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Thursday, April 27, 2006



Young mars was wet (and wild)

Artist rendering of water on a crater on mars.
Artist rendering of water on a crater on mars.
Credit: Max-Planck-Institut für Chemie
Using the OMEGA spectrometer and data from the two rovers, a group of scientists has found that Mars was wet in its early years. But, "[s]tarting about 3.5 billion years ago, conditions on Mars became increasingly dry and acidic—not a pleasant place for any form of life, even a microbe," said John Mustard, a geologist from Brown University. The study says that Mars went through 3 phases:

1. 4.6 - 4 billion years ago: Rocks show erosion and minerals such as clay, leading us to infer that Mars was wet.
3. 4 - 3.5 billion years ago: Gypsum and grey hematite suggest that there was much volcanic activity.
3. 3.5 billion years ago - now: No evidence of water

If life had existed, it would have existed during the first era in the clay rich north. The team says that possible sites of further exploration would be in the Nili Fossae and Marwth Vallis regions.

Thanks to Maniax and ares2101 for submitting this to me.

(More info: Space.com)


- posted by Jim @ 11:12 EST