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Mars: Much more information but definite answers are still elusive

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From Nature:

Thunderous applause greeted planetary cartographer Ken Tanaka of the US Geological Survey on 14 July as he unveiled a new geological map of Mars. A culmination of more than a decade of probing the red planet’s geology and history with orbiters and rovers, it revealed that large areas of the Martian surface are more ancient than once thought.

But by the time the Eighth International Conference on Mars closed five days later, the mood was less celebratory and more introspective. Talks and presentations at the meeting in Pasadena, California, had covered major recent discoveries on Mars, and yet scientists found themselves asking the same questions they had been chasing for decades: when did Mars have water on its surface, and what happened to it? Did life ever exist there?

“There’s a lot of knowledge and not so much understanding,” says Phil Christensen, a Mars geologist at Arizona State University in Tempe. “The devil continues to be in the details.”

See also: Don’t let Mars fool you. those exoplanets teem with life!

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