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Minerals are highly abundant on Earth and other planets. A “mineral” is a solid substance that has a well defined atomic crystal structure and chemical composition. Ice, for example, is considered a mineral because it has a crystal structure (think of six-sided snowflakes) and the composition H2O. Rocks are naturally occurring solids that are composed of one or more minerals.

At an April presentation for the Space Telescope Science Institute in Washington, D.C., Robert Hazen explained that as life evolved and grew more complex on Earth, so did the number of minerals. By extension, this could mean that a planet with more minerals would have life on it.

“The basic idea is if you look at Earth and other terrestrial planets, the near surface environment has changed dramatically through time — 4.5 billion years of history — and those planets manifested very dramatic changes in mineralogy,” said Hazen, an earth science professor at George Mason University in Washington, D.C.

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Minerals are highly abundant on Earth and other planets. A “mineral” is a solid substance that has a well defined atomic crystal structure and chemical composition. Ice, for example, is considered a mineral because it has a crystal structure (think of six-sided snowflakes) and the composition H2O. Rocks are naturally occurring solids that are composed of one or more minerals.

At an April presentation for the Space Telescope Science Institute in Washington, D.C., Robert Hazen explained that as life evolved and grew more complex on Earth, so did the number of minerals. By extension, this could mean that a planet with more minerals would have life on it.

“The basic idea is if you look at Earth and other terrestrial planets, the near surface environment has changed dramatically through time — 4.5 billion years of history — and those planets manifested very dramatic changes in mineralogy,” said Hazen, an earth science professor at George Mason University in Washington, D.C..

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