Mars rocks may harbor signs of life from 4 billion years ago

ScienceDaily | 5/25/2018 | Staff
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These rocks -- which formed in lake beds -- are the best place to seek fossil evidence of life from billions of years ago, researchers say.

A new study that sheds light on where fossils might be preserved could aid the search for traces of tiny creatures -- known as microbes -- on Mars, which it is thought may have supported primitive life forms around four billion years ago.

Team - Scientists - Rocks - Mud - Clay

A team of scientists has determined that sedimentary rocks made of compacted mud or clay are the most likely to contain fossils. These rocks are rich in iron and a mineral called silica, which helps preserve fossils.

They formed during the Noachian and Hesperian Periods of Martian history between three and four billion years ago. At that time, the planet's surface was abundant in water, which could have supported life.

Rocks - Age - Earth - Researchers - Mars

The rocks are much better preserved than those of the same age on Earth, researchers say. This is because Mars is not subject to plate tectonics -- the movement of huge rocky slabs that form the crust of some planets -- which over time can destroy rocks and fossils inside them.

The team reviewed studies of fossils on Earth and assessed the results of lab experiments replicating Martian conditions to...
(Excerpt) Read more at: ScienceDaily
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