Is the reddish dust of Mars biogenic?
Could the reddish hue of the Martian surface be due to biogenic oxygen?
Basically, nanophase ferric oxides are the mineralogic component of the thin layer of Martian surface dust that cause the reddishness of the surface. These oxides do not require free O2 to form, as thin films of brine (overnight H2O frost is fairly common on Mars, and can turn to a brine with melting point depression from soluble salts present in dust grains) and hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) can act as oxidizers. In addition, trace amounts of O2 can also be produced abiogenically. More details are available online.
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