Next Article in Journal
Application of an Expanded Sequestration Estimate to the Domestic Energy Footprint of the Republic of Ireland
Previous Article in Journal
Alley Farming in Thailand
Previous Article in Special Issue
The Search for Sustainable Subsurface Habitats on Mars, and the Sampling of Impact Ejecta
Article Menu

Export Article

Open AccessArticle
Sustainability 2010, 2(8), 2541-2554;

The Case of the Lacking Carbonates and the Emergence of Early Life on Mars

Centro de Astrobiología (INTA-CSIC), Instituto Nacional de Técnica Aeroespacial (INTA), Ctra Ajalvir km 4, Torrejón de Ardoz, 28850 Madrid, Spain
Centro de Biología Molecular, CSIC, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, 28049 Cantoblanco, Madrid, Spain
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 2 July 2010 / Revised: 22 July 2010 / Accepted: 27 July 2010 / Published: 5 August 2010
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Astrobiology and Sustainability)
PDF [191 KB, uploaded 24 February 2015]


The mineralogical characterization of Mars by different exploration missions, provides a new image of the earliest conditions that prevailed on the planet surface. The detection of extensive deposits of phyllosillicates has been considered to be as a result of the production of hydrated silicates through alteration and precipitation under neutral to sub-alkaline conditions. Although extensive deposits of carbonates should precipitate beneath a thick CO2-bearing atmosphere, only a few outcrops of Mg-rich carbonates have been detected on Mars. Paradoxically those carbonates occur in association with geological units exposed to acidic paleoenvironments. Given such geochemical conditions on Earth, the carbon cycle is intimately associated with life, then, we can assume that the presence or absence of microbial communities should have impacted the distribution of those carbonate compounds on Mars. In this paper, we suggest three potential geobiological scenarios to explain how the emergence of life on Mars would have impacted the carbon cycle and, hence, the formation of carbonates on a planetary scale. View Full-Text
Keywords: carbonates; carbon cycle, microbial life, subsurface; primitive environments, Mars carbonates; carbon cycle, microbial life, subsurface; primitive environments, Mars

Figure 1

This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

Share & Cite This Article

MDPI and ACS Style

Fernández-Remolar, D.C.; Sánchez-Román, M.; Amils, R. The Case of the Lacking Carbonates and the Emergence of Early Life on Mars. Sustainability 2010, 2, 2541-2554.

Show more citation formats Show less citations formats

Related Articles

Article Metrics

Article Access Statistics



[Return to top]
Sustainability EISSN 2071-1050 Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert
Back to Top