Ms. Angélica Anglés Department of Earth Sciences, HKU
Mars is now a cold desert world. But despite the current hyper-arid conditions, 3.9 billion years ago Mars was more similar to the Earth than any other known planet in our solar system. In its early time, Mars supported liquid water on its surface indicating that could have been habitable by microbial-like life. But where did the water go? Has Mars been tectonically active like the Earth? Could microbial life be present on the Martian (near)surface today? Until a manned mission to Mars is feasible, there is a need for Martian analogues to comprise not only the planetary materials, evolutionary history and geomorphological structures, but also a scalable Earth environment for simulating the space-land system for future Mars explorations. The Qaidam Basin, a remote area in the North Tibetan Plateau, is such a Martian analogue that can give us insight in the quest to answer these questions. The numerous similarities investigated suggest that the Qaidam Basin is the best terrestrial representation of diverse Martian environments and should be considered as an essential site for testing scientific and technological projects for the future Mars sample return missions.