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Tracks left by Spirit -- Image courtesy of NASA
Findings collected by the Mars rover Spirit gets scientists excited for what other secrets the Red Planet may hide

Scientists have conducted a lot of research to discover signs of water and possible life on Mars.  A recent discovery by a NASA rover has created excitement in the scientific community: the Mars rover Spirit collected soil samples that makes scientists strongly believe Mars was once wet. 

The rover found some Martian soil with high levels of silica, which needs water to crystalize.  Basic chemical analysis on the soil revealed the soil composition contained up to 90 percent silica.  This soil, located in Gusev Crater, is the strongest evidence that water, at some point in the planet's history, existed.

Scientists are unsure how the silica deposit in the crater originally formed.  The most likely theory is that soil mixed with acid vapors, created by volcanic activity, along with a strong presence of water.  Another popular idea is that the silica was created from water from a hot spring.

Spirit's discovery "reinforces the fact that significant amounts of water were present in Mars' past, which continues to spur the hope that we can show that Mars was once habitable and possibly supported life," said Doug McCuistion, NASA Mars exploration program director.

Oddly enough, the silica discovery happened due to a Spirit mechanical problem.  The bright patches of silica-rich soil were discovered when one of the rover's wheels dragged through the topsoil, revealing the bright colored silica-soil underneath.

Scientists are anxious to continue their research to discover what else is on the Red Planet.  Research indicates ice under the Martian surface varies in depth from location to location.
Late last year, NASA researchers used the Mars Global Surveyor to discover water flowed recently on the Red Planet.

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Please relize my sarcasm but...
By Nyne on 5/22/2007 3:10:38 PM , Rating: 2
What if its really humans that have evolved to be pure water and turn to ice if they feel like there picture is going to be taken.

Now that I have my sarcasm out of the way. This discovery isn't that important it is a sign however that points towards something that is important. This isn't my field but I am a scientist and a researcher and developer of technologies and what this really could mean is that Mars could be going through a re-genesis a restoration or beginning of a life sustaining phase. Now, I am not saying its inhabitable now but the movement of water is key to that beginning if the planet is beginning to get h20 into its atmosphere and/or water is being brought out from the inner part of the planet it could be early signs for a coming genesis and possible sister world leaping us forward to a type 2 civilization. However we are not even a type one and it would be thousands of years before Mars is naturally ready but with more research maybe we could help it along and allow the genesis to occur sooner more rapidly and support us in the next 3 or 5 hundred years at the earliest. But who knows until we get more data and observe a little more this could all be hearsay and whatnot like I said this is only news worthy because of what it could mean not what it does mean and like I said this isn't my field I merely dabble I welcome response and links to further data.

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