If you’re planning on helping to colonize Mars, you’ll be thrilled to hear that a recent analysis of Martian meteorites indicates that there may be more water on Mars than we previously thought — a lot more. Scientists now think that the amount of water that’s underground on Mars could rival that of Earth. The discovery has rekindled speculations about the red planet’s ability to sustain life — including, potentially, that of human visitors.
The research was led by former Carnegie postdoctoral scientist Francis McCubbin, who’s now at the University of New Mexico, and the analysis itself was performed by Carnegie Institution investigator Erik Hauri and team. Their findings are to appear in the journal, Geology.
To reach this conclusion, the scientists studied what are called shergottite meteorites. These are relatively young objects that originated through the partial thawing of the Martian mantle, which is the layer immediately under the crust. This melting process resulted in its crystallization in the shallow subsurface and on the surface itself. These meteorites landed on earth about 2.5 million years ago, likely after an asteroid smashed into Mars. These ancient objects are a boon to “meteorite geochemists”, who study them in order to get a better understanding of Mars’s geological processes.
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