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May 24, 2008

Mars Photo Album - Opportunity Knocks

Posted: 06:35 PM ET

This Mars rover landed near some very interesting craters created by meteor impacts thousands of years ago.

Source: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Those impacts left bedrock exposed in outcropping. For a geologist, bedrock outcropping might as well be made of gold.

While you never know where a loose rock might have come from, embedded layers exposed in outcroppings tell the accurate history of a that place – you just have to be able to read "rock".

The rocks here tell a story of a very different looking Mars – one with water on – and below – the surface. Here on Earth, water is the key ingredient for life – wherever it is found – you will find living things.

Seems logical that would be the case on Mars, but the smoking gun fossils remain elusive.

– Correspondent Miles O’Brien, CNN Science & Technology

Join Miles this Sunday at 7pm Eastern for an hour-long special on the next Mars landing. The Phoenix Mars lander is scheduled to touch down on the Martian surface during the hour. Miles will be LIVE from mission control at the Jet Propulsion Lab in Pasadena, California. His guest for the hour is Steve Squyres, lead scientist on the Mars Rovers.

Filed under: Mars • NASA • Space


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Michael Wyatt   May 25th, 2008 9:14 pm ET

If the newest NASA space mission finds evidence of life on Mars, how can we be absolutely sure the evidence didn't hitch a ride from earth on the spacecraft itself?


pdykstra   May 25th, 2008 9:37 pm ET

Michael,

Two words for you:
Cassie Conley
She's NASA's Planetary Protection Officer (possibly the coolest job title ever) and leads their efforts to prevent exactly what you're suggesting.
More info here: http://quest.nasa.gov/people/bios/astrobiology/conley.html

Thanks
Peter Dykstra


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