NASA’s Curiosity rover has found silica-rich rocks on Mars very similar to Earth’s oldest continental crust.
This adds weight to the theory that Mars may have been more like ancient Earth than previously thought.
Earth’s continental crust was thought to be unique, since its existence is thought to stem from processes involving magma and tectonic plates, but the latest findings indicate otherwise.
Violaine Sautter of the Paris Muséum d’Histoire Naturelle and colleagues analysed geochemical data from more than 20 rocks probed by Curiosity’s ChemCam instrument as the rover traversed terrain near Gale crater.
The researchers suggest that the light-coloured, silica-rich rocks may be remnants of an ancient crust on Mars similar to Earth’s early continental crust.
However, further evidence is required to confirm this.
The findings are published in the journal Nature Geoscience.
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