In the past, Mars was quite suitable for life

12 Jun

Experts from the U.S. and Germany have completed the decoding of data on the composition of samples of rocks picked up by Mars rovers “Spirit”, and made sure, though once the conditions on Mars were suitable for the development of life.

The ancient channels on the surface of the Red Planet has made in the torrents of water, many consider evidence of a warmer climate, which was supported by the greenhouse effect. Probably, the concentration of carbon dioxide in the former dense atmosphere of Mars was sufficiently large, because in today’s rarefied gas envelope is dominated by CO2.

For a long time, experts were arguing about where the left most of the available carbon dioxide. “Some thought that he was in space, – says the lead author of the Richard Morris from Johnson Space Center. – But considering other options: he could leave the atmosphere in the process of interaction with water, which would lead to the formation of carbonate minerals. Detection of carbonates in meteorites of Martian origin has led many to believe that these minerals must often be met on the planet; long search of carbonate rocks using spectrometers at the orbiter, however, not yielded the expected results. Traces of such deposits was found only apparatus Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, and only in one area, called the Nili Fossae.

In late 2005, the rover “Spirit” coming from the top of the hill to the plateau of Husband Hill Home Plate, made a stopover to explore the outcrop Comanche in Gusev Crater. In the study samples used thermionic emission, Mossbauer and alpha-ray spectrometry system. “These Mossbauer spectroscopy were the first indication that the composition breed Comanche will be allocated to the general background – says Morris. – But we were not confident in interpreting this information. Full transcript of the results taken, as we see, about four years, with most of its time-consuming step was to work with thermal emission spectrometer, the lens is a few months before the “Spirit” arrived at the Comanche, hit the dust. “Develop an algorithm for correction of information, taking into account the effect of dust, we have succeeded recently,” – says another member Dr. Steven Ruff of Arizona State University.

As a result, it became clear that the mass of carbonate minerals is from 16 to 34 percent of the total mass of the investigated sample. In previously studied meteorites mass fraction carbonate reaches only 2. The importance of the study determined that the formation of carbonates is in neutral aqueous solutions. Mars rover “Opportunity” has already found traces of water on the planet, but then it was about an acid medium, and carbonates are easily dissolved in acid. “There is no doubt that conditions in the investigated area were well suited to life – notes Morris. – But all this, of course, does not prove that she was on Mars. “

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Posted by on June 12, 2010 in Galaxy


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