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Scratching the Surface of Martian HabitabilityEarth and Mars, though formed at the same time from the same materials, look very different today. Early in their histories they evolved through some of the same processes, but at some point their evolutionary paths diverged, sending them in perhaps irrevocably different directions. Knowledge of the factors that contributed to such different outcomes will help to determine how planets become habitable and how common habitable planets may be. The Mars surface environment is harsh today, but in situ measurements of ancient sedimentary rock by Mars Science Laboratory reveal chemical and mineralogical evidence of past conditions that might have been more favorable for life to exist. But chemistry is only part of what is required to make an environment habitable. Physical conditions constrain the chemical reactions that underlie life processes; the chemical and physical characteristics that make planets habitable are thus entangled.
Document ID
20160014489
Document Type
Reprint (Version printed in journal)
External Source(s)
Authors
Conrad, Pamela G. (NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Greenbelt, MD United States)
Date Acquired
December 6, 2016
Publication Date
December 12, 2014
Publication Information
Publication: Science
Volume: 346
Issue: 6215
Subject Category
Lunar and Planetary Science and Exploration
Report/Patent Number
GSFC-E-DAA-TN32151
Distribution Limits
Public
Copyright
Other
Keywords
Mars rover
Mars
habitability