Io9 - Ancient Mars May Have Been More Habitable Than We Thought
Good news for those interested in finding alien life, even if it maybe life that died out long ago. Its looking more and more like Mars may have been very Earth like in the distant past. It may never have been Earth like enough that we could survive there without some kind of special suit, but microbes can thrive in conditions that would kill just about every other creature we know of. George Dvorsky has more,
Data collected by the Curiosity Rover suggests Mars once featured a moderate climate capable of fostering lakes of liquid water and even a vast sea, and that this climate could have extended to many parts of the Red Planet.
Up top: A recent selfie taken by Curiosity. Image credit: ASA/JPL/CALTECH/MSSS.
NASA’s Curiosity Rover is currently investigating the lowest sedimentary layers of Mount Sharp, a section of rock 500 feet (150 meters) high known as the Murray formation. Observations taken by the robotic probe suggests the mountain was produced by sediments deposited in a large lake bed over tens of millions of years. The observation strongly suggests that ancient Mars maintained a long-lasting water-friendly climate.
According to NASA scientists, it’s an hypothesis that’s challenging the notion that warm and wet conditions were transient, local, or only underground. It now appears that Mars’ ancient, thicker atmosphere raised temperatures above freezing globally, but NASA scientists aren’t entirely sure how the atmosphere produced the required effects.