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Lunar and Planetary Institute 


National Aeronautics and Space Administration 


Canadian Space Agency 


International Glaciological Society 


Geological Survey of Canada 


University of Alberta, Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences 


NASA Mars Program Office




Stephen Clifford, Lunar and Planetary Institute 


Peter Doran, University of Illinois at Chicago 


David Fisher, Geological Survey of Canada 


Christopher Herd, University of Alberta


Science Organizing Committee

Terrestrial Members 
Walter Ammann, Swiss Federal Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research 


Nobuhiko Azuma, Nagaoka University of Technology 


Charles Cockell, British Antarctic Survey 


Dorthe Dahl-Jensen, University of Copenhagen 


Sigfus Johnsen, University of Copenhagen 


Shawn Marshall, University of Calgary 


John Nye, University of Bristol 
Wayne Pollard, McGill University 


Todd Sowers, Pennsylvania State University 


Lonnie Thompson, Byrd Polar Research Center 


Thorsteinn Thorsteinsson, National Energy Authority and University of Iceland 


Eske Willerslev, University of Copenhagen


Planetary Members 
Alain Berinstain, Canadian Space Agency 


William Boynton, University of Arizona 


Mike Carr, U.S. Geological Survey, Menlo Park 


Frank Carsey, Jet Propulsion Laboratory 


William Durham, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory 


Jack Farmer, Arizona State University 


James Garvin, NASA Goddard Spaceflight Center 


Rejean Grard, European Space Agency/ESTEC 


Robert Haberle, NASA Ames Research Center 


Ken Herkenhoff, U.S. Geological Survey, Flagstaff 


Hugh Kieffer, U.S. Geological Survey, Flagstaff 


Pascal Lee, NASA Ames Research Center 


Daniel McCleese, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory 


Christopher McKay, NASA Ames Research Center 


Jeffrey Plaut, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory 


James Rice Jr., Arizona State University 


David Smith, NASA Goddard Spaceflight Center 


Ken Tanaka, U.S. Geological Survey, Flagstaff 


Peter Thomas, Cornell University 


Maria Zuber, Massachusetts Institute of Technology




Final Announcement — August 2003

Meeting Update

The response to the call for abstracts for the Third Mars Polar Conference far surpassed our expectations, with a total of 135 submitted. This represents a tremendous level of interest, but one that has necessarily limited the number of oral presentations that could be scheduled, while still maintaining the emphasis on discussion and debate that characterized the two previous conferences. The resulting program (which consists of a mix of invited and contributed talks, panel discussions, poster presentations, special sessions, field trips, and a variety of social events scheduled throughout the meeting) represents our best effort to maximize both the time available for discussion and the opportunities for participation.

To preserve the ~40% of the conference program that is devoted to discussion and debate, we are placing a much greater emphasis on the poster presentations scheduled for Monday and Tuesday nights, combining them with evening socials that should enhance the opportunities for interaction among the conference participants. In addition, all posters will remain on display throughout the duration of the meeting (additional details regarding poster preparation and these sessions are described later in this announcement).


It must be emphasized that the program currently available on this Web site is preliminary and is likely to undergo minor revision. The final program, incorporating all changes, will be distributed at the meeting.

If you are planning to attend the meeting, we ask that you register and reserve your room as soon as possible. Conference seating and hotel reservations cannot be guaranteed beyond the first 125 registrants, which will be awarded on a first-come, first-served basis. Registration will also ensure that you will receive any reminders and late-breaking announcements related to the meeting via e-mail.


Information regarding the mid-conference and two post-conference field trips is available in the "FIELD TRIP" section later in this announcement.

Purpose and Scope

The Third International Conference on Mars Polar Science and Exploration is the latest in a continuing series of meetings intended to promote the exchange of knowledge and ideas between planetary and terrestrial scientists interested in Mars polar research. The purpose of the conference is to assess the current state of Mars polar and climate research; discuss what might be learned from investigations of terrestrial analogs and the data returned from upcoming missions; and identify the potential science objectives, platform options, and instrument suites for robotic missions to the martian poles within the next decade. This meeting is intended to advance such missions and to serve as an important resource for those scientists wishing to develop instruments, propose spacecraft, or participate as a member of a science team in response to any future Announcement of Opportunity.

Conference Highlights

Special Sessions:

  • Mars Polar and Climate Scout Concepts (Wednesday evening)
  • David Wynn-Williams Memorial Session:  Life and Its Detection In Extreme Polar Environments (Friday morning)


Poster Sessions and Evening Socials:

  • Session I (Monday evening, first author last names A–K)
  • Session II (Tuesday evening, first author last names L–Z)


Conference Dinner (Thursday evening)


Panel Discussions:

  • The Development of Ice-rich Soils on Earth:  A Terrestrial Perspective on the Mars GRS Results (Monday, Afternoon Session II)
  • The South Polar Cap of Mars:  CO2 Mass Balance, Clathrates, and Other Bizzare Properties (Monday, Afternoon Session II)
  • Present-Day Interannual Variations in the Transport of CO2, H2O, and Dust Into the Martian Polar Regions (Tuesday, Morning Session I)
  • The Martian Polar Layered Deposits:  The Role of Melting and Flow (Tuesday, Afternoon Session II)
  • Nature, Origin, and Evolution of Mid-Latitude Depositional Mantles and Debris/Flow Features (Thursday, Afternoon Session I)
  • Finding Evidence of Life in Icy Environments (Friday, Afternoon Session I)
  • New Perspectives on Mars Polar Science and Exploration (Friday, Afternoon Session II)


Field Trips (discussed in greater detail later in this announcement):

  • Mid-Conference Field Trip:  Tour of Columbia Icefield (Wednesday)
  • Optional (One-Day) Post-Conference Field Trips (Saturday):
    Glacial Landscapes of the Canadian Rockies, Foothills, and Prairies:  A Short Field Trip Through Three of the Major Ecosystems of Alberta

    Hot and Cold Running Water in the Canadian Rockies:  The Influence of Geology on the Distribution, Temperature, Chemistry, and Microbiology of Thermal Springs

Oral and Poster Presentation Information

Contributed oral presentations will be scheduled to allow 10 minutes for speaking and 5 minutes for discussion. Invited presentations should allow 17 minutes for speaking and 8 minutes for discussion. Audio-visual equipment available for oral presentations includes two 35-mm carousel slide projectors, two overhead projectors, a laptop PC, and an LCD projector. Dual projection will NOT be available for electronic presentations.


Two options for electronic presentations will be available. Please read carefully the instructions provided for electronic presentations.


Poster presentations will be on display throughout the entire week of the conference. Posters may be installed from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. on Sunday, October 12, or Monday morning, beginning at 7:30 a.m., and will remain up through Friday noon. Poster sessions/evening socials are scheduled for Monday, October 13 (first author last names A–K), and Tuesday, October 14 (first author last names L–Z). Poster display space available to authors is 44" × 44".

Abstract Volume

The abstract volume will be in CD-ROM format and distributed to the participants at the conference. Abstracts can be easily downloaded prior to the meeting either in session order or alphabetical order.

Time and Location

This five-day meeting will be held from October 13–17, 2003, at the Fairmount Chateau at Lake Louise, near Banff National Park, in Alberta, Canada. This location was chosen as the site for the third conference because of Canada's active programs in permafrost, glacial, and polar research, as well as its growing interest in, and support of, Mars exploration. The Lake Louise/Banff area also offers an ideal venue for the meeting because of its scenic location, its close proximity to many excellent destinations for field trips (including glaciers and other examples of cold climate features and terrains), and its ready accessibility to international travelers.


To take full advantage of the opportunities the Lake Louise/Banff area provides, the conference technical sessions will be held Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday, with a field trip to the Columbia Icefield (and other sites of geologic and glacial interest) on Wednesday. Participants are also encouraged to take advantage of the availability of conference-rate lodging (for the weekends before and after the meeting) to explore this extraordinarily scenic area with their spouse and/or family.


Resource and Background Documents

As an aid to potential participants, a number of downloadable references and background documents will soon be available at the conference Web site. These will include reprints of author-supplied publications, discussions of upcoming missions and instruments, and links to other Web-based resources that may be of interest. New documents will be added to this resource page on a regular basis, right up until the time of the meeting.

Travel to Lake Louise

Lake Louise is located approximately 120 miles west (190 kilometers) of the Calgary International Airport, which is served by several major national and international airlines. The two-hour drive from Calgary takes you through the magnificent Canadian Rocky Mountains and provides stunning views and beautiful scenery. Information on car rentals and airport shuttle services can be found at the following Web sites:

The weather in the Canadian Rockies is variable due to the high elevation and rugged topography. In October the daytime highs average 50°F (16.1°C) and the average early-morning low is 31°F (–1.1°C).


A block of rooms will be held at The Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise until September 12, 2003. Two room types are available: The Fairmont features either one king-sized or two twin-sized beds for $219 Canadian (equivalent to approximately $160 U.S.) and the Deluxe Room features either one king-sized or two queen-sized beds for $269 Canadian (equivalent to approximately $196 U.S.). The rates for both rooms are based on single or double occupancy.


The hotel will charge an additional $11 Canadian daily service fee, per person for each room. Participants are responsible for making their own hotel reservations by calling the Reservations Department at 403-522-3511, or the Global Reservations Centre at 1-800-441-1414, or by visiting the Fairmont Chateau Web site. To take advantage of these special rates, please mention that you are attending the Third International Conference on Mars Polar Science and Exploration and make reservations prior to September 12, 2003. Internet users must enter the Promotion Code GRTMC1 when making room reservations via the Internet. (Please note:  If you encounter any problems when making reservations via the Internet, contact the hotel directly at 1-800-441-1414.)


Non-Canadian participants staying at The Fairmont will qualify for a refund of the 7% GST (Goods and Services Tax). Rebate forms will be available at the hotel registration desk.

Field Trips

Three guided field trips to area of scientific interest have been organized in connection with the conference: (1) a mid-conference, one-day field trip to the Columbia Icefield (and other nearby stops of glacial and geologic interest); (2) an optional post-conference tour of hot and cold springs in the Canadian Rockies; and (3) an optional post-conference tour of terrains formed by subglacial outbursts and fluvial processes. Each trip will include a box lunch and will last approximately 10 hours.

The charge for the mid-conference field trip is included in the conference registration fee.

Participation in the two post-conference field trips will be limited to no more than 40 and no fewer than 10 individuals per trip. The cost for each post-conference trip is $90 U.S., including round-trip transportation from the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise, tour guide, park admission fees, and box lunch.


Please register for the post-conference field trips using either the electronic field trip registration form on line using a credit card or the downloadable field trip registration form, indicating which field trip you are interested in, no later than September 12, 2003.


Please note:  These tour descriptions may be subject to minor changes and the tours themselves may be modified or canceled in the event of inclement weather.


Full-Day Mid-Conference Field Trip on Wednesday, October 15, 2003 —

Tour of the Columbia Icefield:  Northwest of Lake Louise along the Icefields Parkway, Highway 93. 
(Leader:  Shawn Marshall, University of Calgary)


One of the most scenic areas in North America, the Columbia Icefield is a remnant of the Cordilleran Ice Sheet, which covered the majority of Canada west of present-day Calgary during the last glacial maximum. Covering an area of about 324 square kilometers with an estimated maximum depth of 305 meters, it is the most extensive icefield in the Rockies. Several glaciers emanate from the Icefield, including the Saskatchewan, Kitchener, Dome, and Athabasca Glaciers. Stops and hikes will take us to scenic overlooks and to the toe of the Athabasca Glacier, which has retreated over 2 kilometers (1.3 miles) since it was first measured in 1870. For an overview of this area, participants are encouraged to print out the field guide provided and bring it with them on the trip.


There will be a special session, Mars Polar and Climate Scout Concepts, Wednesday evening at 7:00 p.m. after the field trip. Guests are welcome to attend this session.



IMPORTANT NOTE:  The cost of this field trip is included in the registration fee. No other conference activities are scheduled for this day.


Optional Full-Day Post-Conference Field Trips on Saturday, October 18, 2003 —

(1) Glacial Landscapes of the Canadian Rockies, Foothills, and Prairies:  A short field trip through three of the major ecosystems of Alberta. 
(Leader: John Shaw, University of Alberta)


This trip is designed to introduce some new concepts in glacial geomorphology that have particular relevance to Mars. These relate to the evidence for vast outbursts of water from the Laurentide (continental) and Cordilleran (mountain) ice sheets. Although the trip is confined to a limited area, imagery (DEM and radar) will be provided to show the full regional and continental context of the flood landscapes. Flood tracts in excess of 1000 kilometers in length and 100 kilometers in width will be highlighted and erosional and depositional landscapes will be examined. The absence of glacial sediment in some areas and the limited appearance of moraines will also be discussed.


Leave by bus from Lake Louise at 8:30 a.m. and return by 6:30 p.m. 
Total distance is approximately 350 kilometers.

Stops will include the following: 
1. Glacial till overlying outwash gravels. The surface is fluted by longitudinal grooves. 
2. Thick gravel valley fills. 
3. Rat tails in carbonate rocks eroded by subglacial meltwater. 
4. Classical drumlins (streamlined hills) in glacial till and gravel with upstream erosional scours, interpreted as meltwater forms. 
5. Drumlins eroded in bedrock. 
6. Hummock terrain near Cochrane reminiscent of the martian "thumbprint" terrain. The new interpretation shows this to be erosional, probably by water. 
7. Flood gravels composed of torn-up blocks of local sandstone up to several meters long. 
8. The Eastern Flood Tract, a broad, flat expanse of mainly exposed gravel with a boulder lag. The tract is delicately fluted, as is seen on DEM hillshades and air photographs. 
9. Crocodile Canyon, a spectacular subglacial meltwater valley perched on the flanks of the Porcupine Hills. 
10. The Okotoks erratic, the largest of the Foothills erratics (quartzitic boulders) that were carried by glaciers from the Main Ranges of the Rockies.

(2) Hot and Cold Running Water in the Canadian Rockies:  The influence of geology on the distribution, temperature, chemistry, and microbiology of thermal springs. 
(Leader: Stephen Grasby, Geological Survey of Canada, Calgary)


Thermal springs in the Canadian Rockies occur in a region of low heat flow, in contrast to many of the world's thermal spring systems that are associated with intrusive bodies or high heat flow regimes. Thermal springs in the Canadian Rockies occur because anomalous geological features allow deep circulation of meteoric water. The circulation depths, and therefore temperatures of the waters, are controlled by the geometry of the faults in the area.


Although the region is in a cold climate [average air temperature is 0°C (32°F)], the hot springs support unique ecosystems due to local thermal effects. Many species found at hot spring sites in Canada are not found again for over 1000 kilometers to the south. Some endemic species are uniquely adapted to the thermal springs and have evolved within 5000 years of the onset of thermal spring flow at the end of the Hypsithermal. Complex microbiological communities of sulfate reducers, sulfur oxidizers, and cyanobacteria are just now being studied and may be partly controlled by bedrock geology and seasonal variations in groundwater hydrogeology.


8:00 a.m. – Leave from Lake Louise 
9:00 a.m. – Many Springs, a location along the first major thrust fault of the Rockies. Large ponds formed by numerous springs. Temperatures are relatively low due to the flat profile of the McConnell Thrust that focuses discharge. 
10:00 a.m. – Coffee Break 
10:30 a.m. – Leave for Canmore 
11:00 a.m. – Start hike into Canmore Warm Springs, a location where a transverse fault intersects the Rundle Thrust (up to 40 min. return hike). Steeper dip of thrusts allows deeper circulation of water, but truncation restricts total depth of circulation resulting in warmer waters than Many Springs, but not as hot as in Banff. Gypsum beds in Devonian carbonates creates high sulphate thermal waters leading to microbiological communities of sulphate reducers and oxidizers. 
12:00 p.m. – Lunch 
1:00 p.m. – Leave for Banff 
2:00 p.m. – Arrive at Cave and Basin Hot Springs after brief stop along Hwy 1. Tour of springs and introduction to Sulphur Mountain geothermal system. 
3:00 p.m. – Depart 
3:10 p.m. – Upper Hot Springs, discussion of flows and ways in which seasonal variability in water chemistry affects microbiological and invertebrate populations in the spring systems. 
4:00 p.m. – Depart 
4:30 p.m. – Paint Pots, examination of acid springs and associated iron oxide deposits. 
6:00 p.m. – Return to Lake Louise


A fee of $395 ($295 for students) will be assessed each participant to cover conference services. The fee includes conference admission, printed program booklet, abstract volume on CD-ROM, coffee breaks, two poster receptions, the mid-conference field trip to the Columbia Icefield, and the conference dinner on October 16. You must preregister and prepay by September 12, 2003, to avoid the $75 late fee.


Please note:  Registration fees are based on the average cost per participant or guest and cannot by prorated by individual attendance at events, by facility usage, or by other line items.


A fee of $275 is assessed each accompanying guest, and includes the two poster receptions, the mid-conference field trip to the Columbia Icefield, and the conference dinner on October 16. The guest fee does NOT include the printed program booklet, abstract volume on CD-ROM, coffee breaks, or meeting facility costs. Guests must be registered and accompanied by a professional or student participant.


Please return the downloadable preregistration form with your payment before September 12, 2003, to avoid a $75 late fee, or you may use the electronic preregistration form if paying by credit card. Foreign participants who state on the registration form that they have a currency exchange problem may pay in cash (U.S. dollars) at the meeting (and avoid the $75 late fee) if they return the form by September 12, 2003.


Cancellations with requests for refunds will be accepted through September 19, 2003. Please note that a $25 fee will be charged on all cancellations.


Sunday evening registration will be available in the Pipestone Room from 7:00 to 8:30 p.m. Registration will resume on Monday morning, outside of the Victoria Room, beginning at 7:30 a.m.


For further information regarding the format and scientific objectives of the meeting, please contact 

Stephen Clifford 
Lunar and Planetary Institute 


For further information regarding meeting logistics, please contact 
Kimberly Taylor 
Lunar and Planetary Institute 


September 12, 2003 Deadline for booking hotel reservations and preregistration deadline
October 13–17, 2003 Third International Conference on Mars Polar Science and Exploration