2023-2024 Science Planning Summary
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2023-2024 USAP Field Season
Project Detail

Project Title

Formation of Thermal-Contraction Polygons on Mars: Effects of Variable Subsurface Ice Content from Geophysical Surveys of Antarctic Dry Valley Analogs


Beacon Valley camps. Courtesy of NSF
G-067-M Research Location(s): Beacon Valley

Summary

Event Number:
G-067-M
NASA -20-SSW20-0028

Program Director:
Dr. Michael Jackson

ASC POC/Implementer:
Ryan Steiner / Jenny Cunningham


Principal Investigator(s)

Dr. David E. Stillman
dstillman@boulder.swri.edu
Southwest Research Institute


Location

Supporting Stations: McMurdo Station
Research Locations: Beacon Valley


Description

This is a geomorphological and geophysical study of the polygonal terrain of a Martian analog site in Beacon Valley (BV), Antarctica. The objective of the work is to characterize how ice concentration and distribution affect patterned ground (polygon size, shape, and roughness, along with asymmetry) to better determine current and past ice volume on Mars. To accomplish this objective, the investigators will find relationships between the morphology of polygons mapped from satellite images and lidar-derived microtopography and the subsurface ice content measured by geophysical methods. They will then apply this methodology to three Martian locations with polygonal terrain.


Field Season Overview

Four participants will set up camp in Beacon Valley for three weeks in November. They will conduct geoelectrical surveys to determine the extent, depth, and properties of subsurface ice, and will also collect ice and overlying sediment samples.


Deploying Team Members

  • Rachael Hoover
  • Douglas Kowalewski (Co-PI)
  • David Stillman (PI)
  • Andrew Wilcoski