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Space & Astronomy

Mars rover hits mineral deposit 'jackpot'

By T.K. Randall
December 31, 2016 · Comment icon 13 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: | Comments (13)

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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #4 Posted by PersonFromPorlock 7 years ago
I suspect that any life found in a crater would be very, very thin life. At some point. 'all the conditions being right' raises more questions than answers.
Comment icon #5 Posted by seeder 7 years ago
  Thin life? Please explain?
Comment icon #6 Posted by qxcontinuum 7 years ago
OK so it is possible to find fossiles of primitive animals curently on Mars.
Comment icon #7 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf 7 years ago
What say's we can't? It is perfectly possible to study microbial life without interfering in it's evolution. 
Comment icon #8 Posted by PersonFromPorlock 7 years ago
Comment icon #9 Posted by acute 7 years ago
Surely the Mars Rover contains micro-organisms from Earth.
Comment icon #10 Posted by Manfred von Dreidecker 7 years ago
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 #11 Posted by acute 7 years ago
I find it hard to believe that anything sent from Earth has completely sterile components.
Comment icon #12 Posted by kartikg 7 years ago
We absolutely have no right but what's stopping us to be honest human being is not benevolent as you might think  wars have been fought over gold and even buffaloes I guess 
Comment icon #13 Posted by toast 7 years ago
JFI: NASA's Mars Rover Curiosity Had Planetary Protection Slip-Up  

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