October 28, 2008: Opals have been detected on Mars near Valles Marineris. This implies that there has been liquid water on the Martian surface for extended periods, increasing the possibility that life might have existed there.
Game and Story Use
- Mining these opals might be a large industry if Mars gets colonized.
- The grizzled prospector is a common Western character. Opal mining on Mars might be a useful background element for someone trying to recreate an Old West atmosphere on Mars in a science fiction setting.
- Also a nice treasure to claim in the name of Queen and Country in Space 1889.
- Of course, gemstones are precious because they are rare. If there are enough of them on Mars and they can be mined effectively it will sink the price. Still, much in the tradition of historical colonisation, gems might fund part of the initial colonisation and then work might switch to something else as the gem market saturates.
- Gemstones often have some sort of occult significance. What kind of mystical properties might an opal from Mars have?