Follow the water on Mars – to Life?

While scientists previously identified ice on Mars, NASA on Monday announced evidence of salty water flowing intermittently on the Red Planet. U geology and geophysics professor Marjorie Chan for years has studied landscapes and geological records on Earth that serve as analogs for those on Mars. More than a decade ago, she studied rocks in southern Utah known as Moqui marbles – round “concretions” that form underground when minerals precipitate from flowing groundwater. She predicted similar rocks would be found on Mars. And NASA’s Opportunity rover indeed found such rocks, which were nicknamed “Martian blueberries.” In the last six years, Chan has led Mars researchers on field trips to Utah sites that may help them understand similar sediments on Mars. With growing evidence of past and present water on Mars, Chan believes the possibility is higher than ever that microbial life may exist today on Mars or be preserved in soils there. Chan is available Oct. 5-9 to discuss water and the possibility of microbial life on Mars.Office 801-581-6551/ Email: marjorie.chan@utah.edu


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