The discovery could offer a novel approach to searching for signs of past life on the Red Planet.
"Mars has the same type of material [loess] spread all over the place, and Gale Crater is one very good example," said Pete Schultz. It is to Gale that Nasa has sent its latest robotic rover Curiosity.
"The stuff in the centre of the crater that's piled up is very likely the result of dust accumulation."
He said the rover could look for impact glass in rocks that had tumbled out naturally from these geological layers
I haven't seen any posts about glass being on Mars though
NASA's Curiosity rover may have already found Martian impact glass in the Red Planet's Gale crater, according to a presentation at the Geological Society of America meeting in Colorado last month.
Simon Clemett and Kathie Thomas-Keprta from Nasa's Johnson Space Center in Houston analysed the delicate and complex organic compounds recovered from the glass. They include polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons and other molecules found in biological material.
"it can also preserve components of the local biology present at the time of impact"
A team of scientists have discovered ancient plant material "frozen in aspic" as a result of a meteor impact in Argentina about 10 million years , the material has been locked in glass created by the impact
The specific payload and science instruments for the mission will be debated and selected by April 2014 through an open competition after the scientific objectives for the mission have been formulated.