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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 zsdersw on 5/23/2007 6:28:43 AM , Rating: 2
Intelligent Design is their bridge between pure faith and the realities of science that are all around them.

I'm not sure what subject Intelligent Design would be most suited for in school, because it's certainly not science.. and it's not really theology or religion either. Maybe that means it shouldn't be taught at all. :)


RE: lol
By vortmax on 5/23/2007 11:39:56 AM , Rating: 3
Intelligent Design is just a politically correct term for Creationism. I wouldn't say it's a comprimise between faith and science.

Science hasn't come any closer in determining how everything came into existence. It has revealed however, based on the extreme complexity of life on Earth, pointed us even more towards an Intelligent Designer.


RE: lol
By cupocoffee on 5/23/2007 6:08:48 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Intelligent Design is just a politically correct term for Creationism.


Actually, this is not necessarily true. Intelligent Design can be used by creationists to support their views. However, the concept itself simply states that the complexity of the universe implies that someone designed it. Technically, this somebody could be an alien or it could be God. My point: Intelligent Design does not label the designer.

Think of Intelligent Design as being analogous to forensics. Forensics is based on the idea that evidence at a scene can be collected and analyzed to determine how events occurred and whether or not they were "designed" by an intelligent mind.


RE: lol
By cupocoffee on 5/23/2007 6:21:02 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
I'm not sure what subject Intelligent Design would be most suited for in school, because it's certainly not science..


Please give evidence for why you think it is not science. Common themes of Intelligent Design include irreducible complexity, fine tuning of universal natural constants, concepts of what is and is not information, and the probabilities that the above can occur through naturalistic means.

I don't see how investigations into such topics is unscientific unless if you are a hard core materialist who believes as a premise that science is most certainly naturalistic despite any proof given against that notion. I myself adhere to the empirical platform of science.


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