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Japan team finds water in ancient Mars contained salt

  • October 28, 2019
  • , Jiji Press , 9:17 a.m.
  • English Press

Tokyo, Oct. 28 (Jiji Press)–A Japanese research team has found that water that is believed to have existed on Mars 3.5 billion years ago contained salt and minerals, providing conditions suited to life.

The team has said it succeeded in restoring the conditions of water that is believed to have existed on Gale Crater near the equator 3.5 billion years ago by using data on sediments collected by the U.S. Mars probe Curiosity.

To analyze the data, the team, including Kanazawa University associate professor Keisuke Fukushi and Tokyo Institute of Technology Prof. Yasuhito Sekine, used a technique to estimate water content used in research into geological disposal of nuclear waste.

The analysis found that the ancient water on Mars had salt content whose concentration was about a third the level of seawater on Earth.

The ancient water was “as salty as miso soup and ramen noodle soup,” Sekine said, adding that the water was also rich in minerals such as magnesium.

The team believes that the concentration of salt rose to the level as the water evaporated over a period of more than one million years after flowing into the crater.

The technique will open the way for research into whether an environment suited to life existed in a wide area on Mars and when and how such an environment was lost, Fukushi said.
The team’s study was published on Friday’s edition of the British journal Nature Communications.

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