Google+ Mars Travel: Mars Photo of the Day - Dec 7 2011

Mars Photo of the Day - Dec 7 2011

Today's Image of Mars is another view of Homestake, the vein recently examined by Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity on Mars. Today NASA announced that Homestake appears to be Gypsum or another form of calcium sulfate. This is further evidence that water once flowed on The Red Planet.

This photo links to the original full size image from MER Opportunity

To understand how NASA came to this conclusion I have taken an excerpt from their article on the matter.
The Homestake deposit, whether gypsum or another form of calcium sulfate, likely formed from water dissolving calcium out of volcanic rocks. The calcium combined with sulfur that was either leached from the rocks or introduced as volcanic gas, and it was deposited as calcium sulfate into an underground fracture that later became exposed at the surface.
The Mars Rover's Spirit and Opportunity have found evidence of water on Mars before, so what makes Homestake so special?

Homestake is more highly concentrated Calcium Sulfate than any previously examined on Mars, which leads scientists to believe that it may have been deposited by water that was less acidic than indicated in previous areas Opportunity has examined. Water that is closer to neutral would be more hospitable to life as we know it.

For more on Homestake I recommend you read the official NASA news release on the matter.


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