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Category: Astronomy (Page 1 of 2)

Water on Mars: Life Next?

Ice On MarsAccording to a press release by the news agency Reuters, Nasa scientists on Thursday said they have found what appears
to be definitive proof that water exists on Mars once they completed extensive tests on previously found ice last
June by the Phoenix Mars Lander.

Samples of ice were also seen melting away in pictures  taken by the lander’s instruments when Phoenix touched down in June.

According to the news report lead scientist William Boyton stated that: (and I quote) “We’ve seen evidence for this
water ice before in observations by the Mars Odyssey orbiter and in disappearing chunks observed by Phoenix last month,
but this is the first time Martian water has been touched and tasted,” he said, referring to the craft’s instruments.

Besides being quite interesting, this type of news makes me wonder about how little we know about the universe we live in. Could at some point life be found beyond the boundaries of our planet? what implications will this bring to religion and Christianity as we know it? Will suddenly discovered E.T. Life deny the existence of God itself?

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Potentially Habitable Planet Found

This artists rendering released by European Southern Observatory, shows the planetary system around the red dwarf Gliese 581 For the first time astronomers have discovered a planet outside our solar system that is potentially as habitable as Earth, at left, with similar temperatures, researchers announced Tuesday, April 24, 2007. (AP Photo/ESO) Astronomers have discovered the most Earth-like planet outside our Solar System to date, an exoplanet with a radius only 50% larger than the Earth and capable of having liquid water. Using the ESO 3.6-m telescope, a team of Swiss, French and Portuguese scientists discovered a super-Earth about 5 times the mass of the Earth that orbits a red dwarf, already known to harbour a Neptune-mass planet. The astronomers have also strong evidence for the presence of a third planet with a mass about 8 Earth masses.

This exoplanet – as astronomers call planets around a star other than the Sun – is the smallest ever found up to now and it completes a full orbit in 13 days. It is 14 times closer to its star than the Earth is from the Sun. However, given that its host star, the red dwarf Gliese 581, is smaller and colder than the Sun – and thus less luminous – the planet nevertheless lies in the habitable zone, the region around a star where water could be liquid! The planet’s name is Gliese 581 c.

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More Evidence Found For Water On Mars

A camera on board NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter shows this exquisite colour image of the Martian surface giving a tantalising glimpse into the Red Planet's watery past.  (AP Photo/Science)

A camera on board NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter shows this exquisite colour image of the Martian surface giving a tantalising glimpse into the Red Planet’s watery past.

Shots of the deep valley Candor Chasma show light coloured areas of rock where water could have flowed.

This image provided by Science shows light-toned layered rock in Becquerel Crater on Mars as photographed by the HiRISE (High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment) camera on board NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. The orbiter images show alternating layers of dark- and light-toned rock within which are a series of fractures, surrounded by what researchers call ‘halos’ of light-toned bedrock. These halos are believed to indicate where fluids, probably water, passed through the bedrock. The layers show cyclic changes in thickness, which may be due to annual climate cycles, a cyclic variability in the source of the sediment, or both. The blue areas are extensive fields of sand dunes.

An orbiting spacecraft has sent back new evidence for the presence of water on Mars. Scientists long have debated whether water flowed on the red planet, with evidence increasing in recent years. The presence of water would raise the possibility of at least primitive life forms existing there.

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