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A team of researchers from the University of Arkansas has measured water evaporation rates under Mars-like conditions, and their findings favor the presence of surface water on the planet. Water on the planet's surface makes the existence of past or present life on Mars a little more likely, according to the group.
Derek Sears, director of the Arkansas-Oklahoma Center for Space and Planetary Sciences, and his colleagues graduate student Shauntae Moore and technician Mikhail Kareev reported their initial findings at the fall 2003 meeting of the Division of Planetary Sciences of the AAS.
The researchers have brought on-line a large planetary environmental chamber in which temperature, pressure, atmosphere, sunlight and soil conditions can be reproduced. Sears and his colleagues use the chamber to investigate the persistence of water under a range of physical environments and to study its evaporation.
"These findings suggest that even under worst case scenarios, where wind is maximizing evaporation, evaporation rates on Mars are quite low," Sears said. This implies that surface water could indeed exist, or have existed recently, under the given conditions on Mars.
And Gilbert Levin says that this is the missing link for the LR experiment to be interpreted as an evidence of life.
I've read his article and perhaps his wright...but this leaves only maybe a few hours of traces of liquid water on the surface, not enough to creat a gullie. And the circadian rhythm from the LR experiment, to be a proof of life, would have to be in strong correlation with the liquid water pressence on the surface. But since Gilbert Levin does not present such an evidence, I will remain skeptic.
WASHINGTON -- Researchers using NASA's Mars Global Surveyor spacecraft announced Thursday that they found puzzling signs of water seeping into what appear to be young, freshly-cut gullies and gaps in the Martian surface.
The startling discovery of recently-formed, weeping layers of rock and sediment has planetary experts scratching their heads.
The wet spots show up in more than 120 locations on Mars and in the coldest places on the planet, said Michael Malin of Malin Space Science Systems in San Diego, California, which built the spacecraft's camera.
And that presents a "perplexing problem," he said, because logic says that Mars sub-zero temperatures and thin atmosphere should have kept those wet spots from ever forming.
The wet spots, which turn up in 200 to 250 different images from the Global Surveyor spacecraft, "could be a few million years old but we cannot rule out that some of them are so recent as to have formed yesterday," Malin said.
Your source for that is?