Solar-System-Wide Significance of Mars Polar Science

Isaac Smith* (Corresponding Author), W. M. Calvin, D. E. Smith, C. Hansen, S. Diniega, A. McEwen, N. Thomas, D. Banfield, T. N. Titus, P. Becerra, M. Kahre, F. Forget, M. Hecht, S. Byrne, C. S. Hvidberg, P. O. Hayne, J. W. Head III, M. Mellon, B. Horgan, J. MustardJ. W. Holt, A. Howard, D. McCleese, C. Stoker, P. James, N. E. Putzig, J. Whitten, P. Buhler, A. Spiga, M. Crismani, K. M. Aye, A. Portyankina, R. Orosei, A. Bramson, J. Hanley, M. Sori, O. Aharonson, S. Clifford, H. Sizemore, G. Morgan, B. Hartmann, N. Schorghofer, R. Clark, D. Berman, D. Crown, F. Chuang, M. Siegler, E. N. Dobrea, K. Lynch, R. W. Obbard, M. R. Elmaary, D. Fisher, A. Kleinboehl, M. Balme, B. Schmitt, M. Daly, R. C. Ewing, K. E. Herkenhoff, L. Fenton, S. D. Guzewich, M. Koutnik, J. Levy, R. Massey, A. Łosiak, V. Eke, D. Goldsby, A. Cross, T. Hager, S. Piqueux, A. Kereszturi, K. Seelos, S. Wood, E. Hauber, C. Amos, P. Russell, R. Jaumann, G. Michael, S. Conway, A. Khayat, S. Lewis, G. Luizzi, G. Martinez, K. Mesick, L. Montabone, A. Johnsson, A. Pankine, C. Phillips-Lander, P. Read, L. Edgar, K. Zacny, A. McAdam, A. Rutledge, T. Bertrand, J. Widmer, D. Stillman, A. Soto, Z. Yoldi, R. Young, A. Svensson, L. Sam, M. Landis, A. Bhardwaj, M. Chojnacki, E. Kite, P. Thomas, J. Plaut, J. Bapst, S. Milkovich, J. Whiteway, J. Moores, C. Rezza, R. Karimova, I. Mishev, A. Van Brenen, P. Acharya, J. Chesal, A. Pascuzzo, E. Vos, G. Osinski, C. Andres, C. Neisch, S. Hibbard, P. Sinha, J. P. Knightly, S. Cartwright, S. Kounaves, C. Orgel, M. Skidmore, J. MacGregor, R. Staehle, J. Rabassa, C. Gallagher, A. Coronato, A. G. Galofre, J. Wilson, L. McKeown, N. Oliveira, P. Fawdon, U. Gayathri, C. Stuurman, C. Herny, F. Butcher, F. Bernardini, M. Perry, R. Hu, S. Mukherjee, V. Chevrier, M. E. Banks, T. Meng, P. A. Johnson, B. Tober, J. C. Johnson, S. Ulamsec, J. C. Echaurren, A. Khuller, C. Dinwiddie, S. Adeli, B. L. Henderson, L. R. Lozano, D. Lalich, E. Rivera-Valentín, S. Nerozzi, E. Petersen, F. Foss, R. Lorenz, J. Eigenbrode, M. Day, A. Brown, M. Pajola, Ö. Karatekin, A. Lucchetti, C. Cesar, C. Newman, T. G. Cave, L. Tamppari, M. Mischna, M. Patel, P. Streeter, J. C. Stern, C. M. Dundas

*Corresponding author for this work

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As the subject of a New Frontiers class mission in the next
decade, Mars Polar Science could address numerous compelling Solar System-level knowledge gaps and human exploration needs.
1. The ice-rich martian polar layered deposits (PLDs) contain thousands of ice layers that record the climate history for over several million years, including several key orbital changes. The PLDs provide the most accessible and complete climate record outside the Earth, making them among the most compelling science targets in the Solar System.
2. The PLDs are a key part of a diverse and integrated climate and volatile deposit system spanning much of the planet, both above and below the surface. The Mars volatile and climatic system contains numerous active processes that interact with the near-surface, and the lower and middle atmosphere circulations, even influencing the upper atmosphere and atmospheric escape.
3. The martian poles are an archetype for numerous Solar System bodies and processes on other bodies including climate change dominated by orbital variations, glacial flow, vaporpressure supported atmospheres and sublimation-dominated landscapes.
4. Mars Polar Science is critical for future human exploration and in situ resources, technology development for other targets, as well as the study of planetary habitability
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages10
JournalBulletin of the AAS
Issue number4
Early online date18 Mar 2021
Publication statusPublished - 18 Mar 2021

Bibliographical note

Acknowledgements: A portion of the research was carried out at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, under a contract with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (80NM0018D0004)


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