Early Mars Was All Wet

By | July 17, 2008

A lot more Martian rocks were altered by water than scientists originally thought, suggesting that early Mars was a very wet place.

New observations made by NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO), currently circling the planet, have revealed evidence that vast regions of the southern highlands of Mars were altered by water in a variety of environments billions of years ago.

Water is a key condition for life as we know it. Though there is no firm evidence that Mars has ever harbored life, knowing that the planet was once wet suggests that it was at least habitable in the past.

The key to the finding is the discovery that rocks called phyllosilicates are widespread on at least the planet’s southern hemisphere. The water present on Mars from about 4.6 billion to 3.8 billion years ago transformed some rocks into these phyllosilicates, which include clays rich in iron, magnesium or aluminum, mica, and kaolinite (an ingredient in Kaopectate). – yahoo

Wow. The photo really looks like some ancient martian plant.

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