NASA’s (Mars) rover is planned to land in a similar, well-preserved ancient crater that is believed to have also contained liquid water in its past. The results suggest that the Martian crater will have a chemical composition comparable to that of Ries Crater. Therefore, studying the alkalinity, pH and nitrogen content of samples from the Ries Crater could help the researchers better understand the properties of ancient water on Mars and, in turn, determine the amount of carbon dioxide that was in the planet’s atmosphere billions of years ago.
Although it’s unlikely that Mars had enough oxygen to Support complex life, such as humans or animals, simpler microorganisms could have survived if water on Mars had a neutral pH level and was highly alkaline, the researchers said in the statement. These conditions would indicate that the atmosphere had enough carbon dioxide to warm the planet and make liquid water possible, the scientists added.