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The Mawrth Vallis Region of Mars: A potential landing site for the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) Mission

Michalski, Joseph and Bibring, Jean-Pierre and Poulet, Francois and Loizeau, Damien and Mangold, Nicolas and Noe Dobrea, Eldar and Bishop, Janice and Wray, James and McKeown, Nancy and Parente, Mario and Hauber, Ernst and Altieri, Francesca and Carrozzo, Giacomo and Niles, Paul (2010) The Mawrth Vallis Region of Mars: A potential landing site for the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) Mission. Astrobiology, 10 (7), pp. 687-703. Mary Ann Liebert Inc.. DOI: 10.1089/ast.2010.0491 ISSN 1531-1074

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Official URL: http://www.liebertonline.com/doi/abs/10.1089/ast.2010.0491

Abstract

The primary objective of NASA�¢����s Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) mission, which will launch in 2011, is to characterize the habitability of a site on Mars through detailed analyses of the composition and geological context of surface materials. Within the framework of established mission goals, we have evaluated the value of a possible landing site in the Mawrth Vallis region of Mars that is targeted directly on some of the most geologically and astrobiologically enticing materials in the Solar System. The area around Mawrth Vallis contains a vast (>1x10^6km2) deposit of phyllosilicate-rich, ancient, layered rocks. A thick (>150 m) stratigraphic section that exhibits spectral evidence for nontronite, montmorillonite, amorphous silica, kaolinite, saponite, other smectite clay minerals, ferrous mica, and sulfate minerals indicates a rich geological history that may have included multiple aqueous environments. Because phyllosilicates are strong indicators of ancient aqueous activity, and the preservation potential of biosignatures within sedimentary clay deposits is high, martian phyllosilicate deposits are desirable astrobiological targets. The proposed MSL landing site at Mawrth Vallis is located directly on the largest and most phyllosilicate-rich deposit on Mars and is therefore an excellent place to explore for evidence of life or habitability.

Item URL in elib:https://elib.dlr.de/67505/
Document Type:Article
Title:The Mawrth Vallis Region of Mars: A potential landing site for the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) Mission
Authors:
AuthorsInstitution or Email of AuthorsAuthors ORCID iD
Michalski, JosephInstitut d’Astrophysique Spatiale, Universite Paris-Sud, Orsay, FranceUNSPECIFIED
Bibring, Jean-PierreInstitut d’Astrophysique Spatiale, Universite Paris-Sud, Orsay, FranceUNSPECIFIED
Poulet, FrancoisInstitut d’Astrophysique Spatiale, Universite Paris-Sud, Orsay, FranceUNSPECIFIED
Loizeau, DamienInstitut d’Astrophysique Spatiale, Universite Paris-Sud, Orsay, FranceUNSPECIFIED
Mangold, NicolasLPGN, CNRS-Univ-Nantes, Nantes, FranceUNSPECIFIED
Noe Dobrea, EldarPlanetary Science Institute, Tucson, Arizona, USAUNSPECIFIED
Bishop, JaniceSETI Institute and NASA Ames Research Center, Mountain View, California, USAUNSPECIFIED
Wray, JamesDepartment of Astronomy, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, USAUNSPECIFIED
McKeown, NancyDepartment of Earth and Planetary Sciences, University of California Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, California, USAUNSPECIFIED
Parente, MarioDepartment of Electrical Engineering, Stanford University, Stanford, California, USAUNSPECIFIED
Hauber, Ernsternst.hauber (at) dlr.deUNSPECIFIED
Altieri, FrancescaIFSI-INAF, Rome, ItalyUNSPECIFIED
Carrozzo, GiacomoIFSI-INAF, Rome, ItalyUNSPECIFIED
Niles, PaulAstromaterials Research and Exploration Science, NASA Johnson Space Center, Houston, Texas, USAUNSPECIFIED
Date:2010
Journal or Publication Title:Astrobiology
Refereed publication:Yes
Open Access:No
Gold Open Access:No
In SCOPUS:Yes
In ISI Web of Science:Yes
Volume:10
DOI :10.1089/ast.2010.0491
Page Range:pp. 687-703
Publisher:Mary Ann Liebert Inc.
ISSN:1531-1074
Status:Published
Keywords:Clays, Planetary science, Habitability, Infrared spectroscopy, Mars., water, alteration
HGF - Research field:Aeronautics, Space and Transport (old)
HGF - Program:Space (old)
HGF - Program Themes:W EW - Erforschung des Weltraums
DLR - Research area:Space
DLR - Program:W EW - Erforschung des Weltraums
DLR - Research theme (Project):W - Projekt MARS-EXPRESS / HRSC (old)
Location: Berlin-Adlershof
Institutes and Institutions:Institute of Planetary Research > Planetary Geology
Deposited By: Hauber, Ernst
Deposited On:08 Dec 2011 15:28
Last Modified:06 Sep 2019 15:23

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