NASA: ancient Mars lake was warm and similar to earth’s bodies of water
MOSCOW, 1 Jul — RIA Novosti. Data from the Curiosity Rover have helped scientists to find out, NASA looked like lakes of Mars in different periods of its existence, and to prove that they were warm and suitable for life for nearly a billion years. Their findings were published in the journal Science.
“The data that Curiosity has received for 3,5 years of work in Gale crater, indicate that about 3.8 to 3.1 billion years ago, Mars had all the necessary physical, chemical, and energetic conditions for the formation of potentially habitable environment,” — writes John grotzinger (John Grotzinger) of the jet propulsion Laboratory of NASA and his colleagues.
In recent years scientists have found many hints that on the surface of Mars in ancient times there were rivers, lakes, entire oceans, which contained almost the same amount of liquid, like our Arctic ocean. In this part of the planetary community believes that even in the ancient era of Mars might be too cold for the continued existence of the oceans and its water could be in liquid state only in times of volcanic eruptions.
The climatic history of Mars, how to tell Grotzinger and his colleagues, can actually be harder than imagine her the authors of these hypotheses, and to combine elements of both theories. To such conclusion scientists came after analyzing those and combining all the geological data that their child, the Curiosity Rover collected during the ascent to the top of mount sharp in the center of Gale crater in the first 1300 days on Mars.
Gale crater, as scientists say today represents the bottom of an ancient Martian lake is covered by sediments formed in different epochs of its existence. Moving to the highest point of the crater, NASA’s Rover, figuratively speaking, moving from the deep past of Mars in the direction it present by tracking how changes in climate affect the structure and properties of rocks on the slopes of mount sharp.
Using these data, scientists have compiled a map of the evolution of the climate of Mars and were able to understand the original look of the lake in Gale crater, what properties had it and how long it lasted.
The main conclusion of all these studies is that the climate of Mars has been extremely volatile in the past. For example, it emerged in the first epoch of the existence of Gale crater, emerged about 3.8 billion years ago, the bottom was completely dry and cold. But in the next 800 million years, it was the bottom of the lakes located in the temperate zone, by the standards of earth’s climate.
This lake, as scholars have noted, was warm and suitable for life — as shown by measurements of Curiosity, it was and minerals and even some organic molecules. Interestingly, it consisted of two quite different layers of water the upper half of the lake was acidic and contained a lot of oxygen and oxidized metals to them, and the lower part was almost completely devoid of them.
Such structure is characteristic of many lakes on Earth, and the presence of two such layers is now considered by many geologists and biologists-evolutionists one of the main conditions for the emergence of life and its further development. Accordingly, we can say that Mars really had all the conditions for the emergence of life. On the other hand, while it remains unclear what gave rise to these lakes and brought them water processes in the depths of Mars or the impacts of asteroids and comets.