High resolution NASA photos of Mars show evidence of ancient lakes and shallow seas. Why is this important? Because these are perfect places to discover fossils. In 1996, what may be microfossils were discovered in a Martian meteorite that had fallen to earth, giving scientists hope that more evidence of past Martian life can be found.
“I was really shaken when I first saw our first high-resolution pictures of Candor Chasma – the nearly identically thick layers would be almost impossible to create without water,” Dr Michael Malin, the director of Malin Space Sciences, stated. Malin Spaces Sciences ‘owns’ all photographic data from Mars, and Dr. Malin controls the degree of public access allowed. The presence of such extensive evidence of former lakes and seas, and the elaborate erosional features, suggest that there was far more water on Mars in the past than planetologists had suspected, and that this water persists for a very long time.
Many scientists believe that life could have arisen just as easily on Mars as it did on Earth. Later, Mars turned colder, although there?s speculation that life may still exist below the surface. It could be, however, that the remains of an extensive flora and fauna lie fossilized and frozen beneath the sands of Mars.
Another mystery not as yet addressed is how these delicate erosional features could still be visible on a planet which has displayed extraordinary dust storms, if they are indeed millions of years old, as is now thought. In 1997, the Mars Global Surveyor captured images of the full evolution of one of these massive storms, which have been known to blanket the entire planet in trillions and trillions of tons of dust. To learn more about Martian dust storms, click here.
A private British group that is building a craft bound for Mars is considering rerouting it so that it can land in one of the newly discovered sea beds and look for fossils. We may get a chance to see forms of alien life from another planet that existed billions of years ago.
It is hoped that scientists operating outside of the NASA charter will be forthcoming about their findings. NASA’s charter prohibits the disclosure of any discoveries that may be a potential threat until after they are declared nonthreatening by military officials.
To read the BBC’s Mars story, click here.
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