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Availability of subsurface water-ice resources in the northern mid-latitudes of Mars

Morgan, G. A. and Putzig, N. E. and Perry, M. R. and Sizemore, H. G. and Bramson, A. M. and Petersen, E. I. and Bain, Z. M. and Baker, D. M. H. and Mastrogiuseppe, M. and Hoover, R. H. and Smith, I. B. and Pathare, A. and Dundas, C. M. and Campbell, B. A. (2021) Availability of subsurface water-ice resources in the northern mid-latitudes of Mars. Nature Astronomy, 5 (3). pp. 230-236. ISSN 2397-3366. doi:10.1038/s41550-020-01290-z.

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Multiple nations and private entities are pushing to make landing humans on Mars a reality. The majority of proposed mission architectures envision ‘living off the land’ by leveraging Martian water-ice deposits for fuel production and other purposes. Fortunately for mission designers, water ice exists on Mars in plentiful volumes. The challenge is isolating accessible ice deposits within regions that optimize other preferred landing-site conditions. Here we present the first results of the Mars Subsurface Water Ice Mapping (SWIM) project, which has the aim of searching for buried ice resources across the mid-latitudes. Through the integration of orbital datasets in concert with new data-processing techniques, the SWIM project assesses the likelihood of ice by quantifying the consistency of multiple, independent data sources with the presence of ice. Concentrating our efforts across the majority of the northern hemisphere, our composite ice-consistency maps indicate that the broad plains of Arcadia and the extensive glacial networks across Deuteronilus Mensae match the greatest number of remote-sensing criteria for accessible ice-rich, subsurface material situated equatorwards of the contemporary ice-stability zone.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription ReadCube access
https://swim.psi.eduRelated ItemSWIM project website
https://pds.nasa.govRelated ItemNASA Planetary Data System ItemCaltech Murray Lab ItemUpdates of new SWIM products
Morgan, G. A.0000-0002-9513-8736
Putzig, N. E.0000-0003-4485-6321
Sizemore, H. G.0000-0002-6641-2388
Bramson, A. M.0000-0003-4903-0916
Baker, D. M. H.0000-0002-1284-0715
Mastrogiuseppe, M.0000-0001-9902-8115
Smith, I. B.0000-0002-4331-913X
Dundas, C. M.0000-0003-2343-7224
Additional Information:© 2021 Nature Publishing Group. Received 05 December 2019; Accepted 30 October 2020; Published 08 February 2021. The Subsurface Water Ice Mapping (SWIM) in the northern hemisphere of Mars project outlined in this paper was supported by grants provided by NASA through the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL subcontract number 1611855; JPL RSA: 1589197 and 1595721). Elements of the ice-detection techniques were pioneered through support provided to team members by the NASA Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter Project. The PSI also acknowledges SeisWare International Inc. for an academic license of their software that was used for the SHARAD subsurface mapping. Any use of trade, firm or product names is for descriptive purposes only and does not imply endorsement by the US Government. Data availability: The ice-consistency and thickness maps (as both GIS-compatible GeoTIFFs and browse images) along with the constituent data for each ice-detection technique are available on the SWIM project website at All of the instrument datasets used to derive our ice-detection techniques are available on the NASA Planetary Data System at The Dickson et al.24 Context Camera mosaic used to tabulate the geomorphology ice-consistency values can be found on the Caltech Murray Lab website at Updates of new SWIM products can be found at Author Contributions: G.A.M. and N.E.P. led the project and wrote the majority of the manuscript. N.E.P., H.G.S., R.H.H., Z.M.B. and M.R.P. conducted the thermal analysis. A.M.B., E.I.P., Z.M.B., M.M. and M.R.P. undertook the radar subsurface dielectric mapping and analysis. D.M.H.B. led the geomorphic mapping. G.A.M. and B.A.C. derived the radar surface analysis products. M.R.P. set up the computational and website infrastructure and archiving. M.R.P., Z.M.B. and G.A.M. were responsible for producing the integrated Ci products. A.P., C.M.D., I.B.S. and B.A.C. contributed to the broad analysis and assisted the other team members in the preparation of the manuscript. The authors declare no competing interests. Peer review information: Nature Astronomy thanks Hideaki Miyamoto, Reid Parsons and the other, anonymous, reviewer(s) for their contribution to the peer review of this work.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Subject Keywords:Astronomy and planetary science; Cryospheric science; Geomorphology
Issue or Number:3
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20210208-124307854
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Official Citation:Morgan, G.A., Putzig, N.E., Perry, M.R. et al. Availability of subsurface water-ice resources in the northern mid-latitudes of Mars. Nat Astron 5, 230–236 (2021).
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:107951
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:08 Feb 2021 21:27
Last Modified:09 Apr 2021 20:55

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