There is a cache of gemstones on the surface of Mars, according to scientists.
According to a study published last month in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets by a team of Arizona State University and NASA-affiliated researchers, the Red Planet's Gale Crater is home to many types of gemstones.
bling iced out with precious gems from another planet sounds like the warmest part of the solar system. There is scientific significance to the finding, which suggests that the area held a lot more water than we thought. It's possible that the discovery will force us to rethink theories of ancient life on Mars.
Over the last couple of years, researchers have found "fractures" of lighter-colored rock in images taken by NASA's Curiosity rover, which they believe are mostly made out of opal, a bluish hydrated mineral.
According to the new research, the buried resources appear to be much more abundant than previously thought, and can be found all over the ancient lake bed of the Gale crater.
"Our new analysis of archival data showed striking similarity between all of the fracture halos we've observed much later in the mission," said lead authorTravis Gabriel. It was amazing to see that these fractured networks were so widespread.
It's particularly intriguing that the discovery is related to the formation of opals. The sub surface of the crater may have once sheltered life from the harsh temperatures and radiation at the surface.
Gabriel said in the statement that it's reasonable to expect the potentially habitable subsurface conditions to be extended to many other regions of the planet. After the ancient lakes in Gale Crater dried up, these environments would have arisen.
Instead of ending up in the extraterrestrial bling, these gems might end up being used for something more important. Since the water and silica that make up opal can be easily separated, they could potentially be a crucial source of water for future astronauts walking the Martian surface.
The researchers were able to demonstrate that a single three-foot section of fractured halo can release 1.5 gallons of water into the air.
The opal dates back to a different time in the history of Mars, suggesting that other areas of the Red Planet may still have water today.
There are water-rich fractured halos in the crater.
More on the 10th anniversary of the rover.