Searching for amorphous sulfates on Mars with Supercam

The arrival of the Mars2020 rover will boost the analysis of surface rocks on Mars. A specialized instrument will allow for the first time to measure at the same time the chemical composition and the mineralogical composition just like a Raman microscope but from meters away.

Some of the expected mineral phases, as suggested from previous measurements, are amorphous sulfates, which so far appear to be unique to specific terrains on Mars, and who do not have Earth equivalents. Here we want to use numerical simulations to understand at the atomic level the structure of these phases and then to characterize their vibrational spectra. Hence we will provide the necessary reference spectra to be used in the in situ identification of these phase with the Supercam instrument of the Mars2020 rover.

The project involves interaction with the Supercam team.

Learning outcomes:
Planetary mineralogy; mineral processes at the atomic level; thermodynamics; lattice dynamics; vibrational spectra; use of supercomputing centres; use of python/Linux/Unix.

Published Sep. 26, 2019 3:42 PM - Last modified Sep. 26, 2019 3:42 PM

Scope (credits)