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Genocide
08-12-06, 10:13
After decades of scouring images of Mars for signs of water, scientists believe they have found stunning evidence that water may even now be flowing through the Red Planet's frigid surface.

The news excited scientists who hunt for extraterrestrial life. If the finding is confirmed, they say, all the ingredients favorable for life on Mars would be in place: liquid water and a stable heat source.

"This is a squirting gun for water on Mars," said Kenneth Edgett, a scientist at San Diego-based Malin Space Science Systems, which operates a camera on NASA's Mars Global Surveyor.

It was the Surveyor that prompted the announcement Wednesday by taking photographs of Mars before it lost contact with Earth last month. The latest findings will appear in Friday's issue of the journal Science.

The images do not actually show flowing water. Rather, they show changes in craters that provide the strongest evidence yet that water coursed through them as recently as several years ago, and is perhaps doing so even now.

In all of its Mars exploration missions, NASA has pursued a "follow the water" strategy to determine if the planet once contained life or could support it now.

Scientists believe ancient Mars was awash with pools of water. And at present-day Mars' north pole, researchers have spotted evidence of water ice. But they have yet to actually see water in liquid form.

"This underscores the importance of searching for life on Mars, either present or past," said Bruce Jakosky, an astrobiologist at the University of Colorado at Boulder, who had no role in the study. "It's one more reason to think that life could be there."

Some researchers were skeptical that liquid water was responsible for the surface feature changes seen by the spacecraft. They said other materials such as sand or dust can flow like a liquid and produce similar results.

"Nothing in the images, no matter how cool they are, proves that the flows were wet, or that they were anything more exciting than avalanches of sand and dust," Allan Treiman, a geologist at the Lunar and Planetary Institute in Houston said in an e-mail.

The Global Surveyor previously spotted tens of thousands of gullies that scientists believed were geologically young and carved by fast-moving water coursing down cliffs and steep crater walls. Scientists decided to retake photos of thousands of gullies in a search for evidence of recent water activity.

Two craters in the southern hemisphere that were originally photographed in 1999 and 2001 were examined again in 2004 and 2005, and the images yielded changes consistent with water flowing down the crater walls, according to the study.

Scientists said five to 10 pools of water rushed down the craters in each case. In both craters, scientists found bright, light-colored deposits several hundred yards long in gullies that weren't present in the original photos. They concluded that the deposits - possibly mud, salt or frost - were left there when water recently cascaded through.

Edgett said a combination of factors, including the shape and color of the deposits, led the team to believe it was recent water action and not dust that slipped down the slope. He said dust would leave dark deposits.

Water cannot remain a liquid on Mars for long because of subzero surface temperatures and low atmospheric pressure that would turn water into ice or gas. But scientists theorize that liquid water is being shot up to the surface from an underground source, like geysers.

Mars formed more than 4.5 billion years ago and scientists generally believe it went through an early wet and warm era that ended after 1.5 billion to 2.5 billion years, leaving the planet extremely dry and cold.

"We're now realizing Mars is more active than we previously thought and that the mid-latitude section seems to be where all the action is," said Arizona State University scientist Phil Christensen, who was not part of the current research.
http://customwire.ap.org/photos/L/LA10112062207-big.jpg
This combination of photos released by NASA show two views of a crater in the Centauri Montes region on Mars taken by NASA's Mars Global Surveyor. The image on the right, taken in 2005, shows an area with changes to the surface, suggesting that water occasionally flows on the frigid surface of Mars, raising the tantalizing possibility that the Red Planet is hospitable to life. The image on the left shows the same view of that crater in taken 1999. (AP Photo/NASA)
http://www.dailymirror.lk/

Ikas90
08-12-06, 10:22
I believe there is water on Mars, very little though. And if there is water around the equator, there should be bacterial lifeforms.

Greenkey2
08-12-06, 15:26
How cool is this?! :cln: :tmb: :jmp: :yah: Even if it turns out to be nothing more than a carbon dioxide / sand avalanche, it's geological activity on Mars and has to count for something.


I have a tendency to get over-excited about this sort of thing :o

Alex Fly
08-12-06, 15:31
That's interesting... :)

Ada the Mental
08-12-06, 15:33
Interesting!I was told about this last night.

george_croft
08-12-06, 15:49
How cool is this?! :cln: :tmb: :jmp: :yah: Even if it turns out to be nothing more than a carbon dioxide / sand avalanche, it's geological activity on Mars and has to count for something.


I have a tendency to get over-excited about this sort of thing :o

Planning to move somewhere???:whi:

Greenkey2
08-12-06, 15:50
Planning to move somewhere???:whi:



Nah :p.


I'm just concerned for the relatives back home :pi:

JANKERSON
08-12-06, 16:25
Not so sure they should be messing with it if there is. :pi:

Lara Croft!
08-12-06, 17:10
Wow!Very cool!!!!!

viper456
08-12-06, 17:38
oooooh :) i would like to live there, it look peaceful :)

BlackGrey
08-12-06, 18:56
With recent plans to have a permenant base on the moon, astronauts should be exploring Mars a lot sooner than everyone thought! I get excited about space travel :jmp:

Mytly
08-12-06, 19:15
I have a tendency to get over-excited about this sort of thing :o

Oh, me too! :D
I keep thinking of a picture of a terraformed Mars that I had seen years ago on a Discovery channel programme - with huge oceans and greenery-filled landscapes, looking like Earth's little sister. :jmp:
And hopefully, that picture is more likely to come true now.

JANKERSON
08-12-06, 19:41
With recent plans to have a permenant base on the moon, astronauts should be exploring Mars a lot sooner than everyone thought! I get excited about space travel :jmp:


I wonder if that will ever really happen?

Celephais
08-12-06, 19:47
I wonder if that will ever really happen?

I don't think they'll get round to putting someone on Mars. It would take about a year to get there in a current spacecraft (not to mention back again) and spending a full year in a confined spacecraft is going to be a serious psychological trial for anyone. There's also the fact that bones degrade in space, and unlike on Earth are not replenished, so any Mars astronaut has the additional hurdle of life threatening bone weakness. Apart from that is any nation going to spend so much money
purely on some kind of "exploration" ideal? As much as the idea of putting an astronaut on Mars appeals to me, I'm not going to hold my breath for it to happen.

da tomb raider!
08-12-06, 19:49
But Mars is evil!
Seriously, I don't see why anything on Mars matters. :confused:

Agent 47
08-12-06, 20:19
the Earth is full of superior people who think we are the only life form in our universe

"IF" any kind of life, past or present is on Mars,i say "Ha,in yer face"

i have NEVER believed we are alone in the universe for the simple reason i'm open minded and think that because there's life here there's bound to be life elsewhere, no matter how microscopic..life is life :jmp:

plus also, if Martian life is found,it could be the greatest discovery in our lifetime..........

Genocide
08-12-06, 20:23
if Martian life is found,it could be the greatest discovery in our lifetime..........
It would be the greatest discovery EVER!

Celephais
08-12-06, 20:29
It would be the greatest discovery EVER!

No finding history's missing socks would be the greatest discovery ever.

Agent 47
08-12-06, 20:34
No finding history's missing socks would be the greatest discovery ever.

back of the sofa,behind the fridge are the best places to look :pi:

but seriously, that is one strange mystery....the vanishing phantom sock

Cord_Croft
08-12-06, 20:45
No more stroppy neighbours! I think there is other life forms on other planets, there's no way we can be the only race. Imagine if there are other Galaxies trillion of miles away and there is another Earth there? We can't be the 'only one' sureley...

Agent 47
08-12-06, 20:49
No more stroppy neighbours! I think there is other life forms on other planets, there's no way we can be the only race. Imagine if there are other Galaxies trillion of miles away and there is another Earth there? We can't be the 'only one' sureley...

exactly...........space is vast place

there's something out there...i'm certain of it :D

Hurrah4Lara
08-12-06, 22:28
Fascinating. Thanks for posting, Genocide.:cool:

I think there is other life forms on other planets, there's no way we can be the only race. Imagine if there are other Galaxies trillion of miles away and there is another Earth there? We can't be the 'only one' sureley...

Monty Python Galaxy Song:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9JSR_6qfXTg

I love the last two lines!:D

H4L:wve:

Lara Lover
08-12-06, 22:53
WOW! Interesting stuff! :tmb:

Olvidarse
08-12-06, 23:54
Mmm! Ripe for the colonizin'!

xMiSsCrOfTx
08-12-06, 23:58
Awesome news!!! Now I can move there. :pi:

Tomb of Legends
09-12-06, 02:57
So do bateria on other Planets count as 'New Life'? If so then yes, there is life on Mars I reckon.

xMiSsCrOfTx
09-12-06, 02:59
So do bateria on other Planets count as 'New Life'?

Of course they do. They're living/functioning organisms.

Draco
10-12-06, 11:03
Earth's salvation is in the heavens...and no I don't mean a 'god'.

Tomb Raider Master
10-12-06, 12:03
I've heard about this on the news. Cool! :tmb:

ILG49ers
10-12-06, 19:26
Interesting... :tmb: