History of Clays on Mars: How we found them + Astrobiological Importance


Tuesday, November 08 2016 - 12:00 pm, PST
Janice Bishop
SETI Institute

History of Clays on Mars: How We Found Them and Why They are Important for Astrobiology

Detecting clays on Mars has had a rocky history over the past 4 decades, but detecting them on the surface today is becoming commonplace. This presentation describes the instruments used for identification of clay minerals, where we have found them, and what their presence means. Most phyllosilicates require abundant liquid water to form and thus these minerals provide important clues for the debate about whether Mars was ever warm and wet or not. Also, some clay minerals are used for organic reactions and they may have even been involved in the origin of life on Earth.

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