The MRO has found evidence of the mineral hydrated silica (a.k.a. opal) on the surface of Mars, adding to evidence that the surface of Mars was once partially covered in liquid water.
The hydrated silica would have likely formed as liquid water interacted with minerals from volcanic sources or meteorite impacts.
Using an instrument on the MRO called the Compact Reconnaissance Imaging Spectrometer, the probe detected the minerals by scanning reflected sunlight from the Martian surface. The same minerals were found at Gusev Crater by the Spirit rover.
The hydrated silica would have likely formed as liquid water interacted with minerals from volcanic sources or meteorite impacts. Also, in some locations, the hydrated silica was found near iron sulfate sources in or around dry river channels, which suggests surface water likely lingered on Mars for some time.
Scott Murchie of the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory probably represents the attitudes of most evolutionists in his comment on the discovery: “This is an exciting discovery because it extends the time range for liquid water on Mars, and the places where it might have supported life.”
NASA’s Ralph Milliken echoes Murchie: “What’s important is that the longer liquid water existed on Mars, the longer the window during which Mars may have supported life.”
Since water is crucial for life “as we know it,” evolutionists realize that they need to find sources of water, present or past, in their search for extraterrestrial life. That mission drives much of modern-day astronomy, and is a major factor in our missions to Mars and elsewhere. For creationists, this further evidence that Mars was once covered in water is just that: evidence that Mars once had surface water.
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