Thermal Conductivity Studies of Sedimentary Materials from Central Australia and the Implications for MarsIn the search for life on Mars, investigating fluvial deposits will be a high priority for future landers. Although there is abundant evidence that fluvial processes worked with great intensity in the past (e.g., outflow channels, valley networks, and modified impact craters), aeolian processes dominate under the current environmental conditions. In fact there is evidence that extensive aeolian deposits may have filled in valley networks  and even shallow depressions where water may have ponded . Thus, quite often there may be a disparity between the geology identified by orbital data and the geology accessible to a lander. Determining where fluvial deposits occur on the surface is important for addressing NASA's goal to "follow the water." In order to do that, however, existing remote sensing data must be evaluated and a set of diagnostic criteria for recognizing fluvial deposits must be established. To that end, we are conducting a first order analysis of the thermal characteristics of fluvial and aeolian materials collected from central Australia.
Craddock, Robert A. (National Air and Space Museum Washington, DC, United States)
Presley, Marsha A. (Arizona State Univ. Tempe, AZ, United States)