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Surface Exploration of Mars: Past

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Surface Exploration of Mars: Past & Future Martian Meteorites Martian Moons Martian Surface Exploration The Viking Landers (early 80s) Pathfinder (1997) – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Surface Exploration of Mars: Past


1
Surface Exploration of Mars Past Future
  • Martian Meteorites
  • Martian Moons
  • Martian Surface Exploration
  • The Viking Landers (early 80s)
  • Pathfinder (1997)
  • Current Surface Explorers (three en route!)
  • Future of Martian Exploration (astrobiology)
  • Review of Mars

2
Martian Meteorites
Martian data without going there!
What are these meteorites?
Unusual rocks found in Antarctica
How did they get to Earth?
An impact on Mars (crater size 10-100 km)
ejected part of the Martian surface
How do we know these meteorites are from Mars?
Chemical composition does not match usual
meteorites Only 1.3 billion yrs old (most
asteroid-type meteorites MUCH older) Higher
content of volatile substances
Why arent they orange the color of Mars
surface?
Has to do with how the rocks weathered
3
What DO they tell us?
  • Physical processes on Mars
  • Crust/core developed early in Solar System
  • Volcanism until lt 1 Billion Years ago
  • Chemical composition
  • Different than normal asteroid (meteorite) comp.
  • Interaction with water
  • Martian atmosphere composition

What DONT they tell us?
  • Location of origin (on Mars which part of
    surface?)
  • Enough about Mars water atmosphere
  • Need to actually RETURN ROCKS from Mars!!

Case Study Martian Rock ALH84001
Mass 1.9 kg Igneous Rock Discovered in
Antarctica (easier to find) 1984 Formed on Mars
4.5 Billion yr ago Ejected 16 Million yr
ago Landed 13,000 yr ago
4
Controversial microbial presence in meteorites??
Close up views reveal structure similar to Earth
microbes?
Globules of carbonate minerals (the yellow-orange
grains) are scattered along cracks in this small
chip of ALH 84001.
The rims contain iron oxides (including
magnetite) and iron sulfides--incompatible
minerals that on Earth would suggest microbial
action
Astrobiology exciting field of research study
of origin of life in the solar system,universe -
LIFE IS UBIQUITOUS in the universe we just
havent found it - LIFE IS A SPECIAL quirk of
nature and timing very very rare!
5
Martian Moons
  • Two moons Deimos, Phobos
  • Small (20km) irregularly shaped
  • Orbit Mars in 8hr, 30hr
  • Probably captured asteroids

Phobos (20 km x 27 km)
6
Risks of Solar System Missions
  • CONS for Space Missions
  • Can not fix/test equipment as easily
  • Large risk with rocket launch
  • Much much more costly! (although more costly for
    manned than unmanned)
  • Lifetime is usually shorter
  • Upgrades much more difficult
  • Risks from UV radiation, cosmic rays
  • PROS for Space Missions
  • Closest views of the planets
  • that are possible
  • Access to wavelengths that are unavailable on the
    ground
  • Atmospheric effects gone get clearer views than
    on Earth
  • Development of sophisticated tech. and research

7
Viking Landers 1 and 2
  • Viking 1 launched in August of 1975, Viking 2
    launched in Sept. 1975
  • Vikings arrived at Mars in June, August of 1976
  • Orbiter Lander Orbiters alone weighed close
    to a ½ ton each
  • very expensive launch/rocket equipment !!
  • - these days NASAs mantra Faster Better
    Cheaper

8
Viking Lander Images of Mars Surface
  • landing site chosen from Orbiter images two
    different regions in Northern Lowlands
  • revealed that the surface of Mars was littered
    with jagged rocks and fine dust everywhere
  • rocks were probably result of crater-forming
    impact (ejecta)
  • rocks resemble lava-rocks on Earth lava flows
    broken up by impacts

9
Viking Landers Search for Life on Mars
  • Science Instruments
  • chem lab to explore reactions of Mars rock with
    water (none detected)
  • scoop arm with magnet found that the soil was
    IRON-rich
  • confined to study only one part of Martian
    surface its landing site
  • inspired NASA to propose for
  • missions with MOVING surface
  • vehicles Pathfinder 1997!

10
Mars has a very thin atmosphere and no
magnetosphere. If humans populated the Martian
surface, what environmental problems will they
be concerned about?
  • Global Warming
  • (2) Solar flare particles and ultraviolet
    radiation
  • (3) Nitrogen poisoning
  • (4) Lead contamination from volcanoes
  • (5) Magnetic anomalies in the interior causing
    brain disorders

11
Mars Pathfinder Mission landed on Mars 4 July
1997
  • Demonstration mission for
  • Faster Better Cheaper
  • NASA mantra
  • used lightweight airbags
  • to land
  • small, efficient robotic
  • vehicle
  • 10x as many images as
  • previous missions (computers)
  • landed 500 miles from
  • Vikings flood plain area
  • (volcanic rocks with silicon)

12
Panoramic View from Mars Pathfinders Sojourner
Rover
13
ATHENA MARS EXPLORATION ROVERSOpportunity
Spirit (or MER A and MER B)
  • Launched in June and July of 2003
  • arrival at Mars January 2004
  • Each Rover weighs 180 kg, is 5 ft high
  • surface exploration travels 100m per day

Rover
14
ATHENA MARS EXPLORATION ROVER
Mars Rover Entry Sequence
15
cartoon of the airbag landing of the Mars
Exploration Rovers on surface
16
Choosing a site to land on Mars
Can not just land anywhere need to consider the
safety of the vessel!
- previous missions have landed in the northern
lowlands
17
Mars Landing Considerations
  • terrain
  • - altitude (impossible climbs, falls)
  • - slopes (use too much energy)
  • - rockiness (protect airbags)
  • solar panel heating keep rover operable
  • dust
  • - solar panels clear
  • - RAT tool works more in thick dust

18
Science Objectives of the MER mission
  • Characterize a variety of rocks and soils that
    hold clues to past water activity
  • i.e. try to identify carbonates (indicate
    water-volcano cycles)
  • Distribution and composition of minerals, rocks,
    and soils near sites
  • Determine geologic processes have shaped the
    local terrain
  • Perform "ground truth"
  • calibration and validation
  • of surface observations made
  • by Mars orbiter instruments.

19
Mars Exploration Rover Science Instruments
Pancam- Stereo camera IR Spectrometer - rock
composition X-ray Spectrometer - soil and rock
chemistry RAT - rock abrasion tool Microscopic
imager (search for fossils?)
20
Landing Sites on Mars 1. Gusev Crater -
morphological - 15 degrees South of Mars
equator - large crater feature with several
channels leading into it - water may have
pooled in crater during first 2 billion years
channel
21
Landing Sites on Mars 2. Meridiani Planum -
mineralogical - 2 degrees South of Mars
equator - other side of planet from Landing Site
1 - place where hematite has been found
(rust-like mineral) indicates that it is a
former dried lake bed
22
Mars Express European Effort
23
MARS EXPRESS
  • Launched June 2003
  • Radar instrument (MARSIS) built at University of
    Iowa (Prof. D. Gurnett, P.I.)
  • other instruments, including a small rover called
    Beagle 2

24
MARS EXPRESS Radar Experiment
  • Radar reflection signal of water is very
    different from rock
  • Echoes can differentiate between rock and ice or
    water
  • Radar transmitter operates at 1-2 MHz and
    penetrates ground to several km depth
  • Probably cannot distinguish between CO2 and H20.

25
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26
Mars Surface Exploration the Future!
27
Mars Surface Exploration the Future!
28
Future Mars Exploration Scout Missions
  • lightweight/efficient ballons
  • fleet of small aircraft to explore Mars
  • develop new technology
  • also SAMPLE RETURNS

29
Martian Outpost 2030
30
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