Mars once had water to host life
A team of researchers has found what may once have been the most livable mud on the Red Planet. Some of the oldest minerals ever analyzed by NASA's Mars Opportunity Rover show that around four billion years ago the Red Planet had liquid water which was so fresh that it could have supported life.
CSIRO's Dr. Paulo de Souza, who is on the science team led by Cornell University's Professor Steven Squyres, said that while Mars is too cold now to have the liquid water needed for life, they have evidence for past water activity on the planet from satellite images of valleys and analysis of rocks by the Rovers.
He said that the the water that once shaped those landscapes and minerals was as acidic as vinegar.
However, de Souza said that their latest research has found not only the earliest episode of water activity documented yet by the Opportunity Rover, but that the geochemistry of the 4 billion year old rocks indicates extensive deposits of past water that's among the freshest, most life-sustaining found so far anywhere on Mars.
He said that if there was ever life on Mars, then this would have been the mud for it to live in.
The findings have been published in the journal Science.
(Posted on 25-01-2014)