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Mars: Through a glass darkly…


Mars/NASA

Oh rats, that line was taken a while back.

From “Mysteriously dark Mars regions are made of glass” (New Scientist, 15 April 2012), we learn,

THEY look dark, but mysterious expanses on Mars are mainly made of glass forged in past volcanoes.

How the glassy grains formed on Mars is unknown, but Horgan says magma from Martian volcanoes interacting with water ice and snow is a possibility. That would make these regions … potential hotspots for alien life because they would have held chemical-rich water – a key ingredient for life.

Apparently, the volcanic glass patches were “once thought to be canals or vegetation.

Water or no, the “life” thesis will be more believable if life can be shown to favour volcanic glass zones on Earth. Meanwhile, note David Shormann’s cautionary comment, on volcanoes and life in general: ““Pumice as cradle of life? Get real, says guy who’s been there”:

I wonder if these gentlemen have ever been to The Valley of 10,000 Smokes [Alaska], site of the biggest volcanic eruption in over 100 years. Here you can walk for miles and miles over pumice-covered ground, where very little life is supported. More.

Here’s a slide show on the various hot tips for places to look for water on Mars.

Vid re a recent possible finding:

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