picard, Martin

    2011-01-01

    Regolith & Environment Science and Oxygen & Lunar Volatile Extraction (RESOLVE) is an internationally developed payload that is intended to prospect for resources on other planetary bodies. RESOLVE is a miniature drilling and chemistry plant packaged onto a medium-sized rover to collect and analyze soil for volatile components such as water or hydrogen that could be used in human exploration efforts.

  14. An investigation of Martian and terrestrial dust devils

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ringrose, Timothy John

    2004-10-01

    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.

  15. Mars Atmosphere and Regolith COllector/PrOcessor for Lander Ops (MARCO POLO) Atmospheric Processing Module

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Aeronautics and Space Administration — The multi-NASA center Mars Atmosphere and Regolith COllector/PrOcessor for Lander Operations (MARCO POLO) project was established to build and demonstrate a...

  16. 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.

    1986-01-01

    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

  17. Iron oxide and hydroxide precipitation from ferrous solutions and its relevance to Martian surface mineralogy

    Science.gov (United States)

    Posey-Dowty, J.; Moskowitz, B.; Crerar, D.; Hargraves, R.; Tanenbaum, L.

    1986-01-01

    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.

  18. The Phoenix TECP Relative Humidity Sensor: Revised Results

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zent, Aaron

    2014-01-01

    The original calibration function of the RH sensor on the Phoenix mission's Thermal and Electrical Conductivity Sensor (TECP), has been revised to correct the erroneously-published original calibration equation, to demonstrate the value of this unique data set, and to improve characterization of H2O exchange between the martian regolith and atmosphere. TECP returned two data streams, the temperature of the electronics analog board (Tb) and the digital 12-bit output of the RH sensor (DN), both of which are required to uniquely specify the H2O abundance. Because the original flight instrument calibration was performed against a pair of hygrometers that measured frost point (Tf), the revised calibration equation is also cast in terms of frost point. The choice of functional form for the calibration function is minimally constrained. A series of profiles across the calibration data cloud at constant DN and Tb does not reveal any evidence of a complex functional form. Therefore, a series of polynomials in both DN and Tb was investigated, along with several non-linear functions of DN and Tb.

  19. Multi-Use Solar Thermal System for Oxygen Production from Lunar Regolith [7227-570], Phase II

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Aeronautics and Space Administration — We propose to develop an innovative solar thermal system for oxygen production from lunar regolith. In this system solar radiation is collected by the concentrator...

  20. Origin of giant Martian polygons

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    1992-01-01

    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.

  1. Fate of individual sewage disposal system wastewater within regolith in mountainous terrain

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dano, Kathleen; Poeter, Eileen; Thyne, Geoff

    2008-06-01

    In order to improve understanding of the fate of septic tank or individual sewage disposal system (ISDS) effluent in regolith overlying fractured-rock aquifers, effluent from an ISDS in such a setting was tracked via geophysical, hydrological, and geochemical methods. Under typical precipitation conditions, the effluent entered the fractured bedrock within 5 m of the boundary of the constructed infiltration area. During a period of unusually high spring recharge, the plume migrated between 50 and 100 m within the regolith before infiltrating the fractured bedrock. The chemical signature of the effluent is similar to that required to account for the decline in water quality, suggesting a causative relationship (as estimated from mass-balance models of the surface-water chemistry near the mouth of the basin). The elevated salt content of the effluent during periods of high natural recharge to the infiltration area correlates with elevated salt concentrations in surface and groundwater at the basin scale, suggesting that some of the effluent salt load may be stored in the unsaturated zone during dry periods and flushed during periods of elevated natural recharge.

  2. Performance of ground-penetrating radar on granitic regoliths with different mineral composition

    Science.gov (United States)

    Breiner, J.M.; Doolittle, James A.; Horton, Radley M.; Graham, R.C.

    2011-01-01

    Although ground-penetrating radar (GPR) is extensively used to characterize the regolith, few studies have addressed the effects of chemical and mineralogical compositions of soils and bedrock on its performance. This investigation evaluated the performance of GPR on two different granitic regoliths of somewhat different mineralogical composition in the San Jacinto Mountains of southern California. Radar records collected at a site where soils are Alfisols were more depth restricted than the radar record obtained at a site where soils are Entisols. Although the Alfisols contain an argillic horizon, and the Entisols have no such horizon of clay accumulation, the main impact on GPR effectiveness is related to mineralogy. The bedrock at the Alfisol site, which contains more mafic minerals (5% hornblende and 20% biotite), is more attenuating to GPR than the bedrock at the Entisol site, where mafic mineral content is less (<1% hornblende and 10% biotite). Thus, a relatively minor variation in bedrock mineralogy, specifically the increased biotite content, severely restricts the performance of GPR. Copyright ?? 2011 by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

  3. Geothermal Heating, Convective Flow and Ice Thickness on Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rosenberg, N. D.; Travis, B. J.; Cuzzi, J.

    2001-01-01

    Our 3D calculations suggest that hydrothermal circulation may occur in the martian regolith and may significantly thin the surface ice layer on Mars at some locations due to the upwelling of warm convecting fluids driven solely by background geothermal heating. Additional information is contained in the original extended abstract.

  4. Chemical and Physical Interactions of Martian Surface Material

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bishop, J. L.

    1999-09-01

    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.

  5. Assessment of the turbulence parameterization schemes for the Martian mesoscale simulations

    Science.gov (United States)

    Temel, Orkun; Karatekin, Ozgur; Van Beeck, Jeroen

    2016-07-01

    of WRF model for the extraterrestrial atmospheres [11]. Based on the measurements, the performances of different PBL schemes have been evaluated and some improvements have been proposed. [1] Colaïtis, A., Spiga, A., Hourdin, F., Rio, C., Forget, F., & Millour, E. (2013). A thermal plume model for the Martian convective boundary layer. Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets, 118(7), 1468-1487. [2] Balme, M., & Greeley, R. (2006). Dust devils on Earth and Mars. Reviews of Geophysics, 44(3). [3] Olsen, K. S., Cloutis, E., & Strong, K. (2012). Small-scale methane dispersion modelling for possible plume sources on the surface of Mars. Geophysical Research Letters, 39(19). [4] Savijärvi, H., & Siili, T. (1993). The Martian slope winds and the nocturnal PBL jet. Journal of the atmospheric sciences, 50(1), 77-88. [5] Fenton, L. K., Toigo, A. D., & Richardson, M. I. (2005). Aeolian processes in Proctor crater on Mars: Mesoscale modeling of dune-forming winds. Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets, 110(E6). [6] Hong, Song-You, Yign Noh, Jimy Dudhia, 2006: A new vertical diffusion package with an explicit treatment of entrainment processes. Mon. Wea. Rev., 134, 2318-2341. [7] Janjic, Zavisa I., 1994: The Step-Mountain Eta Coordinate Model: Further developments of the convection, viscous sublayer, and turbulence closure schemes. Mon. Wea. Rev., 122, 927-945. [8] Michaels, T. I., & Rafkin, S. C. (2004). Large-eddy simulation of atmospheric convection on Mars. Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society, 130(599), 1251-1274. [9] Hess, S. L., Henry, R. M., Leovy, C. B., Ryan, J. A., & Tillman, J. E. (1977). Meteorological results from the surface of Mars: Viking 1 and 2. Journal of Geophysical Research, 82(28), 4559-4574. [10] Martínez, G. et Al. (2015). Likely frost events at Gale crater: Analysis from MSL/REMS measurements. Icarus. [11] Richardson, M. I., Toigo, A. D., & Newman, C. E. (2007). PlanetWRF: A general purpose, local to global numerical model for

  6. The investigation of Martian dune fields using very high resolution photogrammetric measurements and time series analysis

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kim, J.; Park, M.; Baik, H. S.; Choi, Y.

    2016-12-01

    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

  7. Thermal Evolution and Crystallisation Regimes of the Martian Core

    Science.gov (United States)

    Davies, C. J.; Pommier, A.

    2015-12-01

    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.

  8. Size-dependent Measurements of the Scattering Properties of Planetary Regolith Analogs: A Challenge to Theory

    Science.gov (United States)

    Piatek, J. L.; Hapke, B. W.; Nelson, R. M.; Hale, A. S.; Smythe, W. D.

    2003-01-01

    The nature of the scattering of light is thought to be well understood when the medium is made up of independent scatterers that are much larger than the wavelength of that light. This is not the case when the size of the scattering objects is similar to or smaller than the wavelength or the scatterers are not independent. In an attempt to examine the applicability of independent particle scattering models, to planetary regoliths, a dataset of experimental results were compared with theoretical predictions.

  9. The Martian Goes To College: Open Inquiry with Science Fiction in the Classroom.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Beatty, L.; Patterson, J. D.

    2015-12-01

    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.

  10. The Martian surface radiation environment – a comparison of models and MSL/RAD measurements

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Matthiä Daniel

    2016-01-01

    Full Text Available Context: The Radiation Assessment Detector (RAD on the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL has been measuring the radiation environment on the surface of Mars since August 6th 2012. MSL-RAD is the first instrument to provide detailed information about charged and neutral particle spectra and dose rates on the Martian surface, and one of the primary objectives of the RAD investigation is to help improve and validate current radiation transport models. Aims: Applying different numerical transport models with boundary conditions derived from the MSL-RAD environment the goal of this work was to both provide predictions for the particle spectra and the radiation exposure on the Martian surface complementing the RAD sensitive range and, at the same time, validate the results with the experimental data, where applicable. Such validated models can be used to predict dose rates for future manned missions as well as for performing shield optimization studies. Methods: Several particle transport models (GEANT4, PHITS, HZETRN/OLTARIS were used to predict the particle flux and the corresponding radiation environment caused by galactic cosmic radiation on Mars. From the calculated particle spectra the dose rates on the surface are estimated. Results: Calculations of particle spectra and dose rates induced by galactic cosmic radiation on the Martian surface are presented. Although good agreement is found in many cases for the different transport codes, GEANT4, PHITS, and HZETRN/OLTARIS, some models still show large, sometimes order of magnitude discrepancies in certain particle spectra. We have found that RAD data is helping to make better choices of input parameters and physical models. Elements of these validated models can be applied to more detailed studies on how the radiation environment is influenced by solar modulation, Martian atmosphere and soil, and changes due to the Martian seasonal pressure cycle. By extending the range of the calculated particle

  11. Intercomparison of Martian Lower Atmosphere Simulated Using Different Planetary Boundary Layer Parameterization Schemes

    Science.gov (United States)

    Natarajan, Murali; Fairlie, T. Duncan; Dwyer Cianciolo, Alicia; Smith, Michael D.

    2015-01-01

    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.

  12. Regolith properties under trees and the biomechanical effects caused by tree root systems as recognized by electrical resistivity tomography (ERT)

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pawlik, Łukasz; Kasprzak, Marek

    2018-01-01

    Following previous findings regarding the influence of vascular plants (mainly trees) on weathering, soil production and hillslope stability, in this study, we attempted to test a hypothesis regarding significant impacts of tree root systems on soil and regolith properties. Different types of impacts from tree root system (direct and indirect) are commonly gathered under the key term of "biomechanical effects". To add to the discussion of the biomechanical effects of trees, we used a non-invasive geophysical method, electrical resistivity tomography (ERT), to investigate the profiles of four different configurations at three study sites within the Polish section of the Outer Western Carpathians. At each site, one long profile (up to 189 m) of a large section of a hillslope and three short profiles (up to 19.5 m), that is, microsites occupied by trees or their remnants, were made. Short profiles included the tree root zone of a healthy large tree, the tree stump of a decaying tree and the pit-and-mound topography formed after a tree uprooting. The resistivity of regolith and bedrock presented on the long profiles and in comparison with the short profiles through the microsites it can be seen how tree roots impact soil and regolith properties and add to the complexity of the whole soil/regolith profile. Trees change soil and regolith properties directly through root channels and moisture migration and indirectly through the uprooting of trees and the formation of pit-and-mound topography. Within tree stump microsites, the impact of tree root systems, evaluated by a resistivity model, was smaller compared to microsites with living trees or those with pit-and-mound topography but was still visible even several decades after the trees were windbroken or cut down. The ERT method is highly useful for quick evaluation of the impact of tree root systems on soils and regolith. This method, in contrast to traditional soil analyses, offers a continuous dataset for the entire

  13. Multiphysics Modeling for Dimensional Analysis of a Self-Heated Molten Regolith Electrolysis Reactor for Oxygen and Metals Production on the Moon and Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Dominguez, Jesus A.; Sibille, Laurent

    2010-01-01

    The technology of direct electrolysis of molten lunar regolith to produce oxygen and molten metal alloys has progressed greatly in the last few years. The development of long-lasting inert anodes and cathode designs as well as techniques for the removal of molten products from the reactor has been demonstrated. The containment of chemically aggressive oxide and metal melts is very difficult at the operating temperatures ca 1600 C. Containing the molten oxides in a regolith shell can solve this technical issue and can be achieved by designing a self-heating reactor in which the electrolytic currents generate enough Joule heat to create a molten bath. In a first phase, a thermal analysis model was built to study the formation of a melt of lunar basaltic regolith irradiated by a focused solar beam This mode of heating was selected because it relies on radiative heat transfer, which is the dominant mode of transfer of energy in melts at 1600 C. Knowing and setting the Gaussian-type heat flux from the concentrated solar beam and the phase and temperature dependent thermal properties, the model predicts the dimensions and temperature profile of the melt. A validation of the model is presented in this paper through the experimental formation of a spherical cap melt realized by others. The Orbitec/PSI experimental setup uses an 3.6-cm diameter concentrated solar beam to create a hemispheric melt in a bed of lunar regolith simulant contained in a large pot. Upon cooling, the dimensions of the vitrified melt are measured to validate the thermal model. In a second phase, the model is augmented by multiphysics components to compute the passage of electrical currents between electrodes inserted in the molten regolith. The current through the melt generates Joule heating due to the high resistivity of the medium and this energy is transferred into the melt by conduction, convection and primarily by radiation. The model faces challenges in two major areas, the change of phase as

  14. The composition and evolution of an Oligocene regolith on top of the Sesia–Lanzo Zone (Western Alps)

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Kapferer, Notburga; Mercolli, Ivan; Berger, Alfons

    2011-01-01

    An Oligocene paleosurface (regolith) lies on top of the high-pressure metamorphic rocks of the Sesia–Lanzo Zone near Biella, NW Italy. Only the saprock, the lowermost part in a regolith profile, is preserved. No evidence for any paleosoil can be observed. Field observations indicate that the rego...... with this sequence of subaerial rocks being very close to the intrusion depth of the Valle del Cervo Pluton at the time of its emplacement (4–7 km; Zanoni et al., in Rend Online SGI Note Brevi 1: 199–202, 2008; Zanoni et al., in Int Geol Rev 52: 1244–1267, 2010 and references therein)....

  15. Post-Viking view of Martian geologic evolution

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

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

    1980-01-01

    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

  16. Cryolitozone of Mars- as the climatic indicator of the Martian relict ocean

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ozorovich, Y.; Fournier-Sicre, A.; Linkin, V.; Kosov, A.; Skulachev, D.; Gorbatov, S.; Ivanov, A.; Heggy, E.

    2015-10-01

    this approach is - the salt component of subsurface is the global geolectrical marker of the Martian relict ocean in the past. Mars' observations by means of ground and onboard instruments are known to have been conducted in recent years. These observations provided information on Mars' surface mean temperature values and their seasonal variations. Radar measurements allowed to estimate dielectric constant and soil upper layer density values. Mars' surface radiation measurements by a 3,4 cm radiometer aboard Mars-3 and 5 automatic interplanetary stations (1971-1973) proved to be more informative. Radio brightness temperature variations were registered along the flight route. As a result surface temperature latitudinal distribution estimates in a spatial resolution element, were obtained as well as more precise values of dielectric constant and soil density of centimeter fractions this surface layer. No more experiments using microwave radiometers were conducted since. The only way to obtain information about Mars surface mezoscale structure is to use a high spatial resolution panoramic equipment on-board. Mars' surface radio images would allow to identify regions differing in ice percentage content in cryogenic surface structures or in mineralized solutions of negative temperature and to estimate relative quantity of cryogenic formations - permafrost fractions as well as to measure the soil looseness or porosity degree. In addition it would be possible to restore various regions' average vertical temperature, humidity and porosity profiles of less than 1 m thick surface layer. These dependencies combined with the results of depth inductive sounding (0.5 km) and magnitotelluric (1- 5 km) sensing would provide new and more detailed information on Martian crust structure and character and its cryolitozone, necessary to create a more reliable paleoclimatic model of the planet. Experiment equipment and methods Space experiment is conducted to obtain maps of temperature and

  17. Alteration of Sedimentary Clasts in Martian Meteorite Northwest Africa 7034

    Science.gov (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

    2014-01-01

    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.

  18. Probing the Martian Exosphere and Neutral Escape Using Pickup Ions Measured by MAVEN

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rahmati, A.; Larson, D. E.; Cravens, T.; Halekas, J. S.; Lillis, R. J.; McFadden, J. P.; Mitchell, D. L.; Thiemann, E.; Connerney, J. E. P.; Dunn, P.; DiBraccio, G. A.; Espley, J. R.; Eparvier, F. G.; Jakosky, B. M.

    2016-12-01

    Soon after the MAVEN (Mars Atmosphere and Volatile EvolutioN) spacecraft started orbiting Mars in September 2014, the SEP (Solar Energetic Particle), SWIA (Solar Wind Ion Analyzer), and STATIC (Supra-Thermal and Thermal Ion Composition) instruments onboard the spacecraft started detecting planetary pickup ions. SEP can measure energetic (>50 keV) oxygen pickup ions, the source of which is the extended hot oxygen exosphere of Mars. Model results show that these pickup ions originate from tens of Martian radii upstream of Mars and are energized by the solar wind motional electric field as they gyrate back towards Mars. SEP is blind to pickup hydrogen, as the low energy threshold for detection of hydrogen in SEP is 20 keV; well above the maximum pickup hydrogen energy, which is four times the solar wind proton energy. SWIA and STATIC, on the other hand, can detect both pickup oxygen and pickup hydrogen with energies below 30 keV and created closer to Mars. During the times when MAVEN is outside the Martian bow shock and in the upstream undisturbed solar wind, the solar wind velocity measured by SWIA and the solar wind (or interplanetary) magnetic field measured by the MAG (magnetometer) instrument can be used to model pickup oxygen and hydrogen fluxes near Mars. Solar wind flux measurements of the SWIA instrument are used in calculating charge-exchange frequencies, and data from the EUVM (Extreme Ultraviolet Monitor) and SWEA (Solar Wind Electron Analyzer) instruments are also used in calculating photo-ionization and electron impact frequencies of neutral species in the Martian exosphere. By comparing SEP, SWIA, and STATIC measured pickup ion fluxes with model results, the Martian thermal hydrogen and hot oxygen neutral densities can be probed outside the bow shock, which would place constraints on estimates of oxygen and hydrogen neutral escape rates. We will present model-data comparisons of pickup ions measured outside the Martian bow shock. Our analysis reveals an

  19. Improved Lunar and Martian Regolith Simulant Production, Phase I

    Data.gov (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...

  20. Improved Lunar and Martian Regolith Simulant Production, Phase II

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Aeronautics and Space Administration — The technical objective of the Phase II project is to provide a more complete investigation of the long-term needs of the simulant community based on the updated...

  1. Ground-atmosphere interactions at Gale

    Science.gov (United States)

    Renno, N. O.; Martinez, G.; Ramos, M.; Hallet, B.; Gómez, F. G.; Jun, I.; Fisk, M. R.; Gomez-Elvira, J.; Hamilton, V. E.; Mischna, M. A.; Sletten, R. S.; Martin-Torres, J.; De La Torre Juarez, M.; Vasavada, A. R.; Zorzano, M.

    2013-12-01

    We analyze variations in environmental parameters and regolith properties along Curiosity's track to determine the possible causes of an abrupt change in the thermal properties of the ground and the atmosphere observed around Sol 120, as the rover transitioned from an area of sandy soil (Rocknest) to an area of fractured bedrock terrain (Yellowknife). Curiosity is instrumented with the Rover Environmental Monitoring Station (REMS) and the Dynamic Albedo of Neutrons (DAN) sensors to measure the air temperature, the ground temperature, and the hydrogen content of the shallow subsurface along Curiosity's track. Analysis of the REMS data is used to estimate the regolith's heat budget. This analysis suggests that the abrupt decrease in the ground and atmosphere temperature and the difference between ground and air temperatures observed around Sol 120 is likely caused by an increase in the soil thermal inertia. The changes in thermal inertia have been known for some time so confirming this by the REMS package provides ground truthing. A new unexpected finding is that the regolith water content, as indicated by DAN's detection of hydrogen content, is higher in the Yellowknife soil. Another interesting finding at this site are the holes and other signs of recent geological activity in the area of fractured terrain that may reflect large volumetric variations and facilitate gas exchange between the ground and atmosphere. Near-surface volumetric changes in soil and bedrock could reflect changes in the volume of subsurface H2O, or in the partitioning of H2O among its three phases. Volume increases could also result from salt crystal growth in rock pores and soil pores associated with the adsorption of water vapor. Crystallization in pores is a significant weathering process on Earth; it could well be active on Mars. Salts also inhibits the exchange of moisture between the ground and the atmosphere, and cements the soils of arid places such as in the McMurdo Dry Valleys in

  2. Radio Emissions from Electrical Activity in Martian Dust Storms

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2017-12-01

    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.

  3. The Evolution of Porosity During Weathering of Serpentinite and the Creation of Thin Regolith in the Appalachian Piedmont

    Science.gov (United States)

    Marcon, V.; Gu, X.; Brantley, S. L.

    2017-12-01

    Life on Earth relies on the breakdown of impermeable bedrock into porous weathered rock to release nutrients and open pathways for gases and fluids to move through the subsurface. Serpentinites, though rare, are found across the globe and often have thin soils. Few studies have evaluated how porosity, a first order control on weathering, evolves from unweathered serpentinite bedrock to the soil. In this study, we evaluated weathering of serpentinites from bedrock to soil along a ridgetop in Nottingham Park, PA. A suite of geochemical analyses were used to determine chemical and physical changes during weathering. We used neutron scattering to measure pores 2nm to 20 microns in size (referred to here as nanoporosity). As this serpentinite weathers, small pores ( 1nm in diameter) are occluded and total nanoporosity and pore connectivity decrease throughout the weathered rock. Specifically, total nanoporosity decreases from 10% in the unweathered parent material to 5% in the weathered rock. However, in the upper meter of the profile, total nanoporosity increases as Fe, Mg, Mn, Si, Ni, Cr, and V are depleted. Additionally, bulk density and strain calculations suggest total volume expansion throughout the weathered rock followed by volume collapse in the upper 0.5m of the profile. We propose that low temperature reactions alter olivine in the parent material to serpentine minerals at the parent-weathered rock interface, resulting in a volume expansion and the loss of nanopores 1-100nm in size in this weathered rock zone. Volume expansion has long been reported to occur during low temperature serpentinization. We also infer that this loss of porosity limits the infiltration of reactive meteoric fluids into the deeper rock material and restricts the depth of regolith development. Following low temperature serpentinization, serpentine minerals (e.g. antigorite and lizardite) dissolve higher in the weathered rock. Because serpentinite rocks lack a non-reactive mineral such

  4. Atmospheric dynamics and bioregenerative technologies in a soil-based ecological life support system: Initial results from biosphere 2

    Science.gov (United States)

    Nelson, M.; Dempster, W.; Alvarez-Romo, N.; MacCallum, T.

    1994-11-01

    Biosphere 2 is the first man-made, soil-based, bioregenerative life support system to be developed and tested. The utilization and amendment of local space resources, e.g. martian soil or lunar regolith, for agricultural and other purposes will be necesary if we are to minimize the requirement for Earth materials in the creation of long-term off-planet bases and habitations. Several of the roles soil plays in Biosphere 2 are 1) for air purification 2) as a key component in created wetland systems to recycle human and animal wastes and 3) as nutrient base for a sustainable agricultural cropping program. Initial results from the Biosphere 2 closure experiment are presented. These include the accelerated cycling rates due to small reservoir sizes, strong diurnal and seasonal fluxes in atmospheric CO2, an unexpected and continuing decline in atmospheric oxygen, overall maintenance of low levels of trace gases, recycling of waste waters through biological regeneration systems, and operation of an agriculture designed to provide diverse and nutritionally adequate diets for the crew members.

  5. Atmospheric dynamics and bioregenerative technologies in a soil-based ecological life support system: initial results from Biosphere 2.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Nelson, M; Dempster, W; Alvarez-Romo, N; MacCallum, T

    1994-11-01

    Biosphere 2 is the first man-made, soil-based, bioregenerative life support system to be developed and tested. The utilization and amendment of local space resources, e.g. martian soil or lunar regolith, for agricultural and other purposes will be necessary if we are to minimize the requirement for Earth materials in the creation of long-term off-planet bases and habitations. Several of the roles soil plays in Biosphere 2 are 1) for air purification 2) as a key component in created wetland systems to recycle human and animal wastes and 3) as nutrient base for a sustainable agricultural cropping program. Initial results from the Biosphere 2 closure experiment are presented. These include the accelerated cycling rates due to small reservoir sizes, strong diurnal and seasonal fluxes in atmospheric CO2, an unexpected and continuing decline in atmospheric oxygen, overall maintenance of low levels of trace gases, recycling of waste waters through biological regeneration systems, and operation of an agriculture designed to provide diverse and nutritionally adequate diets for the crew members.

  6. Implications of Earth analogs to Martian sulfate-filled Fractures

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2017-12-01

    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.

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

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

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

    1981-01-01

    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

  8. Experiments On Sublimating Carbon Dioxide Ice And Implications For Contemporary Surface Processes On Mars.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mc Keown, L E; Bourke, M C; McElwaine, J N

    2017-10-27

    Carbon dioxide is Mars' primary atmospheric constituent and is an active driver of Martian surface evolution. CO 2 ice sublimation mechanisms have been proposed for a host of features that form in the contemporary Martian climate. However, there has been very little experimental work or quantitative modelling to test the validity of these hypotheses. Here we present the results of the first laboratory experiments undertaken to investigate if the interaction between sublimating CO 2 ice blocks and a warm, porous, mobile regolith can generate features similar in morphology to those forming on Martian dunes today. We find that CO 2 sublimation can mobilise grains to form (i) pits and (ii) furrows. We have documented new detached pits at the termini of linear gullies on Martian dunes. Based on their geomorphic similarity to the features observed in our laboratory experiments, and on scaling arguments, we propose a new hypothesis that detached pits are formed by the impact of granular jets generated by sublimating CO 2 . We also study the erosion patterns formed underneath a sublimating block of CO 2 ice and demonstrate that these resemble furrow patterns on Mars, suggesting similar formation mechanisms.

  9. Developing a Material Response Model of Biopolymer-Stabilized Regolith to Predict Micrometeorite Damage of ISRU Habitat Systems

    Data.gov (United States)

    National Aeronautics and Space Administration — The proposed space technology research aims to investigate the micrometeorite impact performance of Regolith Biocomposite (RBC), an innovative in-situ material...

  10. In Situ Analysis of Martian Regolith with the SAM Experiment During the First Mars Year of the MSL Mission: Identification of Organic Molecules by Gas Chromatography from Laboratory Measurements

    Science.gov (United States)

    Millan, M.; Szopa, C.; Buch, A.; Coll, P.; Glavin, D. P.; Freissinet, C.; Navarro-Gonzalez, R.; Francois, P.; Coscia, D.; Bonnet, J. Y.; hide

    2016-01-01

    The Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instrument onboard the Curiosity rover, is specifically designed for in situ molecular and isotopic analyses of martian surface materials and atmosphere. It contributes to the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) missions primary scientific goal to characterize the potential past, present or future habitability of Mars. In all of the analyses of solid samples delivered to SAM so far, chlorinated organic compounds have been detected above instrument background levels and identified by gas chromatography coupled to mass spectrometry (GC-MS) (Freissinet et al., 2015; Glavin et al., 2013). While some of these may originate from reactions between oxychlorines and terrestrial organic carbon present in the instrument background (Glavin et al., 2013), others have been demonstrated to originate from indigenous organic carbon present in samples (Freissinet et al., 2015). We present here laboratory calibrations that focused on the analyses performed with the MXT-CLP GC column (SAM GC-5 channel) used for nearly all of the GC-MS analyses of the martian soil samples carried out with SAM to date. Complementary to the mass spectrometric data, gas chromatography allows us to separate and identify the species analyzable in a nominal SAM-GC run time of about 21 min. To characterize the analytical capabilities of this channel within the SAM Flight Model (FM) operating conditions on Mars, and their implications on the detection of organic matter, it is required to perform laboratory experimental tests and calibrations on spare model components. This work assesses the SAM flight GC-5 column efficiency, confirms the identification of the molecules based on their retention time, and enables a better understanding of the behavior of the SAM injection trap (IT) and its release of organic molecules. This work will enable further optimization of the SAM-GC runs for additional samples to be analyzed during the MSL mission.

  11. Instrument for Solvent Extraction and Analysis (ISEE) of Organics from Regolith Simulant Using Supercritical Fluid Extraction and Chromatography

    Science.gov (United States)

    Franco, Carolina; Hintze, Paul E.

    2017-01-01

    ISEE is an instrument with the potential to perform extractions from regolith found on the surface of asteroids and planets, followed by characterization and quantitation of the extracts using supercritical fluid extraction (SFE) and chromatography (SFC). SFE is a developed technique proven to extract a wide range of organic compounds. SFC is similar to High Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC) but has the advantage of performing chiral separations without needing to derivatize the chiral compounds. CO2 will be the solvent for both stages as it is readily available in the Mars atmosphere. ISEE will capture CO2 from the environment, and use it for SFE and SFC. If successful, this would allow ISEE to perform analysis of organic compounds without using consumables. This paper will present results on a preliminary, proof-of-principle effort to use SFE and SFC to extract and analyze lunar regolith simulant spiked with organic compounds representing a range of organics that ISEE would expect to characterize. An optimization of variables for the extraction of the organics from the spiked regolith was successfully developed, using 138 bar pressure and 40 C temperature. The extraction flow rate was optimized at 2% SLPM with 30% methanol modifier. The extractions were successful with a value of 77.3+/- 0.9% of organics extracted. However, the recovery of organics after the extraction was very low with only 48.5+/-14.2%. Moreover, three columns were selected to analyze multiple samples at a time; two of them are Viridis HSS C18 SB and Torus DIOL, and the third column, specific for chiral separations, has not yet been selected yet.

  12. Influence of geology, regolith and soil on fluid flow pathways in an upland catchment in central NSW, Australia

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bernardi, Tony

    2014-05-01

    ) profile data were compiled from previous work with colleagues in this area. Preliminary interpretation of the mapping and the geophysics is that there is a three-layer framework for groundwater modelling: fractured granitic rock with an irregular upper surface, finer-grained (volcanic) rock that has either mantled the older granite or has been intruded into, and a weathering profile developed in relation to the land surface. More careful interpretation of the intervals that shallow and deep piezometers and shallow and deep bores are sampling indicates that variability in water chemistry between holes can, in part, be explained because they are sampling different materials in the sub-surface geology/regolith geology. Quartz is a relatively resistant phase throughout the profiles. For both substrates there is a decrease in the feldspar in increasingly weathered regolith materials, with a corresponding increase in kaolinite clay. There is increased homogenisation of the profile, and some horizonation due to pedogenic processes (e.g. bioturbation, illuviation of fines down profile) nearer the land surface. This results in a concentration of more resistant phases (quartz and remnant primary feldspar as sands) at the land surface over the granitic substrate, however kaolinite persists in the profile over the finer substrate. The presence of measurable ferruginous oxides and sesquioxides relates to localised percolation of oxidising fluids through the profiles. Understanding the configuration and composition of rocks and regolith materials in the Baldry catchment facilitates interpretation of observed patterns in hydrological analyses.

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

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Jiin-Shuh Jean

    2008-01-01

    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.

  14. Joule-Heated Molten Regolith Electrolysis Reactor Concepts for Oxygen and Metals Production on the Moon and Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sibille, Laurent; Dominguez, Jesus A.

    2012-01-01

    The technology of direct electrolysis of molten lunar regolith to produce oxygen and molten metal alloys has progressed greatly in the last few years. The development of long-lasting inert anodes and cathode designs as well as techniques for the removal of molten products from the reactor has been demonstrated. The containment of chemically aggressive oxide and metal melts is very difficult at the operating temperatures ca. 1600 C. Containing the molten oxides in a regolith shell can solve this technical issue and can be achieved by designing a Joule-heated (sometimes called 'self-heating') reactor in which the electrolytic currents generate enough Joule heat to create a molten bath. Solutions obtained by multiphysics modeling allow the identification of the critical dimensions of concept reactors.

  15. Mechanical properties of lunar regolith and lunar soil simulant

    Science.gov (United States)

    Perkins, Steven W.

    1989-01-01

    Through the Surveyor 3 and 7, and Apollo 11-17 missions a knowledge of the mechanical properties of Lunar regolith were gained. These properties, including material cohesion, friction, in-situ density, grain-size distribution and shape, and porosity, were determined by indirect means of trenching, penetration, and vane shear testing. Several of these properties were shown to be significantly different from those of terrestrial soils, such as an interlocking cohesion and tensile strength formed in the absence of moisture and particle cementation. To characterize the strength and deformation properties of Lunar regolith experiments have been conducted on a lunar soil simulant at various initial densities, fabric arrangements, and composition. These experiments included conventional triaxial compression and extension, direct tension, and combined tension-shear. Experiments have been conducted at low levels of effective confining stress. External conditions such as membrane induced confining stresses, end platten friction and material self weight have been shown to have a dramatic effect on the strength properties at low levels of confining stress. The solution has been to treat these external conditions and the specimen as a full-fledged boundary value problem rather than the idealized elemental cube of mechanics. Centrifuge modeling allows for the study of Lunar soil-structure interaction problems. In recent years centrifuge modeling has become an important tool for modeling processes that are dominated by gravity and for verifying analysis procedures and studying deformation and failure modes. Centrifuge modeling is well established for terrestrial enginering and applies equally as well to Lunar engineering. A brief review of the experiments is presented in graphic and outline form.

  16. Localized Models of Charged Particle Motion in Martian Crustal Magnetic Cusps

    Science.gov (United States)

    Brain, D. A.; Poppe, A. R.; Jarvinen, R.; Dong, Y.; Egan, H. L.; Fang, X.

    2017-12-01

    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.

  17. Synthesis of Sol-Gel Precursors for Ceramics from Lunar and Martian Soil Simulars

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2004-01-01

    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.

  18. Synthesis of Sol-Gel Precursors for Ceramics from Lunar and Martian Soil Simulars

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2003-01-01

    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.

  19. Polygons in Martian Frost

    Science.gov (United States)

    2003-01-01

    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.

  20. Martian Methane From a Cometary Source: A Hypothesis

    Science.gov (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

    2016-01-01

    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.

  1. Martian dust storms as a possible sink of atmospheric methane

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2006-11-01

    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.

  2. "Martian Boneyards": Sustained Scientific Inquiry in a Social Digital Game

    Science.gov (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.

  3. Solar Flare Track Exposure Ages in Regolith Particles: A Calibration for Transmission Electron Microscope Measurements

    Science.gov (United States)

    Berger, Eve L.; Keller, Lindsay P.

    2015-01-01

    Mineral grains in lunar and asteroidal regolith samples provide a unique record of their interaction with the space environment. Space weathering effects result from multiple processes including: exposure to the solar wind, which results in ion damage and implantation effects that are preserved in the rims of grains (typically the outermost 100 nm); cosmic ray and solar flare activity, which result in track formation; and impact processes that result in the accumulation of vapor-deposited elements, impact melts and adhering grains on particle surfaces. Determining the rate at which these effects accumulate in the grains during their space exposure is critical to studies of the surface evolution of airless bodies. Solar flare energetic particles (mainly Fe-group nuclei) have a penetration depth of a few millimeters and leave a trail of ionization damage in insulating materials that is readily observable by transmission electron microscope (TEM) imaging. The density of solar flare particle tracks is used to infer the length of time an object was at or near the regolith surface (i.e., its exposure age). Track measurements by TEM methods are routine, yet track production rate calibrations have only been determined using chemical etching techniques [e.g., 1, and references therein]. We used focused ion beam-scanning electron microscope (FIB-SEM) sample preparation techniques combined with TEM imaging to determine the track density/exposure age relations for lunar rock 64455. The 64455 sample was used earlier by [2] to determine a track production rate by chemical etching of tracks in anorthite. Here, we show that combined FIB/TEM techniques provide a more accurate determination of a track production rate and also allow us to extend the calibration to solar flare tracks in olivine.

  4. Methylated silicates may explain the release of chlorinated methane from Martian soil

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bak, Ebbe N.; Jensen, Svend J. Knak; Nørnberg, Per; Finster, Kai

    2016-01-01

    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.

  5. Correlations Between Surficial Sulfur and a REE Crustal Assimilation Signature in Martian Shergottites

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jones, J. H.; Franz, H. B.

    2015-01-01

    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.

  6. Biological life support systems for martian missions: some problems and prospects

    Science.gov (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.

  7. Designing the Lunar Regolith Excavation Competition

    Science.gov (United States)

    Le, Christopher

    2009-01-01

    The project assigned this summer involves designing a lunar regolith mining robotics competition. This process involves consulting several assets available at the Kennedy Space Center. The process involves several steps. The first step is to determine the requirements for the competition. Once these requirements are determined, the dimensions of the playing field are drawn up, first by hand, and then using computer models. After these drawings are tentatively decided upon, the cost of materials must be determined, so as to fit within the allotted budget for the project. The materials are to then be ordered, assembled, broken down, and stored throughout the duration of the competition. We must also design the advertisements and logos for the competition. This is to market and publicize the competition to college level teams. We must also determine the rules for the competition so as to have uniform requirements for all teams. Once these processes are completed, the competition can be finalized and publicized for the public. The contributing parties are Greg Galloway, Robert Mueller, Susan Sawyer, Gloria Murphy, Julia Nething, and Cassandra Liles.

  8. The Phobos-Grunt microgravity soil preparation system

    Science.gov (United States)

    Yung, Kai-leung; Lam, Chi Wo; Ko, Sui Man; Foster, James Abbott

    2017-12-01

    To understand the composition of regolith on distant bodies it is important to make quantitative measurement of its composition. However, many instruments on board space missions can only make qualitative measurements. The SOil Preparation SYStem (SOPSYS) designed for the Phobos-grunt mission in 2011 was a unique spacecraft subsystem that can grind, sieve, transport and measure samples of regolith in the absence of gravity. Its mission was to produce a compact plug of regolith sample composed of particles no larger than 1 mm for a gas analytic package. It delivers a sample with specified volume enabling a quantitative analysis of the volatiles produced at different temperatures through heating. To minimize cross contamination, SOPSYS self-cleans after each sample is delivered. The apparatus was a cooperative development between China and Russia for the Phobos-Grunt mission to the Martian moon Phobos and will be reused on the upcoming reattempt of that mission and other similar missions. The paper presents an overview of the subsystem and the results of qualification model testing. The flight unit of SOPSYS has a low mass of 622 g including control electronics and compact dimensions of 247 mm by 102 mm by 45 mm.

  9. Flank tectonics of Martian volcanoes

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

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

    1990-01-01

    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

  10. Unusual Reactivity of the Martian Soil: Oxygen Release Upon Humidification

    Science.gov (United States)

    Yen, A. S.

    2002-01-01

    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.

  11. Martian Radiative Transfer Modeling Using the Optimal Spectral Sampling Method

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2005-01-01

    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.

  12. Lava Tubes as Martian Analog sites on Hawaii Island

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2013-10-01

    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.

  13. Northwest Africa 8159: An approximately 2.3 Billion Year Old Martian Olivine-Bearing Augite Basalt

    Science.gov (United States)

    Simon, J. I.; Peters, T. J.; Tappa, M. J.; Agee, C. B.

    2014-01-01

    Based on petrology, mineralogy, and bulk composition, the new NWA 8159 martian meteorite is distinct from all known samples from Mars. In particular, the augite compositional trends are unique, but most similar to those of nakhite intercumulus. Whether NWA 8159 represents a new lithology or is related to a known meteorite group remains to be determined. Sr and Nd isotopic analyses will allow comparison of source characteristics with SNC and other new ungrouped meteorites (e.g., NWA 7635). Here we report initial Rb-Sr and Sm-Nd isotopic results for NWA 8159 with the objective to determine its formation age and to potentially identify similarities and potential source affinities with other martian rocks.

  14. Survival of microorganisms in smectite clays - Implications for Martian exobiology

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    1992-01-01

    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.

  15. Performance of Regolith Feed Systems for Analog Field Tests of In-Situ Resource Utilization Oxygen Production Plants in Mauna Kea, Hawaii

    Science.gov (United States)

    Townsend, Ivan I.; Mueller, Robert P.; Mantovani, James G.; Zacny, Kris A.; Craft, Jack

    2010-01-01

    This paper focuses on practical aspects of mechanical auger and pneumatic regolith conveying system feeding In-Situ Resource Utilization Oxygen production plants. The subsystems of these feedstock delivery systems include an enclosed auger device, pneumatic venturi educator, jet-lift regolith transfer, innovative electro-cyclone gas-particle separation/filtration systems, and compressors capable of dealing with hot hydrogen and/or methane gas re-circulating in the system. Lessons learned from terrestrial laboratory, reduced gravity and field testing on Mauna Kea Volcano in Hawaii during NASA lunar analog field tests will be discussed and practical design tips will be presented.

  16. Martian crustal dichotomy: product of accretion and not a specific event?

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Frey, H.; Schultz, R.A.; Maxwell, T.A.

    1987-01-01

    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

  17. Alteration of the Carbon and Nitrogen Isotopic Composition in the Martian Surface Rocks Due to Cosmic Ray Exposure

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pavlov, A. A.; Pavlov, A. K.; Ostryakov, V. M.; Vasilyev, G. I.; Mahaffy, P.; Steele, A.

    2014-01-01

    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.

  18. Survival and death of the haloarchaeon Natronorubrum strain HG-1 in a simulated martian environment

    Science.gov (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.

    2010-11-01

    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.

  19. Soil Diversity and Hydration as Observed by ChemCam at Gale Crater, Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Meslin, P.-Y.; Gasnault, O.; Forni, O.; Schröder, S.; Cousin, A.; Berger, G.; Clegg, S. M.; Lasue, J.; Maurice, S.; Sautter, V.; Le Mouélic, S.; Wiens, R. C.; Fabre, C.; Goetz, W.; Bish, D.; Mangold, N.; Ehlmann, B.; Lanza, N.; Harri, A.-M.; Anderson, R.; Rampe, E.; McConnochie, T. H.; Pinet, P.; Blaney, D.; Léveillé, R.; Archer, D.; Barraclough, B.; Bender, S.; Blake, D.; Blank, J. G.; Bridges, N.; Clark, B. C.; DeFlores, L.; Delapp, D.; Dromart, G.; Dyar, M. D.; Fisk, M.; Gondet, B.; Grotzinger, J.; Herkenhoff, K.; Johnson, J.; Lacour, J.-L.; Langevin, Y.; Leshin, L.; Lewin, E.; Madsen, M. B.; Melikechi, N.; Mezzacappa, A.; Mischna, M. A.; Moores, J. E.; Newsom, H.; Ollila, A.; Perez, R.; Renno, N.; Sirven, J.-B.; Tokar, R.; de la Torre, M.; d'Uston, L.; Vaniman, D.; Yingst, A.; Kemppinen, Osku; Minitti, Michelle; 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; King, Penelope; Weigle, Gerald; Schmidt, Mariek; Li, Shuai; Milliken, Ralph; Robertson, Kevin; Sun, Vivian; Baker, Michael; Edwards, Christopher; Farley, Kenneth; Griffes, Jennifer; Miller, Hayden; Newcombe, Megan; Pilorget, Cedric; Rice, Melissa; Siebach, Kirsten; Stack, Katie; Stolper, Edward; Brunet, Claude; Hipkin, Victoria; 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; Mauchien, Patrick; Manning, Heidi; Fairén, Alberto; Hayes, Alexander; Joseph, Jonathan; Squyres, Steven; Sullivan, Robert; Thomas, Peter; Dupont, Audrey; Lundberg, Angela; DeMarines, Julia; Grinspoon, David; Reitz, Günther; Prats, Benito; Atlaskin, Evgeny; Genzer, Maria; Haukka, Harri; Kahanpää, Henrik; Kauhanen, Janne; Kemppinen, Osku; Paton, Mark; Polkko, Jouni; Schmidt, Walter; Siili, Tero; Wray, James; Wilhelm, Mary Beth; Poitrasson, Franck; Patel, Kiran; Gorevan, Stephen; Indyk, Stephen; Paulsen, Gale; Gupta, Sanjeev; Schieber, Juergen; Geffroy, Claude; Baratoux, David; Cros, Alain; Lee, Qiu-Mei; Pallier, Etienne; Parot, Yann; Toplis, Mike; Brunner, Will; Heydari, Ezat; Achilles, Cherie; Oehler, Dorothy; Sutter, Brad; Cabane, Michel; Coscia, David; Israël, Guy; Szopa, Cyril; Robert, François; Nachon, Marion; Buch, Arnaud; Stalport, Fabien; Coll, Patrice; François, Pascaline; Raulin, François; Teinturier, Samuel; Cameron, James; Dingler, Robert; Jackson, Ryan Steele; Johnstone, Stephen; Little, Cynthia; Nelson, Tony; Williams, Richard B.; Jones, Andrea; Kirkland, Laurel; Treiman, Allan; 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; Hviid, Stubbe; Johnson, Micah; Lefavor, Matthew; Lyness, Eric; Breves, Elly; Fassett, Caleb; 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; Jones, Andrea; 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; Brinza, David; Calef, Fred; Christensen, Lance; Crisp, Joy A.; Feldman, Jason; Feldman, Sabrina; Flesch, Gregory; Hurowitz, Joel; Jun, Insoo; Keymeulen, Didier; Maki, Justin; Morookian, John Michael; Parker, Timothy; Pavri, Betina; Schoppers, Marcel; Sengstacken, Aaron; Simmonds, John J.; Spanovich, Nicole; Vasavada, Ashwin R.; Webster, Christopher R.; Yen, Albert; Cucinotta, Francis; Jones, John H.; Ming, Douglas; Morris, Richard V.; Niles, Paul; Nolan, Thomas; Radziemski, Leon; Berman, Daniel; Dobrea, Eldar Noe; Williams, Rebecca M. E.; 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; Wolff, Michael; McLennan, Scott; Botta, Oliver; Drake, Darrell; Bean, Keri; Lemmon, Mark; Schwenzer, Susanne P.; Lee, Ella Mae; Sucharski, Robert; Hernández, Miguel Ángel de Pablo; Ávalos, Juan José Blanco; Ramos, Miguel; 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; Stipp, Susan Louise Svane; Boyd, Nick; Campbell, John L.; Gellert, Ralf; Perrett, Glynis; Pradler, Irina; VanBommel, Scott; Jacob, Samantha; Owen, Tobias; Rowland, Scott; 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.; 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; 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

    2013-09-01

    The ChemCam instrument, which provides insight into martian soil chemistry at the submillimeter scale, identified two principal soil types along the Curiosity rover traverse: a fine-grained mafic type and a locally derived, coarse-grained felsic type. The mafic soil component is representative of widespread martian soils and is similar in composition to the martian dust. It possesses a ubiquitous hydrogen signature in ChemCam spectra, corresponding to the hydration of the amorphous phases found in the soil by the CheMin instrument. This hydration likely accounts for an important fraction of the global hydration of the surface seen by previous orbital measurements. ChemCam analyses did not reveal any significant exchange of water vapor between the regolith and the atmosphere. These observations provide constraints on the nature of the amorphous phases and their hydration.

  20. Soil diversity and hydration as observed by ChemCam at Gale crater, Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Meslin, P.-Y.; Gasnault, O.; Forni, O.; Schroder, S.; Cousin, A.; Berger, G.; Clegg, S.M.; Lasue, J.; Maurice, S.; Sautter, V.; Le Mouélic, S.; Wiens, R.C.; Fabre, C.; Goetz, W.; Bish, D.L.; Mangold, N.; Ehlmann, B.; Lanza, N.; Harri, A.-M.; Anderson, Ryan Bradley; Rampe, E.; McConnochie, T.H.; Pinet, P.; Blaney, D.; ,; Archer, D.; Barraclough, B.; Bender, S.; Blake, D.; Blank, J.G.; Bridges, N.; Clark, B. C.; DeFlores, L.; Delapp, D.; Dromart, G.; Dyar, M.D.; Fisk, M. R.; Gondet, B.; Grotzinger, J.; Herkenhoff, K.; Johnson, J.; Lacour, J.-L.; Langevin, Y.; Leshin, L.; Lewin, E.; Madsen, M.B.; Melikechi, N.; Mezzacappa, Alissa; Mischna, M.A.; Moores, J.E.; Newsom, H.; Ollila, A.; ,; Renno, N.; Sirven, J.B.; Tokar, R.; de la Torre, M.; d'Uston, L.; Vaniman, D.; Yingst, A.

    2013-01-01

    The ChemCam instrument, which provides insight into martian soil chemistry at the submillimeter scale, identified two principal soil types along the Curiosity rover traverse: a fine-grained mafic type and a locally derived, coarse-grained felsic type. The mafic soil component is representative of widespread martian soils and is similar in composition to the martian dust. It possesses a ubiquitous hydrogen signature in ChemCam spectra, corresponding to the hydration of the amorphous phases found in the soil by the CheMin instrument. This hydration likely accounts for an important fraction of the global hydration of the surface seen by previous orbital measurements. ChemCam analyses did not reveal any significant exchange of water vapor between the regolith and the atmosphere. These observations provide constraints on the nature of the amorphous phases and their hydration.

  1. The Contribution of Water Ice Clouds to the Water Cycle in the North Polar Region of Mars: Preliminary Analysis

    Science.gov (United States)

    Bass, D. S.; Tamppari, L. K.

    2000-01-01

    While it has long been known that Mars' north residual polar cap and the Martian regolith are significant sources of atmospheric water vapor, the amount of water vapor observed in the northern spring season by the Viking Mars Atmospheric Water Detector instrument (MAWD) cannot be attributed to cap and regolith sources alone. Kahn suggested that ice hazes may be the mechanism by which additional water is supplied to the Martian atmosphere. Additionally, a significant decrease in atmospheric water vapor was observed in the late northern summer that could not be correlated with the return of the cold seasonal C02 ice. While the detection of water ice clouds on Mars indicate that water exists in Mars' atmosphere in several different phases, the extent to which water ice clouds play a role in moving water through the Martian atmosphere remains uncertain. Work by Bass et. al. suggested that the time dependence of water ice cap seasonal variability and the increase in atmospheric water vapor depended on the polar cap center reaching 200K, the night time saturation temperature. Additionally, they demonstrated that a decrease in atmospheric water vapor may be attributed to deposition of water ice onto the surface of the polar cap; temperatures were still too warm at this time in the summer for the deposition of carbon dioxide. However, whether water ice clouds contribute significantly to this variability is unknown. Additional information is contained in original extended abstract.

  2. Plasma Extraction of Oxygen from Martian Atmosphere, Phase I

    Data.gov (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. Combustion Joining of Regolith Tiles for In-Situ Fabrication of Launch/Landing Pads on the Moon and Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Ferguson, Robert E.; Shafirovich, Evgeny; Mantovani, James G.

    2017-01-01

    To mitigate dust problems during launch/landing operations in lunar and Mars missions, it is desired to build solid pads on the surface. Recently, strong tiles have been fabricated from lunar regolith simulants using high-temperature sintering. The present work investigates combustion joining of these tiles through the use of exothermic intermetallic reactions. Specifically, nickel/aluminum (1:1 mole ratio) mixture was placed in a gap between the tiles sintered from JSC-1A lunar regolith simulant. Upon ignition by a laser, a self-sustained propagation of the combustion front over the mixture occurred. Joining was improved with increasing the tile thickness from 6.3 mm to 12.7 mm. The temperatures sufficient for melting the glass phase of JSC-1A were recorded for 12.7-mm tiles, which explains the observed better joining.

  4. Saltation under Martian gravity and its influence on the global dust distribution

    Science.gov (United States)

    Musiolik, Grzegorz; Kruss, Maximilian; Demirci, Tunahan; Schrinski, Björn; Teiser, Jens; Daerden, Frank; Smith, Michael D.; Neary, Lori; Wurm, Gerhard

    2018-05-01

    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.

  5. Physical weathering and regolith behaviour in a high erosion rate badland area at the Pyrenees: research design and first results

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Regües, D.

    1993-12-01

    Full Text Available Previous studies on badland areas in the Vallcebre basin (High Llobregat suggested that the erosion rates are controlled by weathering rate of mudrocks. The present work was started to characterize the physical weathering processes and rates in relationship with thermal and moisture conditions.
    The method used consists of the continuous monitoring of regolith temperatures at different conditions of aspect, depth and lithology (color, and the periodical sampling of regolith moisture and bulk density, the last taken as an indicator of the weathering status. Besides this quantitative information, the changes of the surface of the regolith have been monitored with the help of photographic techniques, using a especially designed tripod. To complete the field observations, a laboratory experiment is being performed, analyzing the volumetric changes suffered by undisturbed rock samples subject to thermal and moisture oscillations.
    The results obtained emphasize the role of frost action, especially during wet conditions. Aspect and lithologic differences introduce significant nuances in thermal regime and volumetric changes respectively.

    [es] Estudios anteriores en zonas acarcavadas de la cuenca de Vallcebre (Alto Llobregat sugieren que las tasas de erosión están limitadas por la meteorización de las rocas arcillosas que las constituyen. El presente trabajo ha sido planteado para caracterizar y evaluar los procesos de meteorización física en relación con los regímenes térmico e hídrico.
    El método empleado consiste en la monitorización continua de temperaturas del aire y del regolito en diversas condiciones de profundidad, exposición y litología (color, así como el muestreo periódico de humedad y densidad aparente, considerada ésta última como indicadora del grado de meteorización. Además de esta información cuantitativa, se ha realizado un seguimiento de los cambios en la micromorfología superficial, mediante

  6. Chemical and physical microenvironments at the Viking landing sites

    Science.gov (United States)

    Clark, B. C.

    1979-01-01

    Physical and chemical considerations permit the division of the near-surface regolith on Mars into at least six zones of distinct microenvironments. The zones are euphotic, duricrust/peds, tempofrost, permafrost, endolithic, and interfacial/transitional. Microenvironments vary significantly in temperature extremes, mean temperature, salt content, relative pressure of water vapor, UV and visible light irradiance, and exposure to ionizing radiation events (100 Mrad) and oxidative molecular species. From what is known of the chemistry of the atmosphere and regolith fines (soil), limits upon the aqueous chemistry of soil pastes may be estimated. Heat of wetting could reach 45 cal/g dry soil; initial pH is indeterminate between 1 and 10; ionic strength and salinity are predicted to be extremely high; freezing point depression is inadequate to provide quantities of liquid water except in special cases. The prospects for biotic survival are grim by terrestrial standards, but the extremes of biological resiliency are inaccessible to evaluation. Second-generation in situ experiments which will better define Martian microenvironments are clearly possible. Antarctic dry valleys are approximations to Martian conditions, but deviate significantly by at least half-a-dozen criteria.

  7. Constraining the Source Craters of the Martian Meteorites: Implications for Prioritiziation of Returned Samples from Mars

    Science.gov (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.

    2018-04-01

    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.

  8. Application of airborne gamma-ray spectrometry in soil/regolith mapping and applied geomorphology

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Wilford, J.R.; Bierwirth, P.N.; Craig, M.A.

    1997-01-01

    Gamma-ray spectrometric surveys are an important source of information for soil, regolith and geomorphological studies, as demonstrated by the interpretation of airborne surveys in Western Australia, central New South Wales and north Queensland. Gamma-rays emitted from the ground surface relate to the primary mineralogy and geochemistry of the bedrock, and the secondary weathered materials. Weathering modifies the distribution and concentration of radioelements from the original bedrock source. Once the radioelement response of bedrock and weathered materials is understood, the gamma-ray data can provide information on geomorphic processes and soil/regolith properties, including their mineralogy, texture, chemistry and style of weathering. This information can contribute significantly to an understanding of the weathering and geomorphic history of a region and, therefore, has the potential to be used in developing more effective land-management strategies and refining geochemical models in support of mineral exploration. Gamma-ray imagery is enhanced when combined with Landsat TM bands and digital elevation models (DEM). This synergy enables geochemical information derived from the gamma-ray data to be interpreted within a geomorphic framework. Draping gamma-ray images over DEMs as 3D landscape perspective views aids interpretation and allows the interpreter to visualise complex relationships between the gamma-ray response and landform features. 44 refs.,1 tab., 11 figs

  9. 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.

    1977-01-01

    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)

  10. Sintering of micro-trusses created by extrusion-3D-printing of lunar regolith inks

    Science.gov (United States)

    Taylor, Shannon L.; Jakus, Adam E.; Koube, Katie D.; Ibeh, Amaka J.; Geisendorfer, Nicholas R.; Shah, Ramille N.; Dunand, David C.

    2018-02-01

    The development of in situ fabrication methods for the infrastructure required to support human life on the Moon is necessary due to the prohibitive cost of transporting large quantities of materials from the Earth. Cellular structures, consisting of a regular network (truss) of micro-struts with ∼500 μm diameters, suitable for bricks, blocks, panels, and other load-bearing structural elements for habitats and other infrastructure are created by direct-extrusion 3D-printing of liquid inks containing JSC-1A lunar regolith simulant powders, followed by sintering. The effects of sintering time, temperature, and atmosphere (air or hydrogen) on the microstructures, mechanical properties, and magnetic properties of the sintered lunar regolith micro-trusses are investigated. The air-sintered micro-trusses have higher relative densities, linear shrinkages, and peak compressive strengths, due to the improved sintering of the struts within the micro-trusses achieved by a liquid or glassy phase. Whereas the hydrogen-sintered micro-trusses show no liquid-phase sintering or glassy phase, they contain metallic iron 0.1-2 μm particles from the reduction of ilmenite, which allows them to be lifted with magnets.

  11. Stratification in the lunar regolith - a preliminary view

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Duke, M.B.; Nagle, J.S.

    1975-01-01

    Although the knowledge of lunar regolith stratification is incomplete, several categories of thick and thin strata have been identified. Relatively thick units average 2 to 3 cm in thickness, and appear surficially to be massive. On more detailed examination, these units can be uniformly fine-grained, can show internal trends, or can show internal variations which apparently are random. Other thick units contain soil clasts apparently reworked from underlying units. Thin laminae average approximately 1 mm in thickness; lenticular distribution and composition of some thin laminae indicates they are fillets shed from adjacent rock fragments. Other dark, fine-grained, well-sorted thin laminae appear to be surficial zones, reworked by micrometeorites. Interpretations of stratigraphic succession can be strengthened by the occurrence of characteristic coarse rock fragments and the orientation of large spatter agglutinates, which are commonly found in their original depositional orientation. (Auth.)

  12. Clouds in the Martian Atmosphere

    Science.gov (United States)

    Määttänen, Anni; Montmessin, Franck

    2018-01-01

    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.

  13. Nature of parent rocks, mineralization styles and ore genesis of regolith-hosted REE deposits in South China: An integrated genetic model

    Science.gov (United States)

    Li, Yan Hei Martin; Zhao, Wen Winston; Zhou, Mei-Fu

    2017-10-01

    Regolith-hosted rare earth element (REE) deposits, also called ion-adsorption or weathered crust elution-deposited REE deposits are distributed over Jiangxi, Guangdong, Fujian, Hunan, Guangxi and Yunnan provinces in South China. In general, these deposits can be categorized into the HREE-dominated type, for example the famous Zudong deposit in southern Jiangxi province and the LREE-dominated type, such as the Heling and Dingnan deposits in southern Jiangxi province. Most of these deposits form from weathering of biotite and muscovite granites, syenites, monzogranites, granodiorites, granite porphyries, and rhyolitic tuffs. The parent rocks are generally peraluminous, siliceous, alkaline and contain a variety of REE-bearing minerals. Mostly, REE patterns of regolith are inherited from the parent rocks, and therefore, characteristics of the parent rocks impose a significant control on the ore formation. Data compilation shows that autometasomatism during the latest stage of granite crystallization is likely essential in forming the HREE-enriched granites, whereas LREE-enriched granites could form through magmatic differentiation. These deposits are normally two- to three-fold, but could be up to ten-fold enrichment in REE compared to the parent granites, where the maximum enrichment usually occurs from the lower B to the upper C horizon. Ce shows different behavior with the other REEs. Strongly positive Ce anomalies commonly occur at the upper part of weathering profiles, likely due to oxidation of Ce3+ to Ce4+ and removal of Ce from soil solutions through precipitation of cerianite. Vertical pH and redox gradients in weathering crusts facilitate dissolution of REE-bearing minerals at shallow level and fixation of REE at depth through either adsorption on clay minerals or precipitation of secondary minerals. At the same time, mass removal of major elements plays an important role in concentrating REE in regolith. Combination of mass removal and eluviation

  14. Multiyear Simulations of the Martian Water Cycle with the Ames General Circulation Model

    Science.gov (United States)

    Haberle, R. M.; Schaeffer, J. R.; Nelli, S. M.; Murphy, J. R.

    2003-01-01

    Mars atmosphere is carbon dioxide dominated with non-negligible amounts of water vapor and suspended dust particles. The atmospheric dust plays an important role in the heating and cooling of the planet through absorption and emission of radiation. Small dust particles can potentially be carried to great altitudes and affect the temperatures there. Water vapor condensing onto the dust grains can affect the radiative properties of both, as well as their vertical extent. The condensation of water onto a dust grain will change the grain s fall speed and diminish the possibility of dust obtaining high altitudes. In this capacity, water becomes a controlling agent with regard to the vertical distribution of dust. Similarly, the atmosphere s water vapor holding capacity is affected by the amount of dust in the atmosphere. Dust is an excellent green house catalyst; it raises the temperature of the atmosphere, and thus, its water vapor holding capacity. There is, therefore, a potentially significant interplay between the Martian dust and water cycles. Previous research done using global, 3-D computer modeling to better understand the Martian atmosphere treat the dust and the water cycles as two separate and independent processes. The existing Ames numerical model will be employed to simulate the relationship between the Martian dust and water cycles by actually coupling the two cycles. Water will condense onto the dust, allowing the particle's radiative characteristics, fall speeds, and as a result, their vertical distribution to change. Data obtained from the Viking, Mars Pathfinder, and especially the Mars Global Surveyor missions will be used to determine the accuracy of the model results.

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

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

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

    2015-01-01

    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)

  16. Improved Discrimination of Volcanic Complexes, Tectonic Features, and Regolith Properties in Mare Serenitatis from Earth-Based Radar Mapping

    Science.gov (United States)

    Campbell, Bruce A.; Hawke, B. Ray; Morgan, Gareth A.; Carter, Lynn M.; Campbell, Donald B.; Nolan, Michael

    2014-01-01

    Radar images at 70 cm wavelength show 4-5 dB variations in backscatter strength within regions of relatively uniform spectral reflectance properties in central and northern Mare Serenitatis, delineating features suggesting lava flow margins, channels, and superposition relationships. These backscatter differences are much less pronounced at 12.6 cm wavelength, consistent with a large component of the 70 cm echo arising from the rough or blocky transition zone between the mare regolith and the intact bedrock. Such deep probing is possible because the ilmenite content, which modulates microwave losses, of central Mare Serenitatis is generally low (2-3% by weight). Modeling of the radar returns from a buried interface shows that an average regolith thickness of 10m could lead to the observed shifts in 70 cm echo power with a change in TiO2 content from 2% to 3%. This thickness is consistent with estimates of regolith depth (10-15m) based on the smallest diameter for which fresh craters have obvious blocky ejecta. The 70 cm backscatter differences provide a view of mare flow-unit boundaries, channels, and lobes unseen by other remote sensing methods. A localized pyroclastic deposit associated with Rima Calippus is identified based on its low radar echo strength. Radar mapping also improves delineation of units for crater age dating and highlights a 250 km long, east-west trending feature in northern Mare Serenitatis that we suggest is a large graben flooded by late-stage mare flows.

  17. The impact of radiatively active water-ice clouds on Martian mesoscale atmospheric circulations

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2014-04-01

    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.

  18. Radar-Enabled Recovery of the Sutters Mill Meteorite, a Carbonaceous Chondrite Regolith Breccia

    Science.gov (United States)

    Jenniskens, Petrus M.; Fries, Marc D.; Yin, Qing-Zhu; Zolensky, Michael E.; Krot, Alexander N.; Sandford, Scott A.; Sears, Derek; Beauford, Robert; Ebel, Denton S.; Friedrich, Jon M.; hide

    2012-01-01

    Doppler weather radar imaging enabled the rapid recovery of the Sutter's Mill meteorite after a rare 4-kiloton of TNT-equivalent asteroid impact over the foothills of the Sierra Nevada in northern California. The recovered meteorites survived a record high-speed entry of 28.6 kilometers per second from an orbit close to that of Jupiter-family comets (Tisserand's parameter = 2.8 +/- 0.3). Sutter's Mill is a regolith breccia composed of CM (Mighei)-type carbonaceous chondrite and highly reduced xenolithic materials. It exhibits considerable diversity of mineralogy, petrography, and isotope and organic chemistry, resulting from a complex formation history of the parent body surface. That diversity is quickly masked by alteration once in the terrestrial environment but will need to be considered when samples returned by missions to C-class asteroids are interpreted.

  19. Numerical Simulations of the Lunar Penetrating Radar and Investigations of the Geological Structures of the Lunar Regolith Layer at the Chang’E 3 Landing Site

    OpenAIRE

    Ding, Chunyu; Su, Yan; Xing, Shuguo; Dai, Shun; Xiao, Yuan; Feng, Jianqing; Liu, Danqing; Li, Chunlai

    2017-01-01

    In the process of lunar exploration, and specifically when studying lunar surface structure and thickness, the established lunar regolith model is usually a uniform and ideal structural model, which is not well-suited to describe the real structure of the lunar regolith layer. The present study aims to explain the geological structural information contained in the channel 2 LPR (lunar penetrating radar) data. In this paper, the random medium theory and Apollo drilling core data are used to co...

  20. Martian Pyroxenes in the Shergottite Meteorites; Zagami, SAU005, DAG476 and EETA79001

    Science.gov (United States)

    Stephen, N.; Benedix, G. K.; Bland, P.; Hamilton, V. E.

    2010-12-01

    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

  1. Animated Optical Microscope Zoom in from Phoenix Launch to Martian Surface

    Science.gov (United States)

    2008-01-01

    [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.

  2. In-Situ Operations and Planning for the Mars Science Laboratory Robotic Arm: The First 200 Sols

    Science.gov (United States)

    Robinson, M.; Collins, C.; Leger, P.; Carsten, J.; Tompkins, V.; Hartman, F.; Yen, J.

    2013-01-01

    The Robotic Arm (RA) has operated for more than 200 Martian solar days (or sols) since the Mars Science Laboratory rover touched down in Gale Crater on August 5, 2012. During the first seven months on Mars the robotic arm has performed multiple contact science sols including the positioning of the Alpha Particle X-Ray Spectrometer (APXS) and/or Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) with respect to rocks or loose regolith targets. The RA has supported sample acquisition using both the scoop and drill, sample processing with CHIMRA (Collection and Handling for In- Situ Martian Rock Analysis), and delivery of sample portions to the observation tray, and the SAM (Sample Analysis at Mars) and CHEMIN (Chemistry and Mineralogy) science instruments. This paper describes the planning and execution of robotic arm activities during surface operations, and reviews robotic arm performance results from Mars to date.

  3. Prediction of Lunar- and Martian-Based Intra- and Site-to-Site Task Performance.

    Science.gov (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

    2016-04-01

    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.

  4. Characterization of Fillite as a planetary soil simulant in support of rover mobility assessment in high-sinkage/high-slip environments

    Science.gov (United States)

    Edwards, Michael

    This thesis presents the results of a research program characterizing a soil simulant called Fillite, which is composed of alumino-silicate hollow microspheres harvested from the pulverized fuel ash of coal-fired power plants. Fillite is available in large quantities at a reasonable cost and it is chemically inert. Fillite has been selected by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Glenn Research Center to simulate high-sinkage/high-slip environment in a large test bed such as the ones encountered by the Spirit rover on Mars in 2009 when it became entrapped in a pocket of soft, loose regolith on Mars. The terms high-sinkage and high-slip used here describe the interaction of soils with typical rover wheels. High-sinkage refers to a wheel sinking with little to no applied force while high-slip refers to a spinning wheel with minimal traction. Standard material properties (density, specific gravity, compression index, Young's modulus, and Poisson's ratio) of Fillite were determined from a series of laboratory tests conducted in general accordance with ASTM standards. Tests were also performed to determine some less standard material properties of Fillite such as the small strain shear wave velocity, maximum shear modulus, and several pressure-sinkage parameters for use in pressure-sinkage models. The experiments include an extensive series of triaxial compression tests, bender element tests, and normal and shear bevameter tests. The unit weight of Fillite on Earth ranges between 3.9 and 4.8 kN/m 3, which is similar to that of Martian regolith (about 3.7 -- 5.6 kN/m3) on Mars and close to the range of the unit weight of lunar regolith (about 1.4 -- 2.9 kN/m3) on the Moon. The data presented here support that Fillite has many physical and mechanical properties that are similar to what is known about Martian regolith. These properties are also comparable to lunar regolith. Fillite is quite dilatant; its peak and critical angles of internal friction are

  5. Re-Os Isotopic Constraints on the Chemical Evolution and Differentiation of the Martian Mantle

    Science.gov (United States)

    Brandon, Alan D.; Walker, Richard J.

    2002-01-01

    The (187)Re-187Os isotopic systematics of SNC meteorites, thought to be from Mars, provide valuable information regarding the chemical processes that affected the Martian mantle, particularly with regard to the relative abundances of highly siderophile elements (HSE). Previously published data (Birck and Allegre 1994, Brandon et al. 2000), and new data obtained since these studies, indicate that the HSE and Os isotopic composition of the Martian mantle was primarily set in its earliest differentiation history. If so, then these meteorites provide key constraints on the processes that lead to variation in HSE observed in not only Mars, but also Earth, the Moon and other rocky bodies in the Solar System. Processes that likely have an effect on the HSE budgets of terrestrial mantles include core formation, magma ocean crystallization, development of juvenile crust, and the addition of a late veneer. Each of these processes will result in different HSE variation and the isotopic composition of mantle materials and mantle derived lavas. Two observations on the SNC data to present provide a framework for which to test the importance of each of these processes. First, the concentrations of Re and Os in SNC meteorites indicate that they are derived from a mantle that has similar concentrations to the Earth's mantle. Such an observation is consistent with a model where a chondritic late veneer replenished the Earth and Martian mantles subsequent to core formation on each planet. Alternative models to explain this observation do exist, but will require additional data to test the limitations of each. Second, Re-Os isotopic results from Brandon et al. (2000) and new data presented here, show that initial yos correlates with variations in the short-lived systems of (182)Hf- (182)W and (142)Sm-142Nd in the SNC meteorites (epsilon(sub W) and epsilon(sub 142Nd)). These systematics require an isolation of mantle reservoirs during the earliest differentiation history of Mars, and

  6. The Dust Management Project: Characterizing Lunar Environments and Dust, Developing Regolith Mitigation Technology and Simulants

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hyatt, Mark J.; Straka, Sharon A.

    2010-01-01

    A return to the Moon to extend human presence, pursue scientific activities, use the Moon to prepare for future human missions to Mars, and expand Earth?s economic sphere, will require investment in developing new technologies and capabilities to achieve affordable and sustainable human exploration. From the operational experience gained and lessons learned during the Apollo missions, conducting long-term operations in the lunar environment will be a particular challenge, given the difficulties presented by the unique physical properties and other characteristics of lunar regolith, including dust. The Apollo missions and other lunar explorations have identified significant lunar dust-related problems that will challenge future mission success. Comprised of regolith particles ranging in size from tens of nanometers to microns, lunar dust is a manifestation of the complex interaction of the lunar soil with multiple mechanical, electrical, and gravitational effects. The environmental and anthropogenic factors effecting the perturbation, transport, and deposition of lunar dust must be studied in order to mitigate it?s potentially harmful effects on exploration systems and human explorers. The Dust Management Project (DMP) is tasked with the evaluation of lunar dust effects, assessment of the resulting risks, and development of mitigation and management strategies and technologies related to Exploration Systems architectures. To this end, the DMP supports the overall goal of the Exploration Technology Development Program (ETDP) of addressing the relevant high priority technology needs of multiple elements within the Constellation Program (CxP) and sister ETDP projects. Project scope, plans, and accomplishments will be presented.

  7. The Influence of Topography on the Emplacement Dynamics of Martian Lava flows

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tremblay, J.; Fitch, E. P.; Fagents, S. A.

    2017-12-01

    Lava flows on the Martian surface exhibit a diverse array of complex morphologies. Previous emplacement models, based on terrestrial flows, do not fully account for these observed complex morphologies. We assert that the topography encountered by the flow can exert substantial control over the thermal, rheological, and morphological evolution of the flow, and that these effects can be better incorporated into flow models to predict Martian flow morphologies. Our development of an updated model can be used to account for these topographical effects and better constrain flow parameters. The model predicts that a slope break or flow meander induces eddy currents within the flow, resulting in the disruption of the flow surface crust. The exposure of the flow core results in accelerated cooling of the flow and a resultant increase in viscosity, leading to slowing of the flow. A constant source lava flux and a stagnated flow channel would then result in observable morphological changes, such as overflowing of channel levees. We have identified five morphological types of Martian flows, representing a range of effusion rates, eruption durations and topographic settings, which are suitable for application of our model. To characterize flow morphology, we used imaging and topographic data sets to collect data on flow dimensions. For eight large (50 to hundreds of km long) channelized flows in the Tharsis region, we used the MOLA 128 ppd DEM and/or individual MOLA shot points to derive flow cross-sectional thickness profiles, from which we calculated the cross-sectional area of the flow margins adjacent to the main channel. We found that the largest flow margin cross sectional areas (excluding the channel) occur in association with a channel bend, typically near the bend apex. Analysis of high-resolution images indicates that these widened flow margins are the result of repeated overflows of the channel levees and emplacement of short flow lobes adjacent to the main flow. In

  8. The Electric Environment of Martian Dust Devils

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2017-12-01

    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.

  9. Origin and Reactivity of the Martian Soil: A 2003 Micromission

    Science.gov (United States)

    Yen, Albert S.; Kim, S. Sam; Marshall, John; Murray, Bruce C.

    1999-01-01

    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

  10. The origin of magnemite on Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hargraves, R. B.

    1984-01-01

    An explanation for the magnetic properties of Martian surface material is discussed, specifically that the surface particles were composed primarily of smectite clay (nontronite) pigmented throughout by a red magnetic phase. The thermal treatment of nontronite in air, for long periods at 700 deg C or short periods at 900 deg C, results in destruction of the nontronite structure, a distinct reddening in color, and a spectacular increase in magnetic susceptibility and saturation magnetization (up to 4.4 Am squared/kg). Magnetic property measurements suggest that the magnetism is due to the presence of ultrafine particles of alpha or gamma Fe2O3; the precise identify was not resolved. Thermally treated nontronite has chemical, color and magnetic properties akin to those found by Viking on Mars. These results favor an origin for the fine grained Martian surface material by repeated impacts into an Fe-rich smectite-charged regolith, the smectite having resulted from hydrothermal alteration of volcanic or impact generated glass, the magnetic phase having resulted from the pressure or thermal shocked nontronite.

  11. Martian seismicity

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

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

    1979-01-01

    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

  12. 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.

  13. Prototype detector development for measurement of high altitude Martian dust using a future orbiter platform

    Science.gov (United States)

    Pabari, Jayesh; Patel, Darshil; Chokhawala, Vimmi; Bogavelly, Anvesh

    2016-07-01

    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.

  14. Assessing the Biohazard Potential of Putative Martian Organisms for Exploration Class Human Space Missions

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2007-01-01

    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

  15. Phobos Environment Model and Regolith Simulant for MMX Mission

    Science.gov (United States)

    Miyamoto, H.; Niihara, T.; Wada, K.; Ogawa, K.; Baresi, N.; Abell, Paul A.; Asphaug, E.; Britt, D.; Dodbiba, G.; Fujita, T.; hide

    2018-01-01

    Phobos and Deimos, the two moons of Mars, are considered to be scientifically important and potential human mission's target. Martian Moons eXplorer (MMX) is the JAXA's mission to explore Phobos (and/or Deimos), which is scheduled to be launched in 2024. The main spacecraft of MMX will perform in-situ observations of both Phobos and Deimos, land on one of them (most likely, Phobos), and bring samples back to Earth. Small landing modules may be included in the mission as for the Hayabusa-2 mission. The designs of both the landing and sampling devices depend largely on the surface conditions of the target body and on how this surface reacts to an external action in the low gravity conditions of the target. Thus, the Landing Operation Working Team (LOWT) of MMX, which is composed of both scientists and engineers, is studying Phobos' surface based on previous observations and theoretical/experimental considerations. Though engineering motivation initiated this activity, the results will be extremely useful for scientific purposes.

  16. The Apparent Involvement of ANMEs in Mineral Dependent Methane Oxidation, as an Analog for Possible Martian Methanotrophy

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Victoria J. Orphan

    2011-11-01

    Full Text Available On Earth, marine anaerobic methane oxidation (AOM can be driven by the microbial reduction of sulfate, iron, and manganese. Here, we have further characterized marine sediment incubations to determine if the mineral dependent methane oxidation involves similar microorganisms to those found for sulfate-dependent methane oxidation. Through FISH and FISH-SIMS analyses using 13C and 15N labeled substrates, we find that the most active cells during manganese dependent AOM are primarily mixed and mixed-cluster aggregates of archaea and bacteria. Overall, our control experiment using sulfate showed two active bacterial clusters, two active shell aggregates, one active mixed aggregate, and an active archaeal sarcina, the last of which appeared to take up methane in the absence of a closely-associated bacterial partner. A single example of a shell aggregate appeared to be active in the manganese incubation, along with three mixed aggregates and an archaeal sarcina. These results suggest that the microorganisms (e.g., ANME-2 found active in the manganese-dependent incubations are likely capable of sulfate-dependent AOM. Similar metabolic flexibility for Martian methanotrophs would mean that the same microbial groups could inhabit a diverse set of Martian mineralogical crustal environments. The recently discovered seasonal Martian plumes of methane outgassing could be coupled to the reduction of abundant surface sulfates and extensive metal oxides, providing a feasible metabolism for present and past Mars. In an optimistic scenario Martian methanotrophy consumes much of the periodic methane released supporting on the order of 10,000 microbial cells per cm2 of Martian surface. Alternatively, most of the methane released each year could be oxidized through an abiotic process requiring biological methane oxidation to be more limited. If under this scenario, 1% of this methane flux were oxidized by biology in surface soils or in subsurface aquifers (prior to

  17. Possible Mars brines - Equilibrium and kinetic considerations

    Science.gov (United States)

    Zent, A. P.; Fanale, F. P.

    1986-01-01

    To determine the fate of postulated near surface brines on Mars, the rate of H2O mass loss from subsurface brines was calculated as a function of latitude, depth, regolith porosity, eutectic temperature, and pore size. A model for a chemically reasonable brine that could reproduce Martian radar results was developed, and the escape rate of H2O molecules from such a brine was estimated. It is suggested that the presence of a low-permeability duricrust may be required to preserve such a brine for reasonable periods, and to prevent detection of an extensive subsurface system by the Viking MAWD instrument.

  18. Using Combustion Synthesis to Reinforce Berms and Other Regolith Structures

    Science.gov (United States)

    Rodriquez, Gary

    2013-01-01

    The Moonraker Excavator and other tools under development for use on the Moon, Mars, and asteroids will be employed to construct a number of civil engineering projects and to mine the soil. Mounds of loose soil will be subject to the local transport mechanisms plus artificial mechanisms such as blast effects from landers and erosion from surface vehicles. Some of these structures will require some permanence, with a minimum of maintenance and upkeep. Combustion Synthesis (CS) is a family of processes and techniques whereby chemistry is used to transform materials, often creating flame in a hard vacuum. CS can be used to stabilize civil engineering works such as berms, habitat shielding, ramps, pads, roadways, and the like. The method is to unroll thin sheets of CS fabric between layers of regolith and then fire the fabric, creating a continuous sheet of crusty material to be interposed among layers of loose regolith. The combination of low-energy processes, ISRU (in situ resource utilization) excavator, and CS fabrics, seems compelling as a general method for establishing structures of some permanence and utility, especially in the role of robotic missions as precursors to manned exploration and settlement. In robotic precursory missions, excavator/ mobility ensembles mine the Lunar surface, erect constructions of soil, and dispense sheets of CS fabrics that are covered with layers of soil, fired, and then again covered with layers of soil, iterating until the desired dimensions and forms are achieved. At the base of each berm, for example, is a shallow trench lined with CS fabric, fired and filled, mounded, and then covered and fired, iteratively to provide a footing against lateral shear. A larger trench is host to a habitat module, backfilled, covered with fabric, covered with soil, and fired. Covering the applied CS fabric with layers of soil before firing allows the resulting matrix to incorporate soil both above and below the fabric ply into the fused layer

  19. MetNet - In situ observational Network and Orbital platform to investigate the Martian environment

    Science.gov (United States)

    Harri, Ari-Matti; Leinonen, Jussi; Merikallio, Sini; Paton, Mark; Haukka, Harri; Polkko, Jouni

    2007-09-01

    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.

  20. The development of a Martian atmospheric Sample collection canister

    Science.gov (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.

  1. 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.

    2005-01-01

    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.

  2. In Situ Measurement of Atmospheric Krypton and Xenon on Mars with Mars Science Laboratory

    Science.gov (United States)

    Conrad, P. G.; Malespin, C. A.; Franz, H. B.; Pepin, R. O.; Trainer, M. G.; Schwenzer, S. P.; Atreya, S. K.; Freissinet, C.; Jones, J. H.; Manning, H.; hide

    2016-01-01

    Mars Science Laboratorys Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) investigation has measured all of the stable isotopes of the heavy noble gases krypton and xenon in the martian atmosphere, in situ, from the Curiosity Rover at Gale Crater, Mars. Previous knowledge of martian atmospheric krypton and xenon isotope ratios has been based upon a combination of the Viking missions krypton and xenon detections and measurements of noble gas isotope ratios in martian meteorites. However, the meteorite measurements reveal an impure mixture of atmospheric, mantle, and spallation contributions. The xenon and krypton isotopic measurements reported here include the complete set of stable isotopes, unmeasured by Viking. The new results generally agree with Mars meteorite measurements but also provide a unique opportunity to identify various non-atmospheric heavy noble gas components in the meteorites. Kr isotopic measurements define a solar-like atmospheric composition, but deviating from the solar wind pattern at 80Kr and 82Kr in a manner consistent with contributions originating from neutron capture in Br. The Xe measurements suggest an intriguing possibility that isotopes lighter than 132Xe have been enriched to varying degrees by spallation and neutron capture products degassed to the atmosphere from the regolith, and a model is constructed to explore this possibility. Such a spallation component, however, is not apparent in atmospheric Xe trapped in the glassy phases of martian meteorites.

  3. Tracking the Martian Mantle Signature in Olivine-Hosted Melt Inclusions of Basaltic Shergottites Yamato 980459 and Tissint

    Science.gov (United States)

    Peters, T. J.; Simon, J. I.; Jones, J. H.; Usui, T.; Moriwaki, R.; Economos, R.; Schmitt, A.; McKeegan, K.

    2014-01-01

    The Martian shergottite meteorites are basaltic to lherzolitic igneous rocks that represent a period of relatively young mantle melting and volcanism, approximately 600-150 Ma (e.g. [1,2]). Their isotopic and elemental composition has provided important constraints on the accretion, evolution, structure and bulk composition of Mars. Measurements of the radiogenic isotope and trace element concentrations of the shergottite meteorite suite have identified two end-members; (1) incompatible trace element enriched, with radiogenic Sr and negative epsilon Nd-143, and (2) incompatible traceelement depleted, with non-radiogenic Sr and positive epsilon 143-Nd(e.g. [3-5]). The depleted component represents the shergottite martian mantle. The identity of the enriched component is subject to debate, and has been proposed to be either assimilated ancient martian crust [3] or from enriched domains in the martian mantle that may represent a late-stage magma ocean crystallization residue [4,5]. Olivine-phyric shergottites typically have the highest Mg# of the shergottite group and represent near-primitive melts having experienced minimal fractional crystallization or crystal accumulation [6]. Olivine-hosted melt inclusions (MI) in these shergottites represent the most chemically primitive components available to understand the nature of their source(s), melting processes in the martian mantle, and origin of enriched components. We present trace element compositions of olivine hosted melt inclusions in two depleted olivinephyric shergottites, Yamato 980459 (Y98) and Tissint (Fig. 1), and the mesostasis glass of Y98, using Secondary Ionization Mass Spectrometry (SIMS). We discuss our data in the context of understanding the nature and origin of the depleted martian mantle and the emergence of the enriched component.

  4. Cosmogenic nuclides in the Martian surface: constraints for sample recovery and transport

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Englert, P.A.J.

    1988-01-01

    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

  5. Looking for a Source of Water in Martian Basltic Breccia NWA 7034

    Science.gov (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.

    2014-01-01

    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).

  6. Advanced concept for a crewed mission to the martian moons

    Science.gov (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

    2017-10-01

    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.

  7. Micro-Raman spectroscopy of plagioclase and maskelynite in Martian meteorites: Evidence of progressive shock metamorphism

    OpenAIRE

    Fritz,Jorg; Greshake,Ansgar; Stoffler,Dieter

    2005-01-01

    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...

  8. Solar wind modulation of the Martian ionosphere observed by Mars Global Surveyor

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    J.-S. Wang

    2004-06-01

    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. Effect of Shadowing on Survival of Bacteria under Conditions Simulating the Martian Atmosphere and UV Radiation▿ †

    Science.gov (United States)

    Osman, Shariff; Peeters, Zan; La Duc, Myron T.; Mancinelli, Rocco; Ehrenfreund, Pascale; Venkateswaran, Kasthuri

    2008-01-01

    Spacecraft-associated spores and four non-spore-forming bacterial isolates were prepared in Atacama Desert soil suspensions and tested both in solution and in a desiccated state to elucidate the shadowing effect of soil particulates on bacterial survival under simulated Martian atmospheric and UV irradiation conditions. All non-spore-forming cells that were prepared in nutrient-depleted, 0.2-μm-filtered desert soil (DSE) microcosms and desiccated for 75 days on aluminum died, whereas cells prepared similarly in 60-μm-filtered desert soil (DS) microcosms survived such conditions. Among the bacterial cells tested, Microbacterium schleiferi and Arthrobacter sp. exhibited elevated resistance to 254-nm UV irradiation (low-pressure Hg lamp), and their survival indices were comparable to those of DS- and DSE-associated Bacillus pumilus spores. Desiccated DSE-associated spores survived exposure to full Martian UV irradiation (200 to 400 nm) for 5 min and were only slightly affected by Martian atmospheric conditions in the absence of UV irradiation. Although prolonged UV irradiation (5 min to 12 h) killed substantial portions of the spores in DSE microcosms (∼5- to 6-log reduction with Martian UV irradiation), dramatic survival of spores was apparent in DS-spore microcosms. The survival of soil-associated wild-type spores under Martian conditions could have repercussions for forward contamination of extraterrestrial environments, especially Mars. PMID:18083857

  10. Sublimation and transport of water from the north residual polar cap on Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Haberle, Robert M.; Jakosky, Bruce M.

    1990-01-01

    The possible role of the north residual cap in the current Martian water cycle was examined using models to assess the ability of the cap to supply water to the atmosphere and the ability of the atmospheric circulation to transport it out of the polar regions to low northern latitudes. Results indicate that rather extreme circumstances would be required for the cap to provide all of the observed increase in atmospheric water, such as a combination of high surface winds, low cap emissivities, or substantial evaporation from dark material. But even if these conditions could be met, the high-latitude circulation is too localized in scale to move much water vapor out of the polar environment. Both the present calculations and the data from the Viking's Mars Atmospheric Water Detection Experiment show that about two thirds of the water appearing in the Martian northern hemisphere during summer must be supplied by other sources. It is suggested that the additional source is water desorbing from the nonpolar regolith.

  11. An Examination of "The Martian" Trajectory

    Science.gov (United States)

    Burke, Laura

    2015-01-01

    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.

  12. Martian Surface as Seen by Phoenix

    Science.gov (United States)

    2008-01-01

    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.

  13. Electrostatic Precipitation of Dust in the Martian Atmosphere: Implications for the Utilization of Resources During Future Manned Exploration Missions

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2011-01-01

    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

  14. Stratigraphy of the Martian northern plains

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tanaka, K. L.

    1993-01-01

    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.

  15. 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

    2002-01-01

    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....

  16. A new planetary structure fabrication process using phosphoric acid

    Science.gov (United States)

    Buchner, Christoph; Pawelke, Roland H.; Schlauf, Thomas; Reissner, Alexander; Makaya, Advenit

    2018-02-01

    Minimising the launch mass is an important aspect of exploration mission planning. In-situ resource utilisation (ISRU) can improve this by reducing the amount of terrestrial materials needed for planetary exploration activities. We report on a recently concluded investigation into the requirements and available technologies for creating hardware on extra-terrestrial bodies, using the limited resources available on site. A trade-off of ISRU technologies for hardware manufacturing was conducted. A new additive manufacturing process suitable for fabricating structures on the Moon or Mars was developed. The process uses planetary regolith as the base material and concentrated phosphoric acid as the liquid binder. Mixing the reagents creates a sticky construction paste that slowly solidifies into a hard, rock-like material. Prior to solidification, the paste is extruded in layers, creating the desired structures in a 3D printing process. We used Martian regolith simulant JSC-Mars-1A, but the process is not selective towards regolith composition. Samples were exposed to thermal cycles and were mechanically characterised. Reduced-scale demonstrator structures were printed to demonstrate structure fabrication using the developed process.

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

    NARCIS (Netherlands)

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

    2006-01-01

    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

  18. Formation of recent martian debris flows by melting of near-surface ground ice at high obliquity.

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2002-01-04

    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.

  19. Confirmation of Soluble Sulfate at the Phoenix Landing Site: Implications for Martian Geochemistry and Habitability

    Science.gov (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

    2010-01-01

    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.

  20. Sulfate Deposition in Regolith Exposed in Trenches on the Plains Between the Spirit Landing Site and Columbia Hills in Gusev Crater, Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wang, Alian; Haskin, L. A.; Squyres, S. W.; Arvidson, R.; Crumpler, L.; Gellert, R.; Hurowitz, J.; Schroeder, C.; Tosca, N.; Herkenhoff, K.

    2005-01-01

    During its exploration within Gusev crater between sol 01 and sol 158, the Spirit rover dug three trenches (Fig. 1) to expose the subsurface regolith [1, 2, 9]. Laguna trench (approx. 6 cm deep, approx.203 m from the rim of Bonneville crater) was dug in Laguna Hollow at the boundary of the impact ejecta from Bonneville crater and the surrounding plains. The Big Hole trench (approx. 6-7 cm deep) and The Boroughs trench (approx. 11 cm deep) were dug in the plains between the Bonneville crater and the Columbia Hills (approx.556 m and approx.1698 m from the rim of Bonneville crater respectively). The top, wall and floor regolith of the three trenches were investigated using the entire set of Athena scientific instruments [10].

  1. Terrestrial Permafrost Models of Martian Habitats and Inhabitants

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gilichinsky, D.

    2011-12-01

    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

  2. Habitable periglacial landscapes in martian mid-latitudes

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    2012-05-01

    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).

  3. Martian Dune Ripples as Indicators of Recent Surface Wind Patterns

    Science.gov (United States)

    Johnson, M.; Zimbelman, J. R.

    2015-12-01

    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.

  4. A Comet Engulfs Mars: MAVEN Observations of Comet Siding Spring's Influence on the Martian Magnetosphere

    Science.gov (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

    2015-01-01

    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.

  5. Development of Additive Construction Technologies for Application to Development of Lunar/Martian Surface Structures Using In-Situ Materials

    Science.gov (United States)

    Werkheiser, Niki J.; Fiske, Michael R.; Edmunson, Jennifer E.; Khoshnevis, Berokh

    2015-01-01

    For long-duration missions on other planetary bodies, the use of in situ materials will become increasingly critical. As human presence on these bodies expands, so must the breadth of the structures required to accommodate them including habitats, laboratories, berms, radiation shielding for natural radiation and surface reactors, garages, solar storm shelters, greenhouses, etc. Planetary surface structure manufacturing and assembly technologies that incorporate in situ resources provide options for autonomous, affordable, pre-positioned environments with radiation shielding features and protection from micrometeorites, exhaust plume debris, and other hazards. The ability to use in-situ materials to construct these structures will provide a benefit in the reduction of up-mass that would otherwise make long-term Moon or Mars structures cost prohibitive. The ability to fabricate structures in situ brings with it the ability to repair these structures, which allows for the self-sufficiency and sustainability necessary for long-duration habitation. Previously, under the auspices of the MSFC In-Situ Fabrication and Repair (ISFR) project and more recently, under the jointly-managed MSFC/KSC Additive Construction with Mobile Emplacement (ACME) project, the MSFC Surface Structures Group has been developing materials and construction technologies to support future planetary habitats with in-situ resources. One such additive construction technology is known as Contour Crafting. This paper presents the results to date of these efforts, including development of novel nozzle concepts for advanced layer deposition using this process. Conceived initially for rapid development of cementitious structures on Earth, it also lends itself exceptionally well to the automated fabrication of planetary surface structures using minimally processed regolith as aggregate, and binders developed from in situ materials as well. This process has been used successfully in the fabrication of

  6. Site Specific Ground Response Analysis for Quantifying Site Amplification at A Regolith Site

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    Bambang Setiawan

    2017-08-01

    Full Text Available DOI: 10.17014/ijog.4.3.159-167A numerical model has demonstrated that it can simulate reasonably well earthquake motions at the ground level during a seismic event. The most widely used model is an equivalent linear approach. The equivalent linear model was used to compute the free-field response of Adelaide regolith during the 1997 Burra earthquake. The aim of this study is to quantify the amplification at the investigated site. The model computed the ground response of horizontally layered soil deposits subjected to transient and vertically propagating shear waves through a one-dimensional-soil column. Each soil layer was assumed to be homogeneous, visco-elastic, and infinite in the horizontal extent. The results of this study were compared to other studies and forward computation of the geotechnical dynamic parameters of the investigated site. The amplification triggered by the 1997 Burra seismic event was deduced. This study reveals the amplification factor up to 3.6 at the studied site.

  7. MODELING THE VARIATIONS OF DOSE RATE MEASURED BY RAD DURING THE FIRST MSL MARTIAN YEAR: 2012–2014

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Guo, Jingnan; Wimmer-Schweingruber, Robert F.; Heber, Bernd; Köhler, Jan; Appel, Jan K.; Böhm, Eckart; Böttcher, Stephan; Burmeister, Sönke; Lohf, Henning; Martin, Cesar [Institute of Experimental and Applied Physics, Christian-Albrechts-University, Kiel (Germany); Zeitlin, Cary [Southwest Research Institute, Earth, Oceans and Space Department, Durham, NH (United States); Rafkin, Scot; Hassler, Donald M.; Ehresmann, Bent [Southwest Research Institute, Space Science and Engineering Division, Boulder, CO (United States); Posner, Arik [NASA Headquarters, Science Mission Directorate, Washington, DC (United States); Brinza, David E. [Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA (United States); Kahanpää, H. [Finnish Meteorological Institute, Helsinki (Finland); Reitz, Günther, E-mail: guo@physik.uni-kiel.de [Aerospace Medicine, Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt, Köln (Germany)

    2015-09-01

    The Radiation Assessment Detector (RAD), on board Mars Science Laboratory’s (MSL) rover Curiosity, measures the energy spectra of both energetic charged and neutral particles along with the radiation dose rate at the surface of Mars. With these first-ever measurements on the Martian surface, RAD observed several effects influencing the galactic cosmic-ray (GCR) induced surface radiation dose concurrently: (a) short-term diurnal variations of the Martian atmospheric pressure caused by daily thermal tides, (b) long-term seasonal pressure changes in the Martian atmosphere, and (c) the modulation of the primary GCR flux by the heliospheric magnetic field, which correlates with long-term solar activity and the rotation of the Sun. The RAD surface dose measurements, along with the surface pressure data and the solar modulation factor, are analyzed and fitted to empirical models that quantitatively demonstrate how the long-term influences ((b) and (c)) are related to the measured dose rates. Correspondingly, we can estimate dose rate and dose equivalents under different solar modulations and different atmospheric conditions, thus allowing empirical predictions of the Martian surface radiation environment.

  8. Radiometric Measurements of the Thermal Conductivity of Complex Planetary-like Materials

    Science.gov (United States)

    Piqueux, S.; Christensen, P. R.

    2012-12-01

    Planetary surface temperatures and thermal inertias are controlled by the physical and compositional characteristics of the surface layer material, which result from current and past geological activity. For this reason, temperature measurements are often acquired because they provide fundamental constraints on the geological history and habitability. Examples of regolith properties affecting surface temperatures and inertias are: grain sizes and mixture ratios, solid composition in the case of ices, presence of cement between grains, regolith porosity, grain roughness, material layering etc.. Other important factors include volatile phase changes, and endogenic or exogenic heat sources (i.e. geothermal heat flow, impact-related heat, biological activity etc.). In the case of Mars, the multitude of instruments observing the surface temperature at different spatial and temporal resolutions (i.e. IRTM, Thermoskan, TES, MiniTES, THEMIS, MCS, REMS, etc.) in conjunction with other instruments allows us to probe and characterize the thermal properties of the surface layer with an unprecedented resolution. While the derivation of thermal inertia values from temperature measurements is routinely performed by well-established planetary regolith numerical models, constraining the physical properties of the surface layer from thermal inertia values requires the additional step of laboratory measurements. The density and specific heat are usually constant and sufficiently well known for common geological materials, but the bulk thermal conductivity is highly variable as a function of the physical characteristics of the regolith. Most laboratory designs do not allow an investigation of the thermal conductivity of complex regolith configurations similar to those observed on planetary surfaces (i.e. cemented material, large grains, layered material, and temperature effects) because the samples are too small and need to be soft to insert heating or measuring devices. For this

  9. Martian Surface Boundary Layer Characterization: Enabling Environmental Data for Science, Engineering and Human Exploration

    Science.gov (United States)

    England, C.

    2000-01-01

    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.

  10. Laboratory simulations of planetary surfaces: Understanding regolith physical properties from remote photopolarimetric observations

    Science.gov (United States)

    Nelson, Robert M.; Boryta, Mark D.; Hapke, Bruce W.; Manatt, Kenneth S.; Shkuratov, Yuriy; Psarev, V.; Vandervoort, Kurt; Kroner, Desire; Nebedum, Adaze; Vides, Christina L.; Quiñones, John

    2018-03-01

    We present reflectance and polarization phase curve measurements of highly reflective planetary regolith analogues having physical characteristics expected on atmosphereless solar system bodies (ASSBs) such as a eucritic asteroids or icy satellites. We used a goniometric photopolarimeter (GPP) of novel design to study thirteen well-sorted particle size fractions of aluminum oxide (Al2O3). The sample suite included particle sizes larger than, approximately equal to, and smaller than the wavelength of the incident monochromatic radiation (λ = 635 nm). The observed phase angle, α, was 0.056 o ∼95%). The incident radiation has a very high probability of being multiply scattered before being backscattered toward the incident direction or ultimately absorbed. The five smallest particle sizes exhibited extremely high void space (> ∼95%). The reflectance phase curves for all particle size fractions show a pronounced non-linear reflectance increase with decreasing phase angle at α∼ ∼1 we detect no polarization. This polarization behavior is distinct from that observed in low albedo solar system objects such as the Moon and asteroids and for absorbing materials in the laboratory. We suggest this behavior arises because photons that are backscattered have a high probability of having interacted with two or more particles, thus giving rise to the CB process. These results may explain the unusual negative polarization behavior observed near small phase angles reported for several decades on highly reflective ASSBs such as the asteroids 44 Nysa, 64 Angelina and the Galilean satellites Io, Europa and Ganymede. Our results suggest these ASSB regoliths scatter electromagnetic radiation as if they were extremely fine grained with void space > ∼95%, and grain sizes of the order geo-engineering, particularly to suggestions that earth's radiation balance can be modified by injecting Al2O3 particulates into the stratosphere thereby offsetting the effect of anthropogenic

  11. Sleep stability and cognitive function in an Arctic Martian analogue.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gríofa, Marc O; Blue, Rebecca S; Cohen, Kenneth D; O'Keeffe, Derek T

    2011-04-01

    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.

  12. Comparison of oxygen liquefaction methods for use on the Martian surface

    Science.gov (United States)

    Johnson, W. L.; Hauser, D. M.; Plachta, D. W.; Wang, X.-Y. J.; Banker, B. F.; Desai, P. S.; Stephens, J. R.; Swanger, A. M.

    2018-03-01

    In order to use oxygen that is produced on the surface of Mars from In-Situ production processes in a chemical propulsion system, the oxygen must first be converted from vapor phase to liquid phase and then stored within the propellant tanks of the propulsions system. There are multiple ways that this can be accomplished, from simply attaching a liquefaction system onto the propellant tanks to carrying separate tanks for liquefaction and storage of the propellant and loading just prior to launch (the way that traditional rocket launches occur on Earth). A study was done into these various methods by which the oxygen (and methane) could be liquefied and stored on the Martian surface. Five different architectures or cycles were considered: Tube-on-Tank (also known as Broad Area Cooling or Distributed Refrigeration), Tube-in-Tank (also known as Integrated Refrigeration and Storage), a modified Linde open liquefaction/refrigeration cycle, the direct mounting of a pulse tube cryocooler onto the tank, and an in-line liquefier at ambient pressure. Models of each architecture were developed to give insight into the performance and losses of each of the options. The results were then compared across eight categories: Mass, Power (both input and heat rejection), Operability, Cost, Manufacturability, Reliability, Volume-ility, and Scalability. The result was that Tube-on-Tank and Tube-in-Tank architectures were the most attractive solutions, with NASA's engineering management choosing to pursue tube on tank development rather than further differentiate the two. As a result NASA is focusing its Martian surface liquefaction activities and technology development on Tube-on-Tank liquefaction cycles.

  13. Cosmogenic nuclide depth-profiles and geochemical analysis of mountain regolith aimed at quantifying rates of glacial and periglacial erosion

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Andersen, Jane Lund; Egholm, David Lundbek; Knudsen, Mads Faurschou

    Clay minerals such as kaolinite and gibbsite in mountain regolith in present-day cold environments are often, without further age-constraint, interpreted as products of weathering in a warmer climate (e.g. Rea, 1996; Strømsøe, 2011). This reasoning has, in turn, been used to infer long residence...

  14. 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.

    2006-01-01

    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

  15. Ionization Efficiency in the Dayside Martian Upper Atmosphere

    Science.gov (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.

    2018-04-01

    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.

  16. Describing the Components of the Water Transport in the Martian Atmosphere

    Science.gov (United States)

    Montmessin, F.; Haberle, R. M.; forget, F.; Rannou, P.; Cabane, M.

    2003-01-01

    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.

  17. Thermal structure and dynamics of the Martian upper atmosphere at solar minimum from global circulation model simulations

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    T. Moffat-Griffin

    2007-11-01

    Full Text Available Simulations of the Martian upper atmosphere have been produced from a self-consistent three-dimensional numerical model of the Martian thermosphere and ionosphere, called MarTIM. It covers an altitude range of 60 km to the upper thermosphere, usually at least 250 km altitude. A radiation scheme is included that allows the main sources of energy input, EUV/UV and IR absorption by CO2 and CO, to be calculated. CO2, N2 and O are treated as the major gases in MarTIM, and are mutually diffused (though neutral chemistry is ignored. The densities of other species (the minor gases, CO, Ar, O2 and NO, are based on diffusive equilibrium above the turbopause. The ionosphere is calculated from a simple photoionisation and charge exchange routine though in this paper we will only consider the thermal and dynamic structure of the neutral atmosphere at solar minimum conditions. The semi-diurnal (2,2 migrating tide, introduced at MarTIM's lower boundary, affects the dynamics up to 130 km. The Mars Climate Database (Lewis et al., 2001 can be used as a lower boundary in MarTIM. The effect of this is to increase wind speeds in the thermosphere and to produce small-scale structures throughout the thermosphere. Temperature profiles are in good agreement with Pathfinder results. Wind velocities are slightly lower compared to analysis of MGS accelerometer data (Withers, 2003. The novel step-by-step approach of adding in new features to MarTIM has resulted in further understanding of the drivers of the Martian thermosphere.

  18. Resources of Near-Earth Space: Abstracts

    Science.gov (United States)

    1991-01-01

    The objectives are by theory, experiment, and bench-level testing of small systems, to develop scientifically-sound engineering processes and facility specifications for producing propellants and fuels, construction and shielding materials, and life support substances from the lithospheres and atmospheres of lunar, planetary, and asteroidal bodies. Current emphasis is on the production of oxygen, other usefull gases, metallic, ceramic/composite, and related byproducts from lunar regolith, carbonaceous chrondritic asteroids, and the carbon dioxide rich Martian atmosphere.

  19. The Vacuum-Compacted Regolith Gripping Mechanism and Unmanned Flights via Quad-Rotors

    Science.gov (United States)

    Scott, Rollin L.

    2014-01-01

    During the course of the Kennedy Space Center Summer Internship, two main experiments were performed: The Vacuum-Compacted Regolith Gripping Mechanism and Unmanned Flights via Quad-copters. The objectives of the Vacuum-Compacted Regolith Gripping Mechanism, often abbreviated as the Granular Gripper, are to exhibit Space Technology, such as a soft robotic hand, lift different apparatuses used to excavate regolith, and conserve energy while executing its intended task. The project is being conducted to test how much weight the Granular Gripper can hold. With the use of an Animatronic Robotic Hand, Arduino Uno, and other components, the system was calibrated before actually conducting the intended weight test. The maximum weight each finger could hold with the servos running, in the order of pinky, ring, middle, and index fingers, are as follows: 1.340N, 1.456 N, 0.9579 N, and 1.358 N. Using the small vacuum pump system, the maximum weight each finger could hold, in the same order, was: 4.076 N, 6.159 N, 5.454 N, and 4.052 N. The maximum torques on each of the fingers when the servos were running, in the same respective order, was: 0.0777 Nm, 0.0533 Nm, 0.0648 Nm, and 0.0532 Nm. The maximum torques on the individual fingers, when the small vacuum pump was in effect, in the same order as above, was: 0.2318 Nm, 0.3032 Nm, 0.2741 Nm, and 0.1618 Nm. In testing all the fingers with the servos running, the total weight was 5.112 N and the maximum torque on the all the fingers was 0.2515 Nm. However, when the small vacuum pump system was used, the total weight was 19.741 N and the maximum torque on the all the fingers was 0.9713 Nm. The conclusion that was drawn stated that using the small vacuum pump system proved nearly 4 times more effective when testing how much weigh the hand could hold. The resistance provided by the compacted sand in the glove allowed more weight to be held by the hand and glove. Also, when the servos turned off and the hand still retaining its

  20. Developing Biological ISRU: Implications for Life Support and Space Exploration

    Science.gov (United States)

    Brown, I. I.; Allen, C. C.; Garrison, D. H.; Sarkisova, S. A.; Galindo, C.; Mckay, David S.

    2010-01-01

    Main findings: 1) supplementing very dilute media for cultivation of CB with analogs of lunar or Martian regolith effectively supported the proliferation of CB; 2) O2 evolution by siderophilic cyanobacteria cultivated in diluted media but supplemented with iron-rich rocks was higher than O2 evolution by same strain in undiluted medium; 3) preliminary data suggest that organic acids produced by CB are involved in iron-rich mineral dissolution; 4) the CB studied can accumulate iron on and in their cells; 4) sequencing of the cyanobacterium JSC-1 genome revealed that this strain possesses molecular features which make it applicable for the cultivation in special photoreactors on Moon and Mars. Conclusion: As a result of pilot studies, we propose, to develop a concept for semi-closed integrated system that uses CB to extract useful elements to revitalize air and produce valuable biomolecules. Such a system could be the foundation of a self-sustaining extraterrestrial outpost (Hendrickx, De Wever et al., 2005; Handford, 2006). A potential advantage of a cyanobacterial photoreactor placed between LSS and ISRU loops is the possibility of supplying these systems with extracted elements and compounds from the regolith. In addition, waste regolith may be transformed into additional products such as methane, biomass, and organic and inorganic soil enrichment for the cultivation of higher plants.

  1. Nitrates in SNCs: Implications for the nitrogen cycle on Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Grady, Monica M.; Wright, I. P.; Franchi, I. A.; Pillinger, C. T.

    1993-01-01

    Nitrogen is the second most abundant constituent of the Martian atmosphere, after CO2, present at a level of ca. 2.7 percent. Several authors have hypothesized that earlier in the planet's history, nitrogen was more abundant, but has been removed by processes such as exospheric loss from the atmosphere. However, an alternative sink for atmospheric nitrogen is the regolith; model calculations have predicted that, via the formation of NOx, HNO2 and HNO3 in the lower layers of the Martian atmosphere, the regolith might trap nitrite and nitrate anions, leading to the build-up of involatile nitrates. Integrated over 4.5 x 10(exp 9) yr, such a mechanism would contribute the equivalent of a layer of nitrates up to 0.3 cm thick distributed across the Martian surface. Features in thermal emission spectra of the surface of Mars have been interpreted tentatively as emanating from various anions (carbonates, bicarbonates, sulphates, etc.), and the presence of nitrates has also been addressed as a possibility. The identification of carbonates in SCN meteorites has allowed inferences to be drawn concerning the composition and evolution of the Martian atmosphere in terms of its carbon isotope systematics; if nitrites, nitrates, or other nitrogen-bearing salts could be isolated from SNC's, similar conclusions might be possible for an analogous nitrogen cycle. Nitrates are unstable, being readily soluble in water, and decomposed at temperatures between 50 C and 600 C, depending on composition. Any nitrates present in SNC's might be removed during ejection from the planet's surface, passage to Earth, or during the sample's terrestrial history, by weathering etc. The same might have been said for carbonates, but pockets of shock-produced glass (lithology C) from within the EET A79001 shergottite and bulk samples of other SNC contain this mineral, which did apparently survive. Nitrates occurring within the glassy melt pockets of lithology C in EET A79001 might likewise be protected

  2. Geochemical evidence for mixing of three components in martian orthopyroxenite ALH 84001. [Abstract only

    Science.gov (United States)

    Mittlefehldt, D. W.; Lindstrom, M. M.

    1994-01-01

    ALH 84001, a ferroan martian orthopyroxenite, originally consisted of three petrographically defined components: a cumulus assemblage of orthopyroxene + chromite, a trapped melt assemblage of orthopyroxene(?) + chromite + maskelynite + apatite + augite +/- pyrite, and a metasomatic assemblage of carbonate +/- pyrite. We present the results of Instrumental Neutron Activation Analysis (INAA) study of five bulk samples of ALH 84001, combined with Scanning Ion Mass Spectrometer (SIMS) data on the orthopyroxene, in order to attempt to set limits on the geochemical characteristics of the latter two components, and therefore on the petrogenesis of ALH 84001. The INAA data support the petrographic observations, suggesting that there are at least three components in ALH 84001. We will assume that each of the three geochemically required components can be equated with one of the petrographically observed components. Both trapped melt and metasomatic components in ALH 84001 have higher Na than orthopyroxene based on compositions of maskelynite, apatite, and carbonate. For the metasomatic component, we will assume its Na content is that of carbonate, while for a trapped melt component, we will use a typical Na content inferred for martian meteorite parent melts, approximately 1 wt% Na2O. Under these assumptions, we can set limits on the Light Rare Earth Elements/Heavy Rare Earth Elements (LREE/HREE) ratios of the components, and use this information to compare the petrogenesis of ALH 84001 with other martian meteorites. The above calculations assume that the bulk samples are representative of different portions of ALH 84001. We will also evaluate the possible heterogeneous distribution of mineral phases in the bulk samples as the cause of compositional heterogeneity in our samples.

  3. Martian geomorphology and its relation to subsurface volatiles

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    1986-01-01

    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.

  4. Water-Searchers: A Reconfigurable and Self Sustaining Army of Subsurface Exploration Robots Searching for Water/Ice Using Multiple Sensors

    Science.gov (United States)

    Youk, G. U.; Whittaker, W. (Red); Volpe, R.

    2000-01-01

    Perhaps the most promising site for extant life on Mars today is where subsurface water has been maintained. Therefore, searching for underground water will provide a good chance to find evidence of life on Mars. The following are scientific/engineering questions that we want to answer using our approach: (1) Is there subsurface water/ice? How deep is it? How much is there? Is it frozen? (2) What kinds of underground layers exist in the Martian crust? (3) What is the density of Martian soil or regolith? Can we dig into it? Should we drill into it? (4) Can a sudden release of underground water occur if a big asteroid hits Mars? Our approach provides essential information to answer these questions. Moreover, dependence on the water content and depth in soil, not only resultant scientific conclusions but also proper digging/drilling methods, are suggested. 'How much water is in the Martian soil?' There can be several possibilities: (1) high water content that is enough to form permafrost; (2) low water content that is not enough to form permafrost; or (3) different layers with different moisture contents. 'How deep should a rover dig into soil to find water/ice?' The exact size-frequency distribution has not been measured for the soil particles. On-board sensors can provide not only the water content but also the density (or porosity) of Martian soil as a function of depth.

  5. Improved Data Reduction Algorithm for the Needle Probe Method Applied to In-Situ Thermal Conductivity Measurements of Lunar and Planetary Regoliths

    Science.gov (United States)

    Nagihara, S.; Hedlund, M.; Zacny, K.; Taylor, P. T.

    2013-01-01

    The needle probe method (also known as the' hot wire' or 'line heat source' method) is widely used for in-situ thermal conductivity measurements on soils and marine sediments on the earth. Variants of this method have also been used (or planned) for measuring regolith on the surfaces of extra-terrestrial bodies (e.g., the Moon, Mars, and comets). In the near-vacuum condition on the lunar and planetary surfaces, the measurement method used on the earth cannot be simply duplicated, because thermal conductivity of the regolith can be approximately 2 orders of magnitude lower. In addition, the planetary probes have much greater diameters, due to engineering requirements associated with the robotic deployment on extra-terrestrial bodies. All of these factors contribute to the planetary probes requiring much longer time of measurement, several tens of (if not over a hundred) hours, while a conventional terrestrial needle probe needs only 1 to 2 minutes. The long measurement time complicates the surface operation logistics of the lander. It also negatively affects accuracy of the thermal conductivity measurement, because the cumulative heat loss along the probe is no longer negligible. The present study improves the data reduction algorithm of the needle probe method by shortening the measurement time on planetary surfaces by an order of magnitude. The main difference between the new scheme and the conventional one is that the former uses the exact mathematical solution to the thermal model on which the needle probe measurement theory is based, while the latter uses an approximate solution that is valid only for large times. The present study demonstrates the benefit of the new data reduction technique by applying it to data from a series of needle probe experiments carried out in a vacuum chamber on JSC-1A lunar regolith stimulant. The use of the exact solution has some disadvantage, however, in requiring three additional parameters, but two of them (the diameter and the

  6. Kinetic and Potential Sputtering Enhancements of Lunar Regolith Erosion: The Contribution of the Heavy Multicharged (Minority) Solar Wind Constituents

    Science.gov (United States)

    Meyer, F. W.; Barghouty, A. F.

    2012-01-01

    We report preliminary results for H+, Ar+1, Ar+6 and Ar+9 ion sputtering of JSC-1A lunar regolith simulant at solar wind velocities, obtain ed at the ORNL Multicharged Ion Research Facility using quadrupole ma ss spectrometry. The multi-charged Ar ions were used as proxies for i ntermediate mass solar wind multicharged ions. Prior to the Ar beam e xposures, the sample was exposed to high fluence H+ irradiation to si mulate H-loading due to the dominant solar wind constituent. A x80 en hancement of oxygen sputtering by Ar+ over same velocity H+ was measu red and an additional x2 increase for Ar+9 over same velocity Ar+ was demonstrated, giving clear evidence of the importance of potential s puttering by multicharged ions. This enhancement was observed to pers ist to the maximum fluences investigated (approx 10(exp 16)/sq cm). As discussed in a companion abstract by N. Barghouty, such persistent s puttering enhancement has significant implications on weathering and aging of lunar regolith. In addition, XPS measurements showed strong evidence of Fe reduction for those target areas that had been exposed to high fluence Ar+ and Ar+8 beams. Preferential oxidation of the Fe -reduced beam-exposed regions during transfer to the XPS system led t o enhanced O concentrations in those regions as well. On the basis of these very promising preliminary results, a NASA-LASER project on mo re extensive measurements was recently selected for funding. The prop osal expands the collaboration with NASA-MSFC for the simulation effort, and adds a new collaboration with NASA-GSFC for lunar mission-rele vant measurements.

  7. Paloma-radon: atmospheric radon 222 as a geochemical probe for water in the martian subsoil

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Sabroux, J.Ch.; Michielsen, N.; Voisin, V.

    2003-01-01

    Radon exhalation from a porous soil is known to depend strongly on the soil moisture content: a minute amount of water, or water ice, in the pore space increases dramatically the possibility for radon to migrate far from its parent mineral. We propose to take advantage of this characteristic by using atmospheric radon 222 as a geochemical probe for water in the Martian soil, at least one order of magnitude deeper than the current Mars Odyssey neutron data. Strong thermal inversions during the Martian night will accumulate radon in the lowest atmospheric boundary layer, up to measurable levels despite the comparatively high environmental (cosmic and solar) background radiation and the assumed low uranium content of the upper crust of the planet. Preliminary studies and development of an instrument for the measurement of the Martian atmospheric alpha radioactivity is part of the CNES supported PALOMA experiment. Two test benches have been implemented, one of them allowing differential measurements of the diffusion of radon in the Martian soil simulant NASA JSC Mars-1, under relevant temperatures and pressures. The other, a 1 m3 radon-dedicated test bench, aims to characterize the instrument that will measure radon in the Mars environment (7 mb CO 2 ). Tests on several nuclear radiation detectors show that semiconductor alpha-particle detectors (PIPS) are the best option. In addition, the detection volume is left open in order to capitalize upon the long (ca. 4 m) alpha track at this low pressure. A stationary diffusion model was developed in order to assess the radon flux at the Mars soil surface. Diffusion of gas in Martian soil is governed by Knudsen diffusion. The radon Knudsen diffusion coefficient was estimated, depending on the soil moisture and relevant structural properties, leading to a radon diffusion length of the order of 20 m. The landed platform PALOMA-Radon instrument will consist of a set of alpha detectors connected to an electronic spectrometer, a

  8. Paloma-radon: atmospheric radon 222 as a geochemical probe for water in the martian subsoil

    Energy Technology Data Exchange (ETDEWEB)

    Sabroux, J.Ch.; Michielsen, N.; Voisin, V

    2003-07-01

    Radon exhalation from a porous soil is known to depend strongly on the soil moisture content: a minute amount of water, or water ice, in the pore space increases dramatically the possibility for radon to migrate far from its parent mineral. We propose to take advantage of this characteristic by using atmospheric radon 222 as a geochemical probe for water in the Martian soil, at least one order of magnitude deeper than the current Mars Odyssey neutron data. Strong thermal inversions during the Martian night will accumulate radon in the lowest atmospheric boundary layer, up to measurable levels despite the comparatively high environmental (cosmic and solar) background radiation and the assumed low uranium content of the upper crust of the planet. Preliminary studies and development of an instrument for the measurement of the Martian atmospheric alpha radioactivity is part of the CNES supported PALOMA experiment. Two test benches have been implemented, one of them allowing differential measurements of the diffusion of radon in the Martian soil simulant NASA JSC Mars-1, under relevant temperatures and pressures. The other, a 1 m3 radon-dedicated test bench, aims to characterize the instrument that will measure radon in the Mars environment (7 mb CO{sub 2}). Tests on several nuclear radiation detectors show that semiconductor alpha-particle detectors (PIPS) are the best option. In addition, the detection volume is left open in order to capitalize upon the long (ca. 4 m) alpha track at this low pressure. A stationary diffusion model was developed in order to assess the radon flux at the Mars soil surface. Diffusion of gas in Martian soil is governed by Knudsen diffusion. The radon Knudsen diffusion coefficient was estimated, depending on the soil moisture and relevant structural properties, leading to a radon diffusion length of the order of 20 m. The landed platform PALOMA-Radon instrument will consist of a set of alpha detectors connected to an electronic spectrometer

  9. Design and Test of a Deployable Radiation Cover for the REgolith X-Ray Imaging Spectrometer

    Science.gov (United States)

    Carte, David B.; Inamdar, Niraj K.; Jones, Michael P.; Masterson, Rebecca A.

    2014-01-01

    The REgolith X-ray Imaging Spectrometer (REXIS) instrument contains a one-time deployable radiation cover that is opened using a shape memory alloy actuator (a "Frangibolt") from TiNi Aerospace and two torsion springs. The door will be held closed by the bolt for several years in cold storage during travel to the target asteroid, Bennu, and it is imperative to gain confidence that the door will open at predicted operational temperatures. This paper briefly covers the main design features of the radiation cover and measures taken to mitigate risks to cover deployment. As the chosen FD04 model Frangibolt actuator has minimal flight heritage, the main focus of this paper is the testing, results and conclusions with the FD04 while discussing key lessons learned with respect to the use of the FD04 actuator in this application.

  10. The Moon as a recorder of organic evolution in the early solar system: a lunar regolith analog study.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Matthewman, Richard; Court, Richard W; Crawford, Ian A; Jones, Adrian P; Joy, Katherine H; Sephton, Mark A

    2015-02-01

    The organic record of Earth older than ∼3.8 Ga has been effectively erased. Some insight is provided to us by meteorites as well as remote and direct observations of asteroids and comets left over from the formation of the Solar System. These primitive objects provide a record of early chemical evolution and a sample of material that has been delivered to Earth's surface throughout the past 4.5 billion years. Yet an effective chronicle of organic evolution on all Solar System objects, including that on planetary surfaces, is more difficult to find. Fortunately, early Earth would not have been the only recipient of organic matter-containing objects in the early Solar System. For example, a recently proposed model suggests the possibility that volatiles, including organic material, remain archived in buried paleoregolith deposits intercalated with lava flows on the Moon. Where asteroids and comets allow the study of processes before planet formation, the lunar record could extend that chronicle to early biological evolution on the planets. In this study, we use selected free and polymeric organic materials to assess the hypothesis that organic matter can survive the effects of heating in the lunar regolith by overlying lava flows. Results indicate that the presence of lunar regolith simulant appears to promote polymerization and, therefore, preservation of organic matter. Once polymerized, the mineral-hosted newly formed organic network is relatively protected from further thermal degradation. Our findings reveal the thermal conditions under which preservation of organic matter on the Moon is viable.

  11. Martian channels and valleys - Their characteristics, distribution, and age

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    1981-01-01

    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.

  12. Automated Detection of Craters in Martian Satellite Imagery Using Convolutional Neural Networks

    Science.gov (United States)

    Norman, C. J.; Paxman, J.; Benedix, G. K.; Tan, T.; Bland, P. A.; Towner, M.

    2018-04-01

    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.

  13. Simulation of Martian EVA at the Mars Society Arctic Research Station

    Science.gov (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.

  14. Aeolian Erosion on Mars - a New Threshold for Saltation

    Science.gov (United States)

    Teiser, J.; Musiolik, G.; Kruss, M.; Demirci, T.; Schrinski, B.; Daerden, F.; Smith, M. D.; Neary, L.; Wurm, G.

    2017-12-01

    The Martian atmosphere shows a large variety of dust activity, ranging from local dust devils to global dust storms. Also, sand motion has been observed in form of moving dunes. The dust entrainment into the Martian atmosphere is not well understood due to the small atmospheric pressure of only a few mbar. Laboratory experiments on Earth and numerical models were developed to understand these processes leading to dust lifting and saltation. Experiments so far suggested that large wind velocities are needed to reach the threshold shear velocity and to entrain dust into the atmosphere. In global circulation models this threshold shear velocity is typically reduced artificially to reproduce the observed dust activity. Although preceding experiments were designed to simulate Martian conditions, no experiment so far could scale all parameters to Martian conditions, as either the atmospheric or the gravitational conditions were not scaled. In this work, a first experimental study of saltation under Martian conditions is presented. Martian gravity is reached by a centrifuge on a parabolic flight, while pressure (6 mbar) and atmospheric composition (95% CO2, 5% air) are adjusted to Martian levels. A sample of JSC 1A (grain sizes from 10 - 100 µm) was used to simulate Martian regolith. The experiments showed that the reduced gravity (0.38 g) not only affects the weight of the dust particles, but also influences the packing density within the soil and therefore also the cohesive forces. The measured threshold shear velocity of 0.82 m/s is significantly lower than the measured value for 1 g in ground experiments (1.01 m/s). Feeding the measured value into a Global Circulation Model showed that no artificial reduction of the threshold shear velocity might be needed to reproduce the global dust distribution in the Martian atmosphere.

  15. Some potentialities of living organisms under simulated Martian conditions.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Lozina-Lozinsky, L K; Bychenkova, V N; Zaar, E I; Levin, V L; Rumyantseva, V M

    1971-01-01

    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.

  16. Direct Electrolysis of Molten Lunar Regolith for the Production of Oxygen and Metals on the Moon

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sirk, Aislinn H. C.; Sadoway, Donald R.; Sibille, Laurent

    2010-01-01

    When considering the construction of a lunar base, the high cost ($ 100,000 a kilogram) of transporting materials to the surface of the moon is a significant barrier. Therefore in-situ resource utilization will be a key component of any lunar mission. Oxygen gas is a key resource, abundant on earth and absent on the moon. If oxygen could be produced on the moon, this provides a dual benefit. Not only does it no longer need to be transported to the surface for breathing purposes; it can also be used as a fuel oxidizer to support transportation of crew and other materials more cheaply between the surface of the moon, and lower earth orbit (approximately $20,000/kg). To this end a stable, robust (lightly manned) system is required to produce oxygen from lunar resources. Herein, we investigate the feasibility of producing oxygen, which makes up almost half of the weight of the moon by direct electrolysis of the molten lunar regolith thus achieving the generation of usable oxygen gas while producing primarily iron and silicon at the cathode from the tightly bound oxides. The silicate mixture (with compositions and mechanical properties corresponding to that of lunar regolith) is melted at temperatures near 1600 C. With an inert anode and suitable cathode, direct electrolysis (no supporting electrolyte) of the molten silicate is carried out, resulting in production of molten metallic products at the cathode and oxygen gas at the anode. The effect of anode material, sweep rate, and electrolyte composition on the electrochemical behavior was investigated and implications for scale-up are considered. The activity and stability of the candidate anode materials as well as the effect of the electrolyte composition were determined. Additionally, ex-situ capture and analysis of the anode gas to calculate the current efficiency under different voltages, currents and melt chemistries was carried out.

  17. Architectural concepts of Martian bases built: of domes, around greenhouses and into slopes -the human aspect and the technology

    Science.gov (United States)

    Kozicki, Janek; Kozicka, Joanna

    Human missions to Mars are a special kind of space missions due to their long duration. The human aspect of such missions becomes as important as the technological one. The need for a human friendly and comfortable habitat arises. Studies of human behavior in ICEs have shown that larger groups of people mean a lower occurrence of conflicts. However, for a larger crew a larger habitat has to be designed -a Martian base. The research deals with psychological, sociological and technological aspects influencing the architectural design of a Martian Base. Extreme conditions present on Mars demand a partic-ular approach to technological and architectural design. To reduce the cost of building a bigger habitat, low cost solutions have been inquired into. A series of analyses has been performed to identify the best architectural solutions for a Martian base. A review of existing technologies and extreme condition habitats (both terrestrial and extraterrestrial) has revealed solutions that are the most reliable and efficient ones. Additionally, innovative technologies have been analyzed in search of the best candidates for actual base construction. Low cost solutions have been prioritized in the process. An in-depth study of architectural problems inherent in the design of a Martian base has resulted in a number of guidelines for the architect. The main ones are introduced in this review. Based on them, several concepts have been drafted as examples of user-friendly and aesthetically pleasing habitats. They are discussed in the following order: habitats made of domes, those built around greenhouses and those situated in sloping terrain. One of them is presented in detail, including interior design.

  18. Martian volcanism: festoon-like ridges on terrestrial basalt flows and implications for Mars

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Theilig, E.; Greeley, R.

    1987-01-01

    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

  19. The Search for Ammonia in Martian Soils with Curiosity's SAM Instrument

    Science.gov (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

    2013-01-01

    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].

  20. Thermal structure and dynamics of the Martian upper atmosphere at solar minimum from global circulation model simulations

    Directory of Open Access Journals (Sweden)

    T. Moffat-Griffin

    2007-11-01

    Full Text Available Simulations of the Martian upper atmosphere have been produced from a self-consistent three-dimensional numerical model of the Martian thermosphere and ionosphere, called MarTIM. It covers an altitude range of 60 km to the upper thermosphere, usually at least 250 km altitude. A radiation scheme is included that allows the main sources of energy input, EUV/UV and IR absorption by CO2 and CO, to be calculated. CO2, N2 and O are treated as the major gases in MarTIM, and are mutually diffused (though neutral chemistry is ignored. The densities of other species (the minor gases, CO, Ar, O2 and NO, are based on diffusive equilibrium above the turbopause. The ionosphere is calculated from a simple photoionisation and charge exchange routine though in this paper we will only consider the thermal and dynamic structure of the neutral atmosphere at solar minimum conditions. The semi-diurnal (2,2 migrating tide, introduced at MarTIM's lower boundary, affects the dynamics up to 130 km. The Mars Climate Database (Lewis et al., 2001 can be used as a lower boundary in MarTIM. The effect of this is to increase wind speeds in the thermosphere and to produce small-scale structures throughout the thermosphere. Temperature profiles are in good agreement with Pathfinder results. Wind velocities are slightly lower compared to analysis of MGS accelerometer data (Withers, 2003. The novel step-by-step approach of adding in new features to MarTIM has resulted in further understanding of the drivers of the Martian thermosphere.

  1. Magnetic Particles Are Found In The Martian Atmosphere

    Science.gov (United States)

    1976-01-01

    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.

  2. Observed diurnal variations in Mars Science Laboratory Dynamic Albedo of Neutrons passive mode data

    Science.gov (United States)

    Tate, C. G.; Moersch, J.; Jun, I.; Mitrofanov, I.; Litvak, M.; Boynton, W. V.; Drake, D.; Fedosov, F.; Golovin, D.; Hardgrove, C.; Harshman, K.; Kozyrev, A. S.; Kuzmin, R.; Lisov, D.; Maclennan, E.; Malakhov, A.; Mischna, M.; Mokrousov, M.; Nikiforov, S.; Sanin, A. B.; Starr, R.; Vostrukhin, A.

    2018-06-01

    The Mars Science Laboratory Dynamic Albedo of Neutrons (DAN) experiment measures the martian neutron leakage flux in order to estimate the amount of water equivalent hydrogen present in the shallow regolith. When DAN is operating in passive mode, it is sensitive to neutrons produced through the interactions of galactic cosmic rays (GCR) with the regolith and atmosphere and neutrons produced by the rover's Multi-Mission Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generator (MMRTG). During the mission, DAN passive mode data were collected over the full diurnal cycle at the locations known as Rocknest (sols 60-100) and John Klein (sols 166-272). A weak, but unexpected, diurnal variation was observed in the neutron count rates reported at these locations. We investigate different hypotheses that could be causing these observed variations. These hypotheses are variations in subsurface temperature, atmospheric pressure, the exchange of water vapor between the atmosphere and regolith, and instrumental effects on the neutron count rates. Our investigation suggests the most likely factors contributing to the observed diurnal variations in DAN passive data are instrumental effects and time-variable preferential shielding of alpha particles, with other environmental effects only having small contributions.

  3. Biosignatures on Mars: What, Where, and How? Implications for the Search for Martian Life.

    Science.gov (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

    2015-11-01

    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

  4. Tidal excitation of elliptical instability in the Martian core: Possible mechanism for generating the core dynamo

    Science.gov (United States)

    Arkani-Hamed, J.; Seyed-Mahmoud, B.; Aldridge, K. D.; Baker, R. E.

    2008-06-01

    We propose a causal relationship between the creation of the giant impact basins on Mars by a large asteroid, ruptured when it entered the Roche limit, and the excitation of the Martian core dynamo. Our laboratory experiments indicate that the elliptical instability of the Martian core can be excited if the asteroid continually exerts tidal forces on Mars for ~20,000 years. Our numerical experiments suggest that the growth-time of the instability was 5,000-15,000 years when the asteroid was at a distance of 50,000-75,000 km. We demonstrate the stability of the orbital motion of an asteroid captured by Mars at a distance of 100,000 km in the presence of the Sun and Jupiter. We also present our results for the tidal interaction of the asteroid with Mars. An asteroid captured by Mars in prograde fashion can survive and excite the elliptical instability of the core for only a few million years, whereas a captured retrograde asteroid can excite the elliptical instability for hundreds of millions of years before colliding with Mars. The rate at which tidal energy dissipates in Mars during this period is over two orders of magnitude greater than the rate at which magnetic energy dissipates. If only 1% of the tidal energy dissipation is partitioned to the core, sufficient energy would be available to maintain the core dynamo. Accordingly, a retrograde asteroid is quite capable of exciting an elliptical instability in the Martian core, thus providing a candidate process to drive a core dynamo.

  5. The REgolith X-Ray Imaging Spectrometer (REXIS) for OSIRIS-REx: Identifying Regional Elemental Enrichment on Asteroids

    OpenAIRE

    Allen, Branden; Grindlay, Jonathan; Hong, Jaesub; Binzel, Richard P.; Masterson, Rebecca; Inamdar, Niraj K.; Chodas, Mark; Smith, Matthew W.; Bautz, Marshall W.; Kissel, Steven E.; Villasenor, Joel; Oprescu, Miruna; Induni, Nicholas

    2013-01-01

    The OSIRIS-REx Mission was selected under the NASA New Frontiers program and is scheduled for launch in September of 2016 for a rendezvous with, and collection of a sample from the surface of asteroid Bennu in 2019. 101955 Bennu (previously 1999 RQ36) is an Apollo (near-Earth) asteroid originally discovered by the LINEAR project in 1999 which has since been classified as a potentially hazardous near-Earth object. The REgolith X-Ray Imaging Spectrometer (REXIS) was proposed jointly by MIT an...

  6. Coastal geomorphology of the Martian northern plains

    Science.gov (United States)

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

    1993-01-01

    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.

  7. The Martian climate and energy balance models with CO2/H2O atmospheres

    Science.gov (United States)

    Hoffert, M. I.

    1986-01-01

    The analysis begins with a seasonal energy balance model (EBM) for Mars. This is used to compute surface temperature versus x = sin(latitude) and time over the seasonal cycle. The core model also computes the evolving boundaries of the CO2 icecaps, net sublimational/condensation rates, and the resulting seasonal pressure wave. Model results are compared with surface temperature and pressure history data at Viking lander sites, indicating fairly good agreement when meridional heat transport is represented by a thermal diffusion coefficient D approx. 0.015 W/sq. m/K. Condensational wind distributions are also computed. An analytic model of Martian wind circulation is then proposed, as an extension of the EMB, which incorporates vertical wind profiles containing an x-dependent function evaluated by substitution in the equation defining the diffusion coefficient. This leads to a parameterization of D(x) and of the meridional circulation which recovers the high surface winds predicted by dynamic Mars atmosphere models (approx. 10 m/sec). Peak diffusion coefficients, D approx. 0.6 w/sq m/K, are found over strong Hadley zones - some 40 times larger than those of high-latitude baroclinic eddies. When the wind parameterization is used to find streamline patterns over Martian seasons, the resulting picture shows overturning hemispheric Hadley cells crossing the equator during solstices, and attaining peak intensities during the south summer dust storm season, while condensational winds are most important near the polar caps.

  8. Radiation chemistry in exploration of Mars

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Zagorski, Z.P.

    2005-01-01

    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)

  9. Nonlinear MHD waves and discontinuities in the Martian magnetosheath. Observations and 2D bi-ion MHD simulations

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sauer, K.; Dubinin, E.; Baumgärtel, K.

    1998-09-01

    The characteristic scale of the Martian magnetosheath is less than the pick-up gyroradius of oxygen ions. This leads to admissible differential motion of protons and heavies and a strong coupling between both ion fluids. 2D bi-ion MHD simulations reveal many new interesting features in such Large Larmour Radius systems. The formation of an ion-composition boundary, which separates both plasmas, and structuring of the transition from proton dominated plasma of the solar wind origin to massive planetary plasma are the main features of the interaction. A comprehensive multi-instrument study of Martian plasma environment and the comparison with theoretical modelling initiated in the framework of the Visiting Science Programme of the International Space Science Institute (ISSI) in Bern (Switzerland) gives confirmation that Mars interacts with the solar wind like a comet which has a outgassing rate near to that of Grigg-Skjellerup. The results may also be relevant for small bodies which are surrounded by a neutral gas atmosphere (icy moons, asteroids, Mercury).

  10. Leak Rate Performance of Silicone Elastomer O-Rings Contaminated with JSC-1A Lunar Regolith Simulant

    Science.gov (United States)

    Oravec, Heather Ann; Daniels, Christopher C.

    2014-01-01

    Contamination of spacecraft components with planetary and foreign object debris is a growing concern. Face seals separating the spacecraft cabin from the debris filled environment are particularly susceptible; if the seal becomes contaminated there is potential for decreased performance, mission failure, or catastrophe. In this study, silicone elastomer O-rings were contaminated with JSC- 1A lunar regolith and their leak rate performance was evaluated. The leak rate values of contaminated O-rings at four levels of seal compression were compared to those of as-received, uncontaminated, O-rings. The results showed a drastic increase in leak rate after contamination. JSC-1A contaminated O-rings lead to immeasurably high leak rate values for all levels of compression except complete closure. Additionally, a mechanical method of simulant removal was examined. In general, this method returned the leak rate to as-received values.

  11. Paloma-radon: Atmospheric radon-222 as a geochemical probe for water in the Martian subsoil.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sabroux, J.-C.; Michielsen, N.; Voisin, V.; Ferry, C.; Richon, P.; Pineau, J.-F.; Le Roulley, J.-C.; Chassefière, E.

    2003-04-01

    Radon exhalation from a porous soil is known to depend strongly on the soil moisture content: a minute amount of water, or water ice, in the pore space increases dramatically the possibility for radon to migrate far from its parent mineral. We propose to take advantage of this characteristic by using atmospheric radon-222 as a geochemical probe for water in the Martian soil, at least one order of magnitude deeper than the current Mars Odyssey neutron data. Strong thermal inversions during the Martian night will accumulate radon in the lowest atmospheric boundary layer, up to measurable levels despite the comparatively high environmental (cosmic and solar) background radiation and the assumed low uranium content of the upper crust of the planet. Preliminary studies and development of an instrument for the measurement of the Martian atmospheric alpha radioactivity is part of the CNES-supported PALOMA experiment. Two test benches have been implemented, one of them allowing differential measurements of the diffusion of radon in the Martian soil simulant NASA JSC Mars-1, under relevant temperatures and pressures. The other, a 1 m^3 radon-dedicated test bench, aims to characterize the instrument that will measure radon in the Mars environment (7 mb CO_2). Tests on several nuclear radiation detectors show that semiconductor alpha-particle detectors (PIPS) are the best option (already on board the Mars Pathfinder Rover and other platforms). In addition, the detection volume is left open in order to capitalize upon the long (ca. 4 m) alpha track at this low pressure. A stationary diffusion model was developed in order to assess the radon flux at the Mars soil surface. Diffusion of gas in Martian soil is governed by Knudsen diffusion. The radon Knudsen diffusion coefficient was estimated, depending on the soil moisture and relevant structural properties, leading to a radon diffusion length of the order of 20 m. The landed platform PALOMA-Radon instrument will consist of a

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

    OpenAIRE

    Landis, Geoffrey A.

    2001-01-01

    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...

  13. Research Article: Effects of long-term simulated Martian conditions on a freeze-dried and homogenized bacterial permafrost community

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    Hansen, Aviaja Anna; Jensen, Lars Liengård; Kristoffersen, Tommy

    2009-01-01

    Indigenous bacteria and biomolecules (DNA and proteins) in a freeze-dried and homogenized Arctic permafrost were exposed to simulated martian conditions that correspond to about 80 days on the surface of Mars with respect to the accumulated UV dose. The simulation conditions included UV radiation......, freeze-thaw cycles, the atmospheric gas composition, and pressure. The homogenized permafrost cores were subjected to repeated cycles of UV radiation for 3 h followed by 27 h without irradiation. The effects of the simulation conditions on the concentrations of biomolecules; numbers of viable, dead......, and cultured bacteria; as well as the community structure were determined. Simulated martian conditions resulted in a significant reduction of the concentrations of DNA and amino acids in the uppermost 1.5 mm of the soil core. The total number of bacterial cells was reduced in the upper 9 mm of the soil core...

  14. Low computation vision-based navigation for a Martian rover

    Science.gov (United States)

    Gavin, Andrew S.; Brooks, Rodney A.

    1994-01-01

    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.

  15. The Mojave Desert: A Martian Analog Site for Future Astrobiology Themed Missions

    Science.gov (United States)

    Salas, E.; Abbey, W.; Bhartia, R.; Beegle, L. W.

    2011-01-01

    Astrobiological interest in Mars is highlighted by evidence that Mars was once warm enough to have liquid water present on its surface long enough to create geologic formations that could only exist in the presense of extended fluvial periods. These periods existed at the same time life on Earth arose. If life began on Mars as well during this period, it is reasonable to assume it may have adapted to the subsurface as environments at the surface changed into the inhospitable state we find today. If the next series of Mars missions (Mars Science Laboratory, the ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter proposed for launch in 2016, and potential near surface sample return) fail to discover either extinct or extant life on Mars, a subsurface mission would be necessary to attempt to "close the book" on the existence of martian life. Mars is much colder and drier than Earth, with a very low pressure CO2 environment and no obvious habitats. Terrestrial regions with limited precipitation, and hence reduced active biota, are some of the best martian low to mid latitude analogs to be found on Earth, be they the Antarctic dry valleys, the Atacama or Mojave Deserts. The Mojave Desert/Death Valley region is considered a Mars analog site by the Terrestrial Analogs Panel of the NSF-sponsored decadal survey; a field guide was even developed and a workshop was held on its applicability as a Mars analog. This region has received a great deal of attention due to its accessibility and the variety of landforms and processes observed relevant to martian studies.

  16. Effects of Mars Regolith Analogs, UVC radiation, Temperature, Pressure, and pH on the Growth and Survivability of Methanogenic Archaea and Stable Carbon Isotope Fractionation: Implications for Surface and Subsurface Life on Mars

    Science.gov (United States)

    Sinha, Navita

    Mars is one of the suitable bodies in our solar system that can accommodate extraterrestrial life. The detection of plumes of methane in the Martian atmosphere, geochemical evidence, indication of flow of intermittent liquid water on the Martian surface, and geomorphologies of Mars have bolstered the plausibility of finding extant or evidence of extinct life on its surface and/or subsurface. However, contemporary Mars has been considered as an inhospitable planet for several reasons, such as low atmospheric surface pressure, low surface temperature, and intense DNA damaging radiation. Despite the hostile conditions of Mars, a few strains of methanogenic archaea have shown survivability in limited surface and subsurface conditions of Mars. Methanogens, which are chemolithoautotrophic non-photosynthetic anaerobic archaea, have been considered ideal models for possible Martian life forms for a long time. The search for biosignatures in the Martian atmosphere and possibility of life on the Martian surface under UVC radiation and deep subsurface under high pressure, temperature, and various pHs are the motivations of this research. Analogous to Earth, Martian atmospheric methane could be biological in origin. Chapter 1 provides relevant information about Mars' habitability, methane on Mars, and different strains of methanogens used in this study. Chapter 2 describes the interpretation of the carbon isotopic data of biogenic methane produced by methanogens grown on various Mars analogs and the results provide clues to determine ambiguous sources of methane on Mars. Chapter 3 illustrates the sensitivity of hydrated and desiccated cultures of halophilic and non-halophilic methanogens to DNA-damaging ultraviolet radiations, and the results imply that UVC radiation may not be an enormous constraint for methanogenic life forms on the surface of Mars. Chapters 4, 5, and 6 discuss the data for the survivability, growth, and morphology of methanogens in presumed deep subsurface

  17. Survival of spores of the UV-resistant Bacillus subtilis strain MW01 after exposure to low-earth orbit and simulated martian conditions: data from the space experiment ADAPT on EXPOSE-E.

    Science.gov (United States)

    Wassmann, Marko; Moeller, Ralf; Rabbow, Elke; Panitz, Corinna; Horneck, Gerda; Reitz, Günther; Douki, Thierry; Cadet, Jean; Stan-Lotter, Helga; Cockell, Charles S; Rettberg, Petra

    2012-05-01

    In the space experiment "Molecular adaptation strategies of microorganisms to different space and planetary UV climate conditions" (ADAPT), bacterial endospores of the highly UV-resistant Bacillus subtilis strain MW01 were exposed to low-Earth orbit (LEO) and simulated martian surface conditions for 559 days on board the European Space Agency's exposure facility EXPOSE-E, mounted outside the International Space Station. The survival of B. subtilis MW01 spores from both assays (LEO and simulated martian conditions) was determined by a colony-formation assay after retrieval. It was clearly shown that solar extraterrestrial UV radiation (λ≥110 nm) as well as the martian UV spectrum (λ≥200 nm) was the most deleterious factor applied; in some samples only a few spore survivors were recovered from B. subtilis MW01 spores exposed in monolayers. However, if shielded from solar irradiation, about 8% of MW01 spores survived in LEO conditions, and 100% survived in simulated martian conditions, compared to the laboratory controls. The results demonstrate the effect of shielding against the high inactivation potential of extraterrestrial solar UV radiation, which limits the chances of survival of even the highly UV-resistant strain of B. subtilis MW01 in the harsh environments of outer space and the martian surface.

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

    International Nuclear Information System (INIS)

    Liu Xiaodong; Baoyin Hexi; Ma Xingrui

    2012-01-01

    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.

  19. Extraction and Capture of Water from Martian Regolith Experimental Proof-of-Concept

    Science.gov (United States)

    Linne, Diane L.; Kleinhenz, Julie E.; Bauman, Steven W.; Johnson, Kyle A.

    2016-01-01

    A novel concept for extraction of water from the Mars soil in a real-time, open-air process was demonstrated in a Mars environment chamber. The concept breadboard uses radiative heating to bake off water from exposed soil contained in a bin. An enclosure, intended to mimic the bottom of a rover, covers the bin. A fan continuously blows the Mars atmospheric gases through the enclosure to collect the evolved water while a tiller was used to churn up moist subsurface soil. These initial tests verified concept feasibility. The sweep gas generated by commercially available muffin fans at 7 Torr was sufficient to transfer water vapor into a condenser flow loop. The radiative heating, while non-optimized, heated the soil surface to 60 C to generate water vapor. A rototiller working through the soil bin brought sufficient amounts of new moist soil to the heated surface to show an increase in rate of water extraction.

  20. Formation of martian araneiforms by gas-driven erosion of granular material

    DEFF Research Database (Denmark)

    de Villiers, S.; Nermoen, A.; Jamtveit, B.

    2012-01-01

    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...