Opals Found on Mars
It is a little known fact that gemstones have been detected on other planets. Though opal deposits were discovered on Mars a while back, known meteor samples containing opals were not present on earth, until now. Remnants of fire opal have been found in a 1.7-gram piece of a meteorite from Mars provided by London’s Natural History Museum.
The definite discovery of fire opals on Mars from this piece of meteorite that dates back millions of years before landing in Egypt in 1911 not only indicates that Mars and earth share something in common, but that there once may have been life on the Red Planet. Opals are found in and near hot springs, which are breeding grounds for microbial life. It is possible that Mars was home to living beings millions of years ago.
Fire opal is a type of opal typically seen in jewelry pieces. Though only tiny amounts of the gemstone were discovered in the meteorite, it is still cause for great excitement. While gemstone enthusiasts might see this as being yet another source for the beloved gemstone, the discovery is more of a scientific one and less of a gemological one. The conditions in which opals develop can point to the possibility of life having been present on Mars at one point in time.
The Significance of the Finding
In the past, NASA journeys have provided information regarding the possibility of opal deposits on Mars. Although there was a strong basis to this information, there was never concrete proof for the theory. A piece of Martian meteorite, which fell in Egypt in 1911 and was named Nakhla after the town in which it fell, has provided the proof scientists have been looking for. Traces of fire opal have been found, giving hope that future expeditions to Mars could result in further opal findings, which might contain Martian microbes, assuming they ever existed. This could be the key to finding out about life on Mars.
While this discovery does not mean by any means that you can order your own Martian opal jewelry piece, it does imply that there is much more to learn about our neighboring Red Planet!
What do you think about htis incredible discovery? Tell us in the comments!