Poster Title

Finding Maars on Mars

Grade Level at Time of Presentation

Junior

Institution

Eastern Kentucky University

KY House District #

54

KY Senate District #

14

Department

Geosciences

Abstract

We are collecting data to provide evidence for groundwater beneath the surface of Mars. Liquid water would mean that conditions on Mars were potentially once conducive to life. Recent developments have showed there may be water on Mars, whether at the planet’s poles or below the surface. Further evidence could constrain where and in what amount groundwater existed on Mars, and would be a significant breakthrough for planetary science. Maars are craters formed from volcanic explosions which occur when groundwater comes into contact with hot lava or magma. Maars on Mars would provide evidence for water in the past. This breakthrough could even raise the chances of finding extraterrestrial life.

We use a program called JMars to display satellite data on which we trace depressions, and record the locations that we mark. In the region of Xanthe Terra, we mapped depressions ≥ 1 km in assigned 1° squares. We mapped depressions caused by craters, collapsed ice features, smaller “secondary” craters caused by debris from larger craters, or even volcanoes – particularly maars. Our current focus is on the Arena Colles region. Our criteria for this region includes mapping surface features such as depressions ≥ 0.25 km in size, beginning in a 10° square at 85°E 30°N and working southeast. We trace the depressions that fit our criteria on satellite data with a pixel size of ~5 m. Once collected, we input the data into a spreadsheet to analyze our results. The initial results from our research show many craters in the Xanthe Terra region on Mars, some of which may indicate volcanic activity in the past. This will provide us with a reasonable possibility that we may find maars, which would greatly progress our search for groundwater at or below the surface of Mars.

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Finding Maars on Mars

We are collecting data to provide evidence for groundwater beneath the surface of Mars. Liquid water would mean that conditions on Mars were potentially once conducive to life. Recent developments have showed there may be water on Mars, whether at the planet’s poles or below the surface. Further evidence could constrain where and in what amount groundwater existed on Mars, and would be a significant breakthrough for planetary science. Maars are craters formed from volcanic explosions which occur when groundwater comes into contact with hot lava or magma. Maars on Mars would provide evidence for water in the past. This breakthrough could even raise the chances of finding extraterrestrial life.

We use a program called JMars to display satellite data on which we trace depressions, and record the locations that we mark. In the region of Xanthe Terra, we mapped depressions ≥ 1 km in assigned 1° squares. We mapped depressions caused by craters, collapsed ice features, smaller “secondary” craters caused by debris from larger craters, or even volcanoes – particularly maars. Our current focus is on the Arena Colles region. Our criteria for this region includes mapping surface features such as depressions ≥ 0.25 km in size, beginning in a 10° square at 85°E 30°N and working southeast. We trace the depressions that fit our criteria on satellite data with a pixel size of ~5 m. Once collected, we input the data into a spreadsheet to analyze our results. The initial results from our research show many craters in the Xanthe Terra region on Mars, some of which may indicate volcanic activity in the past. This will provide us with a reasonable possibility that we may find maars, which would greatly progress our search for groundwater at or below the surface of Mars.