Indicators and Methods to Understand Past Environments from ExoMars Rover Drills

Kereszturi, Ákos and Bradák, Balázs and Újvári, Gábor and Chatzitheodoridis, Elias (2016) Indicators and Methods to Understand Past Environments from ExoMars Rover Drills. Origins of Life and Evolution of Biospheres, 46. pp. 435-454. ISSN 0169-6149, ESSN: 1573-0875

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Great advances are expected during the analysis of drilled material acquired from 2 m depth by ExoMars rover, supported by the comparison to local context, and the joint use of different instruments. Textural information might be less detailed relatively to what is usually obtained at outcrops during classical geological field work on the Earth, partly because of the lack of optical imaging of the borehole wall and also because the collected samples are crushed. However sub-mm scale layering and some other sedimentary features might be identified in the borehole wall observations, or in the collected sample prior to crushing, and also at nearby outcrops. The candidate landing sites provide different targets and focus for research: Oxia Planum requires analysis of phyllosilicates and OH content, at Mawrth Vallis the layering of various phyllosilicates and the role of shallow-subsurface leaching should be emphasized. At Aram Dorsum the particle size and fluvial sedimentary features will be interesting. Hydrated perchlorates and sulphates are ideal targets possibly at every landing sites because of OH retention, especially if they are mixed with smectites, thus could point to even ancient wet periods. Extensive use of information from the infrared wall scanning will be complemented for geological context by orbital and rover imaging of nearby outcrops. Information from the context is especially useful to infer the possible action of past H2O. Separation of the ice and liquid water effects will be supported by cation abundance and sedimentary context. Shape of grains also helps here, and composition of transported grains points to the weathering potential of the environment in general. The work on Mars during the drilling and sample analysis will provide brand new experience and knowledge for future missions.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: Q Science / természettudomány > QB Astronomy, Astrophysics / csillagászat, asztrofizika
Q Science / természettudomány > QE Geology / földtudományok
Depositing User: dr. Ákos Kereszturi
Date Deposited: 03 Jan 2017 14:22
Last Modified: 03 Jan 2017 14:29

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