The latest findings made by scientists on Mars may reveal about the origin of life on Earth. Astronomers have discovered ancient seafloor hydrothermal deposits on Mars.
Here are 5 things to know about this finding:
1. The latest finding was made on the Red Planet's ancient seafloor -- Eridania basin—which is present on the southern Mars, speculated to have harboured a sea around 3.7 billion years ago. The hydrothermal deposits were detected with the help of NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO).
2. It is believed that the hydrothermal activities taking place underwater led to the deposit accumulation on the seafloor. Long back, heated water from a volcanically active region on Mars' surface entered the bottom of a huge sea which led to the formation of these deposits.
"This site gives us a compelling story for a deep, long-lived sea and a deep-sea hydrothermal environment," Paul Niles of NASA's Johnson Space Centre, Houston, said in a statement.
"It is evocative of the deep-sea hydrothermal environments on Earth, similar to environments where life might be found on other worlds -- life that doesn't need a nice atmosphere or temperate surface, but just rocks, heat and water," Niles said further.
3. As per the guesstimation made by the researchers, the Eridania sea consisted around 210,000 cubic km of water. The hydrothermal deposits comprised of a mixture of minerals, serpentine, talc and carbonate were the ones identified by the scientists. The shape and texture of the thick bedrock layers made it possible to detect the possible hydrothermal deposits present on the seafloor.
4. The Eridania sea had disappeared after which the lava flow took place. This proves that this region of Mars' crust, with a volcanic susceptibility could also have produced effects earlier, when the sea was present, according to a NASA statement.
5. "Ancient, deep-water hydrothermal deposits in Eridania basin represent a new category of the target on Mars. Eridania seafloor deposits are not only of interest for Mars exploration, they represent a window into early Earth," Niles added.
The researchers explained the reason behind it is that, the seafloor deposits of similar origin and age were the earliest proof of life on Earth; but geological record of those early-Earth environments is poorly preserved.