Potential habitats for early life on Mars

May 24, 2016, SETI Institute
Ancient layered clay-bearing bedrock (top left) and carbonate bedrock (bottom right) are exposed in the central uplift of an unnamed crater approximately 42 kilometers in diameter in eastern Hesperia Planum, Mars. The image was taken by the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) instrument aboard the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. Credit: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona

Recently discovered evidence of carbonates beneath the surface of Mars points to a warmer and wetter environment in that planet's past. The presence of liquid water could have fostered the emergence of life.

A new study by James Wray at the Georgia Institute of Technology and Janice Bishop of the SETI Institute, as well as other collaborators, has found evidence for widespread buried deposits of iron- and calcium-rich Martian carbonates, which suggests a wetter past for the Red Planet.

"Identification of these ancient carbonates and clays on Mars represents a window into history when the climate on Mars was very different from the cold and dry desert of today," notes Bishop.

The fate of water on Mars has been energetically debated by scientists because the planet is currently dry and cold, in contrast to the widespread fluvial features that etch much of its surface. Scientists believe that if water did once flow on the surface of Mars, the planet's bedrock should be full of carbonates and clays, which would be evidence that Mars once hosted habitable environments with liquid water. Researchers have struggled to find physical evidence for carbonate-rich bedrock, which may have formed when carbon dioxide in the planet's early atmosphere was trapped in ancient surface waters. They have focused their search on Mars' Huygens basin.

Potential habitats for early life on Mars
Aeolian bed forms overlie ancient layered, ridged carbonate-rich outcrop exposed in the central pit of Lucaya crater, northwest Huygens basin, Mars. The image was taken by the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) instrument aboard the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. Credit: NASA/JPL/University of Arizona

This feature is an ideal site to investigate carbonates because multiple impact craters and troughs have exposed ancient, subsurface materials where carbonates can be detected across a broad region. And according to study led James Wray, "outcrops in the 450-km wide Huygens basin contain both clay minerals and iron- or calcium-rich carbonate-bearing rocks."

The study has highlighted evidence of carbonate-bearing rocks in multiple sites across Mars, including Lucaya crater, where carbonates and clays 3.8 billion years old were buried by as much as 5 km of lava and caprock.

The researchers, supported by the SETI Institute's NASA Astrobiology Institute (NAI) team, identified carbonates on the planet using data from the Compact Reconnaissance Imaging Spectrometer for Mars (CRISM), which is on the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. This instrument collects the spectral fingerprints of carbonates and other minerals through vibrational transitions of the molecules in their crystal structure that produce infrared emission. The team paired CRISM data with images from the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) and Context Camera (CTX) on the orbiter, as well as the Mars Orbiter Laser Altimeter (MOLA) on the Mars Global Surveyor, to gain insights into the geologic features associated with carbonate-bearing rocks.

The extent of the global distribution of martian carbonates is not yet fully resolved and the early climate on the Red Planet is still subject of debate. However, this study is a forward step in understanding the potential habitability of ancient Mars.

Explore further: Exposed rocks point to water on ancient Mars

More information: James J. Wray et al. Orbital evidence for more widespread carbonate-bearing rocks on Mars, Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets (2016). DOI: 10.1002/2015JE004972

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wduckss
1 / 5 (4) May 24, 2016
"The presence of liquid water could have fostered the emergence of life."

There's only one problem: water.

Rovers searching Mars for years and can not find the life or remnants of life. That's lucky, on Earth needed more decades that rover finds part of the ground which there is no life.
torbjorn_b_g_larsson
4.2 / 5 (5) May 25, 2016
@wduckss: Those rovers have not been instrumented to find life or remnants of life, so no one is surprised when they don't.

The last rover, Curiosity, was instrumented to find out if liquid water has been around (it had) and then if the conditions has been habitable (they have; C has found that a dense atmosphere was at hand and that there is enough nutrients and redox potential around to grow and power life).

It is true that it is hard to find fossils on Earth - if that is what you are saying, it is a bit unclear on the end - which is why the next sample return rover may not be enough. It will make interesting science though. The found areas would be a prime candidate to look for fossils, so they could narrow down the search,

Another promising lead to search for extinct or extant life is the attempts like ESAs to drill deep into the crust, preferably to any extinct or extant water table, and sample.
Otto_Szucks
1.8 / 5 (5) May 25, 2016
You want to see Martian life? In the first photo, look to the right middle of the picture. Pay close attention. The creatures are long and look like a cross between a dolphin and an earthworm. There are two of them, one above the other in the photo (I am not saying on top of each other) in a grayish color and elongated…very different from the rocky surface that they're crawling on. Their hind ends are cut off at the right edge of thI only see two in this immediate area. They are not geological formations and these creatures travel in herds. They are huge and can crawl up hills, mountains, as well as travel on open flat terrain. There are many photos of these creatures in Pirouette's weblog that begins with mars critters (one word). Pirouette used to comment in Physorg until Theghostofotto1923 drove her away from this site.
She had contacted NASA about these "worms" but they refused to allow that the creatures exist on Mars. Probably had to do with Brookings Institute Report of 1960
Otto_Szucks
1.8 / 5 (5) May 25, 2016
EDIT: Their hind ends are cut off at the right edge of the photo. I regret never having been able to talk with Pirouette, but she left long before I registered to comment. Theghostofotto1923 was constantly making fun of her and her Mars photos. I think that he was jealous when she brought real science to Physorg and he hated her for it. I need to search for her website and look at her pictures again. I'm hoping that she has added more photos to it.
TheGhostofOtto1923
2.7 / 5 (7) May 25, 2016
The creatures are long and look like a cross between a dolphin and an earthworm
-Instead, might this be a hair on the end of your nose perhaps?

Or maybe it is in fact a worm manifestation.

"Neurocysticercosis is a specific form of the infectious parasitic disease cysticercosis which is caused by infection with Taenia solium, a tapeworm found in pigs. Neurocysticercosis occurs when cysts formed by the infection grow within the brain causing neurologic syndromes such as epileptic seizures."

-Do you find yourself getting unduly agitated at the appearance of these worms? Have you swallowed your tongue or cracked any ribs during such episodes?

Do you have Obamacare or Medicaid?
Otto_Szucks
2 / 5 (4) May 25, 2016
Otto...we all know that your brain is worm infested and that has made you a nasty SOB among mankind. You can try to fool them all you want. You yourself have said, "Humans are so easy" in one of the past threads. And I do agree that they are easy...and they are great pickings for you. So easy to do, isn't it? And they come to you willingly, like antialias_P, WhydGyre, Estevan57, and all your gangraters who have no real interest in science, just like you.
Why do you stay in Physorg, Otto? God has already clipped your wings and you have chosen to hide in Physorg so that you can gather more victims and suck up their souls. Isn't that right, pussytardo? Now tell the truth for once.
Otto_Szucks
2 / 5 (4) May 25, 2016
So tell us, Ottopussy...why is it that you don't want anybody to know that there are life forms on Mars, as Pirouette had claimed?
Oh wait, is that where you were detained for all those years for being such a devil?
LOL I remember it well. Don't you just miss all that darkness, Ottopusspuss? Do you remember all the brothers? THEY remember YOU.
torbjorn_b_g_larsson
3.7 / 5 (6) May 26, 2016
@OS: "You want to see Martian life? In the first photo".

Stop right there. Enough.

This is a science site, and your eager pattern matching doesn't pass the first requirement for an observation, that of being motivated by a plausible hypothesis. (Never mind that scientists have poured over that photo to find the carbonate deposits.)

I know that cracked nutcases is a special treat sideshow on the web, but while the big laughs are nice, it is also nice to have a clean thread. (Of course, the first troll kind of ruined that.)
TheGhostofOtto1923
2.6 / 5 (5) May 26, 2016
@OS: "You want to see Martian life? In the first photo".

Stop right there. Enough.

This is a science site, and your eager pattern matching doesn't pass the first requirement for an observation, that of being motivated by a plausible hypothesis. (Never mind that scientists have poured over that photo to find the carbonate deposits.)

I know that cracked nutcases is a special treat sideshow on the web, but while the big laughs are nice, it is also nice to have a clean thread. (Of course, the first troll kind of ruined that.)
Kind of like trying to reason with one of these
https://www.youtu...coEyp1u0
TehDog
5 / 5 (2) May 26, 2016
"I need to search for her website and look at her pictures again."
Oh dear, such a short memory.

http://phys.org/n...ere.html

marscritters.blogspot.co.uk

And the thread where you thank me for posting those links;
http://phys.org/n...gen.html

"- TehDog
Thanks for the links."

Otto_Szucks
2.5 / 5 (4) May 27, 2016
@OS: "You want to see Martian life? In the first photo".

Stop right there. Enough.

This is a science site, and your eager pattern matching doesn't pass the first requirement for an observation, that of being motivated by a plausible hypothesis. (Never mind that scientists have poured over that photo to find the carbonate deposits.)

I know that cracked nutcases is a special treat sideshow on the web, but while the big laughs are nice, it is also nice to have a clean thread. (Of course, the first troll kind of ruined that.)
- t.b.g.l
I notice that in every thread in which Theghostofotto posts its comments, you never notice that those posts have nothing to do with science whatsoever, but are only posted by Otto to ensure its hold and control over YOU and many others who are purposefully blind to the fact that Otto exhibits NO SCIENCE KNOWLEDGE WHATSOEVER.
Why do you ignore ghostofotto's non-science posts, Torbjorn? Are you in Otto's pocket also?
Otto_Szucks
2.3 / 5 (3) May 27, 2016
"I need to search for her website and look at her pictures again."
Oh dear, such a short memory.

http://phys.org/n...ere.html

"- TehDog
Thanks for the links."

- TehDog

I found the link. I haven't looked at it in over 2 years. It is www.marscritters.blogspot.com
I enjoyed Pirouette's martian pictures, but then forgot the web address, but not that it began with mars critters (one word). She says that live creatures exist on Mars, and I believe her. I just wish that I could have gotten to discuss her findings with her.
While you're at it, try to access the Brookings Institute report of 1960 regarding the panic that would be caused to humans if they found out that ETs exist.
I have read a part of it years ago and will try to find it again.
TehDog
not rated yet May 27, 2016
You're either trolling, or genuinely unable to internet.

https://en.wikipe...s_Report
And the report itself;
https://babel.hat...p;seq=10
Otto_Szucks
3 / 5 (2) May 27, 2016
@TD
Try these:

http://www.nicap....sdir.htm

As far as "trolling", I have been commenting on this site since 2012 and never trolled even once as Obama_socks.

There are disinformation and misinformations agents who do troll this site. Can't you tell the differences yet? If you believe that I'm trolling, then please ignore me.
Otto_Szucks
3 / 5 (2) May 27, 2016
One more:

http://query.nyti...8B679EDE

(paywalled)

TehDog
1 / 5 (1) May 27, 2016
Yep, trolling. I don't mind. Cheap entertainment is the best kind :)
BTW, I don't use the ignore function, spoils the fun.
Otto_Szucks
3 / 5 (2) May 27, 2016
TehDog...what is your definition of "trolling" and explain how I fit into it. I gave you Pirouette's dot com web address before I tried your co.uk version. They both lead to the same site.
And I gave you an opportunity to read the Brookings Institute report of 1960. If that's what you consider trolling, then you deserve to be in my Physorg Asshole Club list along with Theghostofotto. You had asked me to put you in that list several months ago and I didn't, and at the time you didn't qualify to be in it. So you are now accusing me of trolling? Do you have mental problems?

Hmmm...in retrospect, you do seem to have mental issues, so I will ignore YOU. Thanks for the revelation.
torbjorn_b_g_larsson
1 / 5 (1) May 28, 2016
TGO, LOL!

@OS: I don't see him posting anti-science much. There is a difference between posting contributions and trolling inflammatory irrelevancies.

If there were a smidgen of interest as now when you ask why but obviously then is oblivious to what science is and is not and haven't made the effort to learn it. (Or possibly can't learn like incompetents, but I can't start to tell the motivations behind an individual's behavior unless they state it.)
torbjorn_b_g_larsson
3 / 5 (2) May 28, 2016
[ctd] Oy, they game is up, on the next open tab I had you are revealed like a possible EU empty sock/sock puppet. [ http://phys.org/n...res.html ]

That modifies my hypothesis re motivations and competences, obviously. But I shouldn't have gone there, so I'll stop here.

TehDog
3.7 / 5 (3) May 28, 2016
OS is a troll, he/she attempts to push peoples buttons, based on their posts here.
i.e.
http://phys.org/n...fle.html

Does the same with the magnetic enthusiasts, DM , and probably AGW deniers.

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