Chemical Gardens Under Mars Conditions: Imaging Chemical Garden Growth In Situ in an Environmental Scanning Electron Microscope
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AuthorSainz Díaz, Claro Ignacio; Escribano, Bruno; Sánchez Almazo, Isabel María; Cartwright, Julyan H. E.
Sainz-Díaz, C. I... [et al.] (2021). Chemical gardens under Mars conditions: Imaging chemical garden growth in situ in an environmental scanning electron microscope. Geophysical Research Letters, 48, e2021GL092883. [https://doi.org/10.1029/2021GL092883]
SponsorshipSpanish MINCINN project FIS2016-77692-C2-2P; European FEDER funds the European COST Action by the EU Framework Programme Horizon 2020 CA17120 PCIN-2017-098
We have performed and visualized chemical garden growth experiments directly in situ in an environmental scanning electron microscope. The microscope chamber simulates the surface of Mars. We demonstrate that chemical gardens can form under the conditions of temperature and pressure existing on Mars in the presence of liquid water, silicates, and metal salts. Using chemical gardens from aluminum salts, tubes were formed where the external surface is formed principally by silicate and the inner surface is predominantly aluminum oxide-hydroxide. It should thus be expected that similar growths of metal salts may be found in geological explorations of water-rich environments during the search for life on Mars.