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A Lake On Mars May Once Have Teemed With Life

An anonymous reader quotes The Verge:
Once upon a time on Mars, there was a crater that had a massive lake that may have hosted life. Now researchers are saying that a whole variety of organisms could have flourished there. Sure, that life was probably just microbial, but this is another exciting step toward understanding just how habitable Mars may have been around 3.5 billion years ago. Petrified mud that was once at the bottom of the lake suggests that, at the time, the lake had different chemical environments that could have hosted different types of microbes. The rocks also show that the Red Planet’s climate may have been more dynamic than we thought, going from cold and dry to warm and wet, before eventually drying out. We still don’t know whether life once existed on Mars when the planet was warmer and had liquid water. But today’s findings, published in Science, give a much more nuanced and detailed picture of what this area of Mars could have looked like through time… “The lake had all the right stuff for microbial life to live in,” says study co-author Joel Hurowitz, a geochemist and planetary scientist at Stony Brook University.
NASA’s Curiosity rover spent three and a half years collecting data from the crater, and that data now suggests that a habitable environment existed there for at least tens of thousands of years — and possibly as long as “tens of millions of years.”

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

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