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.
Get More 'Curious?' with Our New PODCAST:
- Podcast? Subscribe? Tell me about the Ask an Astronomer Podcast
- Subscribe to our Podcast | Listen to our current Episode
- Cool! But I can't now. Send me a quick reminder now for later.
How to ask a question:
If you have a follow-up question concerning the above subject, submit it here. If you have a question about another area of astronomy, find the topic you're interested in from the archive on our site menu, or go here for help.Table 'curious.Referrers' doesn't existTable 'curious.Referrers' doesn't exist
This page has been accessed 7717 times since March 2, 2009.
Last modified: March 2, 2009 5:05:21 PM
Ask an Astronomer is hosted by the Astronomy Department at Cornell University and is produced with PHP and MySQL.
Warning: Your browser is misbehaving! This page might look ugly. (Details)