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NASA's Curiosity rover has found evidence of an ancient Martian lake that could have supported life as we know it for long stretches — perhaps millions of years.
NASA rover Curiosity finds ancient Martian freshwater lake that may have supported life
LOS ANGELES (AP) — NASA's Curiosity rover has uncovered signs of an ancient freshwater lake on Mars that may have teemed with tiny organisms for tens of millions of years, far longer than scientists had imagined, new research suggests.
The watering hole near the Martian equator existed about 3.5 billion years ago. Scientists say it was neither salty nor acidic, and contained nutrients — a perfect spot to support microbes.
"This just looks like a pretty darn ordinary Earth-like lake in terms of its chemistry," said project scientist John Grotzinger of the California Institute of Technology. "If you were desperate, you could have a drink of this stuff."
The lake likely was around for tens of thousands — perhaps hundreds of thousands — of years. Even when the lake dried up, scientists said microbes could have migrated underground, extending the timeframe for habitable conditions to potentially tens of millions of years. Curiosity, though, lacks the tools to search for any fossilized microbes.
The findings were published online Monday in the journal Science and presented at the American Geophysical Union meeting in San Francisco.
would that be the 90th time they announce water on mars?
reply to post by april1
This is fantastic news, as yet again Curiosity has lived up to its name. By finding remnants of a freshwater lake this again points out that if anything was alive in that lake, it made have left fossil impressions in something that Curiosity will be near enough to photograph. Finding water on Mars is old news, but finding water on Mars over and over again within Gale Crater, with a semi-sophisticated Rover (semi because it wasn't equipped to test for past or present organisms, may I say the magic word: Duh!) traversing a lake bottom, once again deems this mission a roaring success.