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Sat Jul 29, 2017, 06:58 PM

More hints of Martian hot springs may hold promise for Mars 2020 mission

One potential landing site appears to have ridges that hint at past hydrothermal activity
11:10AM, JULY 26, 2017

ANCIENT FEATURES Northeast Syrtis Major (shown) is a candidate landing site for the Mars 2020 mission. The bedrock in
the region is more than 4 billion years old. Certain ridges there may be the result of ancient hot springs, a new study of similar features elsewhere on Mars suggests.

Ancient hot springs may have bubbled up at a spot just south of the Martian equator. Left-behind mineral deposits described in a new study are not the first evidence of such features on Mars. But if confirmed, the discovery could affect where NASA’s Mars 2020 mission rover lands to start its hunt for signs of life.

The spot scrutinized in the new study is called Margaritifer Terra. This heavily cratered site with lots of fractures in its surface may have formed from magma or melting rock from asteroid impacts. Analysis of high-resolution images from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter suggests not all of the site’s features resulted from volcanic activity or heavy hits to the Martian surface. Certain ridges along fractures in one of the region’s impact craters have mineral deposits that may have come from the upwelling of water from ancient hot springs, researchers report July 15 in Geophysical Research Letters.

Hot springs hint at hydrothermal activity. “That kind of hydrothermal environment is favorable to life on Earth, and may have been so on Mars, too,” says study coauthor Rebecca Thomas of University of Colorado Boulder. Chemical-rich fluids typically flow freely at hydrothermal vents, providing energy for life in a harsh environment. This habitat, Thomas says, can also lay down sulfur- or silica-rich mineral deposits, which are good at preserving evidence of life, most likely microbes in the case of Mars.

While it is unclear what type of minerals line the ridges analyzed in the study, the team suggests that because volcanic activity was in the area, along with evidence of flowing fluids, the deposits are probably the result of hot springs and thus rich in sulfur or silica.


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Reply More hints of Martian hot springs may hold promise for Mars 2020 mission (Original post)
Judi Lynn Jul 2017 OP
rzemanfl Jul 2017 #1

Response to Judi Lynn (Original post)

Sat Jul 29, 2017, 07:29 PM

1. Well, NASA has to keep the child sex slaves clean somehow.

Some right-wing dunderhead says NASA runs an under age brothel on Mars. Since the pizza place is a no go anymore.

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