Friday, March 15, 2013
Rocks from the Bottom of a Martian Lake
The most amazing part is all the water it implies. It's a perfect clay that was probably deposited at the bottom of an ancient lake, meaning, holy cow, there was a whole LAKE on Mars. Since water is the most probable sine qua non for life, then this is exciting news for possible Martian microbes. Assuming existence is an exciting thing for microbes.
With all the evidence for water, Mars has just become a fascinating test case of how easy it is for simple life to emerge. If it didn't happen there, then it must be very hard. Looks like Mars was playing with a rather full deck, chemically speaking. Was it enough? Was the game rigged to win or lose? The question is still open, and it's the open questions that keep us moving forward.
The other things I note include that the red oxidized iron is not present below the surface, so most of Mars is gray, sulfur-rich rock without much oxygen. Life must have been simple and not photosynthesizing or oxygen-using.
Where did all that water go? What forms of life were able to take hold in those Martian lakes? Times like this I half think they shouldn't have called the rover Curiosity ... they should have called it Patience, because that's what we need to wait for these tests to be done ... which is a virtue, I know, I know ...