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2001 Annual Science Report

NASA Johnson Space Center Reporting  |  JUL 2000 – JUN 2001

Hematite on Mars: Possible Biogenic Origin

4 Institutions
3 Teams
0 Publications
0 Field Sites
Field Sites

Project Progress

Hematite on Mars: Possible Biogenic Origin (dm)

Our approach to the investigation of Hematite on Mars consists of three parts: First, we are evaluating literature data on the occurrence of low temperature, aqueous deposited hematite. Such deposits include some banded iron formations (BIFs), as well as some other iron-rich deposits in the geologic record. Next, we are undertaking a laboratory study of samples containing iron oxides to document the hematite occurances, the chemistry of the rock and its oxides, and the presence or absence of morphologic biomarkers such as fossil microbes, filaments, or biofilm. Finally, we are apply the results to an evaluation of hematite sites on Mars as identified by the Mars Global Surveyor (MGS). This project is also related to our Rock Varnish project which is identifying iron and manganese oxides and hydroxides associated with alteration zones or coatings on rocks.

    Carlton Allen
    Project Investigator

    Teresa Longazo

    Kathie Thomas-Keprta

    Susan Wentworth

    Frances Westall

    Luke Probst
    Undergraduate Student

    Rachel Schelble
    Undergraduate Student

    Objective 5.0
    Describe the sequences of causes and effects associated with the development of Earth's early biosphere and the global environment.

    Objective 6.0
    Define how ecophysiological processes structure microbial communities, influence their adaptation and evolution, and affect their detection on other planets.

    Objective 8.0
    Search for evidence of ancient climates, extinct life and potential habitats for extant life on Mars.

    Objective 14.0
    Determine the resilience of local and global ecosystems through their response to natural and human-induced disturbances.