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Proceedings Paper

Is there red soil on Mars? (as proof of water and vegetation)
Author(s): Roland Paepe
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Paper Abstract

The label "soil" is used in a great variety of significations but seldom to indicate what is meant by it as a thorough concept in soil science/pedology. This is particularly true when used by scientists not acquainted with soil science even on Earth. Hence, the label "soil" very often stands for features occurring in surficial deposits of planets (as the Earth itself) not really dealing with soil development. Soil development is a complex result/product from major natural factors as water/precipitation, geomorphology/edaphic position, sediment /surficial deposits and by and large climate. All these factors are reflected in a "soil-type" of the earthly soil-classification-system. In reverse "soils" reflect pedologic/climatic conditions of the past possibly pointing at the presence of water and vegetation in a given landscape. As soils are thus intrinsically related to life on planets as on Earth the label soil in searching for Life on Mars should be used properly. Phyllosilicates and red clays (even in traces) recently discovered by many scientists on the Red Planet may indicate the presence of thorough soils on Mars. The term "regolith" for the Martian soil should then be avoided.

Paper Details

Date Published: 9 October 2007
PDF: 12 pages
Proc. SPIE 6694, Instruments, Methods, and Missions for Astrobiology X, 66941B (9 October 2007); doi: 10.1117/12.742958
Show Author Affiliations
Roland Paepe, Geobound International, BV MUHS (Netherlands)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 6694:
Instruments, Methods, and Missions for Astrobiology X
Richard B. Hoover; Gilbert V. Levin; Alexei Y. Rozanov; Paul C. W. Davies, Editor(s)

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