Sensacja na Marsie. To odkrycie ucina spekulacje

Sensation on Mars. This discovery puts an end to speculation

Mars' Gale Crater has just caused a lot of confusion among researchers – there is more oxygen here than previously thought, and there could have been life millions of years ago.

It's not just a meteorite crater, there could have been rivers here

It was observed in samples collected by the Curiosity rover higher than usual amounts of manganese oxides in lacustrine rocks in the Gale crater on Mars. These sedimentary rocks have larger grain sizes than those typical in the Gale Crater and contained within them manganese had a 45-fold higher concentrationwhich was accompanied by a 50% higher concentration of iron oxides.

Where did so many manganese oxides come from? All scenarios investigated by the team require a highly oxidizing environment. So was the primitive atmosphere of Mars richer in oxygen? And if so, how?

On Earth, these types of deposits are very common – due to the high levels of oxygen in our atmosphere, produced by photosynthetic life, and by microbes that help catalyze manganese oxidation reactions. Microbes on Earth can use many oxidation states of manganese as energy for metabolism. Hence the bold theory that originally Martian settlements arose in a river, delta, or near the shoreline of an ancient lake.

It is difficult for manganese oxide to form on the surface of Mars, so we did not expect to find it in such high concentrations in coastal sediments (…). We have no evidence of life on Mars, and the mechanism by which oxygen was produced in Mars' ancient atmosphere is not clear, so how manganese oxide was formed and concentrated is truly a mystery.

– said the main author of the scientific work in a statement Patrick Gasda from the Space Sciences and Applications group at Los Alamos National Laboratory.

Of course, we cannot assume that life produced oxygen, and this oxygen formed a chemical compound that then disappeared over the centuries. But something had to oxidize the manganese and iron found by Curiosity, so there had to be a process. Even if no life forms were involved.

The Gale Lake environment, revealed by these ancient rocks, gives us a window into a habitable environment that looks surprisingly similar to places on Earth today (…). Manganese minerals are common in the shallow, oxygenated waters found on the shores of lakes on Earth, and it is unusual to find such recognizable features on ancient Mars.

– she said Nina Lanzaprincipal investigator of Curiosity's ChemCam instrument

The Gale crater has a diameter of 154 km and was formed 3.5 to 3.8 billion years ago by a meteorite impact. Inside there is the mountain Aeolis Mons, rising above the rim of the crater. The layered structure of the 5.5 km-high mountain indicated that it may contain a long sequence of sediments representing the geological history of Mars, which is why Gale Crater was chosen by scientists as the landing site for the Curiosity rover. The rover began transmitting the first data about the surface of Mars on August 6, 2012.

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