Nasa scientists lose contact with a spacecraft mapping Mars.
|“This underscores the importance of searching for life on Mars, either present or past.”
Bruce Jakosky, an astrobiologist at the University of Colorado at Boulder
Scientists believe ancient Mars was awash with pools of water and researchers have spotted evidence of water ice at the planet’s North Pole.
“This underscores the importance of searching for life on Mars, either present or past,” Bruce Jakosky, an astrobiologist at the University of Colorado at Boulder, who had no role in the study, said. “It’s one more reason to think that life could be there.”
Some scientists have said the gullies could have been created by liquid carbon dioxide (CO2) coming to the surface, but Nasa experts say this is unlikely.
Others say materials such as sand or dust can flow like a liquid and produce similar results.
Allan Treiman, a geologist at the Lunar and Planetary Institute in Houston, said in an email to the Associated Press news agency: “Nothing in the images, no matter how cool they are, proves that the flows were wet, or that they were anything more exciting than avalanches of sand and dust.”
The Mars Global Surveyor orbiter has taken 240,000 pictures of the surface of Mars since 1997 but the agency lost contact with the spacecraft in November.