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      Constraints on abundance, composition, and nature of X-ray amorphous components of soils and rocks at Gale crater, Mars : X-ray amorphous components at Gale

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      Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets

      Wiley-Blackwell

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          A habitable fluvio-lacustrine environment at Yellowknife Bay, Gale crater, Mars.

          The Curiosity rover discovered fine-grained sedimentary rocks, which are inferred to represent an ancient lake and preserve evidence of an environment that would have been suited to support a martian biosphere founded on chemolithoautotrophy. This aqueous environment was characterized by neutral pH, low salinity, and variable redox states of both iron and sulfur species. Carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, sulfur, nitrogen, and phosphorus were measured directly as key biogenic elements; by inference, phosphorus is assumed to have been available. The environment probably had a minimum duration of hundreds to tens of thousands of years. These results highlight the biological viability of fluvial-lacustrine environments in the post-Noachian history of Mars.
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            Detection of silica-rich deposits on Mars.

            Mineral deposits on the martian surface can elucidate ancient environmental conditions on the planet. Opaline silica deposits (as much as 91 weight percent SiO2) have been found in association with volcanic materials by the Mars rover Spirit. The deposits are present both as light-toned soils and as bedrock. We interpret these materials to have formed under hydrothermal conditions and therefore to be strong indicators of a former aqueous environment. This discovery is important for understanding the past habitability of Mars because hydrothermal environments on Earth support thriving microbial ecosystems.
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              Mineralogy, composition, and alteration of Mars Pathfinder rocks and soils: Evidence from multispectral, elemental, and magnetic data on terrestrial analogue, SNC meteorite, and Pathfinder samples

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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets
                J. Geophys. Res. Planets
                Wiley-Blackwell
                21699097
                December 2014
                December 2014
                : 119
                : 12
                : 2640-2657
                10.1002/2014JE004716
                © 2014

                http://doi.wiley.com/10.1002/tdm_license_1

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