Recent Martian exploration has been characterized by a dramatic improvement in the quality and quantity of data returned from Mars, as exemplified by high-resolution remote sensing data obtained by Martian orbiters, and outcrop data obtained by landers and rovers. A number of future Mars missions intend to target specific geological environments and will focus on astrobiological research. Other missions are even more ambitious and plan on returning samples to Earth for detailed laboratory-based analysis. The availability of abundant high-quality data is gradually opening opportunities for terrestrial geologists to investigate Martian geology by applying experiences derived from terrestrial analog sites. The geological environment of Mars resembles that of Earth, endorsing the validity of terrestrial analog studies to increase our understanding of geological processes on Mars. The majority of terrestrial analog sites have been located in cold and/or dry environments, such as the polar regions and continental deserts, with other analog sites being topically specific, including impact craters or volcanic fields. Although Asia, and Japan in particular, has to date not been considered an important area for planetary geology research, use of the wide variety of geological conditions present in this region as Martian analogs would be a significant addition to currently existing terrestrial analog studies.

The status of Mars exploration: the importance of terrestrial analogs and the role of geologists

KOMATSU, Goro;
2012-01-01

Abstract

Recent Martian exploration has been characterized by a dramatic improvement in the quality and quantity of data returned from Mars, as exemplified by high-resolution remote sensing data obtained by Martian orbiters, and outcrop data obtained by landers and rovers. A number of future Mars missions intend to target specific geological environments and will focus on astrobiological research. Other missions are even more ambitious and plan on returning samples to Earth for detailed laboratory-based analysis. The availability of abundant high-quality data is gradually opening opportunities for terrestrial geologists to investigate Martian geology by applying experiences derived from terrestrial analog sites. The geological environment of Mars resembles that of Earth, endorsing the validity of terrestrial analog studies to increase our understanding of geological processes on Mars. The majority of terrestrial analog sites have been located in cold and/or dry environments, such as the polar regions and continental deserts, with other analog sites being topically specific, including impact craters or volcanic fields. Although Asia, and Japan in particular, has to date not been considered an important area for planetary geology research, use of the wide variety of geological conditions present in this region as Martian analogs would be a significant addition to currently existing terrestrial analog studies.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11564/331885
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