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Life on MarsAlthough the Viking results may indicate that Mars has no life today, the possibility exists that Mars may hold the best record of the events that led to the origin of life. There is direct geomorphological evidence that in the past Mars had large amounts of liquid water on its surface. Atmospheric models would suggest that this early period of hydrological activity was due to the presence of a thick atmosphere and the resulting warmer temperatures. From a biological perspective the existence of liquid water, by itself motivates the question of the origin of life on Mars. From studies of the Earth's earliest biosphere we know that by 3.5 Gyr. ago, life had originated on Earth and reached a fair degree of biological sophistication. Surface activity and erosion on Earth make it difficult to trace the history of life before the 3.5 Gyr timeframe. If Mars did maintain a clement environment for longer than it took for life to originate on Earth, then the question of the origin of life on Mars follows naturally.
Document ID
20020032610
Document Type
Conference Paper
Authors
McKay, Christopher P. (NASA Ames Research Center Moffett Field, CA United States)
Cuzzi, Jeffrey
Date Acquired
August 20, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 1996
Subject Category
Exobiology
Meeting Information
8th ISSOL Conference on the Origin of Life(Orleans)
Funding Number(s)
PROJECT: RTOP 185-52-82-04
Distribution Limits
Public
Copyright
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.