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Evolution of Lacustrine Environments on Mars and Their Significance: The Case for the Brazos Lakes and East Terra Meridiani Basins as Landing Sites for Surveyor 2001

Publication Date
Jan 01, 1999
SETI Institute


Ancient Martian lacustrine environments must be considered as primary targets to explore on Mars. Terrestrial studies show that lakes are exceptional sites to keep the record of the evolution of climate, geology, water and life. Finding this record is also the principal objective of the Mars Surveyor Program. This record encompasses changes at local, regional and global scales. Lacustrine sediments provide critical information about all events occurring in the lake catchment area. They are also a locus of complex chemical processes, concentration for life and favorable sites for fossilization processes to take place. We proposed two candidate-sites in the Schiaparelli Crater region responding to this high-priority scientific objective at the June 1999 meeting in Buffalo, NY. The two sites are located in the Sinus Sabeus quadrangle, are well documented by MOC images, and are among the best evidence yet of a Martian past lacustrine activity. We develop their case as high-priority sites for the 01 mission.

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