Mars once had water warm enough to sustain life
2012 11 19

By George Dvorsky | io9.com





We know that Mars once had lots of water, considered a prerequisite for habitability. What hasnt been known, however, is just how friendly or unfriendly this water might have been to life, as the temperature and chemical conditions of ancient Martian water has remained a complete mystery.


But as a new analysis of Martian meteorites has revealed water temperatures on the Red Planet once ranged between 50C to 150C (122F to 302F) temperatures that we know are most certainly hospitable to microbial life.

Biologists who study extremophiles on Earth have discovered many microorganisms that can survive and thrive in some of the most extreme environments. As an example, microbes have been found in the volcanic thermal springs at Yellowstone Park water sources that, as we now know, are comparable in temperature to what was once found on Mars.

To make this determination, John Bridges from the University of Leicester Space Research Centre, took a closer look at a special class of Martian meteorites found only in impact craters. Called nakhlites, these rocks are characterized by an intricate series of small veins which are filled with minerals formed by the action of water near the surface of a planet.

By using an electron microscope and a transmission electron microscope, Bridges and his colleagues studied the peculiar alterations found in eight different samples. They discovered that the first mineral to grow along the walls of the vein was iron carbonate, which would have been formed by carbon dioxide-rich water at around 150C. Then, after cooling to about 50C, it formed clay minerals, followed by an amorphous phase that gave it the same composition as clay.

Fascinatingly, microbes use these exact reactions during mineral formation to gain energy and elements required for their survival.

"The mineralogical details we see tell us that there had been high carbon dioxide pressure in the veins to form the carbonates," noted Bridges through the official release. "Conditions then changed to less carbon dioxide in the fluid and clay minerals formed. We have a good understanding of the conditions minerals form in but to get to the details, chemical models are needed."

And indeed, subsequent analysis by Susanne Schwenzer, Postdoctoral Research Associate in the Department of Physical Sciences at The Open University, confirmed that this order-of-operations in mineral formation was what truly happened. As a result, Bridges and Schwenzer were able to predict water conditions on Mars. At first, the water was around 150C and contained a lot of CO2 (forming the carbonates), and then cooled to about 50C (thus forming the clays).

Interestingly, the driving force responsible for heating the water would have likely been asteroid impacts on the surface. Given just how pockmarked the planet is, theres a good chance that Mars once featured many of these warm reservoirs.

The entire study can be found at Earth and Planetary Science Letters.


Article from: io9.com







Related Articles
Spidery black objects on Mars surface raise speculation
Weather On Mars Surprisingly Warm, Curiosity Rover Finds
Mars rover Curiosity finds signs of ancient stream
Mystery Spheres on Mars Baffle Scientists


Latest News from our Front Page

Why Cant We Publish Addresses Of New York Times Reporters?
2014 11 28
New York Times reporters Julie Bosman and Campbell Robertson published the address of Darren Wilson in the New York Times so here are their addresses. GotNews.com strenuously objects to publishing the addresses of individuals who are being targeted with death threats. GotNews.com published the address of Ebola patient Nina Pham so that people could avoid going to her Dallas apartment. But it would ...
Terrorists? Interview with Varg Vikernes and Marie Cachet
2014 11 28
Marie Cachet and Varg Vikernes are what we call commonly ordinary people. However, for motives meanly political, the Ministry of the Interior decided to abuse its power to damage them ; "there is nothing more annoying than a low man placed in high position." (Roman saying) Today, Varg risks the eviction of the French territory without valid ground. Three very ...
The Coudenhove-Kalergi Plan - The Genocide Of The People Of Europe
2014 11 28
Mass immigration is a phenomenon, the causes of which are still cleverly concealed by the system, and the multicultural propaganda is trying to falsely portray it as inevitable. With this article we intend to prove once and for all, that this is not a spontaneous phenomenon. What they want to present as an inevitable outcome of modern life, is actually ...
Starbucks Supports Pro-GMO Company
2014 11 26
Another reason why you should not go to Starbucks. Starbucks has an image of being a socially responsible, environmentally friendly company (Really?). In 2013, 95 percent of their coffee was ethically sourced, and their goal is to reach 100 percent by 2015.1 Other goals include reducing water consumption by 25 percent in their company-operated stores by 20152 and mobilizing their employees and ...
Group Polarization and the Fad of Ethno-masochism
2014 11 26
From "Group polarization: A critical review and meta-analysis". Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. 6 50 (6): 1141--1151 The psychology of White self hatred. Political correctness IS a mental disorder. More: Group polarization: A critical review and meta-analysis. Isenberg, Daniel J. the paper Indoctrinate U Harvard Professor Noel Ignatiev talks about how to end the White race The History of Political Correctness The Narrative: The origins of Political ...
More News