Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Rocks on Mars may provide link to evidence of living organisms roughly 4 billion years ago

Date:
July 30, 2010
Source:
Elsevier
Summary:
A new paper reveals groundbreaking research on the hydrothermal formation of Clay-Carbonate rocks in the Nili Fossae region of Mars. The findings may provide a link to evidence of living organisms on Mars, roughly 4 billion years ago in the Noachian period.

This image of the Centauri-Hellas Montes region was taken by the Compact Reconnaissance Imaging Spectrometer for Mars (CRISM) at a portion of a trough in the Nili Fossae region of Mars is shown in enhanced color in this image from the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) camera on NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona

A new article in press of the journal Earth and Planetary Science Letters unveils groundbreaking research on the hydrothermal formation of Clay-Carbonate rocks in the Nili Fossae region of Mars. The findings may provide a link to evidence of living organisms on Mars, roughly 4 billion years ago in the Noachian period.

The paper -- by Adrian J. Brown of the SETI Institute and colleagues at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, the Desert Research Institute and Brazil's Universidade Estadual de Campinas -- analyzes data from the Compact Reconnaissance Imaging Spectrometer for Mars (CRISM), using co-located HiRISE images in order to further characterize the rocks.

The researchers suggest that carbonate bearing rocks found in the Nili Fossae region of Mars are made up of hydrothermally altered ultramafic (perhaps komatiitic) rocks. It also shows that the carbonates at Nili Fossae are not pure Mg-carbonate. Moreover, the study explains that talc is present in close proximity to the carbonate locations -- rather than previously suggested saponite -- and talc-carbonate alteration of high-Mg precursor rocks has taken place.

Brown explains: "We suggest that the associated hydrothermal activity would have provided sufficient energy for biological activity on early Mars at Nili Fossae. Furthermore, in the article we discuss the potential of the Archean volcanics of the East Pilbara region of Western Australia as an analog for the Nochian Nili Fossae on Mars. They indicate that biomarkers or evidence of living organisms, if produced at Nili, could have been preserved, as they have been in the North Pole Dome region of the Pilbara craton."

The discovery, remarked Tilman Spohn, editor of Earth and Planetary Sciences, "marks a significant finding in the Nili Fossae region of Mars, highlighting similarities between traces of life on early Earth and early Mars, and suggests a landing site for an exobiology mission to Mars."


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. Adrian J. Brown, Simon J. Hook, Alice M. Baldridge, James K. Crowley, Nathan T. Bridges, Bradley J. Thomson, Giles M. Marion, Carlos R. de Souza Filho, Janice L. Bishop. Hydrothermal formation of Clay-Carbonate alteration assemblages in the Nili Fossae region of Mars. Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 2010; DOI: 10.1016/j.epsl.2010.06.018

Cite This Page:

Elsevier. "Rocks on Mars may provide link to evidence of living organisms roughly 4 billion years ago." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 30 July 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/07/100729203027.htm>.
Elsevier. (2010, July 30). Rocks on Mars may provide link to evidence of living organisms roughly 4 billion years ago. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 29, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/07/100729203027.htm
Elsevier. "Rocks on Mars may provide link to evidence of living organisms roughly 4 billion years ago." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/07/100729203027.htm (accessed July 29, 2014).

Share This




More Space & Time News

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Russia Saves Gecko Sex Satellite, Media Has Some Fun With It

Russia Saves Gecko Sex Satellite, Media Has Some Fun With It

Newsy (July 27, 2014) The satellite is back under ground control after a tense few days, but with a gecko sex experiment on board, the media just couldn't help themselves. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
NASA EDGE: OCO-2 Launch

NASA EDGE: OCO-2 Launch

NASA (July 25, 2014) NASA EDGE webcasts live from Vandenberg AFB for the launch of the Oribiting Carbon Observatory-2 (OCO) launch. Video provided by NASA
Powered by NewsLook.com
This Week @ NASA, July 25, 2014

This Week @ NASA, July 25, 2014

NASA (July 25, 2014) Apollo 11 celebration, Next Giant Leap anticipation, ISS astronauts appear in the House and more... Video provided by NASA
Powered by NewsLook.com
Space to Ground: Coming and Going

Space to Ground: Coming and Going

NASA (July 25, 2014) One station cargo ship leaves, another arrives, aquatic research and commercial spinoffs. Questions or comments? Use #spacetoground to talk to us. Video provided by NASA
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:
from the past week

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