9 October 2007 Is there red soil on Mars? (as proof of water and vegetation)
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The label "soil" is used in a great variety of significations but seldom to indicate what is meant by it as a thorough concept in soil science/pedology. This is particularly true when used by scientists not acquainted with soil science even on Earth. Hence, the label "soil" very often stands for features occurring in surficial deposits of planets (as the Earth itself) not really dealing with soil development. Soil development is a complex result/product from major natural factors as water/precipitation, geomorphology/edaphic position, sediment /surficial deposits and by and large climate. All these factors are reflected in a "soil-type" of the earthly soil-classification-system. In reverse "soils" reflect pedologic/climatic conditions of the past possibly pointing at the presence of water and vegetation in a given landscape. As soils are thus intrinsically related to life on planets as on Earth the label soil in searching for Life on Mars should be used properly. Phyllosilicates and red clays (even in traces) recently discovered by many scientists on the Red Planet may indicate the presence of thorough soils on Mars. The term "regolith" for the Martian soil should then be avoided.
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Roland Paepe, "Is there red soil on Mars? (as proof of water and vegetation)", Proc. SPIE 6694, Instruments, Methods, and Missions for Astrobiology X, 66941B (9 October 2007); doi: 10.1117/12.742958; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.742958

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