260.000 Euros for Mars Research

The Netherlands Space Office funds a PhD position at the VU University department of Earth Sciences to research Mars.

07/09/2015 | 2:24 PM

The research proposal of Gareth Davies, Jessica Flahaut and Wim van Westrenen (Geology & Geochemistry cluster) is one of the ten proposals that the Netherlands Space Office (NSO) finances, with a total of 2,4 million Euros. The project focuses on determining the physical and chemical properties of the earliest crust of planet Mars.

Davies: “With the 260.000 Euro funding we aim to combine remote sensing data with the newest generation of geophysical models of the inner parts of Mars. In this way we can identify the different types of rock that form the oldest crust of Mars. Ultimately, this will give us an insight into the processes that created the earliest Martian surface and hopefully help us understand the formation of the other rocky planets in our Solar System .”

The research involves the integration of remote sensing and petrological expertise at the VU with an international team of geophysical modelers in Paris and Toulouse. Data obtained from all past and present missions will be used to develop new models for the initial evolution of Mars (first 100 million years) that led to the formation of the earliest crust. “The project is extremely timely as we will be able to validate the new evolutionary models using the seismology study of the planet’s interior to be conducted towards the end of the decade by NASA’s INSIGHT mission”, says Davies.