TNRTB Archive – Retained for reference information
Recent data from Mars confirms the planet’s lack of substantial water, further dampening any hopes of finding non-terrestrial life. A European satellite (OMEGA) mapped the mineralogical structure of more than 90% of Mars’ surface. The satellite is particularly suited to detecting minerals containing or significantly altered by water. Analysis of the OMEGA data reveals no substantial water activity on Mars for the last 3.5 billion years. Only in the very oldest terrains are there any signs of mineralogical alteration by liquid water. However, this time period corresponds to the solar system’s most inhospitable era, when frequent sterilizing asteroidal and cometary impacts pummeled the inner rocky planets. From a naturalistic perspective, the prospect of finding an environment conducive to life, let alone life itself, continues to grow more and more bleak.
- Jean-Pierre Bibring et al., “Global Mineralogical and Aqueous Mars History Derived from OMEGA/Mars Express Data,” Science 312 (2006): 400-04.
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