We want to go to Mars to look for life and to perhaps establish a colony there, but why would anyone want to travel to hot, gaseous Venus? Astronomers think that Venus was once just like the Earth?before it experienced its own global warming. Like Mars, Venus is our near neighbor?it’s only one planet closer to the sun than we are. If we can figure out why Venus heated up, we may be able to stop the same thing happening to the Earth.
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British Astronomer Royal Martin Rees thinks there’s life in space and that we’re going to find it soon. He thinks we’re going to find a simple form of life on Mars or on Jupiter’s moon Europa.

Rees reminds us that there are millions of suns and solar systems out there, and some of the planets orbiting there could definitely harbor intelligent life. Is intelligent life common, or uncommon, in the universe? Scientists are divided about this question.
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Newswise – On the long space trip from Earth to Mars “the crew won’t be able to get by with a bag lunch and Portapotty,” says biologist Arthur Teixeira. If we build a base on the moon, we?ve going to have a trash problem there too. Teixeira thinks the solution in space will be the same as it is here on Earth: recycling and compost.

Teixeira estimates the Mars trip would take six to eight months. The ship would likely remain on the planet for 18 months before Mars and Earth?s orbits would bring them close enough together for the return trip. In all, the six-person crew would be off the Earth’s surface for about three years.
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One of the most convincing indications of life on Mars isthe presence of methane gas. But a new NASA report says thatMars has an abundance of the mineral olivine, whichdissolves easily in water, releasing methane gas, meaningit’s unlikely that life now exists on theplanet, and may never have existed.

Maggie McKee reports in New Scientist that the olivineformed about 3 billion years ago, out of lava from volcaniceruptions. For olivine to form, there had to be largeamounts of water on Mars at that time. Water reacts witholivine to produce hydrogen gas, which then combines withcarbon dioxide to produce methane. The gas leaks tothe surface of Mars through fissures in the rock.
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