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Curiosity Rover Finds Boron on Mars Under Former Lake Bed

Image: Curiosity Rover Finds Boron on Mars Under Former Lake Bed

The Curiosity Rover has found Boron on Mars. (Rex Features via AP Images)

By    |   Wednesday, 14 Dec 2016 02:13 PM

The Mars Curiosity Rover has made an exciting new discovery on the Red Planet: boron.

The element, fifth on the Periodic Table, was found beneath an ancient lake bed underneath Gale Crater. The presence of boron indicates water that had been in the lake was probably habitable for bacteria and possibly other forms of life, Forbes reported.

Boron could only be formed if water was between 32 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit and was neither very acidic nor very basic, researcher Patrick Gasda, who works at Los Alamos National Laboratory from which the Mars Rover is monitored and its findings studied, said in a statement.

The water soluble element is formed when water has left an area. There has not been water found on Mars currently that could sustain life, and its current atmosphere is fractional as well.

Curiosity Rover's Chemcam detected the boron through routine testing in which a laser is shot at a target, such as a rock formation. The molecules in the target are excited and produce light, Gasda said, and the length of the rays of light correspond to different elements or chemical compounds.

Other elements found on Mars to date include silicon, iron, magnesium, aluminum, titanium and calcium, according to Space.com. The presence of boron suggests the time frame when Mars could have supported life may have been many millions or even billions of years ago. The area is now dry like the rest of Mars.

Scientists would like to find out what changes led to Mars turning from a planet with water that could sustain life to the dry planet without sufficient atmosphere and with extreme temperature fluctuations that exist today.

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The Mars Curiosity Rover has made an exciting new discovery on the Red Planet: boron. The element, fifth on the Periodic Table, was found beneath an ancient lake bed underneath Gale Crater.
curiosity, rover, boron, mars
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2016-13-14
Wednesday, 14 Dec 2016 02:13 PM
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