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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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to the man...
By Treckin on 5/22/2007 10:47:03 PM , Rating: 2
to the poster that said that god never has to ask the church bleh bleh bleh...
I was under the impression that in the catholic faith, the church is the unitary provider of information about/from god. Also, the pope is supposedly the voice of god, therefor, we should just ask HIM whether or not there is life out there... would save the governments of the world a whole lota money doing away with all that SILLY exploration. (that was sarcastic... for those to moronic to recognize it)

I was wondering, innocently, how the church would deal theologically with life on other worlds; such a discovery would be far more antithetical to any present or foreseeable church cannon than a round-earth or solar-centric planetary alignment.
I was not criticizing the faith for their beliefs, but merely wondering how the church would deal with such a factual blow. In catholicism, god created the earth, not the supposed 2000 earths. To restate, to Catholics, the church is the unitary source of information about god...

Also, to the posters who were debating about the ice content/origins of the silica on Mars...
http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/mars/news/mgs-20...
quoted from the NASA article:
"Liquid water, as opposed to the water ice and water vapor known to exist at Mars, is considered necessary for life."
NASA is no longer questioning whether or not water exists on Mars, that has been confirmed. This discovery, a mere curiosity, is not a headline for that reason. They are no longer searching for the existence of water, but looking for more and possibly liquid water, as written here:

bright new deposits seen in two gullies on Mars that suggest water carried sediment through them sometime during the past seven years.

"These observations give the strongest evidence to date that water still flows occasionally on the surface of Mars,"

From the same linked article, Dec 2006




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