Life on Mars: in the bowels of the planet found minerals

The minerals in the Martian subsoil to a depth of more than five kilometers have become one of the most serious evidence that the Red Planet could support life. This follows from a study published in Nature Geoscience in January 2013.

Up to half of all life on Earth consists of simple organisms hiding in the rugged rocks below the surface. Recently, planetary scientists have suggested that the same may be true for Mars. Now this conjecture confirmed by the results of new studies, which show that the "ingredients" for life were present in the Martian subsurface strata for most of the planet's history.

Meteorites striking the surface of Mars, acted as natural probes, penetrating deep inside. Recent studies have shown that in part vyvorochennyh species discovered clay and minerals in its chemical composition containing water — an important element to sustain life. In addition, some deep craters on Mars to act as natural reservoirs, where underground water is likely to form a lake.

Crater McLaughlin, described in this study is just one of these pools. It contains clay soils and carbonate minerals formed in an ancient Martian lake. Fluids that formed these minerals could carry the key to the mystery of what is contained in the depths of Mars life.

"We do not know how did life on Earth, but we can assume that it was due to a" underground ", protected from the harsh conditions of thickness that characterized the surface of the early Earth. Because of plate tectonics, but it is impossible to trace the geological record of the Earth — it is poorly preserved, we can never know what changes have led to the birth and early evolution of life — says the study's lead author, Dr. Joseph Michalski of the Natural History Museum in London. — The study of these rocks on Mars, where the ancient geological history preserved better than on Earth, could return a whole bunch of missing pages that were taken out of the book of the geological history of the earth. Whether preserved Martian geology life or not, the analysis of these types of rocks will surely give us a tremendous amount of data on the chemical processes that took place in the young solar system. "

Study co-author Professor Dean Rogers of Stony Brook University used data from the thermal emission spectrometer on board the Global Surveyor and thermal imaging system on the orbiter spacecraft Ulysses. They have helped to detect and identify minerals, prove the existence of a stable aqueous medium at the bottom of the crater McLaughlin.

"Our understanding of Mars is changing very fast, with each new findings — said Professor Rogers. — Recent observations have shown that in the past on Mars probably had a vast store of underground water, and he may still exist."

"In this paper, we present a strong case for the need to study and subsoil, and the surface of Mars — concludes Michalski. — However, I think, not necessarily to drill deeper in search of ancient life — rather examine rocks that are naturally thrown to the surface as a result of numerous meteorite impacts, and to explore the deep recesses, where previously there were Martian lakes and may come to the surface geological rocks containing water. "

Category: Space

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