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Mars NASA Space

A Lake On Mars May Once Have Teemed With Life (theverge.com) 71

An anonymous reader quotes The Verge: Once upon a time on Mars, there was a crater that had a massive lake that may have hosted life. Now researchers are saying that a whole variety of organisms could have flourished there. Sure, that life was probably just microbial, but this is another exciting step toward understanding just how habitable Mars may have been around 3.5 billion years ago. Petrified mud that was once at the bottom of the lake suggests that, at the time, the lake had different chemical environments that could have hosted different types of microbes.

The rocks also show that the Red Planet's climate may have been more dynamic than we thought, going from cold and dry to warm and wet, before eventually drying out. We still don't know whether life once existed on Mars when the planet was warmer and had liquid water. But today's findings, published in Science, give a much more nuanced and detailed picture of what this area of Mars could have looked like through time... "The lake had all the right stuff for microbial life to live in," says study co-author Joel Hurowitz, a geochemist and planetary scientist at Stony Brook University.

NASA's Curiosity rover spent three and a half years collecting data from the crater, and that data now suggests that a habitable environment existed there for at least tens of thousands of years -- and possibly as long as "tens of millions of years."
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A Lake On Mars May Once Have Teemed With Life

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  • ...or not (Score:5, Insightful)

    by elrous0 ( 869638 ) on Sunday June 04, 2017 @06:00PM (#54547999)

    It may also have once teemed with aliens from the planet Zardoz. We really don't have any conclusive evidence to say it *didn't*, after all.

  • by mspohr ( 589790 ) on Sunday June 04, 2017 @06:17PM (#54548067)

    The rocks also show that the Earth's (Red Planet's) climate may have been more dynamic than we thought, going from cold and dry to warm and wet, before eventually drying out. We still don't know whether life once existed on Earth (Mars) when the planet was warmer and had liquid water. But today's findings, published in Science, give a much more nuanced and detailed picture of what this area of Earth (Mars) could have looked like through time... "The lake had all the right stuff for microbial life to live in," says study co-author Joel Hurowitz, a geochemist and planetary scientist at Stony Brook University.

  • We now may be closer to answering the question David Bowie asked more than ~45 years ago.
  • by PJ6 ( 1151747 ) on Sunday June 04, 2017 @07:20PM (#54548385)
    I'm about as tired of reading news about what might have been on Mars as I am hearing about how a new battery technology "might" increase energy density by a factor of ten.

    Decades of this crap. Show me hard evidence of live (or fossilized) microbes, or give it a rest.
    • You won't get funding for your next mission unless you dangle the "well there could have been life there" card.
    • by Maritz ( 1829006 )
      First you check for the conditions. No point looking for hard evidence if the conditions aren't/weren't even there. Is that too complicated for you? Why are you reading this anyway? You should have a good think about that question.
    • "Show me hard evidence of live (or fossilized) microbes, or give it a rest." Sure, we have such evidence already. Found in the middle of rare class meteorites that fell on earth and even some we brought here from space missions. Yes we have already found evidence of life in space. In 9 different meteorites we have found fossilized evidence of indigenous cyanobacteria (Blue green algae.) I believe the science is very sound, the problem is politically the government will shy away from openly supporting any
    • by myrdos2 ( 989497 )

      Well, the energy density of lithium-ion batteries has gone up by a factor of six or so since 1990, in terms of Wh/kg. And it's gone up by a factor of 10 compared to the crummy Ni/Cd batteries I had when I was a kid... I admit though, I probably only needed to hear the news of battery improvements 5 or 6 times tops over the last 30 years.

  • ...and did those life-forms listen to warnings from their scientists about global warming ? Hell no - I think there's a lesson for all of us here.
  • From a Biblical perspective, the lake on Mars has never teemed with life. This would imply that there is sin and death elsewhere in the universe, other than here on planet Earth. We fundamentalists know otherwise, and thus can say with certainty that a lake on Mars did not once teem with life. And while I'm on the subject, we can also say with certainty that the entire SETI project is a waste of resources as well. :)

Lo! Men have become the tool of their tools. -- Henry David Thoreau

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