Geology of the terrestrial planets with implications to astrobiology and mission design

Dirk Schulze-Makuch, James M. Dohm, Alberto G. Fairén, Victor Baker, Wolfgang Fink, Robert G. Strom

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Abstract

Although Mercury, Venus, Earth/Moon, and Mars originated from similar material accreted in close regions of the planetary nebula, the worlds that developed after 4.6 billion years of Solar System evolution are not much alike. Mercury and the Moon, for example, are without a protecting atmosphere and were not exposed to liquid water on their surface for at least 4 billion years. The surfaces of Venus and Mars are desiccated and are presently not a suitable habitat for life, but reservoirs of liquid water remain in the atmosphere of Venus and the subsurface of Mars, and microbial organisms may have adapted to survive in these ecological niches. The search for water and life on any of the terrestrial planets is intrinsically connected to their geological history. Missions should be designed to explore any potential past and present habitats. In addition, ices on Mercury and the Moon should be explored for remnant biogenic material from the early evolution of life on Earth (and elsewhere). Especially desirable are sample return missions and missions that include hierarchical architectures with scalable degrees of mission operation autonomy, which will allow optimal r econnaissance of planetary environments, including surface and subsurface environments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationSpace Science Research Developments
PublisherNova Science Publishers, Inc.
Pages67-100
Number of pages34
ISBN (Print)9781612090863
StatePublished - Feb 2011

Fingerprint

exobiology
terrestrial planets
Venus (planet)
geology
moon
mars
habitats
solar system evolution
planetary environments
sample return missions
water
atmospheres
autonomy
planetary nebulae
liquids
organisms
ice
histories

Keywords

  • Exobiology
  • Geological processes
  • Mars
  • Mercury
  • Mission architectures
  • Mission autonomy.
  • Terrestrial planets
  • Venus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)

Cite this

Schulze-Makuch, D., Dohm, J. M., Fairén, A. G., Baker, V., Fink, W., & Strom, R. G. (2011). Geology of the terrestrial planets with implications to astrobiology and mission design. In Space Science Research Developments (pp. 67-100). Nova Science Publishers, Inc..

Geology of the terrestrial planets with implications to astrobiology and mission design. / Schulze-Makuch, Dirk; Dohm, James M.; Fairén, Alberto G.; Baker, Victor; Fink, Wolfgang; Strom, Robert G.

Space Science Research Developments. Nova Science Publishers, Inc., 2011. p. 67-100.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

Schulze-Makuch, D, Dohm, JM, Fairén, AG, Baker, V, Fink, W & Strom, RG 2011, Geology of the terrestrial planets with implications to astrobiology and mission design. in Space Science Research Developments. Nova Science Publishers, Inc., pp. 67-100.
Schulze-Makuch D, Dohm JM, Fairén AG, Baker V, Fink W, Strom RG. Geology of the terrestrial planets with implications to astrobiology and mission design. In Space Science Research Developments. Nova Science Publishers, Inc. 2011. p. 67-100
Schulze-Makuch, Dirk ; Dohm, James M. ; Fairén, Alberto G. ; Baker, Victor ; Fink, Wolfgang ; Strom, Robert G. / Geology of the terrestrial planets with implications to astrobiology and mission design. Space Science Research Developments. Nova Science Publishers, Inc., 2011. pp. 67-100
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