A rare mineral from Mars has been found deep in the Antarctic ice. The substance, known as Jarosite, appears to have been formed in the same way on Earth and Mars. With this, the researchers are able to draw parallels between both planets to better understand how they were created.
Jarosite develops through the dust that is “trapped” in ice deposits. It was first discovered in 2004 by a NASA rover. At the time, Jarosite from Mars caught the attention of scientists because it needs water to form.
In addition to water, sulfate and potassium can also make up this mineral.
Discovery of rare mineral from Mars begins to solve mystery
As you probably already know, Mars and Earth are very different planets. So how could the same mineral have been formed in places with such different conditions?
The main theory is that jarosite may have been formed through the evaporation of limited amounts of salt water. As a result, alkaline rocks from Mars would have neutralized the acidity of this water to preserve the material. At least, that’s what geologist Giovanni Baccolo, from the University of Milano-Bicocca, in Italy, believes.
In addition, another possible theory reflects on the birth of Jarosite in ice deposits that covered the planet billions of years ago. As the sheets of ice grew, dust particles would have accumulated inside that ice, turning into jarosite. However, this process would be new, since it has never been observed on any planet in the Solar System.
On Earth, the mineral is extremely rare. However, on Mars, jarosite is not found in small quantities, but in large deposits. The samples of the substance found in Antarctica were smaller than a grain of sand, but they still manage to bring scientists closer to proving that there is – or, at least, has already existed – water on Mars.
Some Facts About Mars
Only a few completed missions
Only a few completed missions To date, there have been a total of 39 missions to Mars, but only 16 have been successful. The first mission took place in 1960, being carried out by Marsnik 1, launched by the USSR, but was unsuccessful. The most recent mission was InSight (short for Interior Exploration using Seismic Investigations, Geodesy and Heat Transport), which is being operated by NASA. The probe was launched on May 5, 2018, having landed on Mars on November 26 of the same year. This, at least, is being a success.
In ancient times, Mars once had water
In ancient times, Mars has already had water. In these curiosities about Mars, certainly, some interesting points concern the possibility of life on that planet (or that has existed in the past). This is because many probes have already managed to photograph signs that there was water on Mars, due to the presence of ancient channels on the planet’s surface, as well as rocks that could only have formed with the presence of water. That is, having life in this star today is very unlikely. But, there is a good chance of having had it in the past, thanks to that sign.
Moons of Mars
Mars has only two moons, which are very similar to asteroids. Their names are Phobos and Deimos, and precisely because they have compositions similar to asteroids located in other parts of the Solar System, many scientists believe that, in fact, the planet took these two stars, and forced them to orbit around it. However, using as a parameter, the life of the stars in the Solar System, Phobos, it seems, has its days numbered. Between 30 and 50 million, it will collide with the surface of Mars, or shatter due to the planet’s gravitational pull.
The reason Mars is red
The reason why Mars is red It is very common to refer to Mars as being the “red planet”. But, do you know why? Well, among the curiosities about Mars, one of the main characteristics of the planet is to have a lot of iron oxide in its soil and rocks (the popular “rust”). Just remembering that the Earth also has iron oxide. However, this compound is more concentrated in its core. Already, on Mars, this material was spread over its entire surface, which is why the star has such a prominent reddish color.
Cold; very cold!
The temperatures on Mars are quite unregulated, and the temperature there may be much colder than most of the Earth’s surface, for example. This is because the planet is a little far from the sun and the heat easily escapes from the thin atmosphere. Therefore, the temperature variation down can be quite intense. To give you an idea, the average temperature in the equatorial part of Mars at midday in summer is around 24 ° C and in winter 0 ° C. But at the poles, it can reach -153 ° C. That is, very cold!