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 and other missions. 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 ...).

Various international collaborations and research projects include:

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

 - VMC Scientific and Technical Exploitation (EHU-UPV, MADPS Bern)

 - MARSIS High Level Data processing (EPFL, INAF)

 - SPICAM High Level Data processing (LATMOS)

 - ASPERA High Level Data processing (IRF)

 - Mars dust storm wind measurements from ground telescopes (VLT, CARMENES, IA, IAA, ...)

 - 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., ...)

 - ASPERA-MARSIS active plasma sounding research (in preparation)

 - Mars Radio Science occultation studies (in preparation)

 - Coordination with ExoMars Rover Surface Platfom (in preparation)

 - ...


International Workshops and Conferences TO COME:

- 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:

The list of publication within the Martian group at ESA is kept updated for the past four years. Below is a summary of the last two years publications. The complete list can be find at this link Martian-publication-list.

2022.         L.Riu, J. Carter, F. Poulet, “The M3 project: 3- Abundance distribution of hydrated silicates at Mars”, Icarus,  10.1016/j.icarus.2021.114809                                                                                                                                                             

2021.         O. Ruesch, M. Hess, K. Wohlfarth, T. Heyer, C. Wöhler, T. Bontognali, C. Orgell, E. Sefton-Nash, J.-L. Josset, and J. L. Vago, “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, 10.1016/j.pss.2021.105301

Cardesín-Moinelo, A., Geiger, B., Lacombe, G., Ristic, B., Costa, M., Titov, D., Svedhem, H., Marín-Yaseli, J., Merritt, D., Martin, P., López-Valverde, M. A., Wolkenberg, P., Gondet, B., Mars Express Team, & ExoMars 2016 Science Ground Segment Team. "First year of coordinated science observations by Mars Express and ExoMars 2016 Trace Gas Orbiter", Icarus, 353, 113707.

M. Voelker, J. Ruiz,; L. Parro; E. Hauber; A. Cardesín-Moinelo; P. Martin. "From Hot to Cold? - Hydrothermal Activities as a Source for Icy-Debris-Flows on Dryas Mons, Terra Sirenum, Mars". Icarus, Volume 372, 15 January 2022, 114698

P. Fawdon, P. Grindrod, C. Orgel, E. Sefton-Nash, S. Adeli, M. Balme, G. Cremonese, J. Davis, A. Frigeri, E. Hauber, L. Le Deit, D. Loizeau, A. Nass, A. Parks-Bowen, C. Quantin-Nataf, N. Thomas, J. L. Vago, and M. Volat, “The geography of Oxia Planum”, Journal of Maps, 17:2,752768, 10.1080/17445647.2021.1982035

E. Sefton-Nash, G. Thébault, O. Witasse, D. Koschny, B. Sánchez-Cano, A. Cardesín-Moinelo. "Visibility analysis of Phobos to support a science and exploration platform". Earth, Planets and Space volume 73, Article number: 215

C. E. Parfitt, A. McSweeney, L. De Bcker, C. Orgel, A. Ball, M. Khan, S. Vijendran, “Small Mars Mission Architecture Study”, Advances in Astronomy, Volume 2021, Article ID 5516892,

F. Westall, K. Hickman-Lewis, B. Cavalazzi, F. Foucher, L. Clodoré, and J. L. Vago, “On biosignatures for Mars”, Int. Journal of Astrobiology, 10.1017/S1473550421000264

Hernández-Bernal, J., Sánchez-Lavega, A., del Río-Gaztelurrutia, T., Hueso, R., Ravanis, E., Cardesín-Moinelo, A., Wood, S., & Titov, D. "A Long Term Study of Mars Mesospheric Clouds Seen at Twilight Based on Mars Express VMC Images", Geophysical Research Letters, 48, e92188.

Hernández-Bernal, J., Sánchez-Lavega, A., del Río-Gaztelurrutia, T., Ravanis, E., Cardesín-Moinelo, A., Connour, K., Tirsch, D., Ordóñez-Etxeberria, I., Gondet, B., Wood, S., Titov, D., Schneider, N. M., Hueso, R., Jaumann, R., & Hauber, E.. "An Extremely Elongated Cloud Over Arsia Mons Volcano on Mars: I. Life Cycle". Journal of Geophysical Research (Planets), 126, e06517.

B. Sánchez-Cano, M. Lester, M. Cartacci, R. Orosei, O. Witasse, P.-L. Blelly, W. Kofman, “Ionosphere of Mars during the solar minima 23/24 and 24/25 as seen by MARSIS-Mars Express”, Icarus, 10.1016/j.icarus.2021.114616

E. W. Knusten, O. Witasse, B. Sánchez-Cano, M. Lester, R. F. Wimmer-Schweingruber, M. Denis, J. Godfrey, A. Johnstone, “Galactic cosmic ray modulation at Mars and beyond measured with EDACs on Mars Express and Rosetta”, A&A, 10.1051/0004-6361/202140767

K. Peter, M. Pätzold, G. J. Molina-Cuberos, F. González-Galindo, O. Witasse, S. Tellmann, B. Häusler, M. K. Bird, “The lower dayside ionosphere of Mars from 14 years of MaRS radio science observaitons”, Icarus, 10.1016/j.icarus.2020.114213

F. Müller, O. Carraz, P. Visser, O. Witasse, “Cold atom gravimetry for planetary missions”, PSS, 10.1016/j.pss.2020.105110

P. Kajdič, B. Sánchez-Cano, L. Neves-Ribeiro, O. Witasse, G. C. Bernal, D. Rojas-Castillo, H. Nilsson, A. Fedorov, “Interaction of space weather phenomena with Mars plasma environment during solar minimum 23/24”, JGP: Space Physics, 10.1029/2020JA028442


2020.       J. L. Vago and F. Westall, “Similarities between terrestrial planets at the time life appeared on Earth:  Comment on ‘Mineral self-organisation on a lifeless planet’ by J. M. García-Ruiz et al.”, Physics of Life Reviews, 10.1016/j.plrev.2020.05.003

Voelker, M., Hauber, E., Cardesín-Moinelo, A., & Martin, P. "Quantifying the latitudinal distribution of climate-related landforms on Mars' southern hemisphere". Icarus, 346, 113806.

M. Veneranda, G. Lopez-Reyes, E. Pascual Sanchez, A. M. Krzesińska, J. A. Manrique-Martinez, A. Sanz-Arranz, C. Lantz, E. A. Lalla, A. Moral, J. Medina, F. Poulet, H. Dypvik, S. C. Werner, J. L. Vago, and F. Rull, “ExoMars Raman Laser Spectrometer:  A tool to semiquantify the serpentinization degree of olivine-rich rocks on Mars”, Astrobiology, 21(3), pp. 1–16, 10.1089/ast.2020.2265

G. Lopez-Reyes, C. Pilorget, A. G. Moral, J. A. Manrique, A. Sanz, A. Berrocal, M. Veneranda, F. Rull, J. Medina, V. Hamm, J.-P. Bibring, J. A. Rodriguez, C. Perez Canora, E. Mateo-Martí, O. Pietro-Ballesteros, E. Lalla, and J. L. Vago, “Raman Laser Spectrometer (RLS) calibration target design to allow onboard combined science between RLS and MicrOmega instruments on the ExoMars rover”, Journal of Raman Spectroscopy, 51(9), pp. 1718–1730, 10.1002/jrs.6023

F. Poulet, C. Gross, B. Horgan, J. L. Bishop, J. Carter, C. Orgel, “Mawrth Vallis, Mars: a fascinating place for in situ exploration”, Astrobiology, 20, 2,

A. Martinez, R. Modolo, F. Leblanc, J. Y. Chafray, O. Witass, N. Romanelli, Y. Dong, T. Hara, J. Halekas, R. Lillis, J. McFadden, F. Eparvier, L. Leclercq, J. Luhmann, S. Curry, B. Jakosky, “Influence of the Solar Wind dynamic pressure on the ion precipitation: MAVEN observations and simulation results”, JGR: Space Physics, 10.1029/2020JA028183

B. Sánchez-Cano, M. Lester, O. Witasse, D. D. Morgan, H. Opgenoorth, D. J. Andrews, P.-L. Blelly, S. W. H. Cowley, A. J. Kopf, F. Leblamc, J. R. Espley, A. Cardesín-Moinelo, “Mars’ ionospheric Interaction with Comet C/2013 A1 Siding Spring’s Coma at their closest approach as seen by Mars Express”, JGR: Space Physics, 10.1029/2019JA027344

P. Conroy, G. Quinsac, N. Floury, O. Witasse, M. Cartacci, R. Orosei, W. Kofman, B. Sánchez-Cano, “A new method for determining the total electron content in Mars’ ionosphere based on Mars Express MARSIS data”, Planetary and Space Science, 10.1016/j.pss.2019.104812

A. Burrell, B. Sánchez-Canon, O. Witasse, M. Lester, M. Cartacci, “Comparison of terrestrial and Martian TEC at dawn and dusk during solstices”, Earth, Planets and Space, 10.1186/s40623-020-01258-3



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

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