The researchers' speculations about the life on Mars have been lasting for many years. So, no wonder that the news about the presence of opal on the Earth’s neighboring planet hit all the headlines.
The discovery was made by the scientists from the University of Glasgow in co-operation with the Natural History Museum (London). They located traces of fire opal in the Martian meteorite fragment weighing 1.7 g and called Nakhla. It is reported that the fragment blasted from the surface of the red planet and landed in Egypt in 1911.
The expedition to Mars
Despite the expeditions organized by NASA proved the existence of opal on Mars, Martin Lee, the UOG School of Geographical and Earth Sciences professor, highlighted that was the first time when a piece of Mars found on the Earth contained opal.
Martin Lee, the UOG School of Geographical and Earth Sciences professor
Though the Martian gemstone is so tiny, Martin Lee stressed its significance. First of all, it is a confirmation of findings from NASA’s exploration and imaging of the Martian surface that showed deposits of opal. Besides, on Earth opals "are often formed in and around hot springs". This is a favorable living environment for microbes that can be trapped and preserved by opals for many years. If we assume that Martian microbes existed, opal deposits could also preserved them on the surface of Mars.
The professor added that the future expeditions to Mars and a closer study of Martian opals will help the scientists find out more about the planet’s past and if life ever existed there.