A new study shows that opals are found on Mars. The discovery could play an important role in the future, especially for space travel.
Tempe – On Earth, opal is used as a gemstone, and the material is used to make blue jewelry, among other things. But also about that Mars A new study shows that the substance exists. However, due to its formation, it could have a completely different – and significantly more important – meaning than it does on Earth.
Some time ago, space probes orbiting Mars provided the first indications of possible opal deposits on the Red Planet. But only now has a research team been able to prove that semi-precious stones do exist on Mars. A research team led by Travis Gabriel of Arizona State University has data from the NASA rover “Curiosity”which has been exploring Mars since 2012.
NASA’s Curiosity rover finds opal on Mars
Specifically, the team was interested in a geological phenomenon in Gale Crater, where the Mars rover is active. Images from Curiosity repeatedly show what are called “halos” — long fractures in Earth’s interior that are flanked to the side by lighter sedimentary rock. Previous data had already provided evidence that light-colored rocks can be opalescent, As reported by hna.de.
So the research team led by Gabriel looked at data from the rover that had collected from such halos over the past 10 years, and NASA’s Curiosity spacecraft examined other rocks for study. The researchers’ take: The light-colored rock is composed of silicon dioxide and water — the same substances that opals are made of.
Opals seem to be common on Mars
And the researchers found something else: “Our new analysis of the archive data showed a striking similarity to all the halos we observed later during the mission,” explains Gabriel, the study’s author. in the specialized magazine Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets. released Will be. One researcher says Message Quoted from his university.
NASA probe makes ‘incredible’ Mars discovery: why it’s so important to space travel
But why is it so important to find opals on Mars? To do this, you need to know how and from what kind agate is formed: the substance can be formed, for example, when silicon dioxide is dissolved in water. Opal forms in a water-rich environment and is composed of layers of silicon dioxide that trap water molecules between them. It is relatively easy to access this water: crushing and heating agate can release water.
For future Martian colonies and astronauts, opals will be a widespread and ubiquitous source of water on the Red Planet—an important consideration, because every kilogram of cargo saved from having to be transported to Mars is hard money. Opals have been discovered in the normally dry tropical region of the planet.
According to the study, the agates examined contain three to six percent water by weight. The team estimates that the highest 30 cm of halo rock can contain up to five liters per meter of water – water that is relatively easy to extract. else An unexpected discovery on Mars It can affect the search for life. (tab)
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