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Old March 12 2013, 07:44 PM   #4
gturner
Admiral
 
Location: Kentucky
Re: NASA: Ancient Mars could have supported life!

Reading the story, what they found is unoxidized and partially-oxidized elements (iron, sulfur, phosphorus, etc) in Martian sedimentary rocks that could've served as an energy source for bacteria, like what we see in hydrothermal vents in the deep ocean. Of course to me this also indicates that there weren't microbes taking full advantage of the conditions or they'd have oxidized the elements to extract the energy.

Not finding any signs of life does have some major benefits for Mars exploration. If we find any traces of life then there's almost no way we could put a human on the planet in the foreseeable future because of the risk of contaminating the environment with Earth bacteria, forever ruining some of the potential science.
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