Martian soil will reach earth in a little more than a decade by the Mars Perseverance rover. Scientists are pretty much thrilled to know about the planet’s soil to find a clue for life but their expectations may not meet up to the mark.
It is because of the acidic fluid that once flowed in the surface of the mars which would have destroyed various biological evidence hidden inside the mars iron-rich clays as estimated by the researchers at Cornell University.
A simulation was carried out engaging the clay and amino acids by the researchers for finding out the result that there has been a deterioration of the biological matters on the surface of the planet. The outcome “Constraining the preservation of organic compounds in Mars analog nontronites after exposure to acid and alkaline fluids,” was published on 15th September in Nature’s scientific reports.
Alberto G. Fairén, a visiting scientist in the Department of Astronomy in the College of Arts and Sciences at Cornell said –
“We know that acidic fluids have flowed on the surface of Mars in the past, altering the clays and its capacity to protect organics”
The researchers have explained that the internal structure of clay is organized into layers such as –
- Nucleic Acids
- Other Biopolymers
Evidence of biological life can be found in these layers. The clay surface soils are a target to the foundation of biological life because the clay defends the molecular organic material inside.
The team formed a simulation of the Mars surface situation in the laboratory by preserving an amino acid (glycine) in a lump of clay that has been exposed to acidic fluids before. Fairén said –
“We used glycine because it could rapidly degrade under the planet’s environmental conditions, It’s perfect informer to tell us what was going on inside our experiments.”
Later after the exposure to the Mars-like ultraviolet radiation, the outcome showed substantial photodegradation of the glycine molecules embedded in the clay. Exposure to the acidic fluids removed the interlayer space forming into gel-like silica.
This mission is very important for the future of the mars settlers and also for knowing more about our solar system. Although the conclusion of the research has stated that there is an obstacle to our capability in recognizing the existence of any life on the red planet.
Source – news.cornell