Indian exo-geologists claim that the rugged terrain discovered in Matanumadh Village in the Kutch region of the Indian state of Gujarat is well-suited for space scientists to test gear for future Mars missions, as the surface of the site most closely resembles that of the red planet.
Professor Saibal Gupta, head of the geology department at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT-Kharagpur) told Sputnik, “Scientists identify and study these particular analogue sites before sending missions to other planets in order to have an idea of what can be expected. Instruments are even designed accordingly.”
The study would help scientists from the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration and the Indian Space Research Organisation discover possible landing sites on Mars during future missions, he added.
Explaining how the surface resembles Mars, the professor said a mineral called Jarosite, a key mineralogical indicator of the surface of Mars, has been found at the site, which was discovered in 2016.
The conclusion was derived by the Ahmedabad-based Space Applications Centre (SAC-ISRO), the National Geophysical Research Institute (NGRI) in Hyderabad, and IIT-Kharagpur after studying rock samples from the site.
Experts from Washington University have acknowledged the fact that the site provides the best mineralogical analogue of Mars.
In November 2013, India joined developed nations such as the United States and Russia in putting a satellite successfully in orbit around Mars. It was part of a project to demonstrate Indian technology that can be used in the the design, planning, management and operation of an interplanetary mission.