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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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RE: lol
By cupocoffee on 5/22/2007 3:21:39 PM , Rating: 4
I see why you make these points but they seem pretty obvious to anyone who hasn't been kidnapped by dogma.

On the contrary, you appear to have been kidnapped by your own set of dogmas. You first point that life exists throughout the universe has no support. You should read "Rare Earth" by Ward and Brownlee. These two authors seem to be fairly naturalistic as you appear to be, but argue rather convincingly that Earth is indeed rare along with its lifeforms. My point is, whether or not life exists elsewhere is an open question.

Your second point is equally emotional. The church has simply adapted throughout history. There is nothing wrong with admitting a mistake and then adjusting to accept the truth. This is how life works. You have a worldview that adapts as more information is obtained. I don't think the church would have a problem if it were found that life exists elsewhere, but that is another topic.

RE: lol
By P4blo on 5/23/2007 4:57:18 AM , Rating: 1
I'm sorry but you'll never convince me in a million years that life on earth is where it all stops. I find the notion so laughable. It's like a fish in a pond thinking his little watering hole is the end of the earth.

My objection to this kind of thinking is from the self centered and egotistical undertones that seem to support it.

Many people have heard of Ockham's Razor right? Well the very tip of that razor represents life on earth and nowhere else. Thanks but I would rather stay where the good odds are to be found.

RE: lol
By cupocoffee on 5/23/2007 5:57:39 PM , Rating: 2
I don't desire to convince you that life on Earth is the only place it exists. I do not necessarily support this myself. However, I also do not support the notion that life does exist elsewhere. My point is simply that, to be honest, we must admit that at this point we don't know. That is why we are looking for it.

My objection to this kind of thinking is from the self centered and egotistical undertones that seem to support it.

Even if it appears to be self centered, this does not mean that it is not the current state of reality.

Thanks but I would rather stay where the good odds are to be found.

If you read the book that I mentioned above, I think you would find compelling evidence that life may indeed be rare.

“We do believe we have a moral responsibility to keep porn off the iPhone.” -- Steve Jobs
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