Thursday, March 13, 2008

Ancient Lake on Mars Found by HiRISE a Good Place to Look for Life

Despite what it might look like, this is not the beach of a lakeside resort here on Earth. It's what remains of a dried up lake on the surface of Mars, yet another fantastic image brought to us by the cameras on the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE.) This is a closeup of the largest of the "fans" leftover from the lake in the bottom of Holden Crater, an 87-mile (140-kilometer) wide crater in the bottom of the larger Holden Basin on Mars.

What's interesting about a dried up lake bed, besides the spectacular image? Well, it's the perfect place to start a search for life on Mars. A nice, calm lake would be a likely place for life to form. This site is one of the six possible landing sites for the NASA's Mars Science Laboratory, which launches next year and will try to answer the question of whether life on Mars existed at one time, or continues to thrive there. More...

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