Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Mineral Discovery Explains Mars' Landscape

Date:
October 24, 2006
Source:
Queen's University
Summary:
A Queen's University researcher has discovered a mineral that could explain the mountainous landscape of Mars, and have implications for NASA's next mission to the planet.

Exploration rovers' view of the surface of Mars.
Credit: Image courtesy of NASA

A Queen’s University researcher has discovered a mineral that could explain the mountainous landscape of Mars, and have implications for NASA’s next mission to the planet.

“Satellites orbiting Mars show us images of canyons and gullies that appear to have been created by a flood or rapid out-washing,” says Ron Peterson, Queen’s geologist. “Exploration rovers, currently moving about on the planet’s surface, also show us that there is no visible water on the surface of Mars, but that there was in the past.”

Dr. Peterson suggests that Mars was likely wetter in the past. All of the images that are coming back from the rovers show layering in the rock which is indicative of sediment manipulated by water. This kind of out-wash would require a fair amount of water on the planet at some point.

The study, published this week in GEOLOGY, a publication of the Geological Society of America, suggests that these findings may provide insight into how to retrieve a sample of Mars' surface and return it to earth.

Dr. Peterson will share his findings with NASA at the Johnson Space Centre in Houston next week to provide insight into designing the next Mars exploration rover and planning its mission.

The discovery was made in Dr. Peterson’s unheated garage using epsomite, also known as Epsom salts. The solution was left to crystallize for several days at temperatures below freezing, which formed crystals that have unusual properties. The crystals were then rapidly melted, which created mould-like channels and gullies – similar to what we see on the surface of Mars.

Martian terrain may have been created in a similar fashion. Dr. Peterson suggests that many years ago, water interacted with rocks on the surface of the planet to create an acidic cocktail, which created layers of material. When the surface layer melted, it created the topography that exploration rovers show us today.

“These findings may help us better understand the surface of Mars,” says Dr. Peterson, expert in geological science and engineering. “These possible new minerals that may be found on Earth help us see that although there are many differences between Earth and Mars, such as atmosphere and gravity, there are many things that are the same – it is another world, but there are certainly similarities.”


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Queen's University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Queen's University. "Mineral Discovery Explains Mars' Landscape." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 24 October 2006. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/10/061023192350.htm>.
Queen's University. (2006, October 24). Mineral Discovery Explains Mars' Landscape. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/10/061023192350.htm
Queen's University. "Mineral Discovery Explains Mars' Landscape." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/10/061023192350.htm (accessed October 21, 2014).

Share This



More Space & Time News

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Comet Siding Spring Grazes Mars' Atmosphere

Comet Siding Spring Grazes Mars' Atmosphere

Newsy (Oct. 19, 2014) A comet from the farthest reaches of the solar system passed extremely close to Mars this weekend, giving astronomers a rare opportunity to study it. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Latin America Launches Communications Satellite

Latin America Launches Communications Satellite

AFP (Oct. 17, 2014) Argentina launches a home-built satellite, a first for Latin America. It will ride a French-made Ariane 5 rocket into orbit, and will provide cell phone, digital TV, Internet and data services to the lower half of South America. Duration: 00:41 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
This Week @ NASA, October 17, 2014

This Week @ NASA, October 17, 2014

NASA (Oct. 17, 2014) Power spacewalk, MAVEN’s “First Light”, Hubble finds extremely distant galaxy and more... Video provided by NASA
Powered by NewsLook.com
Saturn's 'Death Star' Moon Might Have A Hidden Ocean

Saturn's 'Death Star' Moon Might Have A Hidden Ocean

Newsy (Oct. 17, 2014) The smallest of Saturn's main moons, Mimas, wobbles as it orbits. Research reveals it might be due to a global ocean underneath its icy surface. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins