NASA finds glass on Mars, which could help the hunt for alien life

NASA finds glass on Mars, which could help the hunt for alien life 1

For the first time, a spacecraft orbiting Mars has detected glass deposits inside craters on the red planet — a possible boon in the hunt for signs of past Martian life.

Researchers think that the glass was created when impactors (meteoroids, asteroids or comets) slammed into Mars, superheating the Martian dirt and turning parts of the surface into glass.

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Scientists using NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) were able to see glass on the surface of the red planet using the spacecraft’s sensors. The new Mars glass study was published this week in the journal Geology.

Researchers on Earth have been able to learn about past life on this planet by studying glass deposits left over from impacts, so it’s possible that researchers studying Mars can do the same thing with the red planet.

A study last year “found organic molecules and plant matter entombed in glass” created by an asteroid impact in Argentina millions of years ago, NASA said.

mro-art-compressor
An artist’s concept of NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.

Brown University scientists Kevin Cannon and Jack Mustard decided to try to detect glass on Mars using lessons learned from the Earth-based study — but it’s not easy to detect glass on a world millions of miles away. So Cannon started in a lab.

He created glass by superheating powders and then measured the spectral signal — the unique band of colors emitted by the glass. Cannon provided that information to Mustard, the deputy principal investigator for MRO’s Compact Reconnaissance Imaging Spectrometer for Mars instrument, who used that signal to compare it to other spectra gathered from the red planet.

Boom: Mustard found multiple matches. MRO data shows that several craters on Mars house glass deposits that were probably formed during impact events. Much of the glass was found in the central peaks of Martian craters, meaning they were likely created from impacts, according to NASA.

“The researchers’ analysis suggests glass deposits are relatively common impact features on Mars,” Jim Green, director of NASA’s planetary science division, said in a statement. “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.”

MRO arrived at Mars in 2006 and has been beaming back information about the red planet ever since.

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Source mashable.com

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20 Comments

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  1. lets be clear about one thing……..NASA is not looking for alien life….they know it exists, they are in contact with aliens and they try very hard to keep the rest of the worlds population in the dark regarding this. in fact they play dumb and make people believe that they are looking for alien life when in actuality they are looking for minerals of value. that is why there is a base on mars ( you didnt know that?) and there have been multiple covert visits back to the moon, although we have been told that they never went back………they did go back because during the first visit they found stuff that was too good to tell others about……..so guess what tell the people that we never went back and lets take advantage of this stuff on our own. NASA is working with aliens to help us with our space travel and living in space and other planets.

  2. This is like NASA is trying to discover a new plane that can’t never discover or have no life support,I don’t believe that NSA found glass on Mars, could help to hunt the alien and life Aliens? the Aliens have being here on earth since world History civilisation.

  3. Give me a break! NASA already knows that there are alien life forms througout the galaxy and they are here right now on earth and inside the earth and have been for many years.

  4. Who knows, maybe they will get lucky and find signs of former life. ..but still I ask …..why does it have to be life as we know it. ..we are out there searching for something that could be totally different from anything we possibly know….it might breath sulfur, it may drink something totally toxic to us…..these scientists need to broaden their perspective on what alien life could be like

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