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Mars could have supported life, scientists find

Wednesday, March 13, 2013 - 01:15

March 13 - Seven months after NASA's rover Curiosity landed on Mars to assess if the planet had the ingredients for life, scientists have their answer: Yes. Sarah Charlton reports.

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Seven months after the Curiosity rover landed on Mars, scientists say the Red Planet could've supported life. Powder drilled from an area once covered in water has been analysed by NASA. They say it contains clays, sulfates and other minerals key to life. SOUNDBITE: (English) MICHAEL MYER, LEAD SCIENTIST MARS EXPLORATION PROGRAM SAYING: "Almost right off the bat we do find evidence of water and we see an ancient riverbed. We're now finding an environment in the near sub surface not too far beneath the oxidized layer of finding a sort of neutral rock, all the things we were certainly hoping for to find a place that could have been habitable in its past." In the ancient riverbed, known as Yellowknife Bay, scientists say the water could've been similar to our own. SOUNDBITE: (English) JOHN GROTZINGER, LEAD SCIENTIST OF THE MARS EXPLORATION PROGRAM, SAYING: "I think we have found a habitable environment that is so benign, and supportive of life that probably if this water was around, and if you had been on the planet, you would have been able to drink it." The analysis stopped short of confirming organics. But with 17 months left in the mission, NASA hopes to find areas where may have been preserved.

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Mars could have supported life, scientists find

Wednesday, March 13, 2013 - 01:15