Geologists in Scotland say that two rural, mountainous islands have matched Mars soil.
Using open source data from NASA MarsA War Science, geologists were able to compare soil samples from red planet to a database of more than 1,500 Scottish soil samples. They find that the Mediterranean soil fits closely with the two islands of Scotland: Skye and Mull.
The Islands and Mull are quite mountainous islands on the western coast of Scotland. Skye is a popular tourist destination and has been featured in several films, including "Prometheus," "The BFG" and "Transformers: The Last Knight."
Benjamin Butler, a digital mineralist with the James Hutton Foundation in Aberdeen, Scotland said the results make sense because of the similarities between the islands and Mars.
"The reason they stand out is that the soils on Anglesey and Mull form on rocks similar to the rocks found on Mars, so in that sense, we would expect to find a Such like soils, in the ancient volcanic environments, "he said.
The three soil samples are rich in basalt rock minerals, commonly found on Earth and Mars, but they interact with water over time that makes these three areas unique, says Butler.
Butler hopes that the discovery will enable NASA scientists to explore Martian soil easier and find out if it can support microbial life, because further soil tests can be done on Earth.
"He opened many doors to help understand the ancient environments on Mars," he said.
The March was ashamed of Mars in August 2012 with the aim of assessing the geology of the planet and deciding whether it was ever able to support microbial life.
Butler thanked NASA for allowing curiosity soil data to be available to the public.
"Things should be available freely for others to explore, because without the open data, this combination would not have been possible," he said. "There is a timely example of how unexpected findings can arise when sharing data openly."
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