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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