[dropcap]W[/dropcap]as Water On Mars 10 Million Years Ago Enough To Support Life – New Evidence From The Nakhla Meteorite?!
A team of scientists at the University of Glasgow and the Scottish Universities Environmental Research Centre and the Natural History Museum (London) have discovered the first evidence of water dissolving the surface of Mars. In a paper published in the Meteoritical Society‘s journal MAPS, the research team outline the results of tests on a 1.7-gram fragment of a Martian meteorite known as Nakhla, which was provided by the Natural History Museum. Nakhla, named after the town in Egypt where it landed in 1911 after being blasted from the surface of Mars by a massive impact around 10 million years ago, has been studied for decades by scientists around the world.
Previous research on Nakhla has provided evidenceoftheexistenceof water on Mars through the presence in the meteorite of ‘secondary minerals’ – types of carbonates, hydrous silicates and sulfates most likely formed when Martian minerals reacted with liquid water. “What has been unclear in the past is exactly where the chemical elements which made up the secondary minerals within Nakhla came from,” said Martin Lee of the University’s School of Geographical and Earth Sciences, lead author of the paper. “Using a scanning electron microscope, we examined many tiny bowl-shaped depressions, known as etch pits, in grains of the minerals olivine and augite found in the meteorite.
“What we’ve found for the first time is evidence that the etch pits were created when water dissolved the olivine and augite, and that the elements released from those minerals led to the formation of t