Glass Found On Mars May Hold Important Clues About Life On The Red Planet

impact glass mars

Talk about shattering expectations!

NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has circled the Red Planet more than 40,000 times since arriving there in 2006. During that time, the spacecraft has spied everything from avalanches to dust devils to buried glaciers.

And now, for the first time ever, it has detected deposits of glass nestled in impact craters on the Martian surface. The finding may have important implications for the search for ancient life on Mars.

“In the past the search for life focused on ‘following the water,’ and looking for sedimentary rocks formed in lake or river environments,” Kevin Cannon, a Ph.D. student at Brown University in Providence, R.I. and one of the researchers involved in the discovery, told The Huffington Post in an email. “Now there’s another possible preservation mechanism that could be equally as promising.”

The researchers aren’t the only ones crowing about the find. As Bill Nye, “The Science Guy” and CEO of The Planetary Society, told The Huffington Post in an email, “This discovery could change the world.”

“If we are able to return a sample of impact glasses from Mars, and they prove to have signatures of organic molecules or life, it would motivate humankind to explore Mars in ernest, allocating more resources to the effort and engaging citizens around the world,” Nye said in the email. “If we were to prove that there were or even are living things on Mars, it would change how every person Earth feels about what it means to be alive in the cosmos. It would be akin to the discoveries made by Copernicus and Galileo.”

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Researchers have found deposits of impact glass (in green) preserved in Martian craters, including Alga Crater, shown here. The detection is based on data from the Compact Reconnaissance Imaging —> Read More