Carbonate Finally Found On Mars

“We know there’s been water all over the place, but how frequently have the conditions been hospitable for life? We can say pretty confidently that when water was present in the places we looked at, it would have been a happy, pleasant environment for life.”

- John Mustard, Ph.D., Geological Sciences, Brown University

NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has finally found carbonate minerals on Mars that show up as green in the above image of a 12-miles-wide region in Nili Fossae on the edge of the Isidis impact basin. Scientists hypothesize the carbonates might have formed at the surface when olivine-rich rocks were exposed and altered by running water. Image courtesy NASA/JPL/JHUAPL/MSSS/Brown University.
NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has finally found carbonate minerals on Mars that show up as green in the above image of a 12-miles-wide region in Nili Fossae on the edge of the Isidis impact basin. Scientists hypothesize the carbonates might have formed at the surface when olivine-rich rocks were exposed and altered by running water. Image courtesy NASA/JPL/JHUAPL/MSSS/Brown University.

December 20, 2008  San Francisco, California -  At the annual American Geophysical Union Fall 2008 meeting held in San Francisco from December 15 to December 19, Brown University graduate student, Bethany Ehlmann, reported finding the mineral carbonate on Mars, increasing the chances that life might have existed on the red planet in the past when there was a less acidic watery surface. Carbonates result from carbon dioxide dissolved in water.

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