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NASA finds gemstones on Mars

NASA finds opal on Mars
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In a first, NASA’s Curiosity rover has discovered opal on Mars. A research team, while studying older images clicked by Curiosity, found out that halo-like fractures contained water-rich opal. This finding could serve as an important resource for human exploration. Samples of these rocks, which had previously been collected by the rover’s instruments, were analyzed using new techniques.

According to the new study published in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets by a team of Arizona State University and NASA-affiliated researchers, the vast subsurface fracture networks would have provided water-rich and radiation-shielded conditions that were potentially more habitable than those on the surface.

The lead author Travis Gabriel, a postdoctoral fellow at Arizona State, in a statement, said, “our new analysis of archival data showed striking similarity between all of the fracture halos we’ve observed much later in the mission. He added, “seeing that these fracture networks were so widespread and likely chock-full of opal was incredible.”

“Our new analysis of archival data showed striking similarity between all of the fracture halos we’ve observed much later in the mission,” Gabriel said. “Seeing that these fracture networks were so widespread and likely chock-full of opal was incredible.”

Back in 2008, similar deposits were discovered on Mars by NASA‘s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. Then, it was believed to be silica. However, with the new discovery, it appears that these opal deposits could become a source of water for future astronauts on Mars.

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