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Magnetism, iron minerals, and life on Mars.

Authors
  • Rochette, P
  • Gattacceca, J
  • Chevrier, V
  • Mathé, P E
  • Menvielle, M
Type
Published Article
Journal
Astrobiology
Publisher
Mary Ann Liebert
Publication Date
Jun 01, 2006
Volume
6
Issue
3
Pages
423–436
Identifiers
PMID: 16805698
Source
Medline
License
Unknown

Abstract

A short critical review is provided on two questions linking magnetism and possible early life on Mars: (1) Did Mars have an Earth-like internal magnetic field, and, if so, during which period and was it a requisite for life? (2) Is there a connection between iron minerals in the martian regolith and life? We also discuss the possible astrobiological implications of magnetic measurements at the surface of Mars using two proposed instruments. A magnetic remanence device based on magnetic field measurements can be used to identify Noachian age rocks and lightning impacts. A contact magnetic susceptibility probe can be used to investigate weathering rinds on martian rocks and identify meteorites among the small regolith rocks. Both materials are considered possible specific niches for microorganisms and, thus, potential astrobiological targets. Experimental results on analogues are presented to support the suitability of such in situ measurements.

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