As the ongoing robotic exploration to Mars has made some tantalising discoveries, the next major step should be retrieving samples from the Martian surface, so they can be investigated in detail in terrestrial laboratories. However, considering the huge costs associated to suh missions, an in-situ dating of rock samples is a more cost-effective approach. Accurate estimation of absolute ages is required in order to understand Mars surface and atmosphere evolutionary processes. Furthermore knowledge on occurrence and time frequency of such processes allow a hazard evaluation for locations/areas, essential for future deployments, missions and eventually humans on Mars. However, a chronology for recent events on Mars is problematic, as uncertainties associated with current methodology (crater counting) are comparable to the younger ages obtained (~ 1 Million years). IN-TIME project addresses the technological and economic viability of a leading-edge instrument for dating of Mars’ surface: a miniaturized Luminescence dating instrument for in-situ examination. Thanks to the development of its innovative technology, and in addition to planetary exploration application, it will also address Earth's field applications as a light and portable dating instrument in geology and archaeology as well as a risk assessment tool for accident and emergency dosimetry and nuclear mass-casualty events.
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