Asteroids May Have Fostered Life on Mars

By Julia Newman

Mars

Fig 1: Analysis of Mars’ surface shows a history of bombardment.

 

Ever since the official announcement of water on Mars just last September, the search for habitable conditions on the planet has been more intense than ever. Studies from earlier this week suggest that while Earth’s surface is affected mostly by erosion and plate tectonics, Mars has been subjected to billions of years of bombardment by asteroids and comets, greatly changing the planet’s water cycle throughout its existence. Despite Mars’ currently extremely cold surface, these bombardments may have been able to liquefy the existing water by increasing the planet’s atmospheric pressure. This existence of water has created an environment that could potentially foster life, much like hydrothermal systems found in Yellowstone National Park, but only for a short period of time in Mars’ history. Because Earth most likely spent most of its existence in a state hospitable to life, this new data about Mars allows researchers to better develop a timeline of the development of our solar system.

 

References:

  1. University of Colorado, Early Mars bombardment likely enhanced life-supporting habitat. Astronomy Magazine (2016).

Photo Retrieved From:

http://lasp.colorado.edu/home/wp-content/uploads/2010/10/odyssey.jpg

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