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Title: Novel X-ray diffraction and the remote analysis of Mars
Author: Turner, Stuart Matthew Robert
ISNI:       0000 0004 6062 7761
Awarding Body: University of Leicester
Current Institution: University of Leicester
Date of Award: 2017
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The scientific exploration of Mars is currently being undertaken with the goals: to determine if Mars ever supported life; to understand the past and present climate; and to understand the evolution of its surface and interior. To achieve these goals, orbital and in-situ exploration of Mars is required. Detailed orbital high-resolution hyperspectral, image and topographic datasets enable the identification of areas of scientific interest on the surface of Mars. In-situ measurements are then taken by planetary landers and rovers to characterise the environment in great detail. This thesis has used orbital datasets to investigate impact craters on Mars, and has also focused on the development of a novel X-ray diffraction instrument technique that could be used to characterise the surface of Mars in-situ. The study of post-Noachian impact craters with hyperspectral data returned by the Compact Reconnaissance Imaging Spectrometer for Mars (CRISM), highlighted two impact craters that may have hosted an impact-induced hydrothermal system. One of these impact craters shows spectral evidence for the presence of the mineral prehnite (Ca2Al2Si3O10(OH)2) that likely formed as a result of impact-induced hydrothermal activity, and might have provided a habitable environment for microbial life. A novel back-reflection X-ray diffraction technique that is uniquely insensitive to sample morphology, facilitating the analysis of unprepared whole-rock samples, was successfully tested on a range of samples from rock-forming minerals to carbonates, sulphates and phyllosilicates. A range of experimental facilities were utilised in this work, including a beamline at the Diamond Light Source synchrotron facility where the technique was further validated in a high-resolution configuration. The work presented in this thesis exemplifies the identification of an area of scientific interest on Mars, and the extensive testing and development of an instrument technique that could be used to geologically characterise such an identified area in-situ.
Supervisor: Bridges, John C. ; Hansford, Graeme Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available