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Is there life from Mars
Stephen Mojzsis, a geochemist at the University of Colorado at Boulder, and Oleg Abramov have developed a new view of how life survived on earth 4.4 to 3.9 billion years ago.


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Today, Mars is a frozen, barren world. Ultraviolet light and energetic space particles stream in through its thin atmosphere, sterilising any life - at least as we know it - on its bone-dry surface.
But recent research suggests life might find a niche just below the surface, where liquid water could be widespread. The discovery of plumes of methane in the planet's atmosphere also hints at subsurface life, since some terrestrial microbes produce the gas.
Chemical signs of life can be ambiguous, but molecular biologist Gary Ruvkun and his team hope to find its unequivocal signature by sending a DNA amplifier and sequencer to Mars in the next decade.

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Life has not yet been found on Mars, and no one is sure whether it will be. But some researchers say it is not too early to consider the possibility that humans could do irreversible damage to indigenous Martian life.
A group of international experts will meet as early as this September to discuss whether it is time to revise policies that protect Mars from contamination.

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Title: Identifying the Potential Biosphere of Mars
Authors: Eriita G. Jones, Charles H. Lineweaver

Our current knowledge of life on Earth indicates a basic requirement for liquid water. The locations of present liquid water are therefore the logical sites to search for current life on Mars. We develop a picture of where on Mars the regions with the highest potential near-surface liquid water abundance can be found through a study of gullies. We also use rampart craters to sound the depth of water ice on Mars and where the highest concentrations of water ice occur. We estimate that low latitude gullies and rampart craters with depths greater than 100 m at 30 degrees (absolute) latitude, greater than 1.3 km at 35 degrees and greater than 2.6 km at 40 degrees latitude will give access to current liquid water environments capable of supporting microbial life. Our data is most consistent with the formation of these gullies through shallow aquifer discharge. These features should therefore be high priority targets for further study and high-resolution imaging with HiRISE.

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A giant asteroid could have destroyed Marss chances of evolving into an Earth-like blue planet by punching a hole in its crust so large that it damaged the red planets magnetic field, scientists have found.
Earths magnetic field, generated by molten iron moving in its core, deflects radiation that would otherwise blast its atmosphere into space.

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Signs of life on Mars may be hiding under its rocks, or perhaps hiding inside those rocks. A new study offers a simplified technique for detecting biological and pre-biotic molecules that become trapped inside minerals.
Studying seven samples of the mineral jarosite collected from various places on Earth, a group of researchers was able to identify amino acids, the basic components of proteins, that had presumably been incorporated into the mineral's crystal structure.

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A miniature detector could pick out magnetic rocks on Mars that might harbour telltale signs of ancient life.
The instrument could select rocks that contain a magnetic compound magnetite that is also produced by bacteria on Earth. The rocks could then be brought back to Earth for closer examination.

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The Red Planet was too salty to sustain life for much of its history, according to the latest evidence gathered by one of the US rovers on Mars' surface.
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Life on ancient Mars just got tougher.
Not only was Martian water highly acidic in ancient times, but it was also extremely salty, researchers reported today in Boston at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

"In fact, it was salty enough that only a handful of known terrestrial organisms would have a ghost of a chance of surviving there when conditions were at their best"  - Harvard biologist Andrew Knoll, a member of the Mars rover science team.

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Researchers using NASA's twin Mars rovers are sorting out two possible origins for one of Spirit's most important discoveries, while also getting Spirit to a favourable spot for surviving the next Martian winter.
The puzzle is what produced a patch of nearly pure silica -- the main ingredient of window glass -- that Spirit found last May. It could have come from either a hot-spring environment or an environment called a fumaroles, in which acidic steam rises through cracks. On Earth, both of these types of settings teem with microbial life.

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Rhynie chert
Yellowstone National Park

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