NASA Confirms Existence of Ancient Lakes on Mars

It's starting to seem like it's a question of when, not if, scientists will announce evidence of life on Mars.


Mars news is crazy these days. Just last month NASA announced the discovery of flowing water on the Red Planet. Today, it’s evidence of an ancient lake.

New data from the Curiosity Rover is shoring up an earlier hypothesis that the base of Mars’ Mount Sharp was formed by layers of sediment deposited in a lake.

This wet Mars likely existed between 3.3 and 3.8 billion years ago.

“It’s clear that the Mars of billions of years ago more closely resembled Earth than it does today,” says Michael Meyer, lead scientist for NASA’s Mars Exploration Program. “Our challenge is to figure out how this more clement Mars was even possible, and what happened to that wetter Mars.”

Dark streaks on Martian mountainsides are evidence of seasonally flowing water.

NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona

And the bigger question: Was there ever life on Mars? Is there still?

“Water is key because almost everywhere we find water on Earth, we find life,” according to NASA.

One thing we’re learning about Mars is how little we actually know about it. Computer models of Mars’ past climate are failing to reproduce what the rovers are actually seeing on the ground.

“We have tended to think of Mars as being simple,” says John Grotzinger, lead author of the new report, in the press release.

“We once thought of the Earth as being simple too. But the more you look into it, questions come up because you’re beginning to fathom the real complexity of what we see on Mars. This is a good time to go back to reevaluate all our assumptions. Something is missing somewhere.”

Stay motherbleeping tuned.

More Mars: How Big Will a Sustainable Mars Colony Have to Be?

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