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Fraser
2008-Oct-28, 09:10 PM
The discovery of a water-based mineral on Mars by the spectrometer on board the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter suggests liquid water remained on the planet's surface a billion years later than was previously thought, and it likely played an important role in shaping the planet's surface and possibly hosting life. Hydrated silica, commonly known [...]

More... (http://www.universetoday.com/2008/10/28/precious-gems-discovered-on-mars/)

JESMKS
2008-Oct-29, 07:03 PM
Hydrated silica is also commonly known as "diatomaceous earth" which comes from the shells or test of diatoms. Diatomaceous earth has widespread occurence on Earth. Deposits or layers of opal would be very hard or impossible hard to distinguish from deposits or layers of diatomaceous earth from a spectrometer in space.

01101001
2008-Oct-29, 07:48 PM
Hydrated silica is also commonly known as "diatomaceous earth" which comes from the shells or test of diatoms. Diatomaceous earth has widespread occurence on Earth. Deposits or layers of opal would be very hard or impossible hard to distinguish from deposits or layers of diatomaceous earth from a spectrometer in space.

Wikipedia: Hydrated silica (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hydrated_silica)


Hydrated silica is a form of silicon dioxide, which has a variable amount of water in the formula. It is also known as silicic acid, a term usually used for its form dissolved in water. It is found in nature, as opal, which has been mined as a gemstone for centuries and in the cell walls of diatoms. It is also manufactured for use in toothpaste. Once dehydrated the gel is used as a desiccant known as Silica gel. It is also used in various paints and varnishes and in the production of beer.

Beer. Say no more.

trinitree88
2008-Oct-29, 08:17 PM
Wikipedia: Hydrated silica (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hydrated_silica)



Beer. Say no more.

01, Beer. That's it. Ancient Mars was populated by droves of Martians holding keggers along all the canals....which dried up just as Percival Lowell got interested???...:shifty:

Seriously, the possibility of a desirable mineral won't hurt commercial interest in Mars. Wait till diamond, gold, sapphire, rubies, silver, platinum show up. Pete.

JESMKS
2008-Oct-30, 03:20 AM
If the hydrated silica is diatomaceous earth, it means that plant life existed in the ancient Martian lakes and seas. I don't know why NASA scientist are reluctant to even express the possibility that diatoms could have existed on Mars. The earlier finding of hydrated silica by Spirit had the appearance and purity of being diatomaceous earth.

JonClarke
2008-Oct-30, 09:06 AM
If the hydrated silica is diatomaceous earth, it means that plant life existed in the ancient Martian lakes and seas. I don't know why NASA scientist are reluctant to even express the possibility that diatoms could have existed on Mars. The earlier finding of hydrated silica by Spirit had the appearance and purity of being diatomaceous earth.

Diatoms are extremely high evolved algae. From memory they did not appear on Earth until the Cretaceous and were not commonly until the Oligo-Miocene. They are not the sort of organisms one would expect to find on mars whch, if it ever had seas, lost them more than two billion years ago, maybe more. Plus there is no evidence that Mars had an oxygenated atmosphere, which photosynthetic algae like diatoms would create.

Opal is a very common product of hyrothermal alteration and weathering, both of which are significant processes on Mars. Hydrothermal opal has been observed at Gusev crater, and amorphous silica, probably silca gel. at Meridiani

Jon

Ozzy
2008-Oct-30, 10:06 PM
Last year I studied a deposit of fossilised trees buried in rhyolitic ash from the Miocene era. They had been "opalised" by water containing silica, which replaced the organic wood minerals.


The good news is, if the data is correct, then it is definitive proof of water.

A vital ingredient in beer.

trinitree88
2008-Oct-30, 11:36 PM
Last year I studied a deposit of fossilised trees buried in rhyolitic ash from the Miocene era. They had been "opalised" by water containing silica, which replaced the organic wood minerals.


The good news is, if the data is correct, then it is definitive proof of water.

A vital ingredient in beer.

Ozzy. Nice on both accounts. See, there's that beer again. I wonder how much you would get for a bottle of wine that was made from grapes grown from Martian water in a greenhouse on Mars, and then trucked to Sotheby's back home. Now that'd be a rare bottle. Chateau La Fete Plains of Meridiani...pete (I'm sipping Dunkin Donuts coffee).

JESMKS
2008-Oct-31, 04:55 PM
This is in responce to Jon Carke's posting. You reply makes me wonder how Martian scholars know for certain that Mars never had an oxygenated atmosphere. The ozidation of the surficial rocks on Mars, which turned them red, seems to indicate an oxygenated atmosphere. Such an atmosphere may have come from either the reaction of solar radiation on CO2 or from plant life in the Martian seas. Diatoms on earth may have evolved or arrived as early as the Jurassic period. Should the time line for the developmet of various species on earth be a controlling criteria for evaluating what has happened on Mars? Maybe dormant diatom spores arrived on earth along with Martian rocks and seeded our oceans with diatoms. My point is that NASA shouldn't throw out various possibilities just becaus the don't fit into an uncertain history of Mars and Earth. The saying 'if it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, it might be a duck" might apply to diatomaceous earth on Mars.

JESMKS
2008-Oct-31, 07:34 PM
I erred in the above post, the oxygen would come from the breakdown of water vapor by solar radiation, not CO2

JonClarke
2008-Oct-31, 11:23 PM
I erred in the above post, the oxygen would come from the breakdown of water vapor by solar radiation, not CO2

It is an interesting question and of course I could be wrong. All we would need to discover would be some thick red bed sequences and this would all change.

By and large though Marsd does not seem to have been extensively weathered by oxifings gases. The oxidation we see is mostly very thin.

Also, as far as we can tell, the atmsphere and hydrosphere of Mars entered its present state in the Hesperian, perhaps 3 billion years ago. By comparison with Earth, an oxygenated would not have existed then.

So the only source of oxidation would be UV and UV generated species.

But if ExoMars or MSL discover thick sequences of oxidised rocks, whether through weathering or epsotion, then it all opens out.

Jon