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Life on MarsWhat to Know Before We Go$
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David A. Weintraub

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780691209258

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: September 2021

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691209258.001.0001

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Chasing Martians

Chasing Martians

(p.261) 16 Chasing Martians
Life on Mars

David A. Weintraub

Princeton University Press

This chapter reviews the question of whether life could exist on Mars today as certain conditions must hold true in order for chemically based life to develop and take root. It points out that Mars has ancient, dried-up river valleys, deltas, and lake-like formations, and the Sun shines brightly on Mars. It also describes Mars' abundant supply of atmosphere and soil that supply a handful of bio-essential elements: carbon, oxygen, nitrogen, hydrogen, phosphorous, and sulfur. The chapter looks at evidence that was summarized in 2016 by Ray Arvidson and James S. McDonnell, which reveals multiple time periods when Mars was warm enough and wet enough for long enough to support life. It mentions the Opportunity rover that explored the ancient wide Endeavor Crater and found that the crater generated a hydrothermal system that would have produced a relatively habitable subsurface environment.

Keywords:   Mars, life, bio-essential elements, Ray Arvidson, James S. McDonnell, Opportunity rover

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