Asteroid impacts could have created some of Mars’ sand.

Asteroid impacts could have created some of Mars’ sand.

\ Sand on Earth is continuously being created by the slow erosion of rocks. But on Mars, violent asteroid impacts may play an important role in creating new sand. This is

A new study has revealed that a quarter of Martian sand is composed of spherical bits of glass forged in the intense heat of impacts. This discovery shows how asteroid impacts contribute to shaping Mars, even long after the collisions occur. Purdue University planetary scientist Briony Horgan and colleagues will present their results August 18 at the 85th Annual Meeting of the Meteoritical Society in Glasgow, Scotland. The team used

The researchers used data from spacecraft orbiting Mars to study different wavelengths of visible and infrared light reflected from the planet’s surface. By doing this, they were able to determine the minerals present in Martian sand. They found that there were signatures of glass all over the planet

There are many potential explanations for the glass found on Mars, but one of the most likely is that it is the result of volcanic eruptions. When magma mixes with water, it can produce glass, and Mars is known to have many volcanoes. However, the most glass-rich area of Mars is the northern plains, which does not have any volcanoes. This

It's easy to forget that Mars is a planet that was once hit by a lot of asteroids and comets. And, according to a new study, that bombardment may have played a big role in shaping the red planet's climate. The study,

When an asteroid travelling at several kilometers per second collides with a rocky planet like Mars, the resulting energy from the impact melts nearby rocks and launches them into the atmosphere. This molten shrapnel then fragments and produces sand grain-sized pieces that are roughly spherical in shape. These bits of glass, called impact spherules, eventually

Asteroids impacts have played a role in supplying sand to the surface of Mars over the last 3 billion years, Horgan and her colleagues have calculated. They estimate that a layer of impact spherules roughly half a meter thick could have blanketed the surface of Mars. This would have added to the sand on Mars that formed

In the future, scientists may have the opportunity to analyze Martian impact spherules. This is because the NASA Perseverance rover is currently storing samples of Martian sand and rocks that could be returned to Earth at some point. This is exciting news, as it means

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