SciTechBlog   « Back to Blog Main
March 25, 2008

Salt shakes up the search for life on Mars

Posted: 10:33 AM ET

The latest clue to finding life on Mars may have lot in common with the salt on your dining room table.

NASA’s Mars Odyssey orbiter has discovered evidence of salt deposits in 200 spots on the Red Planet, indicating that water was abundant in those places. Given the close connection between water and life on earth, these salt sites could be prime locations for proof of possible Martian life.

This false-color image shows a deposit of chloride (salt) minerals in blue in the southern highlands of Mars. Source: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Arizona State University/University of Hawaii

Odyssey’s Thermal Emission Imaging System snapped thousands of pictures in a range of wavelengths that helped scientists see evidence for salt. Only sites in the planet’s southern highlands, the most ancient rocks on Mars, appeared to contain chloride, a component of many kinds of salt.

The salt deposits formed about 3.5 to 3.9 billion years ago, at a time when Mars may have had sporadic spouts of a wetter and warmer climate than the conditions observed there today, which are cold and arid.

Images revealed many of the salt deposits in basins with channels leading into them, which is “consistent with water flowing in over a long time,” said Philip Christensen, principal investigator for the camera at Arizona State University, in a NASA statement.

The salt probably didn’t come from a global ocean, as the sites of the deposits are disconnected, said team leader Mikki Osterloo at the University of Hawaii in the statement. But groundwater coming up to the surface in low spots could have generated the chloride sites, he said.

Scientists trying to track down proof of life on Mars have largely followed clues of sulfates, which could result from the evaporation of water, and clays, which suggest weathering by water. Chloride now joins the mix of leads to follow for scientists seeking close encounters with remnants of past Martian life forms.

The researchers published their findings in a recent issue of Science, just days before the shake-up about a possible $4 million budget cut from NASA's Mars Exploration Rover program.

–Elizabeth Landau, Associate Producer, CNN.com

Filed under: Astrobiology • NASA • Space


Share this on:
Discovered on Mars: Salt that could pinpoint location of life « exploring our world   March 25th, 2008 3:28 pm ET

[...] what's this got to do with science? A NASA probe (Mars Odyssey) has just discovered an area of salt deposits on the Red Planet. Although salt isn't usually something you'd associate with life, it is in fact a huge [...]


Richard   March 25th, 2008 3:35 pm ET

I always find it interesting that although finding salt on mars sounds really boring (yawn...) it could actually be pivotal in deciding where to look for life. Another reason why funding for Spirit and Opportunity should be INcreased, not decreased.

Richard
http://blogearth.wordpress.com/


Mr. Spock   March 28th, 2008 3:53 am ET

I think organic (carbon) compounds would be more indicative of proof of life, not salt. Salt can be formed from geologic processes, and fluids eroding geo-strata, but definitely not a guarantee of life. We will find the evidence for life we are looking for, but salt deposits are not it.


l-boogie   March 29th, 2008 9:38 pm ET

Why are you telling us something our gov. has known for years. We are so desperate to look and sound like we are on the verge of something historical. Find the planet that E.T.'s and U.F.O.'s are living and breeding a most powerful civilization. Tell us something we should be informed about with respect to our galaxy.


Mr. Spock   March 30th, 2008 1:20 pm ET

If there are E.T.'s and UFOs they are probably tens if not 100s of light years away. The only way we're ever gonna get there is by the USS Enterprise, which obviously isn't gonna happen.


Knut Holt   August 12th, 2008 4:20 am ET

Evidense found so far indicate that the martian climate have shifted many times in the lifetime of the planet so far, and will contimue to do so,

In favourable periods life may have originated and been abundant on the surface of the planet. In worse periods life may have withdrawn to more sheltered places underneeth the surface

Knut Holt
http://www.mydeltapi.com.


Wells   April 2nd, 2010 8:40 pm ET

How To Know If You're Compatible?


Reed   April 3rd, 2010 8:51 pm ET

A lovely and positive way to greet the new year.


Stearns   April 11th, 2010 4:19 pm ET

How would you describe yourself as a child? Were you happy?


Cleveland Gorenberg   December 20th, 2020 6:17 pm ET

Hey there! I’m at work browsing your blog from my new iphone! Just wanted to say I love reading your blog and look forward to all your posts! Carry on the superb work!

http://6dollarmillion.xyz


szybkie odchudzanie tabletki   January 6th, 2021 2:43 pm ET

Potrzebujesz szybkie odchudzanie tabletki lub jesteś gruba jak świnia? Sprawdź nasze skuteczne suplementy na odchudzanie twojego portfela! http://www.odchudzaniezjve.pl


buy kamagra   January 7th, 2021 7:51 pm ET

I wanted to put you the very little remark to be able to thank you the moment again over the remarkable tactics you have provided on this page. This has been simply surprisingly open-handed with you to offer unhampered precisely what most of us would've offered for sale for an ebook to help make some money on their own, particularly seeing that you might have tried it in case you desired. Those suggestions in addition worked to become good way to realize that some people have the identical keenness really like my personal own to realize much more when it comes to this matter. I believe there are several more pleasant sessions up front for people who scan your site. https://jlsmithjax.com/


buy sinequan   January 9th, 2021 9:00 am ET

I precisely had to say thanks all over again. I'm not certain the things I could possibly have created in the absence of the actual hints discussed by you concerning such concern. It actually was a real depressing condition for me personally, but considering a new professional fashion you handled it forced me to cry for delight. I'm grateful for the assistance and as well , have high hopes you comprehend what a powerful job you're carrying out educating men and women by way of your blog. I am certain you've never come across all of us. https://sinequandoxepin.com/#


Bruno Pagett   January 12th, 2021 12:00 am ET

Please keep on posting such quality storys as this is a rare thing to find these days. I am always searching online for posts that can help me. watching forward to another great website. Good luck to the author! all the best!

http://yourmatrixcashmachine.com


Dexter Kerr   January 28th, 2021 10:08 pm ET

https://www.electricpercolatorcoffeepot.com/10-top-coffee-bloggers/


Hypothyroidism meds   February 24th, 2021 12:40 am ET

Hello there, just became aware of your blog through Google, and found that it is really informative. I’m gonna watch out for brussels. I will appreciate if you continue this in future. Lots of people will be benefited from your writing. Cheers! https://hypothyroidismmed.com/ Hypothyroidism meds https://hypothyroidismmed.com/


Silvia Moncure   March 4th, 2021 10:10 am ET

I believe this site has got some very superb information for everyone. "Billy T-T-T-T-Today, Junior" by Billy Madison.

https://www.electricpercolatorcoffeepot.com/10-top-coffee-bloggers/


Kandis Earley   March 6th, 2021 2:30 pm ET

https://www.electricpercolatorcoffeepot.com/10-top-coffee-bloggers/


what is vardenafil used for   April 3rd, 2021 12:53 pm ET

vardenafil 20 mg tablets https://vegavardenafil.com/ vardenafil hcl 20mg tab


tadalafil 60 mg for sale   April 3rd, 2021 6:58 pm ET

tadalafil tablets https://elitadalafill.com/ buy tadalafil us


does topical   April 6th, 2021 5:01 am ET

alprostadil cream on ebay https://alprostadildrugs.com/ alprostadil injection site


cheap price sildenafil 100 mg   April 7th, 2021 9:23 pm ET

buy sildenafil no prescription https://eunicesildenafilcitrate.com/ where can i get sildenafil


buy viagra from canada   April 13th, 2021 8:33 am ET

canada cheap viagra https://canadaviagrastore.com/ viagra canada by mail


tadalafil dosage   April 14th, 2021 4:19 am ET

tadalafil max dose https://elitadalafill.com/ tadalafil


alprostadil intraurethral (muse) therapy   April 19th, 2021 2:52 pm ET

parkinson and alprostadil https://alprostadildrugs.com/ trimix v alprostadil


generic levitra vardenafil 20mg   April 20th, 2021 10:06 am ET

buy vardenafil over the counter with no pres. online https://vegavardenafil.com/ where to buy online vardenafil with out prescribed


Leave Your Comment


 

CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.


subscribe RSS Icon
About this blog

Are you a gadgethead? Do you spend hours a day online? Or are you just curious about how technology impacts your life? In this digital age, it's increasingly important to be fluent, or at least familiar, with the big tech trends. From gadgets to Google, smartphones to social media, this blog will help keep you informed.

subscribe RSS Icon
twitter
Powered by WordPress.com VIP