Ten years at Mars: new global views plot the Red Planet’s history

3 June 2013

Joint Release

WASHINGTON— The European Space Agency today released new global maps of Mars that trace the history of water and volcanic activity on the Red Planet, and identify sites of special interest for the next generation of Mars explorers.

The unique atlas comprises a series of maps showing the distribution of minerals formed in water, by volcanic activity, and by weathering to create the dust that makes Mars red. They create a global context for the dominant geological processes that sculpted the planet we see today.

The maps were built from ten years of data collected by an instrument on the Mars Express spacecraft, the OMEGA mineralogical mapper, which determines the mineral composition of the martian surface by analysing the spectrum of reflected sunlight. Each map represents a different chapter in the story of geological evolution on Mars.

Click here for the space agency’s full press release on the new maps. The agency has issued the maps on the 10th anniversary of the launch of the Mars Express mission.

The maps draw upon findings from three scientific papers published by the American Geophysical Union (AGU) in 2012 and 2013. The most recent paper was published online on 17 May 2013 in AGU’s Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets.

Below are citations for the three papers. Journalists and public information officers (PIOs) of educational and scientific institutions who have registered with AGU can download PDF copies of the papers by clicking on the links provided below.

Or, you may order copies of the papers by emailing your request to Peter Weiss at [email protected]. Please provide your name, the name of your publication, and your phone number.

Neither the papers nor this press release are under embargo. Below is detailed information about the three papers (listed most recent first):

American Geophysical Union European Space Agency Joint Release

AGU Contact:
Peter Weiss, +1 202 777 7507, [email protected]

ESA Contacts:
Markus Bauer, ESA Science and Robotic Exploration Communication Officer
+31 71 565 6799 (mobile: +31 61 594 3 954), [email protected]

Olivier Witasse,  Mars Express Project Scientist
+31 71 565 8015, [email protected]


Hydrous minerals on Mars as seen by the CRISM and OMEGA imaging spectrometers: Updated global view


J. Carter
European Southern Observatory, Santiago, Chile; and Institut d’Astrophysique Spatiale, Universite Paris-Sud, Orsay, France;
F. Poulet and J.-P. Bibring
Institut d’Astrophysique Spatiale, Universite Paris-Sud, Orsay, France;
N. Mangold
Laboratoire de Planetologie et Geodynamique de Nantes, Universite de Nantes, Nantes, France;
S. Murchie
Applied Physics Laboratory, Laurel, Maryland, USA.


Global investigation of olivine on Mars: Insights into crust and mantle compositions


A. Ody, F. Poulet, and J.-P. Bibring
IAS, Université Paris-Sud, Orsay cedex, France;
D. Loizeau
ESTEC-ESA, AZ Noordwijk, The Netherlands;
J. Carter: ESO, Santiago, Chile;
B. Gondet and Y. Langevin
IAS, Université Paris-Sud, Orsay cedex, France.


Global maps of anhydrous minerals at the surface of Mars from OMEGA/MEx


A. Ody, F. Poulet, Y. Langevin, and J.-P. Bibring
IAS, Université Paris-Sud, Orsay, France;
G. Bellucci and F. Altieri
Istituto di Astrofisica e Planetologia Spaziali, INAF, Rome, Italy;
B. Gondet and M. Vincendon
IAS, Université Paris-Sud, Orsay, France;
J. Carter
European Southern Observatory, Santiago, Chile;
N. Manaud
European Space Astronomy Center, Villanueva de la Cañada, Spain.