Curiosity rover found high concentration of silica in Mars’ rock
(Mirror Daily, United States) – The rover NASA sent on the red planet a while ago is walking around making interesting discoveries and recently Curiosity found silica on Mars.
The Curiosity rover has already spent some time on Mars – about 3 years now – and has been taking different rock samples and analyzed them to find more about the planet and whether we could find proof that life could be possible there.
Recently, the rover has analyzed some rocks which contained a very high concentration of silica that has NASA scientists puzzled. The ‘puzzle’ is that there are some rocks here on Earth that are rich in silica such as quartz, but on Mars, the phenomenon seems to be quite unusual.
The level of silica in a rock can be increased by removing the other substances which form the object, or by simply adding silica to the object. Either way, to do that, you need water. In the first case, you’ll need acidic water to remove the other substances, while in the second case you need neural or alkaline water to transport the silica. However, scientists are still trying to figure out which one of the processes was the one that made the silica concentration in the rock be so high.
Another substance discovered by Curiosity was a mineral called tridymite. This substance is quite rare on Earth and can be found in volcanic areas that are rich in silica. The substance forms when metamorphic rocks are exposed to extreme heat. Scientists believe that this could mean there is some sort of magmatic evolution happening on the planet. Moreover, the Spirit rover, another NASA machine sent on Mars has found some signs of sulfuric acid which shows something really is happening on the Red Planet.
Until scientists start studying the concentration of silica, they have to first figure out how the tridymite mineral has formed and whether there could actually be some sort of magmatic activity on Mars. This could lead to a better understanding of the planet’s evolution and why not new findings that will show us how similar or different the Red Planet is from the Blue Planet.
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