Home Plate opaline silica (left) occurs in nodular masses with digitate structures that resemble those at El Tatio (right). Credit: ASU/Ruff & Farmer
|During its wheeled treks on the Red Planet, NASA’s Spirit rover may have encountered a potential signature of past life on Mars, report scientists at Arizona State University (ASU).|
To help make their case, the researchers have contrasted Spirit’s study of “Home Plate” — a plateau of layered rocks that the robot explored during the early part of its third year on Mars — with features found within active hot spring/geyser discharge channels at a site in northern Chile called El Tatio.
The work has resulted in a provocative paper: “Silica deposits on Mars with features resembling hot spring biosignatures at El Tatio in Chile.” …