In Situ Geophysical Exploration by Humans in Mars Analog Environments


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Presented on May 13, 2010 at the University of North Dakota's 997 symposium. Summarizes the research projects I carried out on two analog Mars missions in 2009 and 2010.

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  • @Rui Moura Thank you for your comment. I too am a "seismic guy" transitioning to multi-methods. At present, I'm comparing GPR and electromagnetic options for subsurface lava tube detection. Last year I conducted a resistivity survey looking for permafrost. Your lighter multielectrode resistivity system sounds very interesting. You asked what methods I think might be deployed on a first mission to Mars. Well, the unmanned Mars 2020 rover is likely going to have a GPR instrument, so I suppose that will be first active source geophysical instrument on Mars. When people arrive, I suspect they will also take along low power, lightweight systems (EM, GPR, etc.) for small-scale surveys, but larger scale surveys would have likely already been carried out by orbiters and precurory robotic missions. I would welcome to continue this conversation with you anytime. You can reach me at Thank you.
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  • Quite interesting. Although I started off as a seismic 'guy' I'm also multi-method geophysicist myself. I'm making my own lighter multielectrode resistivity system at the moment. What methods would you think are possible to deploy on a first mission to Mars? All or a seleted few? Do you think that the shallow local objectives more important at the moment? I teach and research at the Unicersity of Porto. If you ever need a helping hand from this side of the Atlantic don't hesitate to ask.
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  • Haughton is an impact crater, a common and fundamental geological feature of the Martian surface (and of many other planetary surfaces). Haughton is set in a polar desert, a cold, relatively dry, windy, and sparsley vegetated environment that might be akin to an Early Mars environment, when conditions are thought to have been wetter and perhaps warmer. The center of the crater hosts a very unusual type of terrain, impact breccia permeated with ground-ice. At Haughton, the impact breccia is permeated with "permafrost" (ground-ice), thus producing what may be the closest natural analog on Earth to the Martian regolith. Shortly after its formation, the Haughton crater was occupied by a lake in which sediments were laid down. The lake has long since drained away, but the sediments are still preserved in patches inside the crater, slowly weathering away under the cold arctic climate. These ancient crater lake sediments provide an analog for sediments expected to be found in ancient impact craters on Mars that may have once contained lakes as well. Haughton also provides an opportunity to study the amount of warming of early lake waters by impact-induced hydrothermal activity. In cold environments such as that of the Arctic or Mars, the heat released at the site of a freshly-formed impact crater may produce what has been called a "phase of thermal biology", an episode of biological development possible only under the uncharacteristically warm temperatures A variety of valleys ranging from intricate networks of channels to deep canyons dissect the landscape at Haughton. Several types of valleys resemble those seen on Mars. The resemblance appears to be more than superficial, as the similarities are often specific and unique. Studying how the varieties on Devon Island formed may provide clues to how some valleys on Mars formed. The Arctic is host to a variety of periglacial formations, geologic features such as ice mounds and polygon fields which are indicative of the presence of ice concentrations in the ground. Many features on Mars, especially at high latitudes, have been hypothesized to be periglacial formations. Haughton and the rest of Devon Island are a paradise of periglacial landforms, providing an opportunity to explore this additional parallel. Understanding periglacial formations at Haughton may ultimately help recognize where ice can be found at shallow depth on Mars. Haughton also offers examples of life adapted to an extreme environment. Biological contrasts between life inside and outside the crater have also been noted, thus shedding light on the role of impact craters as specific ecological niches on planets. Biological research at Haughton may thus have profound ties with exobiological studies on Mars. http://resources. yesican-science . ca/trek/mars/devon . htm
  • Seismology: Brian Shiro Goal at FMARS-Testing human factors- how can human astronauts deploy a seismic station on Mars Goals on Mars-Seismology is a branch of geophysics that studies the interior of earth using seismic waves. (sound waves that are typically made from earthquakes). Seismology can teach us about the interior of the planet. By using the speed by which the sound waves travel, scientists can learn things like how big is the core, what is Mars made of inside, how thick is the crust, etc…) We can also characterize the seismicity of Mars (are there earthquakes? If so, how many earthquakes per year, are they a hazard for astronauts?) We can also gain other important information from seismometers concerning meteorite impacts and landslides, but in oredr to collect this date we need a lot of seismometers. Having human astronauts place them is the best scenario because they can be placed in the best possible locations- unlike just having them on Mars Landers.
  • Groundwater Survey: Brian Shiro The groundwater survey is accomplished using a Time Domain Electromagnetic Survey This is using electric and magnetic fields to determine to resistivity (opposite of conductivity) of the subsurface with the goal of finding groundwater. This method has been used on Earth for over 100 years to find water and other minerals and resources and it is the most promising technique to use on Mars for finding groundwater. Several prototypes have been suggested for Mars including putting the system on a rover that would collect the data by driving around and another system that would deploy the transmitter coil by shooting it out on rockets. Our goal was to start with the basic system that has been used for 100 years on earth and to figure out what parts of it would be difficult to do on mars so that it could be properly modified or new techniques could be created. Groundwater Survey: Brian Shiro How it works: Large shapes of electric coil (in our case squares) are laid out on the ground. Three separate receiver measurements are taken- one in the center and one each extending out from the midline of the square. This is how the measurements are taken: An electric current is run through the wire, and this static electric current creates a magnetic current perpendicular to and around the wire. Then, you shut off the electrical current which causes the magnetic current to start degrading. Because a changing magnetic current creates an electrical current, the surrounding rocks then have an electric field. This electric field then creates a magnetic field, which as it decays, allows the receiver to pick up an electric current which the device records. This process is repeated over and over during a measurement and it gives a resistivity profile with depth. Depending on the transmitter loop size you can “see” down to different depths (up to several kilometers). At FMARS we are using squares of 40 meters per side which allows us to see dowm between 150-200meters.
  • Abrasion study to prepare for NDX-2, collaboration with Pablo DeLeon
  • Ask Josh for photo
  • Kissing Camel Range, a putative paleo inverted channel feature
  • 109-m total profile length 6 geophone spreads with: 12 geophones at 5-ft spacing on a Geostuff land streamer 36 shots with: 3x stacking each at 17 shot locations with 30-ft spacing Geode seismograph
  • Move and Repeat
  • In Situ Geophysical Exploration by Humans in Mars Analog Environments

    1. 1. In Situ Geophysical Exploration by Humans in Mars Analog Environments Brian Shiro May 13, 2010 UND 997 Symposium
    2. 2. Outline <ul><li>FMARS </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Mission Overview </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Seismic Project </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Electromagnetic Project </li></ul></ul><ul><li>MDRS </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Mission Overview </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Active Seismic + GPR Project </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Lessons Learned </li></ul>
    3. 3. FMARS and MDRS <ul><li>FMARS = Flashline Mars Arctic Research Station </li></ul><ul><li>MDRS = Mars Desert Research Station </li></ul><ul><li>Based on the Mars Direct architecture </li></ul>The Mars Society
    4. 4. Getting There
    5. 5. FMARS <ul><li>Devon Island </li></ul><ul><li>Founded 2000 </li></ul><ul><li>Polar desert </li></ul><ul><li>Located on rim of 39Ma Haughton Crater </li></ul><ul><li>12th crew: 6 people </li></ul><ul><li>Crew Geophysicist </li></ul><ul><li>Jun 27 - Aug 1, 2009 (26 days on Devon Island) </li></ul>
    6. 7. Mars on Earth Haughton Crater Which one is Mars?
    7. 8. Seismic Station <ul><li>Study interior structure, origin, & evolution of Mars </li></ul><ul><li>Questions: crustal thickness, mantle properties, core radius, seismicity </li></ul>
    8. 9. Earthquake!
    9. 10. FMARS Seismic EVAs Summary
    10. 21. Electromagnetic Survey <ul><li>Time domain electromagnetic method (TDEM) </li></ul><ul><li>Purpose: look for groundwater, characterize subsurface resistivity </li></ul>
    11. 22. Survey Design
    12. 23. EVA Tracking
    13. 24. FMARS TDEM EVAs Summary
    14. 36. TDEM Results <ul><li>Dolomite too resistive for our 40 m loop with 3.5 A power. </li></ul><ul><li>Can constrain subsurface resistivity to 1,000-10,000  -m. </li></ul>
    15. 37. Depth to Groundwater <ul><li>Can consrain upper bound of depth to conductor. </li></ul><ul><li>Assuming a 100  -m body, it would be at least 300 m deep. </li></ul>
    16. 39. MDRS <ul><li>Hanksville, Utah </li></ul><ul><li>Founded 2002 </li></ul><ul><li>Desert with Jurassic/Craceous sedimentary features </li></ul><ul><li>89th crew, 6 people </li></ul><ul><li>Crew Commander </li></ul><ul><li>Jan 23 - Feb 6, 2010 </li></ul>
    17. 41. NDX-1 Kneepads
    18. 42. Ground Penetrating Radar <ul><li>CRUX instrument = miniaturized GPR developed by NASA </li></ul><ul><li>Data collected by Stoker et al. on Crew 85 in Nov 2009. </li></ul><ul><li>Found a strong reflector, a possible buried paleochannel </li></ul>
    19. 43. Study Area
    20. 44. Miyamoto Crater, Mars <ul><li>Similar to the feature at MDRS </li></ul><ul><li>Inverted river channel intersects with crate rim </li></ul><ul><li>Former MSL landing site candidate </li></ul>
    21. 45. Active Seismic Survey <ul><li>Seismic refraction, reflection, surface wave methods </li></ul><ul><li>Purpose: Determine shallow subsurface structure, Look for water </li></ul>Land streamer with 12 geophones
    22. 46. MDRS Seismic EVAs Summary
    23. 47. Survey the Profile
    24. 49. Collect Data Hammer strike as source Cover to see computer screen
    25. 51. Fix Broken Geophone
    26. 52. Seismic Data
    27. 53. Seismic Results
    28. 54. GPR Redux <ul><li>GPR data collected again using CRUX by Crew 92 in March 2010. </li></ul><ul><li>Same profile as seismic experiment. </li></ul><ul><li>General agreement with seismic results. </li></ul>
    29. 55. GPR - Seismic Comparison <ul><li>GPR data collected again using CRUX by Crew 92 in March 2010. </li></ul><ul><li>Same profile as seismic experiment. </li></ul>
    30. 56. Lessons Learned <ul><li>Simplify User interfaces : large buttons, easy-to-read screens, configurable prior to EVA, automation </li></ul><ul><li>Passive Seismic : Installation of Trillium Compact system (including burial) is feasible in spacesuits. </li></ul><ul><li>Electromagnetic : Laying loop manually, operating the PROTEM are not very practical in spacesuits. </li></ul><ul><li>Active Seismic : Land streamers are good for seismic profiling, but they are heavy. For long surveys, the source needs to be mobile on a rover, and data collection/processing should be automated. </li></ul>
    31. 57. Related Presentations <ul><li>Shiro, B. and C. Stoker (2010), “Iterative Science Strategy on Analog Geophysical EVAs,” NASA Lunar Science Forum 2010 . </li></ul><ul><li>Ferrone, K., S. Cusack, C. Garvin, V.W. Kramer, J. Palaia, and B. Shiro (2010), “Flashline Mars Arctic Research Station 2009 Crew Perspectives,” AIAA SpaceOps 2010 Conf., 65-ME-18. </li></ul><ul><li>Shiro, B. and K. Ferrone (2010), “In Situ Geophysical Exploration by Humans in Mars Analog Environments,” Lunar Planet. Sci. Conf., 2052. </li></ul><ul><li>Shiro, B. , J. Palaia, and K. Ferrone (2009), “Use of Web 2.0 Technologies for Public Outreach on a Simulated Mars Mission,” Eos Trans. AGU , 90(52) , Fall Meet. Suppl., ED11A-0565. </li></ul><ul><li>Banerdt, B. and B. Shiro (2007), “The Seismic Exploration of Mars: History, Prospects and Barriers,” Seismological Research Letters , 78(2) , 276. </li></ul>AGU 2009 LPSC 2010
    32. 58. Acknowledgements <ul><li>FMARS-12 and MDRS-89 crews </li></ul><ul><li>Robert Zubrin, Artemis Westenberg, Chris Carberry, Aziz Kheraj, Mission Support Team </li></ul><ul><li>Pascal Lee, Stephen Braham, Brian Glass </li></ul><ul><li>Gene Traverse, Rob Harris, Dennis Mills, Paul Bedrosian, Carol Stoker, David Stillman, Bob Grimm, Rob Stewart, Jim Hasbrouck, Deborah Underwood, Chris Gifford, Andrew Feustel </li></ul><ul><li>Mike Gaffey, Santhosh Seelan, Pablo DeLeon, and entire UND SpSt Dept. </li></ul>
    33. 59. Any Questions?