Weathering products should serve as indicators of weathering environments and may provide the best evidence of the nature of climate change on Mars. No direct mineralogical measurements of Martian regolith were performed by the Viking missions, but the biology and X-ray fluorescence experiments provided some information on the physiochemical properties of Martian regolith. Most post-Viking studies of candidate weathering products have emphasized phyllosilicates and Fe-oxides; zeolites are potentially important, but overlooked, candidate Martian minerals. Zeolites would be important on Mars for three different reasons. First, they are major sinks of atmospheric gases and, per unit mass, are stronger and more efficient sorbents than are phyllosilicates. Secondly, they can be virtually unique sorbents and shelters for organic compounds and possible catalysts for organic-based reactions. Finally, their exchangeable ions are good indicators of the chemical properties of solutions with which they have communicated. Accordingly, the search for information on past compositions of the Martian atmosphere and hydrosphere should find zeolites to be rich repositories.
Mars Sample Return Science
- Pub Date:
- Mars Surface;
- Physical Chemistry;
- Lunar and Planetary Exploration