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SPS Seminar - Ice, water, and the future of Mars exploration

Friday, March 10, 2023 - 14:00 to 15:00

When:  Thursday 24th November at 14.00

Where:  Microsoft Teams – Robert Hooke/Online

Speaker:  Frances Butcher (University of Sheffield)

Hosted by: Alexander Barrett


Buried ice deposits in the mid latitudes of Mars are prime targets for future missions, including proposed orbiters, landers, and eventual human missions which could use the ice for in situ water resources and sample it for climate science and the search for life. In this talk, we'll explore the state of knowledge pertaining to subsurface ice on Mars today, and the key knowledge gaps that remain. We will then explore some of the insights Mars' ice deposits (and the landscapes they have generated) already provide for the geologically recent evolution of Mars' environment and water cycle, and the rich opportunities they bring for the future of Mars exploration.


Frances is a Leverhulme Early Career Fellow in the Department of Geography at the University of Sheffield. Having studied Geography at The University of Cambridge, she moved to The Open University in 2015 for a PhD entitled 'Wet-Based Glaciation on Mars'. In 2019, she moved to Sheffield as a postdoc on the ERC-funded 'PalGlac' project, using landform information to reconstruct the flow evolution of the former Scandinavian Ice Sheet on Earth. In 2021, Frances was selected by NASA and the Canadian/Japanese/Italian Space Agencies as a member of the 'Measurement Definition Team' for the International Mars Ice Mapper mission concept. Frances recently began a Leverhulme Early Career Research fellowship at Sheffield, entitled 'Deciphering Mars' Glacial Landscapes to Underpin the Science Goals of Human Missions'. She founded and leads the CryoMars network of UK Mars cryosphere and Earth analogue researchers, chairs the International Association of Geomorphologists Planetary Geomorphology Working Group, and curates its popular 'Planetary Geomorphology Image of the Month' blog.

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