News from Mar 01, 2018
A new study on the formation of phyllosilicate (clay) deposits on Mars with participation from our working group was published in the March issue of the famous journal Nature Astronomy. Image data from the HRSC camera was used for investigations and also appears as cover image of the issue. The study seeks to understand the discrepancy between the observation of water-related features as clay deposits, valley networks and deltas on Mars, which require long-term warm and wet conditions, and today's cold and dry climate. Since clays are present in ancient, altered rocks on Mars, understanding their formation provides clues about the early Martian climate. With a novel geochemical model for early Mars the authors argue that short-term warm and wet environments can also enable clay formation during a generally cold early Mars. Clay deposits are found in many locations on Mars, but they are especially abundant in Nili Fossae and Mawrth Vallis, the latter being one out of two possible landing sites for ESA's ExoMars 2020 mission.