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The Hypanis fluvial deltaic system in Xanthe Terra: a candidate ExoMars 2018 Rover landing site

Sefton-Nash, E.; Fawdon, P.; Gupta, S.; Balme, M.; Davis, J.; Grindrod, P.; Sidiropoulos, P.; Yershov, V. and Muller, J.-P. (2015). The Hypanis fluvial deltaic system in Xanthe Terra: a candidate ExoMars 2018 Rover landing site. In: 46th Lunar and Planetary Science Conference, 16-20 Mar 2015, Houston, TX.

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The search for life on Mars is a cornerstone of international solar system exploration. In 2018, the European Space agency will launch the ExoMars Rover to further this goal. The key science objectives of the ExoMars Rover are to: 1) search for signs of past and present life on Mars; 2) investigate the water/geochemical environment as a function of depth in the shallow subsurface; and 3) to characterize the surface environment. ExoMars will drill into the sub-surface to look for indicators of past life using a variety of complementary techniques, including assessment of morphology (potential fossil organisms), mineralogy (past environments) and a search for organic molecules and their chirality (biomarkers).

The choice of landing site is vital if the objectives are to be met. The landing site must: (i) be ancient (≥3.6 Ga); (ii) show abundant morphological and mineral evidence for long-term, or frequently reoccurring, aqueous activity; (iii) include numerous sedimentary outcrops that (iv) are distributed over the landing region (the typical Rover traverse range is a few km, but ellipse size is ~ 104 by 19 km). Various ‘engineering constraints’ also apply, including: (i) latitude limited to 5º S to 25º N; (ii) maximum altitude of the landing site 2 km below Mars’s datum; and (iii) few steep slopes within the ellipse.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item
Copyright Holders: 2015 The Authors
Academic Unit/School: Faculty of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) > Physical Sciences
Faculty of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM)
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Item ID: 42405
Depositing User: Peter Fawdon
Date Deposited: 25 Mar 2015 16:30
Last Modified: 06 Jul 2019 16:58
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