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ARES Science examines Mars crustal magnetism, atmospheric chemistry, and geology


ARES Science


Extraordinary Science

ARES expands upon Viking, Mars Global Surveyor, Odyssey, Mars Express, and Mars Exploration Rover discoveries, providing a window into the structure and evolution of Mars' atmosphere, surface, and interior.   ARES will return critical science data across up to 610 km of diverse terrain in one of the most scientifically intriguing regions of Mars: the Southern Highlands.   ARES has three science goals:

  • Crustal Magnetism: ARES enables an improved understanding of the detailed nature of crustal magnetism on Mars and modeling of Mars' crustal evolution, tectonic history and the chronology of its dynamo.
  • Atmospheric Boundary Layer Composition, Chemistry and Dynamics: ARES enables an improved understanding of the near-surface atmospheric composition, chemistry and dynamic behavior, and the chemical coupling between the surface and atmosphere, with unprecedented accuracy and range.
  • Near-Surface Water: ARES enables an improved understanding of water equivalent hydrogen abundance and its relationship to inferred near-surface water and hydrated minerals.


Primary Science Objectives
  • ARES will measure the crustal magnetization, spatial variability, and field magnitude at km-scale spatial resolution.
  • ARES will provide the ability to resolve the crustal magnetism source structure with spatial resolution two orders of magnitude higher than Mars Global Surveyor.
  • ARES measurements will allow scientists to determine the role of water vapor in the Mars atmospheric chemical cycle.
  • ARES will search for potential biogenic gases, volcanic gases, and chemically active gases to determine their spatial distributions and to locate and/or constrain local sources and sinks.
  • ARES characterizes the structure and dynamics of the Mars atmosphere's boundary layer over regional scales.
  • ARES will expand upon Mars Odyssey and Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter measurements by measuring water-equivalent hydrogen abundance and ice burial depth at greatly improved spatial scales.


ARES Bridges Critical Scale and Resolution Measurement Gaps in the Core MEP
ARES Bridges Critical Scale and 
Resolution Measurement Gaps in the Core MEP



Science Implementation

From its unique vantage point 1.5 km above the surface of Mars, ARES will target and explore up to 610 km of diverse terrain in the Southern Highlands. Science data will be returned to Earth on the day of flight for immediate scientific review and public dissemination.

ARES' airplane has been developed to autonomously complete a pre-planned science survey. It accommodates Mars environment uncertainty through its robust stability and control performance. The ARES mission implementation strategy includes flight-proven systems, large margins, and a successful, ongoing airplane deployment assurance program to achieve both mission flexibility and low risk.


ARES instrument locations





ARES Home ARES Science ARES Platform Reliability and Risk Reduction Program Images and Movies ARES Team



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