Is There Water – And Life – On Mars?

"Although life at the Martian surface would have been possible only 3.5 or 4 billion years ago, life could have existed on Mars any time from 4 billion years ago all the way up to the present. And if it does exist, it would be below the surface. "

- Bruce Jakowsky, Ph.D., Geologist and Planetary Scientist,
University of Colorado, Boulder

December 2, 1999  Houston, Texas - On Friday, December 3rd, NASA's Polar Lander will set down on the South Polar Cap of Mars. Two probes designed to punch into the soil will be released. If all goes well, soil samples will be warmed up and analyzed for water. If there's ice, there might be liquid water underground. And if there's water, then life could still possibly exist on Mars - even if only bacteria and other microbes below the surface.

The Allan Hills, Antarctica ALH84001 meteorite discovered in 1984 that made worldwide headlines because scientists found rice-shaped carbon globules in tiny cracks on the rock which resembled earth bacteria. The carbon in this meteorite dates back about three billion years when Mars probably had water on its surface, was warmer and had a global magnetic field. Photograph provided by the NASA Johnson Space Center, Houston, Texas.
The Allan Hills, Antarctica ALH84001 meteorite discovered in 1984 that made worldwide headlines because scientists found rice-shaped carbon globules in tiny cracks on the rock which resembled earth bacteria. The carbon in this meteorite dates back about three billion years when Mars probably had water on its surface, was warmer and had a global magnetic field. Photograph provided by the NASA Johnson Space Center, Houston, Texas.

 

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