Space

Martian rocks may provide clues of primitive life existence on the red planet

Researchers conducting a new study revealed that the rocks evolving in lake beds are rich in iron and tend to provide with the best clues of the existence of life from some billions of years ago on the red planet. This new study is believed to help in seeking specimens of tiny organisms called microbes that existed on the Mars near about 4 billion years ago.

According to the new study, the fossils carrying evidence of primitive life on the red planet are likely to be found in sedimentary rocks that are developed from compacted clay and/or mud as these types of rocks are rich in fossil preserving iron and silica.

Sean McMahon at the University of Edinburgh in the Britain, said in a statement, “There are many interesting rock and mineral outcrops on Mars where we would like to search for fossils, but since we can’t send rovers to all of them we have tried to prioritize the most promising deposits based on the best available information.”

These rocks evolved on the Martian surface at the time of the Hesperian and Noachian periods some 3 to 4 billion years ago. As studied during those periods the surface of the red planet had enough water to support tiny life forms.

As claimed by the researchers involved in the study, the rocks on the surface of the Mars belonging to those periods were found to be much better preserved as compared to that of the Earth dating back to the same age. The reason behind this is pointed out to the fact that unlike the Earth, the red planet does not experience plate tectonics that tends to destroy rocks.

Researchers believe that the findings of the study would provide data to the following rover mission of the NASA to the Mars and also a similar mission of the European Space Agency that would launch in the near future. The missions would aim at finding clues of the existence of primitive life forms on the Red Planet and also selecting docking sites for further Mars missions. The 2020 rover of the United States would return to the Earth its collected rock specimens to be used in future missions.

The observations of this new study were featured in the Journal of Geophysical Research.

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