The Holy Grail: A road map for unlocking the climate record stored within Mars’ polar layered deposits

Smith, Isaac B.; Hayne, Paul O.; Byrne, Shane; Becerra, Patricio; Kahre, Melinda; Calvin, Wendy; Hvidberg, Christine; Milkovich, Sarah; Buhler, Peter; Landis, Margaret; Horgan, Briony; Kleinböhl, Armin; Perry, Matthew R.; Obbard, Rachel; Stern, Jennifer; Piqueux, Sylvain; Thomas, Nicolas; Zacny, Kris; Carter, Lynn; Edgar, Lauren; ... (2020). The Holy Grail: A road map for unlocking the climate record stored within Mars’ polar layered deposits. Planetary and space science, 184, p. 104841. Elsevier 10.1016/j.pss.2020.104841

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In its polar layered deposits (PLD), Mars possesses a record of its recent climate, analogous to terrestrial ice sheets containing climate records onEarth. Each PLD is greater than 2 km thick and contains thousands of layers, each containing information on the climatic and atmospheric state during its deposition, creating a climate archive. With detailed measurements of layer composition, it may be possible to extract age, accumulation rates, atmospheric conditions, and surface activity at the time of deposition, among other important parameters; gaining the information would allow us to“read” the climate record. Because Mars has fewer complicating factors than Earth (e.g. oceans, biology, and human-modified climate), the planet offers a unique opportunity to study the history of a terrestrial planet’s climate,which in turn can teach us about our own planet and the thousands of terrestrial exoplanets waiting to be discovered.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


08 Faculty of Science > Physics Institute > Space Research and Planetary Sciences
08 Faculty of Science > Physics Institute
08 Faculty of Science > Physics Institute > NCCR PlanetS

UniBE Contributor:

Becerra Valdes, Patricio and Thomas, Nicolas


500 Science > 520 Astronomy
600 Technology > 620 Engineering
500 Science > 530 Physics








Dora Ursula Zimmerer

Date Deposited:

06 May 2020 11:27

Last Modified:

10 May 2020 02:44

Publisher DOI:





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