The Mars orbiter for resources, ices, and environments (MORIE) science goals and instrument trades in radar, imaging, and spectroscopy

Wendy M. Calvin, Nathaniel E. Putzig, Colin M. Dundas, Ali M. Bramson, Briony H.N. Horgan, Kim D. Seelos, Hanna G. Sizemore, Bethany L. Ehlmann, Gareth A. Morgan, John W. Holt, Scott L. Murchie, G. Wesley Patterson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


The Mars Orbiter for Resources, Ices, and Environments (MORIE) was selected as one of NASA’s 2019 Planetary Mission Concept Studies. The mission builds upon recent discoveries and current knowledge gaps linked to two primary scientific questions: (1) when did elements of the cryosphere form and how are ice deposits linked to current, recent, and ancient climate, and (2) how does the crust record the evolution of surface environments and their transition through time? Addressing these questions has emerged in numerous recent reports as a high priority in investigating the evolution of Mars as a habitable world. A subsidiary goal of the mission concept is to provide information relevant to the eventual human exploration of Mars, specifically helping to locate and quantify near-surface water ice and hydrated mineral resources. The proposed instrument suite includes polarimetric synthetic aperture radar imaging, radar sounding, high-resolution visible and infrared imaging, both short-wave and thermal-infrared spectroscopy, and multichannel wide-angle imaging. MORIE would provide novel measurements of Mars expected to lead to significant new discoveries by the first radar imaging from orbit, radar sounding directly over the poles, and mineral mapping at spatial scales that will unravel geologic sequence stratigraphy through time. The final report of the mission concept provides details on the spacecraft, orbital design, technological maturity, results from systems-level integration studies, and costs. This article is intended to expand upon the science motivation for the mission, the measurement goals and objectives, and the instrument trade space that was examined in detail during the concept study.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberabe4db
JournalPlanetary Science Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Geophysics


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