Geology of Mars after the first 40 years of exploration

Angelo Pio Rossi, Stephan van Gasselt

Abstract


The knowledge of Martian geology has increased enormously in the last 40 yr. Several missions orbiting or roving Mars have revolutionized our understanding of its evolution and geological features, which in several ways are similar to Earth, but are extremely different in many respects. The impressive dichotomy between the two Martian hemispheres is most likely linked to its impact cratering history, rather than internal dynamics such as on Earth. Mars' volcanism has been extensive, very longlived and rather constant in its setting. Water was available in large quantities in the distant past of Mars, when a magnetic field and more vigorous tectonics were active. Exogenic forces have been shaping Martian landscapes and have led to a plethora of landscapes shaped by wind, water and ice. Mars' dynamical behavior continues, with its climatic variation affecting climate and geology until very recent times. This paper tries to summarize major highlights in Mars' Geology, and points to deeper and more extensive sources of important scientific contributions and future exploration.



Keywords


planets and satellites: Mars—Geology—surface processes—interior processes

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Print ISSN: 1674-4527

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