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The Great Mars Debate

photo of mars surface
photo of mars surface
photo of mars surface
photo of mars surface

February 5 - February 9, 2001

Forum 2/5 - 2/9
Live Webcast 2/9 10:00 a.m. PT / 1:00 p.m. ET



[Educational Objectives and Standards]

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Join the Webcast - Feb. 9, 2001 10:00 AM PST




These images are arranged in 4 categories to assist students with their research

  • Earth, Mars, and Planetary Photos
  • Regional Images of Mars
  • Specific landing sites within regions
  • Additional Web sites with images

Earth, Mars, and Planetary Photos

Regional Images of Mars

    Clickable Mars Map
    By using the clickable map you can access additional information such as the location of hematite deposits discovered by Mars Global Surveyor, rock abundance in percent surface coverage, topography from the Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter (MOLA) in kilometers, or the thermal inertia. (Thermal inertia is a measure of how a surface resists changes in temperature which is in part an indication of how much dust is covering the surface. Lower values generally correspond to more dust.) Some sites may have features that could place them in multiple categories, but have been listed in the category that best represents the site.

    Valles Marineris Sites: These are sites located in parts of the canyon system that is as long as the width of the United States. Since Valles Marineris is a canyon, layers in the rocks should be easy to see. These layers may be sedimentary or from lava flows. Also, there could be evidence of water-carved features. Unlike the Grand Canyon which was formed by water, many Mars scientists think Valles Marineris was formed by tectonics (fracturing of the surface). The closest Earth analog would be the East African Rift.
    Melas Chasma

      Specific sites that are best for studying the canyon itself:
    • http://marsoweb.nas.nasa.gov/landingsites/mer2003/submaps/mdims/12_051.html
    • http://marsoweb.nas.nasa.gov/landingsites/mer2003/submaps/mdims/12_052.html
    • http://marsoweb.nas.nasa.gov/landingsites/mer2003/submaps/mdims/12_054.html
    • http://marsoweb.nas.nasa.gov/landingsites/mer2003/submaps/mdims/12_053.html
    • http://marsoweb.nas.nasa.gov/landingsites/mer2003/submaps/mdims/13_054.html

      Sites in Valles Marineris related to large discharges of ground water:
    • http://marsoweb.nas.nasa.gov/landingsites/mer2003/submaps/mdims/11_065.html
    • http://marsoweb.nas.nasa.gov/landingsites/mer2003/submaps/mdims/14_069.html
    • http://marsoweb.nas.nasa.gov/landingsites/mer2003/submaps/mdims/13_071.html

    Terra Meridiani Hematite Sites: Sites located on Mars by Global Surveyor that have sand-sized grains of the mineral hematite. Hematite is a common iron mineral found on Earth and usually occurs where rock has interacted with water. The grains in this deposit are grey, similar to the hematite used to make jewelry because of their size. The red grains in the dust of Mars are the size of powdered sugar. Both the red and grey hematite are altered minerals that are produced from iron bearing rocks like basalt, common in places like the seafloor of Hawaii. The volcanoes on Mars are the same type of volcanoes on Hawaii, therefore they should be producing similar rock. Most meteorites from Mars are basalt. An example of this type of site: Terra Meridiani Hematite

      Specific Hematite images:
    • http://marsoweb.nas.nasa.gov/landingsites/mer2003/submaps/mdims/08_087.html
    • http://marsoweb.nas.nasa.gov/landingsites/mer2003/submaps/mdims/08_088.html
    • http://marsoweb.nas.nasa.gov/landingsites/mer2003/submaps/mdims/09_086.html
    • http://marsoweb.nas.nasa.gov/landingsites/mer2003/submaps/mdims/09_087.html

    Paleo-lake Sites: Ancient lake bed.
    Obviously a lake bed is an area that shows evidence where liquid water was once on the surface of Mars. White Rock Basin White Rock Basin

      Specific Paleolake Sites (some of these could also be classified as hydrothermal sites)
    • Gale Crater: http://marsoweb.nas.nasa.gov/landingsites/mer2003/submaps/mdims/10_159.html
    • Gusev Crater: http://marsoweb.nas.nasa.gov/landingsites/mer2003/submaps/mdims/14_177.html
    • http://marsoweb.nas.nasa.gov/landingsites/mer2003/submaps/mdims/14_178.html
    • Boeddicker Crater (EP64A): http://marsoweb.nas.nasa.gov/landingsites/mer2003/submaps/mdims/14_171 .html
    • Meridiani Crater: http://marsoweb.nas.nasa.gov/landingsites/mer2003/submaps/mdims/12_087.html
    • unnamed crater in Elysium Planitia: http://marsoweb.nas.nasa.gov/landingsites/mer2003/submaps/mdims/12_165 .html

    Hydrothermal Sites: We do not know if there are hydrothermal locations on Mars. However, because there are volcanoes and substantial evidence of liquid water at the surface of Mars in the past and there is current evidence for ground ice and small amounts of liquid water near the surface, Hydrothermal systems should be present on Mars. Impacts from meteors can also provide heat for Hydrothermal systems.
    The sites in this category are in areas that would be the most likely to be hydrothermal. Hydrothermal sites would give us evidence of water and rock interactions which is important for life. These sites are characterized by water carved features or evidence of water discharged on the surface and a source of hear such as volcanoes or impact craters. An example of a hydrothermal site, the top of the image very clearly shows branches like a tree which looks much like our river valleys on Earth would appear from above. Apollinaris Patera 2
    Apollinaris Patera

      Volcanic sites in Elysium Planitia:
    • http://marsoweb.nas.nasa.gov/landingsites/mer2003/submaps/mdims/07_164.html
    • http://marsoweb.nas.nasa.gov/landingsites/mer2003/submaps/mdims/06_160.html
    • http://marsoweb.nas.nasa.gov/landingsites/mer2003/submaps/mdims/06_161.html
    • http://marsoweb.nas.nasa.gov/landingsites/mer2003/submaps/mdims/04_167.html
      Isidis Planitia (water-carved valley networks in the region plus possible small volcanic features):
    • http://marsoweb.nas.nasa.gov/landingsites/mer2003/submaps/mdims/06_134.html
    • http://marsoweb.nas.nasa.gov/landingsites/mer2003/submaps/mdims/06_131.html
      Apollinaris Patera (volcano):
    • http://marsoweb.nas.nasa.gov/landingsites/mer2003/submaps/mdims/13_175.html, a new site for the 2003 rovers that added in January 2001 at 11.1 degrees S, 188.5 degrees W. This is the same site as one that was previously proposed called "Apollinaris Chaos". Chaos refers to an area that looks jumbled up. Chaos terrain is thought to result from the release of ground water onto the surface.

    Additional Web sites with images:

    Mars Virtual Reality Website
    Main Science page for the MER2003
    Center for Mars Exploration
    Conference Web Site
    Rover Site
    Arizona K-12 Mars Exploration Program
    JPL Mars Education
    Viking Orbiter images
    Viking Orbiter images of Mars surface
    JPL Mars site
    Mars Exploration Rover website
    United States Geological Survey MER page
    On-line Education and Outreach by Mary Urquhart, Ph.D.
    Teachers tour guide to the planets
    Question of life on Mars



    Questions and comments about this event can be sent to: tkrieg@quest.arc.nasa.gov


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