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Mars rover hits mineral deposit 'jackpot'


Posted on Saturday, 31 December, 2016 | Comment icon 16 comments

It is looking increasingly likely that Mars could have once supported life. Image Credit: NASA
Curiosity has discovered minerals from over several million years of the Red Planet's geological history.
Mars might be an inhospitable place today, but in its distant past scientists believe that it was very much like the Earth and may have even been capable of supporting primitive life forms.

One of the reasons that NASA landed Curiosity in Gale Crater is because it is one of the most promising places to look for evidence of what Mars used to be like during this time.

The lowest point on the planet's surface for thousands of miles, the crater is thought to have once contained a lake of liquid water that may have endured for a very long time.

The rover's most recent discovery at the site, which was announced earlier this month, is what scientists have described as a 'jackpot' of mineral deposits on the crater floor.

The find is helping to cement the idea that the planet would have once been habitable.

"We are seeing chemical complexity indicating a long, interactive history with the water," said geologist John Grotzinger from the California Institute of Technology.

"The more complicated the chemistry is, the better it is for habitability. The boron, hematite and clay minerals underline the mobility of elements and electrons, and that is good for life."

Source: Inquisitr.com | Comments (16)

Tags: Mars, Curiosity

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #7 Posted by seanjo on 4 January, 2017, 13:18
Imagine if there were life...what gives us the right to land on that Planet, any Planet or Moon that has life, take samples, interfere in that life's possible evolution?
Comment icon #8 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf on 4 January, 2017, 13:23
What say's we can't? It is perfectly possible to study microbial life without interfering in it's evolution.
Comment icon #9 Posted by PersonFromPorlock on 4 January, 2017, 16:35
Squished.
Comment icon #10 Posted by seanjo on 4 January, 2017, 17:55
Studying and interfering are two separate things. As long as we study without interfering.
Comment icon #11 Posted by acute on 4 January, 2017, 20:02
Surely the Mars Rover contains micro-organisms from Earth.
Comment icon #12 Posted by Manfred von Dreidecker on 4 January, 2017, 20:17
Well, they take care to make sure, or try as much as they can, to make sure that they're completely sterile before they set off.
Comment icon #13 Posted by acute on 4 January, 2017, 20:35
I find it hard to believe that anything sent from Earth has completely sterile components.
Comment icon #14 Posted by kartikg on 4 January, 2017, 22:20
Weabsolutelyhavenorightbutwhat'sstoppingustobehonesthumanbeingisnotbenevolentasyoumightthink warshavebeenfoughtovergoldandevenbuffaloes Iguess
Comment icon #15 Posted by seanjo on 6 January, 2017, 18:14
I think that the long journey through the vacuum of space at near absolute zero temperatures and the hostile environment on Mars probably finished off whatever microbes were present. I'm willing to be proven wrong though.
Comment icon #16 Posted by toast on 6 January, 2017, 18:23
JFI: NASA's Mars Rover Curiosity Had Planetary Protection Slip-Up


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