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Space & Astronomy

Mars was Earth-like for over 700,000 years

June 3, 2017 | Comment icon 20 comments

The Red Planet was very different billions of years ago. Image Credit: YouTube / NASA
Data collected by the Curiosity rover has suggested that Mars could have supported life for a very long time.
The latest evidence from Gale Crater has indicated that Mars likely had a habitable, Earth-like environment for around 700,000 years sometime between 3.1 and 3.8 billion years ago.

This conclusion was reached by scientists who had been studying the rock samples collected by NASA's Curiosity rover during its first three years exploring the surface of the Red Planet.

In particular they found that the crater, which would have been a lake billions of years ago, was rich in the types of minerals that could have supported life in the planet's distant past.
"This type of oxidant stratification is a common feature of lakes on Earth," said lead author Joel Hurowitz. "The diversity of environments in this Martian lake would have provided multiple opportunities for different types of microbes to survive."

"If we were looking at the same rock chemistry on Earth, we can say it's colder and warmer, but exactly what the climate condition was is a little more difficult."

Whether life ever actually did manage to emerge on Mars however continues to remain a mystery.

(To view the panorama below, start the video then click and drag on the footage to look around.)

Source: Tech Times | Comments (20)

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #11 Posted by bison 5 years ago
Actually, that headline is off by a factor of a thousand. As the body of the article, which agrees with other sources, says, the lake appears to have persisted between 3.8 and 3.1 billion years ago. That amounts to 700 million years, not 700 thousand.
Comment icon #12 Posted by docyabut2 5 years ago
Comment icon #13 Posted by bison 5 years ago
Suppose there was life on Mars for 700 million years total. There probably wouldn't have been time for it to evolve beyond single-cells.  This process took longer than that on Earth.  The Rover at Gale crater has a low power magnifying lens for its camera, but not a microscope. They could very easily miss minute fossils.  Perhaps at some point they'll get lucky and find  microorganisms in a colony, like the ancient stromatolites found on Earth. That probably would be visible to Curiosity.    
Comment icon #14 Posted by AustinHinton 5 years ago
Perhaps Martian life never reached a stage where hard, calcified body parts developed that could fossilize? 
Comment icon #15 Posted by bison 5 years ago
Even very early, primitive organisms, like bacteria, could leave fossils behind. For example-- cyanobacteria colonies (bacterial mats) secreted lime, which trapped other mineral. These left behind mounds known as stromatolites.   
Comment icon #16 Posted by docyabut2 5 years ago
It could have been numerous volcanos that did destroy the atmosphere of the planet.    
Comment icon #17 Posted by coolguy 5 years ago
The people from mars moved here to earth thats how we got here :)
Comment icon #18 Posted by Noteverythingisaconspiracy 5 years ago
So the whole fossil record that shows the evolution of life on Earth is faked ?
Comment icon #19 Posted by Almighty Evan 5 years ago
I enjoyed James P. Hogan's version in the Giants' series.
Comment icon #20 Posted by taniwha 5 years ago
No one can pinpoint exactly where when or how life began.  Latest theories suggest at a certain point in history conditions were right for some sort of spontaneous genesis to occur in thermally heated shallow pools of mineral water, previously the idea of deep sea vents was favored by scientists and possibly still is. For all we know life may have spawned in the rich soup of atmospheric gases before touching down. Perhaps the first life was airborne?

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