Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1893/16984
Appears in Collections:Biological and Environmental Sciences Journal Articles
Peer Review Status: Refereed
Title: An astrobiological perspective on Meridiani Planum
Authors: Knoll, Andrew H
Carr, Michael H
Clark, Benton C
DesMarais, David J
Farmer, Jack
Fischer, Woodward W
Grotzinger, John
McLennan, Scott M
Malin, Michael C
Schröder, Christian
Squyres, Steven W
Tosca, Nicholas J
Wdowiak, Thomas J
Contact Email: christian.schroeder@stir.ac.uk
Keywords: Mars
Meridiani Planum
astrobiology
environmental history
microbiology
Issue Date: 30-Nov-2005
Publisher: Elsevier
Citation: Knoll AH, Carr MH, Clark BC, DesMarais DJ, Farmer J, Fischer WW, Grotzinger J, McLennan SM, Malin MC, Schröder C, Squyres SW, Tosca NJ & Wdowiak TJ (2005) An astrobiological perspective on Meridiani Planum, Earth and Planetary Science Letters, 240 (1), pp. 179-189.
Abstract: Sedimentary rocks exposed in the Meridiani Planum region of Mars record aqueous and eolian deposition in ancient dune and interdune playa-like environments that were arid, acidic, and oxidizing. On Earth, microbial populations have repeatedly adapted to low pH and both episodic and chronic water limitation, suggesting that, to a first approximation, the Meridiani plain may have been habitable during at least part of the interval when deposition and early diagenesis took place. On the other hand, the environmental conditions inferred for Meridiani deposition would have posed a challenge for prebiotic chemical reactions thought to have played a role in the origin of life on Earth. Orbital observations suggest that the combination of sulfate minerals and hematite found in Meridiani rocks may be unusual on the martian surface; however, there is reason to believe that acidity, aridity, and oxidizing conditions were broadly distributed on ancient Mars. When these conditions were established and how much environmental heterogeneity existed on early Mars remain to be determined. Because sulfates and iron oxides can preserve detailed geochemical records of environmental history as well as chemical, textural and microfossil signatures of biological activity, Meridiani Planum is an attractive candidate for Mars sample return.
Type: Journal Article
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1893/16984
DOI Link: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.epsl.2005.09.045
Rights: The publisher does not allow this work to be made publicly available in this Repository. Please use the Request a Copy feature at the foot of the Repository record to request a copy directly from the author. You can only request a copy if you wish to use this work for your own research or private study.
Affiliation: Harvard University
U.S. Geological Survey
Lockheed Martin Corporation
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
Arizona State University
Harvard University
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
State University of New York At Stony Brook
Malin Space Science Systems
Biological and Environmental Sciences
Cornell University
State University of New York At Stony Brook
University of Alabama at Birmingham

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