The last 20+ years of unmanned exploration of Mars have revolutionized our understanding of the Red Planet. This newly gained evidence has revealed Mars as a dynamic and diverse body with range of geologic evidence that provides clues to the fate of its atmosphere, gives indications of early volcanic processes, and of course provides ample evidence for water, both mineralogically and morphologically. Interestingly more than 50% of the Martian surface is >3.5 billon years old, a timeframe in planetary evolution that is not well captured on Earth due to plate tectonics and fast erosion.
In this talk, I’ll describe the mineralogical and morphological evidence that links some of these early, rocky deposits to past processes including volcanism and alteration, such as carbonation of olivine-rich rocks. Future Mars missions including the Mars 2020 rover and the Emirates Mars Mission “Hope”, will continue to provide key insights into the past and present climate.