Mars, the enigmatic Red Planet, has long captivated our curiosity. As we’ve sent rovers and spacecraft to explore its surface, we’ve stumbled upon an intriguing discovery: small traces of gold in Martian soil. How did it get there and how much of it there is? In this article, we’ll discover more about the presence of gold on Mars and what it means for the exploration of the planet.
First, let’s talk about gold. We all know it as the shiny, valuable metal that adorns jewelry and has been used as currency for centuries. Gold has a unique allure due to its rarity and resistance to corrosion.
But where does gold come from?
Where does gold come from?
Gold, like other heavy metals, is formed deep in the core of large stars. Sometimes these stars explode into a supernova after they run out of fuel (hydrogen) to burn.
These cosmic explosions scatter heavy elements, including gold, into space. Over time, these elements can form a protoplanetary disc, which is a big could of dust and gas that can start to clump together to create new planets, asteroids, comets, moons, etcetera.
This is how Earth got most of its gold. It was already here when the planet formed.
Since Mars is one of our neighbors and is also a terrestrial, rocky planet, we could assume that it shares a similar element composition with our planet and that would mean that there is a significant possibility that there is at least a reasonable amount of gold on Mars.
Martian Geological History
We need to delve into the planet’s geological history to understand the significance of finding gold on Mars. Mars boasts a dynamic landscape, with evidence of past volcanic activity, river valleys, and ancient lakes. Geological processes similar to those on Earth could have concentrated minerals, including gold, in specific regions of Mars.
One potential source of Martian gold could be hydrothermal activity, where hot water carries and deposits minerals, including gold. At this point, it is important to remember that scientists believe that the Martian surface had an ocean at some point in its history.
Mars, with its history of liquid water, may indeed have gold deposits hidden beneath its surface.
Is there gold on Mars?
So, have we really found gold on Mars? Yes, but not in the glittering nuggets you might imagine.
We have sent multiple rovers, orbiters, and have pointed our telescopes at Mars for a long time. And yet, the discovery of gold didn’t come from any of those methods.
We found out that there is gold on Mars thanks to Martian asteroids that were already here, on Earth. These are small pieces of the red planet that were probably ejected after an asteroid impacted the red planet and they ended up landing on Earth.
In these asteroids we have detected traces of interesting elements like lithium, cobalt, nickel, copper, zinc, niobium, molybdenum, lanthanum, europium, tungsten, and of course, gold.
While these discoveries might not lead to Martian gold rushes, they do open up intriguing possibilities. The presence of gold on Mars suggests that this valuable metal may exist in more significant quantities in certain areas yet to be explored.
It is also good news for our hopes of building a colony on Mars because it means that a Martian colony could theoretically produce its own electronics or devices by extracting directly the materials from Mars.
- There is gold on Mars
- We don’t know how much gold there is or where it is located
- Scientists found gold on Mars by analyzing Martian meteorites found on Earth