Soil on Mars is "strikingly similar" to that found on Skye.
Researchers say that Martian samples gathered by a NASA robot shared characteristics with basaltic soils found on Skye and Mull.
The discovery was made by a team of scientists at the James Hutton Institute in Aberdeen, who studied data beamed back to them.
Dr Benjamin Butler, of the Hutton Institute’s environmental and biochemical sciences group, said the team could compare Martian and Scottish soils as both were measured with similar devices.
“By comparing each of the Martian soils with all 1,500 Scottish soils in our dataset, we consistently find a group of Scottish soil samples that are strikingly similar to those on Mars,” he added.
“There are two sites in Scotland that have particularly similar soil minerals to those found of Mars, located on the basaltic soils of Skye and Mull.
“This makes sense because Mars is understood to be rich in basaltic rocks, but when we examine the mineralogy in more detail, we’re quite confident that we have found a good analogue.”
Dr Butler said the discovery meant that scientists could now study the soil sites on Skye and Mull in greater detail, in an attempt to better understand the conditions on Mars in the past.
Image from AFP.