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Beyond Earth: can we classify Martian soils with WRB?


To classify Martian soils, the current version of WRB (IUSS Working Group WRB, 2015) needs to be adjusted given the uniformly cold and arid Martian climate. The cold climate would imply that all soils could be taken as Cryosols; but if temperature is disregarded then Arenosols and Leptosols are also obviously present. Visually, the presence of other types of soils seem to be likely where there are accumulation of soluble salts (Solonchaks), or carbonates (Gypsisols, Calcisols or Ferric properties (Ferralsols). In a few cases, some RGS can be confidently assumed. Likewise soils with incipient (Cambisols), or very weak soil formation (Fluvisols and Regosols) can also occur. However, more analytical data on both particle size distribution, chemical characteristics and mineralogy will be required to better assess the soils potential for supporting future, or possible present, lifeforms. Indeed, mapping the Martian soils is essential to target places potentially suitable for human settlement and find the resources needed to develop space building, farming, space building and mining.