Fluvial And Lacustrine Processes On Mars, And Their Relevance To Exploring Mars' Habitability

Lead Research Organisation: The Open University
Department Name: Faculty of Sci, Tech, Eng & Maths (STEM)


The ExoMars Rosalind Franklin Rover mission [1] will launch in mid-2022, and land in the
Oxia Planum [2] region of Mars in June 2023. The goal of Rosalind Franklin is to identify
evidence of ancient life in the near shallow subsurface. To complete this goal, Rosalind
Franklin will use its PanCam instrument, in concert with orbital remote sensing studies, to
explore the geological context of the landing site to select a suitable drilling location.
Regional remote sensing studies [3] show that several phases of fluvial activity have
influence the landing site. This includes 'recent' (~3.5 Ga) flood deposits, valley networks
associated with the sediment fan and more ancient fluvial systems possibly expressed in
inverted relief (e.g., [4]). The timing and magnitude of this fluvial activity in Oxia Planum
could have driven groundwater fluctuations that may have had a significant impact on
preservation of biosignatures in sedimentary materials - key targets for Rosalind Franklin.
The aim of this project is to explore the influence of regional fluvial process on the ExoMars
landing site and to analyse in situ data returned by the 'PanCam' instrument on the ExoMars
rover mission to support orbital analysis.


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Studentship Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Student Name
ST/X508640/1 01/10/2022 30/09/2026
2739708 Studentship ST/X508640/1 01/10/2022 31/10/2025 Nisha Gor