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  1. Glass detected on Mars may provide clues about past life on planet

Glass detected on Mars may provide clues about past life on planet

Researchers have spotted glass on Mars that might provide clues about the past life on the 'Red' planet.

By: | Published: June 9, 2015 2:19 PM

Researchers have spotted glass on Mars that might provide clues about the past life on the ‘Red’ planet.

Researchers from Brown University have used satellite data to detect deposits of glass within impact craters on Mars. Though formed in the searing heat of a violent impact, the glasses just might provide a delicate window into the possibility of past life on the Red Planet.

Kevin Cannon, a Ph.D. student at Brown and co-author Jack Mustard, professor of Earth, environmental and planetary sciences at Brown, showed that large glass deposits are present in several ancient yet well-preserved craters scattered across the Martian surface. The study suggested that glass deposits are relatively common impact features on Mars and could be targets for future exploration.

One of the craters found to contain glass is called Hargraves, and it’s located near the Nili Fossae trough, a 400-mile-long depression that stretches across the Martian surface.

The region is one of the leading landing site contenders for the Mars 2020 rover, a mission that aims to cache soil and rock samples for possible future return to Earth.

The research is published online in the journal Geology.

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