PLANETARY TRAVERSE BASED GEOPHYSICAL FIELD ANALYSIS OF SAN FRANCISCO VOLCANIC FIELD STUDY REGION
Our research is designed to understand the impact of incorporating geophysical studies in a human planetary traverse on Mars by comparing the inclusion of geophysical fieldwork into a “mission based” geologic traverse, against a standard “terrestrial survey”. We selected a 7 km x 7 km study region located within the SFVF that is roughly centered on SP Crater, a cinder cone exhibiting 250 meters of relief. This region contains numerous cinder cone volcanoes, lava flows, and sedimentary deposits that are analogous to locations of scientific interest on Mars.
During our Fall 2016 field season, geophysical instrumentation including seismic, magnetic, and ground penetrating radar (GPR) were used to acquire data along the rover traverse paths and in proximity to the science station locations from the 2010 NASA Desert RATS exercise. The data from these instruments is being analyzed to provide a planetary traverse based understanding of the characteristics of local volcanic features (flows and vents) and their relationship with the underlying structure.
In addition, the geophysical field methods, resource and time constraints, and in-situ optimization from human adaptation to onsite geologic conditions can be used to begin to breakdown the scientific needs for conducting such a mission. Our initial analysis provides a planetary traverse based understanding of the characteristics of local volcanic features to the underlying structure, while laying the groundwork to define scientific needs for future planetary missions.