Sunday, July 20, 2008

Martians Can Run, But They Can't Hide

Okay, the real news is that reports about a study by John Mustard, published in the July 17 issue of Nature show that Mars held water, and held it for a long time.

The study uses data from the Compact Reconnaissance Imaging Spectrometer for Mars (CRISM) on board NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. They found the presence of phyllosilicates (read: "clay"), which can only form in the presence of water. Their distribution shows "a variety of wet environments," says Mustard.

It gets exciting when you include the companion study, published in the June 2 issue of Nature Geosciences, which shows that the clay concentrated in a crater lake. The concentration suggests that flowing water on Mars carried the clay into the lakebed, and its distribution suggests that the standing water "persisted for thousands of years."

Clay traps organic matter. If there was life on Mars, it's possible that we'll find a record of it.

Digg this Stumble Upon Toolbar

No comments:

The header image is adapted from a photo taken by Bill McChesney and used under a creative commons license.
ss_blog_claim=59c833aa066112eeabade1b22648d49b ss_blog_claim=59c833aa066112eeabade1b22648d49b