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This is an image of a plateau and surrounding steep slopes within the Valles Marineris.
Click on image for full size
Image from: Malin Space Science Systems

Questions about Mars to be addressed by the Mars Surveyor Program

After decades of exploration of Mars, many questions still remain.

  • Water on Mars
    • Has all the water that formed the channels and integrated drainage systems escaped to space or is it sequestered in the ground and polar caps?
    • What are the implications of sequestered water on the present and past climate of Mars?
  • The climate of Mars
  • Differentiation of the surface
    • How and when did Mars experience mineral separation and evolution of the surface?
    • Did the crust of Mars stop evolving, and if so when & why?
  • Crustal history of Mars
    • What caused the global dichotomy of the surface (old southern highlands, young northern lowlands)?
  • Carbonate on the surface and CO2 in the atmosphere of Mars
    • If Mars had an early thick atmosphere, where is all the CO2 ( and CO3-) now? (Unlike H or He, CO2 does not readily escape from an atmosphere)
  • Does Mars have a magnetic field?


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The Climate of Mars

Unlike that of the Earth, the Martian climate is significantly influenced by the eccentricity of the Martian orbit. In spite of the significant influence the orbit plays on Martian climate over the years...more

Differentiation

Differentiation is a scientific term which really means "to separate". In their earliest history, elements which comprised the planets and moons would part into separate regions, if the body was warm enough....more

Carbonates

Carbonate is a name for rocks and minerals which contain a certain form of carbon/oxygen compound known as CO32-. (CO32- is also known as the molecule carbonate). Limestone is an example of a calcium carbonate,...more

Mars Global Surveyor Magnetometer findings

An important new result from the Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) mission is the definite confirmation of the presence of a magnetosphere around Mars. Previous missions made inconclusive measurements of the...more

Initial Mars Global Surveyor Findings

These are some of the initial findings of Mars Global Surveyor. The definite confirmation of the presence of a magnetic field near Mars. suggests scientists must rethink theories about the evolution of...more

Results from Mars Pathfinder

These are the findings of Mars Pathfinder. High Silica Rocks - a result from chemical analysis of the Martian rocks. suggestive of differentiated (evolved) rocks and minerals. helps establish that, like...more

Rock weathering on Mars

The rocks explored by the Mars Pathfinder's Rover are classified into two groups according to how they weather. Differing weathering properties may indicate differing conditions of deposition because impact...more

Windows to the Universe, a project of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, is sponsored in part by the National Science Foundation and NASA, our Founding Partners (the American Geophysical Union and American Geosciences Institute) as well as through Institutional, Contributing, and Affiliate Partners, individual memberships and generous donors. Thank you for your support! NASA AGU AGI NSF