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Mars Science

Despite Clay Minerals, Early Mars Might Have Been Dry 105

Posted by timothy
from the but-omg-mars dept.
astroengine writes "Early Mars may not have been as warm or wet as scientists suspect, a finding which could impact the likelihood that the Red Planet was capable of evolving life at the time when it was getting started on Earth. A new study presents an alternative explanation for the prevalence of Mars' ancient clay minerals, which on Earth most often result from water chemically reacting with rock over long periods of time. The process is believed to be a starting point for life."
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Despite Clay Minerals, Early Mars Might Have Been Dry

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  • What about this? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by RichardtheSmith (157470) on Sunday September 09, 2012 @05:57PM (#41283461)
    I'm sorry, when they taught me Earth Science they mentioned that stratification was caused by sedimentary rock, laid down by the action of water over millions of years.

    How do you explain this without water?

    http://i.space.com/images/i/20995/wS4/mount-sharp-1600.jpg?1346122345 [space.com]

  • by cunniff (264218) on Sunday September 09, 2012 @06:07PM (#41283507) Homepage

    Well, it could be sedimentary rock layers. But volcanos can also cause layering - consult the oracle about "welded tuff" (example image from Idaho [idahoptv.org])

  • Tunnel vision (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Grayhand (2610049) on Sunday September 09, 2012 @07:43PM (#41284009)
    You can argue minerals all you want but it doesn't change the fact Mars has massive water features. Also they keep finding signs of sedimentary rock. Even some of the first rover pictures have shown it. Taking the evidence as a whole there shouldn't still be a debate about water on Mars. It's a waste of energy and resources. They should be focused on what happened to it? Was most of it lost to space or is it trapped deep in the soil?
  • by Baloroth (2370816) on Sunday September 09, 2012 @08:33PM (#41284249)

    The advantage to the moon is assembly of parts can be done their under the effects of gravity. Assembling large projects from parts might sound easier in micro-gravity, but maneuvering becomes such a pain it's a lot easier for humans to work under gravitational effects (it's how we evolved to operate). It also has signs of ice for water, so you could potentially use it as a cheap source for that, and may well have other viable minerals usable in space exploration. We are a far way from mining the Moon for Earth use. Unless we find some extremely rare mineral there (like Platinum), most stuff we need is vastly easier to find on Earth. No, mining and manufacturing on the Moon would be as a staging ground for further exploration. Escape velocity there is ~1/3 Earth's, so it's about as easy to transfer from there to deep-space as it would be from LEO anyways.

    Not to mention it would serve as a nice test of our ability to establish a base on another world without being out of (relatively easy) reach of Earth, and there is a ton of Lunar science to be done on the surface yet.

  • Re:Hmm (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Third Position (1725934) on Sunday September 09, 2012 @09:21PM (#41284497)

    Not necessarily. We have plenty of civilizations on Earth that have barely left a trace, and the oldest of those is only a few thousand years old. If there were civilizations several hundred thousands or millions of years old, chances are pretty good we could miss them, even in our own back yard, let alone on another planet.

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