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Martian Magmatic-Driven Hydrothermal Sites: Potential Sources of Energy, Water, and LifeMagmatic-driven processes and impact events dominate the geologic record of Mars. Such recorded geologic activity coupled with significant evidence of past and present-day water/ice, above and below the martian surface, indicate that hydrothermal environments certainly existed in the past and may exist today. The identification of such environments, especially long-lived magmatic-driven hydrothermal environments, provides NASA with significant target sites for future sample return missions, since they (1) could favor the development and sustenance of life, (2) may comprise a large variety of exotic mineral assemblages, and (3) could potentially contain water/ice reservoirs for future Mars-related human activities. If life developed on Mars, the fossil record would presumably be at its greatest concentration and diversity in environments where long-term energy sources and water coexisted such as at sites where long-lived, magmatic-driven hydrothermal activity occurred. These assertions are supported by terrestrial analogs. Small, single-celled creatures (prokaryotes) are vitally important in the evolution of the Earth; these prokaryotes are environmentally tough and tolerant of environmental extremes of pH, temperature, salinity, and anoxic conditions found around hydrothermal vents. In addition, there is a great ability for bacteria to survive long periods of geologic time in extreme conditions, including high temperature hydrogen sulfide and sulfur erupted from Mount St. Helens volcano. Our team of investigators is conducting a geological investigation using multiple mission-derived datasets (e.g., existing geologic map data, MOC imagery, MOLA, TES image data, geophysical data, etc.) to identify prime target sites of hydrothermal activity for future hydrological, mineralogical, and biological investigations. The identification of these sites will enhance the probability of success for future missions to Mars.
Document ID
20010023092
Document Type
Conference Paper
Authors
Anderson, R. C. (Jet Propulsion Lab., California Inst. of Tech. Pasadena, CA United States)
Dohm, J. M. (Arizona Univ. Tucson, AZ United States)
Baker, V. R. (Arizona Univ. Tucson, AZ United States)
Ferris, J. C. (Arizona Univ. Tucson, AZ United States)
Hare, T. M. (Geological Survey Flagstaff, AZ United States)
Tanaka, K. L. (Geological Survey Flagstaff, AZ United States)
Klemaszewski, J. E. (Arizona State Univ. Tempe, AZ United States)
Skinner, J. A. (Geological Survey Flagstaff, AZ United States)
Scott, D. H.
Date Acquired
August 20, 2013
Publication Date
July 1, 2000
Publication Information
Publication: Concepts and Approaches for Mars Exploration
Issue: Part 1
Subject Category
Lunar and Planetary Science and Exploration
Distribution Limits
Public
Copyright
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.

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