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Iron-rich minerals on Mars could contain life’s fatty acids

18 Jun 2018, 13:34 UTC
Iron-rich minerals on Mars could contain life’s fatty acids NASA/JPL–Caltech/MSSS

A little stream in the south of England could guide the way towards finding evidence for ancient life on Mars, in the form of fatty acids preserved in an iron-rich mineral called goethite. Researchers from Imperial College London ventured to the county of Dorset on the UK’s south-coast to sample an acidic stream running into St Oswald’s Bay, which is close to the famous Durdle Door limestone rock formation. The acidity of the stream, which has a pH of 3.5, is believed to be similar to water that flowed on early Mars during its Hesperian epoch over three billion years ago.

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