Curious Mars

Mars: March 2021

Mars today has no active volcanism and its atmosphere is oxidizing, dominated by the photochemistry of CO2 and H2O. Using a one-dimensional photochemical model, we consider whether plausible volcanic gas fluxes could have switched the redox-state of the past martian atmosphere to reducing conditions.

CO2+H2 greenhouse warming has recently emerged as a promising scenario to sufficiently warm the early martian surface to allow the formation of valley networks and lakes.

The new science results indicate that a large quantity of the Red Planet's water is trapped in its crust rather than having escaped into space.

In a comment published today in Nature Astronomy, Dr. Nathalie Cabrol, Director of the Carl Sagan Center for Research at the SETI Institute, challenges assumptions about the possibility of modern life on Mars held by many in the scientific community.

We humans just landed yet another rover on Mars. As has been the case for decades, each mission to Mars builds upon the successes and failures of those that preceded it. And each mission seeks to ask more profound questions that its predecessors. The Perseverance rover is now unpacking itself and preparing to explore Jezero crater - a mobile astrobiologist in search of evidence that Mars may have once harbored life.

How we got the point where we can send complex droids to Mars was not easy. It all started with people looking through telescopes - often with overactive imaginations. That led to spacecraft barely more sophisticated than a toaster with a shortwave radio which shattered many of those earlier preconceptions. Those early missions blazed a trail of ever increasing complexity and sophistication.

We evaluate what will be the effectiveness of the ExoMars Raman Laser Spectrometer (RLS) to determine the degree of serpentinization of olivine-rich units on Mars.

We present the compositional analysis of three terrestrial analogues of Martian olivine-bearing rocks derived from both laboratory and flight-derived analytical instruments.

Reconciling the geology of Mars with models of atmospheric evolution remains a major challenge.