marsX marsX

MarsX: Mars Subsurface Exploration

February 12-16, 2018
California Institute of Technology - Pasadena, CA 91125

Workshop Overview:

The Martian subsurface contains key information of astrobiological, geochemical, climatological, and ISRU interest that cannot be obtained with surface missions alone—but such data are needed in order to help complete a journey started by the Viking landers 42 years ago and to prepare for human exploration.  Specifically, recent results from the MAVEN mission demonstrated that a significant fraction of the Martian atmosphere was lost. As the atmosphere thinned and interior and surface temperatures cooled, the upper liquid water table retrieved to warmer temperatures at increasing depths below the surface where internal heat created temperatures high enough to enable the conditions for stable liquid groundwater. If life ever existed on Mars, then it should have followed the retrieving liquid water towards greater depths. Hence our chances of finding signs of extinct life are largest in such last deep subsurface habitats that putative organisms inhabited before perishing. If life survived until today, then we might still find evidence at depths of a few hundred meters to many kilometers where liquid water could be stable for today’s low geothermal gradients. Also, before we can begin with human exploration of the red planet, we face the inevitable need for first determining the ISRU potential and hazards for human health within the Martian subsurface.

This workshop is the incubator for determining science questions, key technologies, collaborations, strategies, and mission proposals that will make deep and wide Mars subsurface access a feasible and affordable reality beyond Mars 2020. To achieve this goal, we will bring together a creative interdisciplinary team of experts from geobiology, planetary sciences, robotics, and strategy—from across academia, NASA, ESA, SpaceX, Honeybee Robotics, and Schlumberger to enable the next step in Martian exploration – access to its subsurface.

This workshop is co-sponsored by JPL, Simons Foundation’s Collaboration on the Origins of Life, Honeybee Robotics and the Keck Institute for Space Studies.

Schedule Coming Soon...

List of Workshop Participants Coming Soon...

Lodging for out-of-town attendees

There are a number of hotels (4 pages pdf, 143KB) that are close to the Caltech campus where we have a negotiated rate. (Please note that this negotiated rate does not guarantee you the lowest rate as there may be internet specials or AAA rates that may be better.)

Please note that with enough notice, you can reserve rooms for attendees at the Athenaeum, which has been recognized as a Platinum Club of America. Newly refurbished, it is conveniently located on the Caltech Campus. Contact Janet Seid if you would like to check the availability of this option.

Visa Requirements

For Visa requirement information and travel to the United States please visit the website of the U.S. Department of State.

Parking (for Visitors and for JPL Personnel)

For Visitors: From the Arroyo Parkway, turn right (east) on Del Mar Avenue. Proceed approximately one and a quarter miles. The Caltech campus will be on your right. Turn right (south) onto Michigan Avenue. Turn right into the outdoor parking lot and park in an unmarked spot. Buy a parking permit from the kiosks near the middle of the lot or request one ahead of time from KISS.

For JPL Personnel: JPLers may use their JPL hang tag for parking or request a special parking hangtag from the JPL parking office. Employees who do not have on-Lab parking privileges can obtain a hang tag created for this purpose from JPL parking coordinator Robert Kennedy (818-354-4586, Building 310-108B, 9/80 schedule). Please park in the outdoor parking lot located on Michigan Avenue in an unmarked spot.

Maps and General Information on Pasadena

Directions and Maps

Presentations will be posted here during the first week of the workshop. Coming Soon...