WatSen – A miniaturized package to detect water on Mars

Tomkinson, T.; Wolters, S. D.; Hagermann, A.; Fraser, W. T.; Bohman, A .F.; Sund, A. T.; Hagene, J. K. and Grady, M. M. (2008). WatSen – A miniaturized package to detect water on Mars. In: 39th Lunar and Planetary Science Conference, 10-14 Mar 2008, League City, Texas, USA.

URL: http://www.lpi.usra.edu/meetings/lpsc2008/pdf/2040...

Abstract

Introduction: Over the past few decades Mars has been investigated directly by means of numerous surface and orbital instruments. Despite various indications of its presence on the surface, no direct detection of water has been made. Satellite imagery from orbit show many features such as valleys and channels that indicate mass outflows of liquid at times in Mars’ history [1]. Surface measurements from Mössbauer spectrometers on the Spirit and Opportunity rovers indicated the presence of haematite and jarosite [2]; the occurrence of these minerals on Earth is typically dependent on the action of water. Further evidence for Mars’ fluvial past is found within martian meteorites. Although typically igneous in origin, small quantities (< 1% by weight) of secondary alteration components (carbonates, sulphates and clay minerals) are present, particularly in the nakhlite sub-group. These secondary minerals are produced by an aqueous medium, and are concentrated along cracks within the meteorites. Isotopic measurements show that the minerals are martian, and not terrestrial contaminants [3].

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