NASA Spacecraft Detects Impact Glass on Surface of Mars

Cosmology & Space Research

Researchers have found deposits of impact glass preserved in Martian craters, including Alga Crater, shown here. The detection is based on data from the Compact Reconnaissance Imaging Spectrometer for Mars (CRISM) on NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/JHUAPL/Univ. of Arizona

Fast Facts:

  • Glass deposits in impact craters on Mars have been detected in observations by NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.
  • Impact glass could preserve evidence about whether Mars ever had life.

NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) has detected deposits of glass within impact craters on Mars. Though formed in the searing heat of a violent impact, such deposits might provide a delicate window into the possibility of past life on the Red Planet.

During the past few years, research has shown evidence about past life has been preserved in impact glass here on Earth. A 2014 study led by scientist Peter Schultz of Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, found…

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