/

Menu
Trivia

There’s Glass on Mars — Here’s Why It’s Important

posted: 06/08/15
by: Discovery.com Staff
TRUE-COLOUR IMAGE OF MARS SEEN BY OSIRIS
ESA

An impact crater containing deposits of glass could hold clues for understanding life on Mars. Discovered by NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, the glass is believed to be the byproduct of the intense heat from a violent impact.

Glass in and of itself isn't necessarily indicative of life -- the surprise lies potentially lies within: in 2014, researchers discovered evidence of organic plant life entombed in glass found in Argentina from millions of years ago. "Glasses are potentially important for preserving biosignatures," according to Brown University researcher Kevin Cannon.

Researchers hope that the same could hold true on Mars: that the glass deposits hold important biosignatures of ancient Martian life.

"The researchers' analysis suggests glass deposits are relatively common impact features on Mars," said Jim Green, director of NASA's planetary science division. "These areas could be targets for future exploration as our robotic scientific explorers pave the way on the journey to Mars with humans in the 2030s."

Conveniently, one of the glass-containing craters is located within close proximity to the Nili Fossae trough, which has already been identified as a possible landing site for NASA's Mars 2020 rover mission. The mission aims to collect soil and rock samples that could potentially be returned to Earth and analyzed.

Click here to learn more about glass deposits from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory

Learn more about Mars:

show more details
Mars Facts You Should Know
YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

HELLO
About the blog:
DSCOVRD: The best of the web, covering space, technology, wildlife and more!
More on
MOST POPULAR