NASA announced a unique discovery on the red planet – teach me about science

Discoveries never stop, and Mars has been one of the most explored planets by humans. Recently, it was announced that a group of researchers discovered some light-colored rocks surrounding faults that are part of the red planet's landscape. The discovery lies in the type of rock involved, as its constituent material is opal.

he opal It is a gemstone related to quartz, with a colorful appearance formed by the reaction of silica (crystobalite and tridimitite) and water.

Water is essential for opal formation, because it filters between the rocks, generating white-colored structures that, with passing light, can be seen as flashes of multiple colors.

On Earth, the abundance of gemstones like opals is not surprising, given the large amount of water that makes up the planet, but the importance of this new discovery made by a team of researchers from Arizona State University lies in the fact that we now also know about the existence of this geological formation. On Mars.

The group of researchers used new methods to analyze the data collected previously Wandering curiosity NASA, which has been active on Mars since 2012. Independently, scientists have reviewed and verified it Halos Of the rock fractures containing opal.

he condition It was published in the scientific journal Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets; After analyzing the data using spectrophotometry technology, the researchers came to the conclusion that these “halos” were the result of the presence of opals on a larger scale than previously thought.

“Our new analysis of archival data has shown a striking similarity between all the fracture halos we observed later in the mission,” said Travis Gabriel, a former postdoctoral fellow at Arizona State University in New Space, and now a US government research physicist. “That it was so widespread and potentially full of opals was incredible,” he said.

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Doubts about the presence of these materials on the red planet are not new. In 2008, Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter He noticed areas of white color that were quickly associated with geological formations where water had a strong involvement.

There is no doubt that the confirmation of geological agate formations on Mars confirms the theory that the Red Planet was full of water in the past.

As a result of recent discoveries, scientists are putting forward new hypotheses, considering that water on Mars could have remained for a longer period than previously thought, not only on the surface as in the case of Earth, but in the interior of the Earth.

Scientists say they will continue to investigate the role of water in forming and changing rocks as the Curiosity spacecraft heads toward Gale Crater's central hill.

For more information consult: Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets.

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