The Curiosity rover has discovered stunning new data that simply baffled NASA scientists. The Curiosity spacecraft provided rock samples from the bottom of an ancient Martian lake, after studying which scientists discovered an incredible thing for themselves. The samples do not contain carbonate minerals. Carbonates are natural minerals consisting of salts of carbonic acid H2CO3.
“We were extremely surprised that there are practically no carbonate minerals in the sedimentary rocks that the rover studied. It would be very difficult to melt ice into water, even if there was a hundred times more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere than the analysis of minerals indicates,” says NASA scientist Thomas Bristow.
1It remains a mystery!
This may indicate that there was not enough carbon dioxide in the ancient Martian atmosphere for the greenhouse effect to occur.
Bristow works at NASA’s Ames Research Center in California.
This week, in collaboration with other scientists, he published a study in which he calculates the maximum amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere of Mars at the time when the lake was formed.
The data showed that the amount was in the tens of millibars, which is not enough to create a warm atmosphere where the ice could melt.