Human Exploration Destinations: Non-Polar Ice on Mars and Large Pyroclastic Deposits on the Moon

Full Metadata


Human Exploration Destinations: Non-Polar Ice on Mars and Large Pyroclastic Deposits on the Moon
Jawin, Erica Ruth (creator)
Head, James (Advisor)
Pieters, Carle (Reader)
Rutherford, Malcolm (Reader)
Lee, Jung-Eun (Reader)
Fastook, James (Reader)
Brown University. Department of Earth, Environmental, and Planetary Sciences (sponsor)
Copyright Date
The next few decades are expected to host a reinvigoration of planetary exploration by humans. The most likely targets for near-term human exploration include the Moon and Mars – as such, identifying and examining potential exploration destinations on these bodies is critical to facilitate exploration and maximize scientific return. This dissertation therefore includes scientific analyses of targets representing potential future human exploration destinations: non-polar glacial deposits on Mars and pyroclastic deposits on the Moon. Both environments can facilitate persistent human presence due to favorable locations and useful in-situ resources, and each location is scientifically critical for understanding the history of each planet. Martian non-polar glacial deposits formed during periods of high mean obliquity and contain recent evidence of deglaciation. Glaciated mid-latitude craters are analyzed in this work, and evidence is found of a martian paraglacial period, in which post-glacial modification occurred in response to deglaciation. Observing the distribution of paraglacial features in the martian mid-latitudes can help to constrain climatic variability in recent martian history; in addition, variations in the paraglacial response can yield insight into regional climate patterns. Mapping paraglacial features also identified the presence of near-surface ice, identifying accessible resources for future human exploration destinations on Mars. On the Moon, pyroclastic deposits are often found in “volcanic complexes” such as on the Aristarchus plateau, accompanied by distinct volcanic features including sinuous rilles, cones, and domes, suggesting extended and complex eruptive histories in these regions. The Aristarchus plateau hosts the largest lunar pyroclastic deposit as well as the widest and deepest lunar sinuous rille. A model is presented in which the major volcanic features on the plateau could have formed in a single eruption; spectral unmixing model results support this eruptive framework. Analyses of the nearby Prinz-Harbinger region show that other locations on the Moon also contain high concentrations of volcanic features which formed by both effusive and explosive mechanisms, indicating a rich and varied lunar volcanic history. Pyroclastic deposits can provide glimpses of the volatile abundance of the lunar interior, and contain useful resources (e.g., oxygen, titanium, He-3) for future human exploration of the Moon.
Lunar volcanism
Remote sensing
Mars (Planet)
Exploration of outer space
Glacial landforms
Thesis (Ph. D.)--Brown University, 2018
xxv, 278 p.


Jawin, Erica Ruth, "Human Exploration Destinations: Non-Polar Ice on Mars and Large Pyroclastic Deposits on the Moon" (2018). Earth, Environmental and Planetary Sciences Theses and Dissertations. Brown Digital Repository. Brown University Library.