A collection of articles will be published in this Special Issue of the Open Access Journal "Geosciences" from MDPI (Geosciences (ISSN 2076-3263)).
Deadline for manuscript submissions: 20 May 2017
Martian meteorites are a major source of information for understanding both primary and secondary geological and geochemical processes on the surface and subsurface of Mars. The planet is being investigated from an increasing number of orbiters and mobile landers with the primary goal to discover habitable environments, and ultimately extinct or extant forms of life. This requires the detailed study of both the surface and subsurface of the planet.
The International Society for Meteoritics and Planetary Science, in their Meteoritical Bulletin Database, currently lists 180 meteorites that are identified as Martian. If all of them truly originated from Mars, they already comprise a very extensive inventory of Martian samples. It is important to investigate the origin of these samples, the range of environments they cover, and their precise chronology. Their systematic and careful study should also be combined with in situ studies of the Martian surface. Martian meteorites will also be of paramount importance in aiding the selection of promising landing sites, troubleshooting current measurements on the surface of Mars, calibrating future Mars scientific payloads, and preparing future sample return missions.
State-of-the-art analytical instrumentation and advanced analytical methods and protocols are tested on Martian meteorites on Earth, enabling their study in an unprecedented detail. This is not yet possible with the instruments on-board the current Mars rovers. Mineralogical, geochemical, and textural observations clearly demonstrate secondary hydrous alteration on the planet, forming niche environments that could provide habitable sites in the sub-surface. Further research on Martian meteorites, such as the association of primary mineralogy with specific magmatic processes, the inventory of secondary minerals (i.e., clays, serpentine, carbonates, sulphates, halite), their relationship with Mars' hydrosphere and atmosphere, and their chronology will add to an already extensive database that will further unravel Mars' tantalizing history and its habitability.