Part 3: Mars, A Sulfate Salty Planet – Could It Have Sulfate-Loving Microbes?

Mars and deep gash of Valles Marinaris, largest canyon in the solar system,by the Hubble Space Telescope.
Mars and deep gash of Valles Marinaris, largest canyon in the solar system,by the Hubble Space Telescope.

March 5, 2004  Pasadena, California - When the Opportunity rover's rock abrasion tool (RAT) drilled a hole in a piece of Martian bedrock called "McKittrick" in late February, NASA/JPL scientists were surprised that the sulfur content jumped up four times higher than the amount registered on the surface of the rock. When the rover moved over to another piece of bedrock called "Guadalupe," the sulfur amount jumped up to five times more than measured in the soil. At this week's NASA press conference in Washington, D. C., respected geochemist, Benton C. Clark, member of the Mars Explorer Rover (MER) science team and Chief Scientist of Space Exploration at Lockheed Martin said, "This supposed rock now looks like it is a chemical sediment." Sedimentation of high concentrations of sulfur and sulfate salts on earth means solution in water, the water evaporated, and left the salts.

 

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