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The Martian sedimentary system contains incredibly well-preserved geologic records from ~3.5-4 billion years ago, approximately the time when life evolved on Earth, when Earth and Mars both had flowing rivers, lakes, and environments suited for life. We currently have two active NASA rovers, Curiosity and Perseverance, exploring deltaic systems in impact craters that served as sedimentary basins on Mars. Dr. Seibach will discuss how the sedimentary records we have observed with both rovers inform our understanding of the overall sedimentary cycle on our neighboring planet. Mars' sedimentary cycle offers us both a glimpse into the past on Mars and a basalt-dominated, (probably) life-free, lower gravity, freeze-dried, full-scale geological experiment to compare with terrestrial sedimentary systems. Dr. Seibach will frame the discussion around "source to sink" processes, from the (mostly) volcanic provenance of sedimentary grains, to weathering, transport, and mineral sorting, to deposition, lithification, and diagenesis.
The Solar System is replete with a diverse menagerie of minor bodies. From Near-Earth Objects (NEOs) and the Main-Belt Asteroids (MBAs) to the far reaches of the Kuiper Belt, these primitive objects are relics from the earliest epochs of solar system history and serve as crucial probes of planet formation processes across a broad swath of heliocentric distances within the protoplanetary disk. Detailed spectroscopic studies of these small bodies have revealed a wide range of refractory and volatile species that encode fundamental information about the thermochemical and dynamical state of the early Solar System. During its first year of science operation, JWST observed over 100 minor bodies throughout the Solar System as part of GTO and GO programs. Highlights include contemporaneous imaging and follow-up spectroscopic study of the DART impact on the NEO Didymos, spectral analysis of hydrated silicates on three large MBAs, and a benchmark sample of Kuiper Belt Objects ranging from the largest dwarf planets (e.g., Pluto-Charon, Triton, Eris) to ~100-200 km sized objects. The cutting-edge capabilities of JWST, particularly its continuous coverage of the near-infrared, have unveiled critical new insights into surface composition and population-level trends that will revolutionize our understanding of solar system formation and evolution. In this talk, Dr. Wong will provide a high-level overview of results from Cycle 1 JWST small body observations, with a focus on near-infrared reflectance spectroscopy from the GTO programs.