Nasa finds key mineral for life on Mars
Friday 19 December 2008
An orbiting spacecraft has discovered a key mineral in bedrock on the surface of Mars that suggests the planet might once have had an environment hospitable to life, scientists reported today.
The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter detected carbonate mineral in rock outcrops in Nili Fossae, a region of valleys that have cut into the planet's ancient crust, suggesting the area was not as harsh as other places on Mars.
The mineral, which forms in the presence of water, had previously been detected in trace amounts in Martian dust and soil.
But its presence in bedrock indicates water there was not as acidic and thus more hospitable to life.
The region "would have really been a clement, benign environment for early Martian life," said mission scientist Bethany Ehlmann of Brown University.
The results were presented yesterday at an American Geophysical Union meeting in San Francisco and will appear today in the journal Science.
Scientists planning the next Mars landing - the Mars Science Laboratory - initially considered Nili Fossae as a potential landing site, but it did not make the final cut.
The launch of the lab is set for 2011.
- 1 The difference between a migrant and refugee, in one sentence
- 2 Miley Cyrus calls out hypocrisy of women’s nipples being taboo
- 3 Celebrity Big Brother 2015: Tila Tequila kicked off show after 'describing Hitler as a good man'
- 4 Watch the Supermoon live: How to see the brightest Moon of the year tonight
- 5 iPhone 5c to be discontinued, no iPhone 6c to replace it
Spain accused of 'provocation' after letting Russian submarine refuel off Gibraltar
The difference between a migrant and refugee, in one sentence
Allonautilus scrobiculatus: World's 'rarest' creature spotted for only the third time ever
Miley Cyrus calls out hypocrisy of women’s nipples being taboo
Bangkok Bomb: Thai police name Adem Karadag as suspect arrested over blast that killed 20
Climate change: 2015 will be the hottest year on record 'by a mile', experts say
'Women only' train carriages: Jeremy Corbyn unveils radical move to tackle public harassment
Black holes are a passage to another universe, says Stephen Hawking
Iain Duncan Smith 'should resign over disability benefit death figures', says Jeremy Corbyn
Stock up on canned food for stock market crash, warns former Gordon Brown adviser
Labour leadership: Jeremy Corbyn voters most likely to believe 'world is controlled by a secretive elite'
£18000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Executive or Senior Sal...
£40000 - £55000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...
£22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This industry leading company produces h...
£20000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This IT provider for the educat...