Unexpected discovery when studying life on Mars
According to SpaceMartian meteorite is a topographic fragment of the Nakhlit meteorite layer, which is actually volcanic rock that was blown away after the red planet collided with an asteroid 11 million years ago.
Previous studies have suggested that the Nakhlite sample could be evidence for hydrothermal systems on Mars, a sign that life exists other than Earth.
In the new study, the researchers examined the 715-gram Miller meteorite rock, which was discovered in the Miller Mountains in Antarctica in 2003.
Lead author of the study, Josefin Martell, an astronomer at Lund University in Sweden said: “As a result of previous studies, we found that the minerals present in this meteorite reacted with water around 630 million years ago.”
The scientists used non-destructive radiography with neutrons and X-rays, and then relied on changes in the amount of water in the fossils to detect a hydrothermal system that exists on Mars.
The results showed that the minerals inside the meteorite were changed by the reaction with water and concentrated into isolated plates. Thus, the water compound does not come from the hydrothermal system on the Martian surface, but rather the ice layer buried in the geological meteorite sample and then melted.
These findings show that the nakhlite layer is devoid of any signs of life. However, these conclusions apply only to this time and place, not to Mars as a whole.
Ms. Martell warned: “We only report what we see in the sample above.”
At the same time, these findings also suggest that neutron and X-ray scanning could be useful in analyzing rock samples from other planets. Especially with the rocks NASA brought back from Mars.
Ms. Martell analyzed: “The Perseverance vessel is continuing to search and return rock samples, which are expected to be returned around 2030. With rare rock samples, the best thing is to do all the techniques without affecting the structure. structure of the sample prior to destruction of the agar for further studies”.
The scientists detailed their findings in a paper published May 11 in the journal Science Advances.
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