# Questions tagged [geology]

Questions regarding surface features of celestial bodies.

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### Does the polygonal pattern on the floor of this “crater” on Mars mean that there's water ice below its surface?

This presentation of the Program of the Second MSL Landing Site Workshop shows an image of a "crater" near the equator that is 2.4 km wide and 750 meters deep ! On the Mars Image explorer you can ...
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### Can mineralogy maps be made without dedicated instruments? MAGIC at Callisto

While we are still waiting for the official Discovery finalists announcement, and it's perhaps a bit premature to be discussing the proposals, I've been thinking about the exciting MAGIC mission to ...
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### What likely is the chemical composition of the thin piece of material on the surface of Mars on the image below?

Note: The MAHLI images below were acquired when both the two groups of white light LEDs and the ultraviolet LEDs were off. When looking for the damage on the wheels of Curiosity on the raw images i ...
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### Which scientific articles together give proof of all the chemical elements found on Mars?

Wikipedia about the elemental composition of Mars: Based on these data sources, scientists think that the most abundant chemical elements in the Martian crust, besides silicon and oxygen, are iron, ...
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### Is it recorded and/or documented when and where Curiosity's ChemCam's laser has zapped on Mars?

The article with the title "NASA Rover's Images Show Laser Flash on Martian Rock" tells us that the ChemCam's laser had zapped more than 600 rock and soil targets on Mars since Curiosity landed in ...
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### What is the white stuff emerging from a hole on the surface of Mars?

Edit: It can almost certainly be excluded that the white spot was caused by Curiosity's ChemCam's laser, because it doesn't make sense that the laser was used at that time without taking images with ...
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### Were launchpads at KSC built with pilings or footings?

Considering the importance of keeping a launchpad level, were pads 39A or 39B at Kennedy Space Center built with pilings or footings down to the bedrock? As seen in the quotes below, I have found ...
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### Why was Apollo 17 considered to have “achieved a very successful geological survey”?

They listed out all the apollo missions, with blurbs about what the outcomes were, for example here's 15, 16 and 17: 15 - Landed on moon and deployed lunar rover. 16 - Landed on moon and deployed ...
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This excellent answer addresses the amazing 3D structures shown in the image below: The terrain examples show some striking similarities to what is referred to in the United States as "Badlands" - ...
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### Have the rovers on Mars encountered anything unrecognizable to geologists?

We have quite a few rovers trundling around Mars. Just from reading the popular news, I get the impression that everything encountered so far (minerals, rocks, strata, formations, structures, etc.) ...
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### What kinds of instruments do you need to detect whether liquid water/ice is on a planet?

Somewhat of a two-part question. Firstly I'm interested to know if it is expected that a planet/asteroid has water/ice on it, what kinds of scientific instruments you need to identify the presence and ...
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### Where on Mars did the largest river once flow?

It is generally accepted that once there was running water on the surface of Mars. Can it be determined from remote sensing data from space where the biggest, largest and longest ones were?
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### Is there any reason Cyanobacteria or Lichens can't survive on Mars?

According to this article "Mars atmosphere is supersaturated with water" & according to answers to this physics stack exchange question conditions do exist on the surface of Mars where fluid water ...
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### What's the deepest a trench could theoretically be dug on Mars?

Given the physical characteristics of Mars (the crusts thickness, it's composition, gravity, etc) how deep a trench (that could be expected to continue to exist indefinitely, or rather, for periods of ...
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### Has the HP$^3$ on the Insight lander actually a probe to detect water and ice in the subsurface of Mars?

The Heat Flow and Physical Properties Package (HP$^3$) is a science instrument onboard the Insight lander that features a self-penetrating probe to determine how heat flows inside Mars. Nicknamed "the ...
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### Why are the heat sensor probes in HP3 probe spaced with reducing gap with depth?

The HP3 probe used for studying the geothermal features of Martian surface, hammers upto 5m deep and inserts a tether lined with heat sensor probes. This link shared earlier by @uhoh, is an ...
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### How could InSight's seismometers be intentionally and meaningfully “pinged”?

I had a friend whose summer job, a long long time ago, was to travel around an unsuspecting rural area, lay a heavy steel plate on the ground, and whack the plate with a sledge hammer. Apparently he ...
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### What are the temperature and pressure inside the CO$_2$ deposit on Mars?

Within the CO$_2$ deposit near the south pole on Mars, according to this article 3 subunits have been found with one having a top CO$_2$ layer of about 300 meters thick covered by a water ice layer ...
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### What were the 21 potential landing sites for the Mars 2020 mission?

In August 2015 more than 150 scientists attended a conference to evaluate 21 potential landing sites for NASA's next rover, a mission called Mars 2020. Out of those proposed landing sites the Mars ...
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### Where on Mars are the possible other collapse features with very high depth/diameter ratio?

Figure 1 of this article about craters and collapse features on Mars with high depth/diameter ratios shows that ratios higher than 0.2 are exceptional. This presentation of the Program of the Second ...
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### Are there microclimates with better weather conditions on Mars?

On Earth, a microclimate mostly refers to an area which differs from the surrounding areas in temperature or humidity. And what about Mars ? Are there places with atmospheric conditions that are ...
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### Would a circular saw on one arm and a trowel on another on the Mars 2020 rover add scientific value? [closed]

Edit: I changed the question from one arm with a shovel to two arms, with one with a circular saw and the other with a trowel, some time after the first answer of @Hobbes. I did this because in his ...
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### Which potential landing sites were identified at the MSL Landing Site workshops?

In the Wikipedia article Timeline of Mars Science Laboratory it is mentioned that at the first MSL Landing Site workshop, 33 potential landing sites were identified, and that by the second workshop in ...
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### What is the real depth of the Mojave crater on Mars?

The Mojave crater on Mars is interesting because among other things, it has alluvial fans that look remarkably similar to landforms in the Mojave desert. On the image1 above the crater has about ...
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### Why is the northeastern region of Syrtis Major Planum a selected landing site for the Mars 2020 mission?

Image below: One of the 3 selected landing sites, on the left side of Jezero crater, which is also selected ! A workshop for the Mars 2020 Rover mission was held in February 2017 that selected 3 ...
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### How does one get the exact location of imaged features on the surface of Mars?

The image above is from the article "Evidence from the Mars Express High Resolution Stereo Camera for a frozen sea close to Mars' equator". It shows 3 flooded or partially flooded craters 4.8, 2.3 ...
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### Is there really a frozen lake near the equator on Mars?

Figure 1. Views of plate-like terrain on Mars, and pack-ice on Earth. From the paper linked below. a, Part of an HRSC image of Mars from orbit 32, with a resolution of 13.7 m per pixel, centred at ...
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### What type of rock or soil on Mars will give Nostoc Commune cyanobacteria the best chance to survive there?

Photo taken by YAMAMAYA Cyanobacteria are a group of photosynthetic bacteria, who use the energy of light to synthesize organic compounds from carbon dioxide, and producing oxygen this way. Nostoc ...
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### Why is Curiosity remaining on the Vera Rubin Ridge for so long?

Have the MSL mission team members become overwhelmed by the iron-rich rocks on the ridge ? Image from: https://mars.nasa.gov/msl/mission/mars-rover-curiosity-mission-updates/?mu=sol-2018-rock-...
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### What are the geological features for a save place to land in the chaos terrains on Mars? [closed]

Chaos terrains on Mars generally consist of irregular groups of large blocks, some tens of kilometers across and a hundred meters high. The tilted and flat topped blocks form depressions hundreds ...
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### Why is Curiosity not heading for Peace Vallis?

For over 5 years Curiosity has been successfully searching for many signs that water was once present at Gale crater. Its geology is notable for containing both clays and sulfate minerals that may ...
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### Why does the Mars Global Surveyor carry a bit of the Zagami meteorite?

The NASA News item A Piece of Mars is Going Home begins: A piece of a meteorite called Sayh al Uhaymir 008 (SaU008) will be carried on board NASA's Mars 2020 rover mission, now being built at the ...
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### Mars drill depth to discover Life

Curiosity has shown that Mars used to have persistent liquid water on the surface. (~3+ billion years ago.) IF life was around at that time, at what depth would we expect to find it? Without plate ...
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### What useful elements are NOT to be found on Mars?

There are a series of questions on this site which are generally "Is there X on Mars?" "Are there sufficient Y to create Z on Mars?" And the answers are generally YES for the most part. What is there ...
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### Constant lunar sub-surface temperature

On Earth we have the idea of constant ground temperature. Builders in North America think of it as 55 degrees at 5 feet down (not quite true, but close enough). At the surface it varies with the day. ...
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### Chemical resources on the moon in relation to human occupation

Suppose large settlements are established on the moon with lots of people and industrial activity. Based on what we know, what chemicals that are needed for human life and industry might be lacking? ...
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### Earliest gravitational map of a planet/moon?

When was the first gravitational map of a planet or moon made by measurements from space? I'm guessing it was a map of Earth, since that's the closest planet to us,[citation needed] but for all I've ...
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### Should we expect the surface rocks of Venus to be oxide poor.?

My thinking is that in an atmosphere rich in hot sulfuric acid they couldn't stand a chance. Although I am unsure of what exactly would be going on chemically at the interface between the venerean ...
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### If a high-temperature melt of lunar soil cooled slowly, what layers might appear?

Suppose mare regolith is heated to 2400 K, then left to cool slowly in a tank. Samples of powder regolith from the mare are about half glasses and half crystals of composition as shown below. Would ...
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### What causes moonquakes?

Despite having very little geological activity, without any active tectonic plates, the moon is prone to shaking shifts. As far as I know, moonquakes can be caused by the Sun, thermal quakes, or by ...
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### Is the equatorial mountain range of Iapetus due to cold erosion?

Iapetus, satellite of Saturn, has a huge mountain range along about half its equator. On this list of our solar system's biggest mountains, it is the only entry with uncertain origin. ..The ...
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### Features on border of a crater & ravine on Mars

This image of the Sirenum Fossae Trough - MGS MOC Release No. MOC2-248 of Mars shows spots on the northern lip of the crater that draw my attention. See the Mars Global Surveyor - Mars Orbiter Camera ...
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### How can one find the cratering rate for different parts of the Solar System

I've heard that counting impact craters is a great way to figure out how old the surface of a planet is, but I've never heard what the actual rates are. Do they vary from planet to planet? Anything ...
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### How tectonically active is Mercury?

Both this article and this paper say that Mercury's tectonic activity is mostly in the past, but the first article does have this to say: After the volcanic activity subsided, the planet has been ...