Status Report

Could ‘Green Rust’ Be a Catalyst for Martian Life?

By SpaceRef Editor
June 4, 2015
Filed under , , ,

NASA’s Curiosity rover is among those machines that have discovered signs of ancient water on Mars. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona

Mars is a large enough planet that astrobiologists looking for life need to narrow the parameters of the search to those environments most conducive to habitability.

NASA’s Mars Curiosity mission is exploring such a spot right now at its landing site around Gale Crater, where the rover has found extensive evidence of past water and is gathering information on methane in the atmosphere, a possible signature of microbial activity.

But where would life most likely gain energy from its surroundings? One possibility is in an environment that includes “green rust,” a partially oxidized iron mineral. A fully oxidized iron “rust” — one exposed to oxidation for long enough — turns orangey-red, similar to the color of Mars’ regolith. When oxidization is incomplete, however, the iron rust is greenish.

Source: []


SpaceRef staff editor.