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

A new classification and terminology system towards the development and utilisation of Martian simulants

Hector-Andreas Stavrakakis1,3,4, Dimitra Argyrou2,3, and Elias Chatzitheodoridis1,3,4
Hector-Andreas Stavrakakis et al.
  • 1National Technical University of Athens, School of Mining and Metallurgical Engineering, Department of Geological Sciences, Athens, Greece.
  • 2Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Faculty of Geology, Thessaloniki, Greece
  • 3STELLAR DISCOVERIES Scientific Association, Athens, Greece
  • 4Network of Researchers on the Chemical Evolution of Life (NoRCEL), Leeds, UK

Since the 90s, an ever-increasing number of missions to Mars have been conducted which offer a plethora of information about the red planet. This information also led to the rapid development and advancement of prominent scientific fields in space and planetary exploration, such as astrobiology and ISRU technologies. The experimentation and research requirements of those fields, as well as, the need for better vehicle and instrument testing for further development, so that they will better operate on Martian conditions and its surface, increase in significance. Currently, this is performed with the use of natural (Analogue) and synthetic (Simulant) Geomaterials. 

However, the accessibility and the analysis of analogue and simulant data requires a thorough literature review in order to  identify implications for future research. In our latest research work, we conducted this detailed review and we identified, grouped, and analysed a number of implications that pertain mostly to the synthesis procedures of simulants, but also extend to the in situ analytical data from Mars that are used as a reference. Furthermore, we identified an urgent need for improving the current state of simulant research, as it is currently very time consuming and has implications, in hope that systematic work on the topic will culminate in a general standardisation effort.

The current work was done by analysing data on all available simulant geomaterials in order to provide recommendations and suggestions for mitigation actions for their development and their use during research, as well as to advocate the needs for a unified standardisation system. These actions include: (a) the consolidation of existing literature into database formats with easy access, based on (b) the development of a new informational construct based on ontologies and semantics, (c) to propose a classification system for simulants that is missing from the literature, and (d) assist the simulant geomaterial selection process through a proposed step algorithm. The ontological and semantic mindset should be followed at every step, and it is incorporated into the classification system, thus enabling easy access and interpretation by both humans and machines. This set of tools and recommendations should be applicable on all simulant related facets of space exploration.


How to cite: Stavrakakis, H.-A., Argyrou, D., and Chatzitheodoridis, E.: A new classification and terminology system towards the development and utilisation of Martian simulants, EGU General Assembly 2022, Vienna, Austria, 23–27 May 2022, EGU22-12988,, 2022.


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