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Life on Mars: Gems on Red Planet hint at evidence of life

Life on Mars: Gems on Red Planet hint at evidence of life - Scientists have discovered gems on the red planet which can help researchers identify details about the future and past of the planet for the first time.

In a breakthrough discovery, scientists have found direct physical evidence of opals on Mars that can help learn more about the red planet's past and whether it once supported life.

Researchers at the University of Glasgow found the opal in a 1.7-gram fraction of the Martian meteorite known as Nakhla, which was provided by the Natural History Museum here.

The meteorite Nakhla is named after the town in Egypt and it hit earth in 1911.

Professor Martin Lee, lead author of the research, "The slice of Nakhla that we have is small, and the amount of fire opal we've found in it is even smaller, but our discovery of opal is significant for a couple of reasons."

Researchers recognized traces of the gem known on earth as 'fire opal' because of its brilliant orange, yellow and red coloration.

Lee said, "Closer study of Martian opals by future missions to Mars could well help us learn more about the planet's past and whether it once held life."

The research was published in the journal Meteoritics and Planetary Science.