EGU General Assembly 2021
© Author(s) 2022. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Team Mapping of Oxia Planum for the ExoMars 2022 Rover-Surface Platform Mission

Elliot Sefton-Nash1, Peter Fawdon2, Csilla Orgel1, Matt Balme2, Cathy Quantin-Nataf3, Matthieu Volat3, Ernst Hauber4, Solmaz Adeli4, Joel Davis5, Peter M. Grindrod5, Alessandro Frigeri6, Laetitia Le Deit7, Damien Loizeau8, Andrea Nass4, Ottaviano Ruesch9, Sander de Witte1, and Jorge L. Vago1
Elliot Sefton-Nash et al.
  • 1ESTEC, European Space Agency, Keplerlaan 1, 2201 AZ Noordwijk, The Netherlands (
  • 2The Open University, Walton Hall, Milton Keynes, United Kingdom
  • 3Laboratoire de Géologie de Lyon, Université de Lyon, France
  • 4Institut für Planetenforschung, Deutsches Zentrum für Luft und Raumfahrt (DLR), Berlin, Germany
  • 5Natural History Museum, London, UK
  • 6Istituto di Astrofisica e Planetologia Spaziali (INAF-IAPS), Via del Fosso del Cavaliere, Roma, Italy
  • 7Laboratoire de Planétologie et Géodynamique, Université de Nantes, France
  • 8Université Paris Saclay, France
  • 9University of Münster, Germany

Oxia Planum (OP), located at the transition between the ancient terrain of Arabia Terra and the low lying basin of Chryse Planitia, will be the landing site for the ESA-Roscosmos ExoMars Programme’s 2022 mission [1]. The descent module and landing platform, Kazachock, will transport the Rosalind Franklin Rover to search for signs of past and present life on Mars, and investigate the geochemical environment in the shallow subsurface over a 211-sol nominal mission.

OP forms a shallow basin, open to the north, characterized by clay-bearing bedrock, and episodic geological activity spans from the ~mid-Noachian to ~early Amazonian in age [2,3,4]. Building a thorough understanding of Oxia Planum prior to operations will provide testable hypotheses that facilitate interpretation of results, and hence provide an effective approach to address the mission’s science objectives. To this end, we have run a detailed group mapping campaign at HiRISE-scale using the Multi-Mission Geographic Information System (MMGIS) [5], co-registered HRSC [6], CaSSIS and HiRISE mosaics [7], and 116 1km2 quads covering the 1-sigma landing ellipse envelope. Complementary CTX-scale mapping covers the wider area around the landing site and is described elsewhere [8].

Throughout 2020, 84 mapping volunteers associated with the mission’s Rover Science Operations Working Group followed a pre-formulated programme of training, familiarisation and mapping. With the mapping phase complete, a small sub-team are focused on map reconciliation phase, comprising data cleaning and science decision making. The process will culminate in map finalisation and submission for publication, and use in activities to plan rover science activities.

This campaign yields important advances for overall science readiness of the ExoMars 2022 mission:

  • Team experience working, communicating and learning together, valuable for operations.
  • Building team knowledge of the landing site, and the main scientific interpretations.
  • Curated datasets and software available for team use in ongoing planning.

High-resolution map data representing our geologic understanding of Oxia Planum. This is an input to ongoing RSOWG work to construct the mission strategic plan, which provides science traceability from mission objectives to rover activities.

Acknowledgments: We thank Fred Calef and Tariq Soliman at JPL for their support regarding MMGIS.

References: [1] Vago, J. L. et al., (2017) Astrobiology 17 (6–7), 471–510. [2] Carter, J. et al., (2013) J. Geophys. Res. 118 (4), 831–858. [3] Quantin-Nataf, C. et al., (2021) Astrobiol. 21 (3),  doi:10.1089/ast.2019.2191. [4] Fawdon P. et al., (2019) LPSC50 #2132. [5] Calef, F. J. et al., (2019) in 4th Planet. Data Work., Vol. 2151. [6] Gwinner, K. et al., (2016) Planet. Space Sci. 126, 93–138. [7] Volat, M. et al., (2020), EPSC, #564. [8] Hauber, E. et al. (2021), LPSC52.

How to cite: Sefton-Nash, E., Fawdon, P., Orgel, C., Balme, M., Quantin-Nataf, C., Volat, M., Hauber, E., Adeli, S., Davis, J., Grindrod, P. M., Frigeri, A., Le Deit, L., Loizeau, D., Nass, A., Ruesch, O., de Witte, S., and Vago, J. L.: Team Mapping of Oxia Planum for the ExoMars 2022 Rover-Surface Platform Mission, EGU General Assembly 2021, online, 19–30 Apr 2021, EGU21-15101,, 2021.

Corresponding displays formerly uploaded have been withdrawn.