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Oops, that life-giving water on Mars is … lava!

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Kasei Valles, perspective view
Kasei Valles, perspective view/ESA

Or so David Shiga tells us in “Evidence for Mars floods all dried up?” (New Scientist, 22 August 2011):

Kelin Whipple of Arizona State University (ASU) in Tempe agrees that lava probably carved the huge channels, such as Kasei Valles (shown). He says the study calls into question the case for huge volumes of water – and possibly an ocean – on ancient Mars.

Which is significant, because water is assumed necessary for life.

But Phil Christensen, also at ASU, says clays and fans of sediment still point to the existence of smaller Martian lakes and rivers. These would be better places to search for life, he says, because they would have held water for longer periods than the giant channels, where floods – if there ever were any – would have been fleeting. “Lakes and deltas are probably the places people are going to look for life,” he says.

Just use your imagination, and you will discover that lava too can host life.

See also: The Shroud of Turin makes way more sense than water on Mars

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0/10 for comprehension. It's not the water on Mars that's in question - the evidence from Spirit and Opportunity and Phoenix is quite categorical that it's been there. What IS questioned is whether or not the big channels were carved by lave instead of by floodwaters. In other words, it's not the past existence of water that's questioned - it's whether the water that was there carved the big channels. A better headline would have been, "No Noah's Ark on Mars?" Grunty

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