First Detection of Boron on Mars


Mars has always fascinated everyone and people are still trying to find out if it held civilization much like Earth or if it is a possibility to establish life there.

Recently, the news has been about finding Boron on its surface by a rover. It was discovered near the base of Mount Sharp in Gale Crater.

Boron has never been found on the surface of Mars before and finding its trace now indicates that there is a possibility of long-tern habitable groundwater in ancient past.

Usually, Boron is associated with places where water has evaporated. The trace of boron discover by the rover Curiosity was found in the veins of calcium sulfate which on Earth would mean groundwater with temperature of around 0-60 degree Celsius once flowed through the area and evaporated leaving a mixture of boron and calcium sulfate behind. Finding such evidence on Mars could mean that water once existed there and may have allowed the conditions for microbes to thrive and support life form.

But the boron found on Mars leave space for debate and scientists are considering two possibilities for the source of boron. One is that the drying of the lake resulted in a vast boron-containing deposit in an overlying layer that the rover hasn’t reached yet or shifts in the chemistry of clay bearing deposits and groundwater changed out boron was transported around local sediments.

Since boron wasn’t found anywhere where water was thought to have existed, more information and testing is needed to see how boron ended there and nowhere else.

Curiosity is still searching the mountains of Mars for more rock compositions for evidence to explain how billions of years ago ancient lakes and wet underground environments changed.

As the rover climbs further uphill the composition changes and the lake environment gets more complex. Scientists are excited by this as they say the more complicated the chemistry found there the more the possibility of Mars once being habitable.

I guess we have to wait a bit longer and see if life really once existed there.