Microbialites at Gusev Crater, Mars

Bianciardi, Giorgio and Rizzo, Vincenzo and Cantasano, Nicola and Farias, Maria Eugenia (2015) Microbialites at Gusev Crater, Mars. Journal of astrobiology & outreach, 3 (5). pp. 1-8. ISSN 2332-2519

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The Mars Exploration Rover Spirit investigated plains at Gusev crater, where sedimentary rocks are present. The Spirit rover’s Athena morphological investigation shows microstructures organized in intertwined filaments of microspherules: a texture we have also found on samples of terrestrial stromatolites and other microbialites. We performed a quantitative image analysis to compare 45 microbialites samplings with 50 rover’s ones (approximately 25,000/20,000 microstructures). Contours were extracted and morphometric indexes obtained: geometric and algorithmic complexities, entropy, tortuosity, minimum and maximum diameters. Terrestrial and Martian textures resulted multifractals, while terrestrial abiogenic minerals showed a simple fractal structure. Mean values and confidence intervals from the Martian images overlapped perfectly with those from terrestrial samples. The probability of this occurring by chance was less than 1/28, p<0.004. Our work show the presumptive evidence of microbialites in the Martian outcroppings explored by “Spirit”, confirming our previous results concerning the Martian outcroppings explored by Opportunity at Meridiani Planum: unicellular life was widespread on the ancient Mars.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Spirit mars exploration rover; Stromatolites; Microbialites; Fractal analysis; Life on Mars
Subjects: 500 Scienze naturali e Matematica > 500.5 Scienze spaziali > 500.5'072 Scienze spaziali - Ricerca (Ricerca spaziale)
Depositing User: Dr Nicola Cantasano
Date Deposited: 12 Dec 2016 09:36
Last Modified: 12 Dec 2016 09:36
URI: http://eprints.bice.rm.cnr.it/id/eprint/15599

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