Trajectories of Martian Habitability

Charles S. Cockell*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalLiterature reviewpeer-review

Abstract

Beginning from two plausible starting points-an uninhabited or inhabited Mars-this paper discusses the possible trajectories of martian habitability over time. On an uninhabited Mars, the trajectories follow paths determined by the abundance of uninhabitable environments and uninhabited habitats. On an inhabited Mars, the addition of a third environment type, inhabited habitats, results in other trajectories, including ones where the planet remains inhabited today or others where planetary-scale life extinction occurs. By identifying different trajectories of habitability, corresponding hypotheses can be described that allow for the various trajectories to be disentangled and ultimately a determination of which trajectory Mars has taken and the changing relative abundance of its constituent environments. Key Words: Mars-Habitability-Liquid water-Planetary science. Astrobiology 14, 182-203.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)182-203
Number of pages22
JournalAstrobiology
Volume14
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2014

Keywords

  • ORBITER LASER ALTIMETER
  • CLAY MINERAL FORMATION
  • NORTH POLAR-REGION
  • EARLY MARS
  • IMPACT CRATERS
  • TERRESTRIAL PLANETS
  • OMEGA/MARS EXPRESS
  • MERIDIANI-PLANUM
  • EARLY EARTH
  • BIOLOGICAL IMPLICATIONS

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