TXST Biology Professor Highlights Importance of Water Found on Mars

todayOctober 1, 2015 7

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PIA15038_-_Spirit_lander_and_Bonneville_Crater_on_MarsNathalie Cohetero
News Reporter

Although signs of ancient rivers and lakes on Mars have been found before, NASA’s recently discovered sign is substantially different because it proves that this is water that potentially exists right now. The importance of water being discovered on Mars comes down to the potential of the water being studied and evaluated. Department of Biology Regents Professor, Robert McLean, explains the importance of water.

“The biggest thing about looking for water is, water is absolutely needed for life, at least life as we know it, because any living thing will require some aspect of water. In humans, it’s in our blood, all throughout our various tissues, it helps move nutrients around, also things like oxygen, it helps us get rid of waste and such. The same thing goes on in almost any life form that we know of, whether big or small, and that would include all the way down to bacteria.”

The long streaks on the cliffs and crater walls of Mars were revealed using spectral analysis on individual pixels of data. Evidence shows that the water is most likely to be briny and begin flowing in the spring before drying up each autumn. The conditions of Mars makes it difficult for human life to inhabit it today, but McLean explains what kind of life would most likely be able to survive such conditions.

“Now as far as anything that’s potentially on Mars, there is a much greater chance of having microbial life on Mars rather than something we could see with the naked eye. Microorganisms can live in the most extreme conditions as well as conditions that other life forms can live.”

Mars is not entirely the dry, arid planet that it’s always been thought to be. If NASA continues its exploration into the unknown, who knows what humanity will discover next.

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