Feeds

Maybe Mars had 'warm' water after all

UK boffins point to meteorite evidence

Protecting against web application threats using SSL

UK researchers have unearthed a new argument in the yes-but-no-but-yes scientific debate about Martian water, saying that meteorite samples suggest water on the red planet was once warm enough for life.

In research published in Earth and Planetary Science Letters (abstract here), Dr John Bridges (Leicester University) and Dr Susanne Schwenzer (Open University) say structures found in a group of meteorites of Martian origin called nakhlites.

“This group of Martian meteorites contains small veins, which are filled with minerals formed by the action of water near the surface of Mars,” Dr Bridges says.

Examination of the “Lafayette nakhlite”, Dr Bridges says, reveals carbonates which would have formed by water rich in carbon dioxide at around 150°C, which later cooled to 50°C, at which point clays formed.

The structures in the nakhlites may have been caused by heat resulting from an impact on the surface of the planet, Dr Bridges states.

The Open University conducted modelling based on Dr Bridges’ observations, and these models suggest that subsurface water had both the right temperatures and nutrients to support microbial life. As the abstract states (in a lot more words):

“Our results show that environments associated with this type of fluid were habitable, unlike those associated with acid-sulphate fluids. Considering the timing of the nakhlite alteration, the most likely cause is impact-generated hydrothermal alteration of the nakhlite pile at the margins of an impact crater. The martian subsurface fluid forming phyllosilicates provided habitable temperatures and many of the nutrients required for life.” ®

Reducing the cost and complexity of web vulnerability management

More from The Register

next story
PORTAL TO ELSEWHERE scried in small galaxy far, far away
Supermassive black hole dominates titchy star formation
Boffins say they've got Lithium batteries the wrong way around
Surprises at the nano-scale mean our ideas about how they charge could be all wrong
Edge Research Lab to tackle chilly LOHAN's final test flight
Our US allies to probe potential Vulture 2 servo freeze
Europe prepares to INVADE comet: Rosetta landing site chosen
No word yet on whether backup site is labelled 'K'
Cracked it - Vulture 2 power podule fires servos for 4 HOURS
Pixhawk avionics juice issue sorted, onwards to Spaceport America
Archaeologists and robots on hunt for more Antikythera pieces
How much of the world's oldest computer can they find?
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.