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A New Analysis of Mars ‘‘Special Regions’’: Findings of the Second MEPAG Special Regions Science Analysis Group (SR-SAG2)

Rummel, J.D. and Beaty, D.W. and Jones, M.A. and Bakermans, C. and Barlow, N.G. and Boston, P.J. and Chevrier, V.F. and Clark, B.C. and de Vera, Jean Pierre Paul and Gough, R.V. and Hallsworth, J.E. and Head, J.W. and Hipkin, V.J. and Kieft, T.L. and McEwen, A.S. and Mellon, M.T. and Mikucki, J.A. and Nicholson, W.L. and Omelon, C.R. and Peterson, R. and Roden, E.E. and Sherwood Lollar, B. and Tanaka, K.L. and Viola, D. and Wray, J.J. (2014) A New Analysis of Mars ‘‘Special Regions’’: Findings of the Second MEPAG Special Regions Science Analysis Group (SR-SAG2). Astrobiology, 14 (11), pp. 887-968. Mary Ann Liebert Inc.. DOI: 10.1089/ast.2014.1227 ISSN 1531-1074

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Official URL: http://online.liebertpub.com/doi/abs/10.1089/ast.2014.1227


A committee of the Mars Exploration Program Analysis Group (MEPAG) has reviewed and updated the description of Special Regions on Mars as places where terrestrial organisms might replicate (per the COSPAR Planetary Protection Policy). This review and update was conducted by an international team (SR-SAG2) drawn from both the biological science and Mars exploration communities, focused on understanding when and where Special Regions could occur. The study applied recently available data about martian environments and about terrestrial organisms, building on a previous analysis of Mars Special Regions (2006) undertaken by a similar team. Since then, a new body of highly relevant information has been generated from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (launched in 2005) and Phoenix (2007) and data from Mars Express and the twin Mars Exploration Rovers (all 2003). Results have also been gleaned from the Mars Science Laboratory (launched in 2011). In addition to Mars data, there is a considerable body of new data regarding the known environmental limits to life on Earth—including the potential for terrestrial microbial life to survive and replicate under martian environmental conditions. The SR-SAG2 analysis has included an examination of new Mars models relevant to natural environmental variation in water activity and temperature; a review and reconsideration of the current parameters used to define Special Regions; and updated maps and descriptions of the martian environments recommended for treatment as ‘‘Uncertain’’ or ‘‘Special’’ as natural features or those potentially formed by the influence of future landed spacecraft. Significant changes in our knowledge of the capabilities of terrestrial organisms and the existence of possibly habitable martian environments have led to a new appreciation ofwhere Mars Special Regions may be identified and protected. The SR-SAG also considered the impact of Special Regions on potential future human missions to Mars, both as locations of potential resources and as places that should not be inadvertently contaminated by human activity.

Item URL in elib:https://elib.dlr.de/92295/
Document Type:Article
Title:A New Analysis of Mars ‘‘Special Regions’’: Findings of the Second MEPAG Special Regions Science Analysis Group (SR-SAG2)
AuthorsInstitution or Email of AuthorsAuthors ORCID iD
Rummel, J.D.East Carolina University, East Fifth Street, Greenville, NC 27858-4353, USAUNSPECIFIED
Beaty, D.W.Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, California, USAUNSPECIFIED
Jones, M.A.Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, California, USAUNSPECIFIED
Bakermans, C.Altoona College, Pennsylvania State University, Altoona, Pennsylvania, USAUNSPECIFIED
Barlow, N.G.Department of Physics and Astronomy, Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff, Arizona, USAUNSPECIFIED
Boston, P.J.New Mexico Tech, Socorro, New Mexico, USAUNSPECIFIED
Chevrier, V.F.Arkansas Center for Space and Planetary Sciences, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, Arkansas, USAUNSPECIFIED
Clark, B.C.Space Science Institute, Boulder, Colorado, USAUNSPECIFIED
de Vera, Jean Pierre Pauljean-pierre.devera (at) dlr.deUNSPECIFIED
Gough, R.V.Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences, University of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado, USAUNSPECIFIED
Hallsworth, J.E.Institute for Global Food Security, School of Biological Sciences, Queen’s University Belfast, Belfast, UKUNSPECIFIED
Head, J.W.Department of Earth, Environmental, and Planetary Sciences, Brown University, Providence, Rhode Island, USAUNSPECIFIED
Hipkin, V.J.Canadian Space Agency, Saint-Hubert, Quebec, CanadaUNSPECIFIED
Kieft, T.L.New Mexico Tech, Socorro, New Mexico, USAUNSPECIFIED
McEwen, A.S.Lunar and Planetary Laboratory, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ, USAUNSPECIFIED
Mellon, M.T.Southwest Research Institute, Boulder, Colorado, USAUNSPECIFIED
Mikucki, J.A.Department of Microbiology, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, Tennessee, USAUNSPECIFIED
Nicholson, W.L.University of Florida, Department of Microbiology and Cell Science, Gainesville, Florida, USA; Kennedy Space Center,UNSPECIFIED
Omelon, C.R.Department of Geological Sciences, The University of Texas at Austin, Austin, Texas, USAUNSPECIFIED
Peterson, R.Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario, CanadaUNSPECIFIED
Roden, E.E.Department of Geoscience and NASA Astrobiology Institute, University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wisconsin, USAUNSPECIFIED
Sherwood Lollar, B.University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, CanadaUNSPECIFIED
Tanaka, K.L.U.S. Geological Survey, Flagstaff, Arizona, USAUNSPECIFIED
Viola, D.University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona, USAUNSPECIFIED
Wray, J.J.School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, Georgia, USAUNSPECIFIED
Date:17 November 2014
Journal or Publication Title:Astrobiology
Refereed publication:Yes
Open Access:No
Gold Open Access:No
In ISI Web of Science:Yes
DOI :10.1089/ast.2014.1227
Page Range:pp. 887-968
Publisher:Mary Ann Liebert Inc.
Keywords:Martian environments, Mars astrobiology, Extreme environment microbiology, Planetary protection, Exploration resources
HGF - Research field:Aeronautics, Space and Transport
HGF - Program:Space
HGF - Program Themes:Space Science and Exploration
DLR - Research area:Raumfahrt
DLR - Program:R EW - Erforschung des Weltraums
DLR - Research theme (Project):R - Vorhaben Exploration des Sonnensystems
Location: Berlin-Adlershof
Institutes and Institutions:Institute of Planetary Research > Experimentelle Planetenphysik
Deposited By: de Vera, Dr. Jean Pierre Paul
Deposited On:24 Nov 2014 08:15
Last Modified:06 Sep 2019 15:23

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