Search for Life on Mars Narrowed to Specific Lakes
The search for traces of ancient Martian life has been narrowed to 79 lake beds containing mineral deposits. Clay may have formed on the planet's surface, preserving evidence of past life.
What's the Latest Development?
Scientists have narrowed the search for ancient life on Mars down to 79 lakes that contain mineral deposits, meaning that the lakes' clay may contain a fossil record of microbial life. The relatively low number of lakes with mineral deposits suggests either a chemical difference between mud on Mars and Earth or that Mars' lakes were short lived, giving life precious little time to form. According to the team of researchers from Brown University, the lakes have undergone a number of surface changes since becoming inactive some 3.7 billion years ago.
What's the Big Idea?
On Earth, clay deposits have proven good preservers of the fossil record, capturing imprints of ancient life and preserving them until scientists dig them up. "When Curiosity, the rover for NASA's Mars Science Laboratory mission, lands on Mars this summer, it will search clays and sediments in the Gale Crater for indications of past environments that could have supported microbial life." If there is a record of ancient life on Mars' surface, these sizable lakes are a good place to begin looking, says NASA investigator Timothy Goudge.
Photo credit: shutterstock.com
Harvard psychologists discover why we dislike the people who deliver bad news.
- A new study looked at why people tend to "shoot the messenger".
- It's a fact that people don't like those who deliver them bad news.
- The effect stems from our inherent need to make sense of bad or unpredictable situations.
He reminds us that meaning is wherever we choose to look.
- Alan Watts suggests there is no ultimate meaning of life, but that "the quality of our state of mind" defines meaning for us.
- This is in contradiction to the notion that an inner essence is waiting to be discovered.
- Paying attention to everyday, mundane objects can become highly significant, filling life with meaning.
If life exists on Mars, there's a good chance it's related to us, say researchers.
When MIT research scientist Christopher Carr visited a green sand beach in Hawaii at the age of 9, he probably didn't think that he'd use the little olivine crystals beneath his feet to one day search for extraterrestrial life.
SMARTER FASTER trademarks owned by The Big Think, Inc. All rights reserved.