Status Report

Second Conference on Early Mars

By SpaceRef Editor
May 15, 2004
Filed under , ,


October 11 – 15, 2004

Jackson Hole, Wyoming



  • Lunar and Planetary Institute
  • National Aeronautics and Space Administration


  • Steve Clifford, Lunar and Planetary Institute
  • Jack Farmer, Arizona State University
  • Robert Haberle, NASA Ames Research Center
  • Horton Newsom, University of New Mexico
  • Tim Parker, Jet Propulsion Laboratory


The response to the first announcement has been outstanding, with
indications of interest received from a broad range of terrestrial and
planetary researchers. If you are planning to attend the meeting, we ask
that you complete and submit an electronic preregistration form as soon as
possible. Conference seating cannot be guaranteed beyond the first 125
registrants and the hotel room block consists of 80 rooms, which will be
awarded on a first-come, first-served basis. Preregistration will also
ensure that you will receive any reminders and late-breaking announcements
related to the meeting via e-mail.


The influx of new data from the MER rovers, Mars Express, and other recent
spacecraft missions to Mars; progress in early climate modeling; the growing
evidence of the role of water in the planet’s evolution; and the rapid pace
of new discoveries about the origin and diversity of life on Earth have
reinvigorated interest in both the conditions that prevailed on Mars during
its first billion years of geologic history and their implications for the
development of life.

These issues were first addressed during the First Conference on Early Mars
that was held in April 1997 at the LPI in Houston, Texas. This
interdisciplinary meeting attracted approximately 185 terrestrial and
planetary scientists from a variety of fields. The Second Conference on
Early Mars is intended as the scientific successor to the 1997 meeting,
sharing the same interdisciplinary scope and emphasis on discussion and

The purpose of the conference is twofold:

(1) to consider how impacts, volcanism, and the presence of abundant water
affected the physical and chemical environment that existed on Mars 4 G.y.
ago, particularly as it related to the nature of the global climate, the
existence of a primordial ocean, the origin of the valley networks, the
geologic and mineralogic evolution of the surface, the potential presence of
local environments that may have been conducive to the development of life,
the origin of life (both on Earth and Mars) and the preservation of its
signature in the geologic record; and

(2) to discuss the investigations that might be conducted by present and
future missions to test the hypotheses arising from (1).


This five-day meeting will be held from October 11-15, 2003 at the Snake
River Lodge in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. This location was chosen due to its
proximity to the hydrothermal sites in Yellowstone National Park, which will
be the focus of the mid-conference field trip on Wednesday, October 13.


Any scientist with relevant theoretical, experimental, or field experience
is strongly encouraged to participate and to submit an abstract (deadline
for electronic submission: 5:00 p.m. U.S. Central Daylight time, Tuesday,
July 13, 2004). Abstracts may address any relevant aspect of early Mars or
Earth research, including, but not limited to:

  • Climatic, geologic, and hydrologic evolution
  • SNC meteorites, crustal composition, and planetary volatile inventories
  • Ocean and groundwater aqueous geochemistry
  • Origin of life
  • Life in extreme environments
  • Remote Sensing and in-situ investigations to address the above


The Mars Program Office would like to announce that travel funding has been
made available for undergraduate and graduate students to attend the
Conference on Early Mars. Students must be U.S. citizens. Competitive
selection of up to eight students will be made by NASA Headquarters. Funding
will be provided as a post-workshop reimbursement, with up to $1000 per
award available for transportation, lodging, and per diem. Students wishing
to be considered for this assistance must submit the downloadable Travel
Grant Application form, accompanied by a two-page CV, including a list of
any professional publications (meeting abstracts and peer-reviewed journal
publications), and return it to Marguerite Syvertson (
or fax 818-354-8333) by July 13, 2004. Also,
please indicate on the separate LPI abstract submission form that you are a
student applying for a Student Travel Award. Applications will be notified
of the conveners’ decision no later than August 20, 2004.

For additional information regarding the conference format, abstract
submission procedures, registration, and accommodations, please check the
full text of this announcement at

The meeting organizers strongly encourage the redistribution of this
announcement to any colleagues who you believe might have an interest in
participating in this meeting.

SpaceRef staff editor.