The search for water on Mars continues. It appears that it might be hidden in the most unlikely place: inside rocks. The Smithsonian Institute had some rocks from the 19th century that proved to be more important than it was initially believed. Back in 1843 the minerallist August Breithaupt discovered a hydrohematite. Now scientists believed that the rock might be similar to a specific kind of Mars rock, nicknamed “blueberries.”
“On Earth, these spherical structures are hydrohematite, so it seems reasonable to me to speculate that the bright red pebbles on Mars are hydrohematite,” explained Peter J. Heaney, professor of geosciences at Penn State. This type of rock is so particular because it contains hydroxyl, a group of hydrogen and oxygen.
The study about the potential “water reservoir” on Mars explains that “hydrohematite is common in low-temperature occurrences of iron oxide on Earth, and by extension, it may inventory large quantities of water in apparently arid planetary environments, such as the surface of Mars.”
Back in 2004, the Curiosity rover found the blueberry rocks on the Red Planet, and they were then identified as hematites. However, back in 2004, the technology was not good enough to check whether they were, in fact, hydrohematites.
The search for water is a crucial process to determine whether the Red Planet could support human life one day. Mars does not support life as we know it today, but there may be conditions or environments suitable for life. Researchers are studying Mars today, and future missions could bring back results that would support life. It is possible that earth conditions were not conducive to supporting life, but Mars may have been easier for life to form on than we think.