How Glass on Mars Could Mean Life on Mars

Jun 9, 2015 at 12:13 pm |

Glass recently found in an impact crater on Mars could be the next step towards uncovering the possibility of ancient life on the planet.

Discovered by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, NASA’s planetary science division director Jim Green said the “glass deposits are relatively common impact features on Mars,” and that “these areas could be targets for future exploration” both by robots and eventually humans.

The glass is believed to have been formed when meteorites crashed on Mars’ surface with enough force and heat to melt rocks, which then quickly cooled and re-solidified into the shiny substance. On Earth, such glass deposits have been known to contain trace amounts of organic material from millions of years ago. Scientists are hoping that the same may be true on the red planet, and that the impact glass could hold proof that life once existed there.

Now that we’ve found water below Mars’ surface, could this natural glass be the next indicator of ancient life? NASA hopes to explore the Nili Fossae trough — a 400-mile-long depression and one of the sites where glass was found — during the Mars 2020 rover mission.

Looks like the Martians left behind their glasses…