is a fracture in the surface of Mars
that has been eroded and partly filled in by sediments and clay
from a nearby crater
. It is located at approximately 22°N, 75°E, and has an elevation of . Nili Fossae was on the list of potential landing sites of the Mars Science Laboratory
, arriving in 2012, but was dropped before the final four sites were determined.
A large exposure of olivine
is located in Nili Fossae. In December 2008, NASA
's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter
found that rocks at Nili Fossae contain carbonate minerals
, a geologically significant discovery. Other minerals found by MRO
are aluminum smectite, iron/magnesium smecite, hydrated silica, kaolinite group minerals, and iron oxides.
Researchers in July 2010 suggested that carbonate bearing rocks found in the Nili Fossae region of Mars are made up of hydrothermally altered ultramafic rocks. Consequently, hydrothermal activity would have provided sufficient energy for biological activity. Evidence of living organisms could have been preserved.Adrian J.... Read More