About 11 million years ago, an asteroid impacted with Mars, sending some Martian rocks through space. Some of those pieces of the Red Planet reached Earth and fell on our planet in 1911. A group of scientists from the University of Glasgow studied a Martian meteorite and found exciting clues of past life on Mars.
More specifically, the Martian meteorite that the scientists sampled and researched showed irrefutable evidence that Mars had liquid water on its surface, in its distant past. And since water is a critical element for life, the researchers believe that there was life on Mars.
“There’s a huge amount of information about Mars locked inside the little pieces of the red planet which have fallen to Earth as meteorites. What we’ve seen is that the pattern of deformation in the minerals matches exactly the distribution of weathering veins that formed from the Martian fluids,” explained Dr. Luke Daly from the University of Glasgow’s School of Geographical and Earth Sciences.
Clues of life on Mars revealed by an ancient Martian meteorite
There are more than one Martian space rocks that fell on Earth in the last 100 years. Some of these meteorites impacted Earth in Egypt, where they are known as ‘nakhlites.’ According to the analysis conducted by the University of Glasgow, these rocks formed upon the collision between Mars and two different asteroids in two distinct times in the Red Planet’s history.
The first asteroid impacted Mars about 630 million years ago, and the other one collided with the planet about 11 million years ago. The first impact “was big enough and hot enough to melt the ice under the Martian surface. It effectively formed a temporary hydrothermal system below the surface of Mars, which altered the composition of the minerals in the rocks, close to these cracks,” said Dr. Daly.
However, the second asteroid blasted pieces of Mars’ rocks into space. After the researchers studied a Martian meteorite found in Egypt, they concluded that life on Mars was possible since the Red Planet had liquid water. Also, they said that the first asteroid impact, about 630 million years ago, could’ve been the first to trigger the appearance of Martian hydrothermal systems.