We Just Got More Solid Evidence Mars' Gale Crater Once Held a Vast Salty Lake - Physics-Astronomy.org

We Just Got More Solid Evidence Mars' Gale Crater Once Held a Vast Salty Lake

From its red and rugged surface, Mars looks like a lifeless planet, both dry and desolate. But that hasn't always been the case.
NASA's Curiosity Rover has now collected even more evidence of an ancient salty lake that once lapped the edges of the Gale crater some 3.7 billion years ago.




Analysing soil samples collected from the crater's bedrock, researchers from Caltech have turned up a diverse range of salts not observed in other rocks on Mars.
Dating back roughly 3.3 to 3.7 billion years ago, the team proposes that these sulfates are left over from evaporated water, indicating the existence of ancient brines, or salty pools, that could have once held tiny forms of life.
Satellite observations of the Red Planet certainly suggest that during this time frame, known as the Hesperian period, some sort of climatic transition took place. And now, the discovery of evaporated salts also indicates a shift to more arid weather on a similar timeline.
The calcium and magnesium sulfates discovered are predicted to have come from Martian basalts, producing soils rich in sulfate and chloride and poor in iron.
"The relatively low solubility of calcium sulfate minerals results in their widespread production during evaporation," the authors explain, "while less common magnesium sulfate and chloride minerals represent terminal evaporation."
Other examples of such hypersaline lakes are known to house salt tolerant or 'halotolerant' biota on Earth, so after these results, the search for life in Gale crater will no doubt continue.
Formed by a meteor roughly 3.5 to 3.8 billion years ago, Gale Crater was chosen as the landing site for Curiosity because scientists suspected, even from afar, that it was a dried-up lake bed.
It turns out, that wasn't such a bad hunch. Ever since it landed, Curiosity's finds have strongly supported the lake hypothesis. In 2013, NASA announced that Gale crater once contained ancient freshwater lake that might have held microbial life. And in the following years, scientists have noticed even more clues of lakes and streams on the Red Planet.
Nevertheless, this is the very first time a sulfate-enriched bedrock has been discovered in the sedimentary record of the crater. As such, it gives us some much-needed clues about how Mars might have lost its water long, long ago.


The authors argue the sulfates, found in several discrete beds, were probably deposited along shallow lake margins with the "potential for segmentation of the Gale lake into discrete ponds, including those where extremely evapo-concentrated brines might form".
Researchers from the University of Chicago and the University of Pennsylvania have also used recent data from the crater bed to propose something similar.
As the rover continues to traverse up the edges of the crater, moving towards younger and younger rocks, scientists will be able to trace the origins of this lake even more fully.
If the salts continue to occur, then the Caltech researchers say this probably indicates they were deposited over several different stages either cyclical or episodic in nature. Whereas if the sulfate-enriched bedrock starts to thin out, then it could imply a longer dry-out of the Red Planet all those billions of years ago.

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  2. I am Mrs. Dora Pless from USA, i want to share a testimony of my life to every one. i was married to my husband, and i love him so much we have been married for 4 years now with three kids. when he went for a vacation to Singapore he meant a lady called STEPHANIE, he told me that he is no longer interested in the marriage any more. i was so confuse and seeking for help, i don't know what to do until I met my friend miss joy and told her about my problem. she told me not to worry about it that she had a similar problem before and introduce me to a man called Dr. Ugo Wonders who is man of God for her ex and bring him back to her after 2days. Miss Stephanie ask me to contact Dr. Ugo Wonders I contacted him to help me bring back my husband and he ask me not to worry about it that the God of his fore-fathers will fight for me. He told me by two days he will re-unite me and my husband together. After two day my husband called and told me he is coming back to sought out things with me, I was surprise when I saw him and he started crying for forgiveness. Right now I am the happiest woman on earth for what this great MAN OF God did for me and my husband, you can contact Dr. Ugo Wonders on any problem in this world, he is very nice, here is his EMAIL contact: generalspelltemple@gmail.com or call him on  +1 386-336-9876WEBSITE: https://generalspellsolution.webs.com

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