Saturday, February 21, 2009

Evidence for hot springs from UA's HiRISE Mars camera

Images from the UA's HiRISE camera on the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter are the basis of a new scientific report described in Science Daily that shows "structures in Vernal Crater that appear to have arisen as part of a major area of ancient spring activity. The data suggest that the southern part of Vernal Crater has experienced episodes of water flow from underground to the surface and may be a site where martian life could have developed."

Because hot springs on Earth are excellent locales for organisms, similar features on Mars may be prime areas to explore for traces of life that may have existed there. [right, possible hydrothermal features in Vernal Crater. Credit, NASA/JPL-CalTech]

Carlton C. Allen and Dorothy Z. Oehler, A Case for Ancient Springs in Arabia Terra, Mars, Astrobiology, 2008; 8 (6): 1093 DOI: 10.1089/ast.2008.0239

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