Understanding the different geological structures on Mars

By Kelly Vaughan-Taylor - Crew Geophysicist

My primary research I wish to carry out as the crew scientist will be to survey and map fields of interest. Due to the locality on ‘mars’, surveys are not able to be conducted the same way as on Earth. I primarily wish to design and implement geophysical surveys with these limitations in mind. A Mars analogue is a perfect situation in which to highlight areas that may be problematic for researchers on Mars.

I will undertake subsurface imaging and regional mapping of areas. The exact techniques used will be dependent on the areas of interest designated by the crew as a whole. I further wish to find samples in different areas and compare their compositions to geological regions on Earth. These findings, if conducted on Mars, would shed light on the differentiation history of Earth and uncover more of the geological history of mars.

These methods are all small-scale surveys however this may be a good opportunity to trial the implementation of ambient seismology on a Mars. Ambient seismology is successfully used on Earth to survey deep structures without the need for a seismic source. On Earth, ambient seismic signals are created primarily from ocean interactions. While Mars does not have oceans, it may produce sufficiently large signals from atmospheric interactions to measure deep structures. While this project would be an insufficient time to measure any statically meaningful results, it would be a useful tool in estimating the difficulties in setting up and conducting the experiment.