Mars Science Research AT ESA

The ESA Science community at ESAC and ESTEC works collectively on various international research projects related to planet Mars, taking advantage of the sinergies between Mars Express, ExoMars, Mars Sample Return and other Mars missions and studies. Current activities cover a wide range of scientific topics from Martial geology (interior, subsurface and surface), Martian atmosphere (clouds, dust storms, trace gases, ionosphere, ...), interaction of the Martian magnetosphere with the Solar wind and finally both Martian moons (Phobos and Deimos).

The main goal is to support the international Mars science community through research collaborations with various external institutions, in support of the current missions and preparations for future missions to Mars, led by ESA and/or other international agencies (NASA, Roscosmos, JAXA, CNSA, UAE ...).

Science Collaborations:

Current international collaborations and research projects include:

 - Mars-Express and ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter coordinated observations (BIRA, Latmos, IKI, ISSI, DLR, etc..) 

 - Mars Radio Science mutual occultation science and data processing (TU Deft, Imperial College, Univ. Trieste)

 - Mars Wind and Wave Mapping (IA Lisbon, VLT, IAA, DLR Berlin, ...)

 - Mars ionospheric and magnetospheric studies in comparison with other solar system bodies (Leicester Univ., ...)

 - Phobos landing site working group and moon lander mission studies (George Mason Univ., ...)

 - VMC Scientific Exploitation (EHU-UPV)

 - HRSC High Level Data processing (DLR, FU Berlin)

 - MARSIS High Level Data processing (Leicester Univ., INAF)

 - SPICAM High Level Data processing (LATMOS)

 - ASPERA High Level Data processing (IRF)

 - ...

International Workshops and Conferences:

- Planet Mars V, Les Houches, 24-29 April 2022

- European General Assembly, Vienna, 23–27 May 2022

- Mars Atmospheric Modeling and Observations, Paris, 1-17 June 2022

- EuroPlanet Science Congress, Granada, 18-23 September 2022

- ...

ESA Mars science community:

The ESA Mars science community is largely based on the Research Fellows at ESAC and ESTEC, in collaboration with Science Operations Teams and Project Scientists :

Recent publications:

See below a short list of the main publications within the Martian group at ESA in the past years.
A more complete list can be found in ADS Mars Research Group Publications.


(2024) Diamant S. J. M., Bahia R. S., Sefton-Nash E., Miguel Y. "Martian paleolake outlet canyons - Evidence for controls on valley network formation", Icarus, 408, 115835.

(2024) Favaro E. A., Balme M. R., McNeil J. D., Fawdon P., Davis J. M., et al. "Periodic Bedrock Ridges at Oxia Planum and Chryse Planitia, Mars: Evidence for widespread aeolian erosion of an ancient surface by regional paleowinds", Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 626, 118522.

(2023) Barrett A. M., Fawdon P., Favaro E. A., Balme M. R., Wright J., et al. "Mawrth Vallis, Mars, classified using the NOAH-H deep-learning terrain classification system", Journal of Maps, 19, 2285480.

(2023) Barrett A. M., Wright J., Favaro E., Fawdon P., Balme M. R., et al. "Oxia Planum, Mars, classified using the NOAH-H deep-learning terrain classification system", Journal of Maps, 19, 2112777.

(2023) Slipski M., Kleinböhl A., Tirsch D., Kminek G., Jonniaux G., et al. "The radiometric environment for Mars limb observations by the Mars Sample Return Earth Return Orbiter", Advances in Space Research, 72, 4048.

(2023) Sefton-Nash E., Wray J., Hauber E., Thomas N., Wilson C. "Preface for special issue on the Colour and Stereo Surface Imaging System (CaSSIS) at Mars", Planetary and Space Science, 236, 105753.

(2023) Sánchez-Cano B., Witasse O., Knutsen E. W., Meggi D., Viet S., et al. "Solar Energetic Particle Events Detected in the Housekeeping Data of the European Space Agency's Spacecraft Flotilla in the Solar System", Space Weather, 21, e2023SW003540.

(2023) Riu L., Carter J., Poulet F., Cardesín-Moinelo A., Martin P. "Global surficial water content stored in hydrated silicates at Mars from OMEGA/MEx", Icarus, 398, 115537.

(2023) Czaja A. D., Zorzano M.-P., Kminek G., Meyer M. A., Beaty D. W., et al. "Report of the Science Community Workshop on the proposed First Sample Depot for the Mars Sample Return Campaign", Meteoritics and Planetary Science, 58, 885.

(2023) Sánchez-Cano B., Lester M., Cartacci M., Orosei R., Witasse O., et al. "Ionosphere of Mars during the consecutive solar minima 23/24 and 24/25 as seen by MARSIS-Mars Express", Icarus, 393, 114616.

(2023) Carter J., Riu L., Poulet F., Bibring J.-P., Langevin Y., et al. "A Mars orbital catalog of aqueous alteration signatures (MOCAAS)", Icarus, 389, 115164.

(2022) Wright J., Barrett A. M., Fawdon P., Favaro E. A., Balme M. R., et al. "Jezero crater, Mars: application of the deep learning NOAH-H terrain classification system", Journal of Maps, 18, 484.

(2022) Bahia R. S. "Morphological and hydrological analysis of volcanic flank valleys - Evidence for a volcanic origin", Planetary and Space Science, 223, 105592.

(2022) Sánchez-Lavega A., Erkoreka A., Hernández-Bernal J., del Río-Gaztelurrutia T., Cardesin-Moinelo A., et al. "Cellular patterns and dry convection in textured dust storms at the edge of Mars North Polar Cap", Icarus, 387, 115183.

(2022) Bahia R. S., Covey-Crump S., Jones M. A., Mitchell N. "Discordance analysis on a high-resolution valley network map of Mars: Assessing the effects of scale on the conformity of valley orientation and surface slope direction", Icarus, 383, 115041.

(2022) Carrier B. L., Beaty D. W., Hutzler A., Smith A. L., Kminek G., et al. "Science and Curation Considerations for the Design of a Mars Sample Return (MSR) Sample Receiving Facility (SRF)", Astrobiology, 22, S.

(2022) Kminek G., Benardini J. N., Brenker F. E., Brooks T., Burton A. S., et al. "COSPAR Sample Safety Assessment Framework (SSAF)", Astrobiology, 22, S.

(2022) Grady M. M., Summons R. E., Swindle T. D., Westall F., Kminek G., et al. "The Scientific Importance of Returning Airfall Dust as a Part of Mars Sample Return (MSR)", Astrobiology, 22, S.

(2022) Haltigin T., Hauber E., Kminek G., Meyer M. A., Agee C. B., et al. "Rationale and Proposed Design for a Mars Sample Return (MSR) Science Program", Astrobiology, 22, S.

(2022) Meyer M. A., Kminek G., Beaty D. W., Carrier B. L., Haltigin T., et al. "Final Report of the Mars Sample Return Science Planning Group 2 (MSPG2)", Astrobiology, 22, S.

(2022) Kminek G., Meyer M. A., Beaty D. W., Carrier B. L., Haltigin T., et al. "Mars Sample Return (MSR): Planning for Returned Sample Science", Astrobiology, 22, S.

(2022) Riu L., Carter J., Poulet F. "The M3 project: 3 - Global abundance distribution of hydrated silicates at Mars", Icarus, 374, 114809.

(2022) Voelker M., Ruiz J., Parro L. M., Hauber E., Cardesín-Moinelo A., et al. "From hot to cold? - Hydrothermal activities as a source for icy-debris flows on Dryas Mons, Terra Sirenum, Mars", Icarus, 372, 114698.

(2021) Sefton-Nash E., Thébault G., Witasse O., Koschny D., Sánchez-Cano B., et al. "Visibility analysis of Phobos to support a science and exploration platform", Earth, Planets and Space, 73, 215.

(2021) Ruesch O., Hess M., Wohlfarth K., Heyer T., Wöhler C., et al. "Synthetic topography from the decameter to the centimeter scale on Mars for scientific and rover operations of the ESA-Roscosmos ExoMars mission", Planetary and Space Science, 205, 105301.

(2021) Alday J., Trokhimovskiy A., Irwin P. G. J., Wilson C. F., Montmessin F., et al. "Isotopic fractionation of water and its photolytic products in the atmosphere of Mars", Nature Astronomy, 5, 943.

(2021) Parfitt C. E., McSweeney A. G., De Backer L., Orgel C., Ball A. J., et al. "Small Mars Mission Architecture Study", Advances in Astronomy, 2021, 5516892.

(2021) Knutsen E. W., Witasse O., Sanchez-Cano B., Lester M., Wimmer-Schweingruber R. F., et al. "Galactic cosmic ray modulation at Mars and beyond measured with EDACs on Mars Express and Rosetta", Astronomy and Astrophysics, 650, A165.

(2021) Palmerio E., Kilpua E. K. J., Witasse O., Barnes D., Sánchez-Cano B., et al. "CME Magnetic Structure and IMF Preconditioning Affecting SEP Transport", Space Weather, 19, e2020SW002654.

(2021) Hernández-Bernal J., Sánchez-Lavega A., del Río-Gaztelurrutia T., Hueso R., Ravanis E., et al. "A Long Term Study of Mars Mesospheric Clouds Seen at Twilight Based on Mars Express VMC Images", Geophysical Research Letters, 48, e92188.

(2021) Hernández-Bernal J., Sánchez-Lavega A., del Río-Gaztelurrutia T., Ravanis E., Cardesín-Moinelo A., et al. "An Extremely Elongated Cloud Over Arsia Mons Volcano on Mars: I. Life Cycle", Journal of Geophysical Research (Planets), 126, e06517.

(2021) Lopez-Valverde M. A., Titov D. V., Wilson C. F. "Introduction to Icarus special issue "From Mars Express to ExoMars"", Icarus, 353, 114118.

(2021) Cardesín-Moinelo A., Geiger B., Lacombe G., Ristic B., Costa M., et al. "First year of coordinated science observations by Mars Express and ExoMars 2016 Trace Gas Orbiter", Icarus, 353, 113707.

(2020) Vago J. L., Westall F. "Similarities between terrestrial planets at the time life appeared on Earth. Comment on "Mineral self-organization on a lifeless planet" by J.M. García-Ruiz et al.", Physics of Life Reviews, 34, 92.



This page is maintained by Alejandro Cardesin & Lucie Riu (ESAC) and Elliot Sefton-Nash & Eleni Bohacek (ESTEC).

Please contact us for any question regarding Mars research at both sites.