Minerals on Mars

I stumbled across and article called “Minerals on Mars Point to More Recent Presence of Water.” This article, from The New York Times, struck my attention not only because it was about minerals but because of the location of the minerals. It never occurred to me that minerals could be on another planet; it never came to mind. I was also curious to see how a mineral can indicate whether water was around or not.

Opal was found on Mars, according to the November issue of Geology in 2008. According to this article, “scientists working with data from NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter report that they have spotted widespread deposits of opals and related minerals on the surface of Mars.” This is significant because an opal need liquid water to form; it is a hydrates silica. Scientist discovered that most of the opal has formed in the areas they believe are only about 2 billion years old.   Dr. Murchie and a few other scientist that “the orbiterhad detected vast deposits of the claylike minerals on the older terrains that are possibly 3.5 billion years old. It is  believed that like Earth, Mars in about 4.5 billions years old. Also, they found images of what appear to be lakebeds that have a build up of mineral deposits. Because water helps to form there minerals, its proof that liquid water had to once be on Mars. Of course it’s been a known fact that water is on Mars because of the ice caps that have been found there. They are mostly composed of water. But the minerals were another way of proving this.

Mars is known for its ice caps and being so cold that there was nothing but ice there. But minerals are disproving this accusation. Scientist believe that this informations obtained by the minerals indicates that Mars was once warm enough for liquid water. This would be quite the discovery to find out that there was once water in a liquid form. What makes is so important is the fact that liquid water could mean that there was a possibility of life during that time. Of course it would be amazing to find out that we are not the only planet that can or has sustained life on it.

Many of the scientist are presently confused. Now that we know there was once liquid water on Mars, we know that the temperature was once high enough to keep that water liquid. Which means there was a major change in climate on the planet Mars. The question is how did this occur. There are many theories as to how this happens but no one knows for sure. There’s also the question of if Mars will heat up again and possibly be able to carry life. One person thinks that they might have the answer to heating up Mars. His name is James F. Kasting and he is a geoscience professor. He believes that the answer relies on nitrogen dioxide. Professor Kasting has made models of Mars for his experiment and the results show a jump in temperature. His experiment might make it possible for life on Mars…

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/04/science/space/04mars.html

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2 Responses to Minerals on Mars

  1. mattgwilt says:

    That is extremely interesting. I too never thought about the possibility of finding similar or identical minerals on other planets. The subject itself that mars could be in any way similar to Earth is facinating. Good find.

  2. alexmckinzie says:

    This makes you think about how could the same minerals exists on places so far away, it almost makes you think about pangea. But we all know that the Earth and the Mars never touched one another. If we have certain minerals in common, we must have other things in common that we are not aware of. Right?

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