Scientists have discovered that Mars may have been totally submerged in water, increasing the probability that it once could have supported life.
The examination group found proof that a mineral found in meteorites from Mars may have initially been a hydrogen-containing mineral, which means there could have been more H2O on Mars at an earlier phase.
Scientists made an artificial variations of a hydrogen-containing mineral known as whitlockite.
Experiments conducting after shock-compression experiments on the mineral samples which replicated the conditions of expelling from the red planet, scientists then examined the microscopic composition using X-Ray experiments with state of the art machinery.
"This is important for deducing how much water could have been on Mars, and whether the water was from Mars itself rather than comets or meteorites." Said staff scientist Martin Kunz who was part of these experiments at Berkely Labs.
The results proved that the whitlockite dehydrated under such shocks, creating a mineral known as Merrilite, which is commonly found on Mars Meteorites, but is not formed naturally on our planet.
"If even a part of merrillite had been whitlockite before, it changes the water budget of Mars dramatically." Says Prof Oliver Tschauner, Co-leading the experiment from the University of Nevada.
The thing is, whitlockite is able to dissolve in water and comprises of phosphorous, which is a crucial element for “life on Earth”, this is exciting as this study may potentially increase probabilities that there could, at an earlier stage have been life on Mars.
"The overarching question here is about water on Mars and its early history on Mars: Had there ever been an environment that enabled a generation of life on Mars?" said Professor Tschauner
“The pressures and temperatures generated in the shock experiments, while comparable to those of a meteorite impact, lasted for only about 100 billionths of a second, or about one-tenth to one-hundredth as long as an actual meteorite impact.”
He added that the study appeared to be one of the first of its kind to detail the shock effects on synthetic whitlockite, which is rare on Earth.
Right now, there is evidence to prove that liquid water flows on the red planet, however, there has been no proof for us to believe that life could have ever existed on the planet.
4 years ago, astrologists reported that have been darkish lines that appear on some of the slopes on Mars, an illusion suggesting there could be rivers flowing down these slopes.
Last year, Nasa scientists described a possible huge underground mass of H2O in solid form, which could be the same size as in Lake Superior.
Rover explorations have also found evidence of the former abundance of water based on analysis of surface rocks. "The only missing link now is to prove that merrillite had, in fact, really been Martian whitlockite before. Says Professor Tschauner.
"We have to go back to the real meteorites and see if there had been traces of water."
This piece of research was initially published on Monday in the journal Nature Communications.