MOFFETT FIELD (CBS SF) — NASA researchers have found deposits of glass on Mars that may have preserved evidence about past life on the red planet.

NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter detected the deposits within impact craters on Mars, formed in the searing heat of a violent impact.

Back on Earth, Brown University Scientist Peter Schultz found organic molecules and plant matter preserved in glass formed by an impact in Argentina millions of years ago.  The glass found on Mars could hold the same evidence of past life.

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“If you had an impact that dug in and sampled that subsurface environment, it’s possible that some of it might be preserved in a glassy component,” fellow Brown University Researcher Jack Mustard said.