The Continued Search for Life on MarsFor years, we have all been subject to rumors about the possibility of life on Mars. Through the use of advanced technology, we have been able to gain amazing amounts of data that support this assertion. One of the reasons scientists support this idea is that ice (from water) was found on the polar caps of Mars.
The largest canyon in the Solar System on Mars
This was one of the original evidences supporting the concept of life on Mars being plausible. More recently, we've seen evidence on the surface of the planet that liquid water existed in the planet's past. As time goes on, we learn more and more about the possibilities that this information holds for us. As for whether it could mean a bright and beautiful future for the human race on the planet, that is not yet certain.
One of the most recent discoveries that has prompted discussion of this topic once again is the information collected from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. The orbiter found large amounts of minerals that only exist in the presence of water. The carbonate and clay minerals were found at the bottom of McLaughlin Crater, which is 1.4 miles deep. Scientists believe that this "lake" of sorts was once fed by groundwater due to the fact that they could find no inflow channels leading into the crater. Another reason they believe the evidence points toward the lake being fed by groundwater is that the crater sits at a low elevation, which is similar to many lakes fed by groundwater on Earth.
As for other recent news in regard to the issue of water on Mars, the rover Curiosity has found grooves within rocks on the surface of the planet. These grooves, or "veins," lead scientists to deduct that water once flowed through them. The veins are the result of liquid water circulating through the fractures of the rocks. One reason they view the veins as evidence of liquid water's existence is that on Earth, only liquid water is able to form these exact same kinds of veins in rocks. The water necessary for this effect is of a rather specific type, occurring only at low to moderate temperatures.
Those who are particularly interested in the search for water on Mars should pay special attention in the next few weeks. The rover Curiosity is set to drill into rocks on the planet's surface and continue the quest for finding that most precious of human resources in our solar system outside of Earth.