The main deterrent to human habitation on mars is that it is too cold. A brightening sun could solve that-or humans could get the job started without having to wait a billion years. "From what we know, Mars did have life and oceans and a thick atmosphere." says NASA planetary scientist Christopher Mckay.
Say this for earthlings: we've grown up a lot since the time we went nuts over the mysterious face on Mars. The face was discovered in 1976, as the orbiting Viking 1 spacecraft looked down on the planet's Cydonia region and found what appeared to be a dark-eyed set of stony features staring back at it. This gave rise to a lot of fevered talk about a vanished (or extant!) civilization signaling its presence, and even to merchandising opportunities, including art prints of the eerie face. It also figured prominently in the execrable Brian De Palma movie Mission to Mars. (The man who inflicted Scarface should surely have stopped before Marsface.) Cooler heads eventually prevailed after the Mars Global Surveyor resurveyed the site in 1998 and proved that the face was just a mesa, and one that had been heavily windblown over the years at that. The face, in effect, was erased.
Happily, there was no similar silliness last week when NASA revealed that the Opportunity rover, which has been prowling the plains and craters of the Red Planet since 2004, had discovered, well, Martian patio tiles — or rectangular formations that looked awfully similar. O.K., rectangles in the Martian soil are admittedly less sexy than faces, but while the face had nothing at all to do with life, the rectangles are one more clue that biology might indeed be — or at least have been — possible on Mars.
Water may mean biology — and biology, of course, would mean Martians.www.time.com...
JPL is already planning Earth-based experiments in which soil and brine of similar composition can be studied for clues to exactly what's going on Mars. A European-American Missions set to launch in 2016 will orbit Mars looking for trace gas emissions, particularly methane and oxygen molecules, both of which could be the byproducts of biological processes.www.time.com...
NASA has thought there was life on Mars for years. Here's an article from 2005 on the NASA site stating evidence of primitive life on Mars they found in a meteorite.
We are not alone in the universe -- and alien life forms may have a lot more in common with life on Earth than we had previously thought. That's the stunning conclusion one NASA scientist has come to, releasing his groundbreaking revelations in a new study in the March edition of the Journal of Cosmology. Read more: www.foxnews.com...
In the past, Mars was much different than it is today. Liquid water used to flow on the surface, as shown in this picture. Both the Earth and Mars should have been frozen in their early history because the sun was weak at first, but both planets show that water was flowing, which suggests that they both must have had thick atmospheres in place to keep the surface warm. In this environment life may have once existed.
The atmospheres on both planets came out of volcanoes. There were not many volcanoes on Mars, and those volcanoes were never very active. Compare this to the Earth where volcanism continues today.
The volcanic eruptions produce a lot of water. The water eventually falls to the ground or into the oceans. Mars is small, and so cooled off very rapidly. Mars was sufficiently cold for water to be absorbed into the ground and freeze like tundra in the Canadian northwest. Today scientists estimate that a large amount of water is frozen into the surface of Mars. They estimate this happened by 2.8 billion years ago.
So it is not likely that Mars will become a haven for life in the future...unless it is life unlike that which we know?
A group of scientists led by David McKay of NASA's Johnson Space Center published an article in the 16 August 1996 issue of Science magazine announcing the discovery of evidence for primitive bacterial life on Mars
I recently read the December, 2011 Discover Magazine story titled "How to survive the end of the universe". Within the story I spotted this interesting quote- "The main deterrent to human habitation on mars is that it is too cold. A brightening sun could solve that-or humans could get the job started without having to wait a billion years. "From what we know, Mars did have life and oceans and a thick atmosphere." says NASA planetary scientist Christopher Mckay." Is NASA now admitting to past life on Mars? I honestly would be surprised if there weren't a few extremophile species alive up there today! Thanks for any clarification, it is certainly an exciting time to be alive!
I will be on travel through the end of December without access to email.