Mars for Earthlings > Lesson Modules > Homework 2- JMARS: Mawrth Vallis

JMARS: Mawrth Vallis "Potential Curiosity Landing Site"

Homework 2_Introduction to Mars

Julia Kahmann-Robinson PhD and Marjorie Chan PhD, University of Utah Department of Geology & Geophysics


To navigate, learn and utilize the tools offered within the software JMARS.


  1. In order to accomplish this lab you will need to register and download JMARS:
  2. Go to webpage:
  3. Click: Create New Account
  4. Enter desired account information
  5. Click: Request New Account (page should prompt you to check your email for password and further instructions)
  6. Check email and click on link (or entering the link into your browser)
  7. Click login and change password (account should last 6 months)
  8. Click on "Download JMARS" tab
  9. Under section "JMARS Public Downloads" click "Cross-platform Java Webstart Installer"
  10. Open installer: When JMARS opens you'll need to enter username and password

Intro to JMARS

Open JMARS, using your email/password. JMARS functions very much like the layers in Photoshop or GIS in order to view different image sets.

In the Layer Window, choose and press the button "Add New Layer" in the Main tab (other tabs at this point are: MOLA Shaded Relief NE, Lat/Lon Grid).

  1. Add the layer Nomenclature. With this layer open, you can navigate to any feature on Mars by name.
  2. Activate/Open the Nomenclature tab. Keep all default boxes checked. Select Vallis in the Selected Landmarks Types menu.
  3. In the Navigation Menu select Vallis for Landmark Type and Mawrth Vallis for Landmark.
  4. Then press the Go-To button below. The software will automatically find and zoom to this location and label it.
  5. What are the coordinates of Mawrth Vallis (place cursor/arrow over red marker; the default color for the marker)?
  6. Observe the terrain; explain why you think this area was considered as a landing site for MSL Curiosity (you may play around with the Zoom in the upper right of the viewing window, default is always 32).

Exploring Mawrth Vallis's relationship to other major Mars geologic/geographic features.

Add a new layer: Choose Maps by Instrument –> MOLA –> MOLA Shaded relief/Colorized Elevation –> View Graphic data. **note, if you are having trouble seeing the labels, move the Nomenclature label to the top of the layer window.

  1. What does the colorized data help you with?
  2. Where is Mawrth Vallis in relationship to Vallis Marineris? Do you think these features are the same? Why or why not?
  3. Where is Mawrth Vallis in relationship to the large expanse of "blue space"? What could you potentially interpret the 'blue space' to be and likewise Mawrth Vallis?

Exploring the mineralogy of Mawrth Vallis:

There are several methods to exploring mineralogy of the Martian surface in JMARS. We will explore one. * Make sure you can see the Mawrth Vallis label. If not, drag your Nomenclature layer to the top of the Layer Window.

Using TES Mineral Maps: Add New Layer –> Maps by Instrument –> TES Mineral Map

Now select the following maps separately and explain their: spatial coverage, resolution and abundance of that mineral.

  1. TES Hematite
  2. TES Basalt Abundance
  3. TES Carbonate Abundance (Bandfield, 2002)