Mapping Planetary Geology and Water Resources by Ground Penetrating Radar and Magnetic Induction Spectrometer

Establishing whether life ever existed, or is still active on other planetary bodies today, is one of the outstanding scientific questions of our time.

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Mars 2020 Perseverance Rover will seek signs of ancient life, and collect rock and soil samples for possible return to Earth. Photo: NASA 

The NASA Mars 2020 rover launched from Cape Canaveral in July of 2020, and will be arriving at Mars after a 7.5 -month cruise in February of 2021. The Mars 2020 mission science goals are; determine Whether Life Ever Arose on Mars, characterize the Climate of Mars, characterize and sample the Geology of Mars and prepare for Human Exploration.

The Norwegian developed Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) RIMFAX will be onboard the Mars 2020 rover. RIMFAX will be able to image the shallow subsurface and characterize the geology at the landing site. The project will study how RIMFAX can contribute to detecting possible subsurface water. The water can be in the state of ground ice, liquid brines or adsorbed water in the clay minerals.

The project will also develop a new low frequency instrument (Magnetic Induction Spectrometer (MIS) with the possibility to directly measure the amount of ground ice or adsorbed water in the shallow Martian regolith. Combining the MIS and a GPR will give a map of the subsurface water to support scientific exploration and in-situ resource utilization.

Objectives: The Mars 2020 mission science goals are; determine Whether Life Ever Arose on Mars, characterize the Climate of Mars, characterize and sample the Geology of Mars and prepare for Human Exploration.   

Background: Establishing whether life ever existed, or is still active on other planetary bodies today, is one of the outstanding scientific questions of our time. Life as we know it requires water, and search for life on Mars is centred on the question when and how much liquid water existed on the planet. Revealing the geological and environmental history in relation to water is a key issue in this regard.

Owner of the project: Department of Technology Systems

Financing: Norwegian Research Council (NFR). Project number: 301238

 

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Tags: RIMFAX
Published Nov. 3, 2020 2:39 PM - Last modified Nov. 24, 2020 1:52 PM