Monday, August 3, 2020
Home Science & Technology Researchers discover glass deposits on Mars, possibility of past life on the...

Researchers discover glass deposits on Mars, possibility of past life on the planet increases

download (9)

Washington: In a pioneering feat, researchers have discovered glass deposits on the Red Planet, providing a delicate window into the possibility of past life on the planet.

Using data from NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO), the team from Brown University detected deposits of glass within impact craters on Mars formed in the searing heat of a violent impact.

Previous research has shown that ancient biosignatures can be preserved in impact glass.

“Knowing this, we wanted to go look for them on Mars and that is what we did here. Before this paper, no one had been able to definitively detect them on the Martian surface,” said Kevin Cannon, PhD student at Brown University.

Cannon and co-author professor Jack Mustard showed that large glass deposits are present in several ancient yet well-preserved craters scattered across the Martian surface.

These glass deposits are relatively common impact features on Mars and could be targets for future exploration.

To identify minerals and rock types remotely, scientists measure the spectra of light reflected off the planet’s surface.

But impact glass does not have a particularly strong spectral signal.

“Glasses tend to be spectrally bland or weakly expressive, so signatures from the glass tend to be overwhelmed by the chunks of rock mixed in with it. But Kevin found a way to tease that signal out,” Mustard said.

In the lab, Kevin mixed together powders with a similar composition of Martian rocks and fired them in an oven to form glass and measured the spectral signal from that glass.

Once he had the signal from the lab glass, he used an algorithm designed to pick out similar signals in data from NASA’s MRO.

The technique was able to pinpoint deposits around several crater central peaks.

The fact that the deposits were found on central peaks is a good indicator that they have an impact origin.

Knowing that impact glass can preserve ancient signs of life opens a potential new strategy in the search for ancient Martian life.

“We think these could be interesting targets for future exploration. In fact, we have a particular spot in mind,” the authors said.

The research was published online in the journal Geology. (IANS)

STAY CONNECTED

18,966FansLike
362FollowersFollow
1,782FollowersFollow

Most Popular

2 US Astronauts Return Back From International Space Station

Two U.S. astronauts returned to Earth on Sunday, splashing safely into the Gulf of Mexico after a two-month mission to the International Space Station...

Making Ayodhya Railway Station A Replica of Ram Temple

When people arrive in Ayodhya in the coming months, they will get a glimpse of the grand Ram temple before they actually visit the...

10 Things People with Drug Problem Don’t Want to Hear from You

Drug addiction is a very sensitive issue that no one wants to be associated with. Most people who became addicts started it as a...

386M Databases From 18 Companies Stolen

A hacker/hacking group known as ShinyHunters flooded a hacker forum with 386 million user records stolen from 18 companies. According to BleepingComputer, ShinyHunters last week...

‘Unfixable Vulnerability’ Found in Apple’s Secure Enclave Chip puts Users’ Data at Risk

A new exploit has allegedly been found in Apple's Secure Enclave chip putting the data of iPhone, iPad, Mac users at risk. Chinese hackers from...

Amitabh Bachchan Shares Emotions After Covid Recovery, Raksha Bandhan Plans

Cine icon Amitabh Bachchan has said it is heartening to be back home from hospital after his Covid recovery. He has also revealed his...

Volcanic Eruptions Responsible for Cooling of Earth: Researchers

Analysis of sediment found in a central Texas cave in the US shows volcanic eruptions responsible for the cooling of the Earth around 13,000...

Entertainment Industry has Made us Whatever we are: Ravi Dubey

Actor Ravi Dubey says it is not easy for television actors to make it big in Bollywood. "It's not easy, because there are times certain...

Recent Comments