[meteorite-list] Evidence Of Martian Land Of Lakes Discovered

From: Treiman, Allan <Treiman_at_meteoritecentral.com>
Date: Thu Apr 22 09:37:31 2004
Message-ID: <D144DC845882D311959900500424D7D0B1B95C_at_cassnt2>

This is really old news. Tim Parker and several folks
at SETI have been talking about ancient lakes and
lake sediments for years.


Allan H. Treiman
Lunar and Planetary Institute
3600 Bay Area Boulevard
Houston, TX 77058-1113

281-486-2162 FAX

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Ron Baalke [SMTP:baalke_at_zagami.jpl.nasa.gov]
> Sent: Monday, December 04, 2000 2:48 PM
> To: meteorite-list_at_meteoritecentral.com
> Subject: [meteorite-list] Evidence Of Martian Land Of Lakes
> Discovered
> Donald Savage
> Headquarters, Washington, DC December 4, 2000
> (Phone: 202/358-1727)
> Mary Hardin
> Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, CA
> (Phone: 818/354-0344)
> RELEASE: 00-190
> In what ultimately may be their most significant discovery
> yet, Mars scientists say high-resolution pictures showing layers of
> sedimentary rock paint a portrait of an ancient Mars that long ago
> may have featured numerous lakes and shallow seas.
> "We see distinct, thick layers of rock within craters and other
> depressions for which a number of lines of evidence indicate that
> they may have formed in lakes or shallow seas. We have never before
> had this type of irrefutable evidence that sedimentary rocks are
> widespread on Mars," said Dr. Michael Malin, principal investigator
> for the Mars Orbiter Camera on NASA's Mars Global Surveyor
> spacecraft at Malin Space Science Systems (MSSS), San Diego, CA.
> "These images tell us that early Mars was very dynamic and may have
> been a lot more like Earth than many of us had been thinking."
> Such layered rock structures where there were once lakes are common
> on Earth. The pancake-like layers of sediment compressed and
> cemented to form a rock record of the planet's history.
> The regions of sedimentary layers on Mars are spread out and
> scattered around the planet. They are most common within impact
> craters of Western Arabia Terra, the inter-crater plains of
> northern Terra Meridiani, the chasms of the Valles Marineris, and
> parts of the northeastern Hellas Basin rim. The scientists compare
> the rock layers on Mars to features seen in the American Southwest,
> such as the Grand Canyon and the Painted Desert of Arizona.
> "We caution that the Mars images tell us that the story is actually
> quite complicated and yet the implications are tremendous. Mars has
> preserved for us, in its sedimentary rocks, a record of events
> unlike any that occur on the planet today," said Dr. Ken Edgett,
> staff scientist at MSSS. "This is changing the way we think about
> the early history of Mars -- a time perhaps more than 3.5 billion
> years ago."
> "On Earth, sedimentary rocks preserve the surface history of our
> planet, and within that history, the fossil record of life. It is
> reasonable to look for evidence of past life on Mars in these
> remarkably similar sedimentary layers," said Malin. "What is new in
> our work is that Mars has shown us that there are many more places
> in which to look, and that these materials may date back to the
> earliest times of Martian history."
> Malin added, "I have not previously been a vocal advocate of the
> theory that Mars was wet and warm in its early history. But my
> earlier view of Mars was really shaken when I saw our first high-
> resolution pictures of Candor Chasma. The nearly identically thick
> layers would be almost impossible to create without water."
> As an alternative to lakes, Malin and Edgett suggest that a denser
> atmosphere on early Mars could have allowed greater amounts of
> windborne dust to settle out on the surface in ways that would have
> created the sedimentary rock.
> "We have only solved one little piece of a tremendous puzzle,"
> Malin said. "There is no illustration on the box to show us what it
> is supposed to look like when it is completed and we are sure most
> of the pieces are missing."
> "These latest findings from the Mars Global Surveyor tell us that
> more study both from orbit and at the surface is needed to decipher
> the tantalizing history of water on Mars," said Dr. Jim Garvin,
> Mars Exploration Program Scientist at NASA Headquarters. "Our
> scientific strategy of following the water by seeking, conducting
> in situ studies, and ultimately sampling will follow up on these
> latest discoveries about Mars, and adapt to the new understanding."
> "Mars seems to continually amaze us with unexpected discoveries,"
> said Dr. Edward Weiler, Associate Administrator for Space Science
> at NASA Headquarters. "This finding just might be the key to
> solving some of the biggest mysteries on Mars, and it also tells us
> that our new Mars exploration program needs the flexibility to
> follow up in a carefully thought-out manner."
> "The finding of layered sedimentary deposits is something that
> biologists have been hoping for," said Dr. Ken Nealson, director of
> the Center for Life Detection at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory
> (JPL), Pasadena, CA. "Perhaps the favorite sites for biologists to
> search for fossils or evidence of past life on Earth are layered
> lake or oceanic sediments such as in these sites Malin and Edgett
> describe."
> The Mars Global Surveyor mission is managed by JPL for NASA's
> Office of Space Science, Washington, DC. Malin Space Science
> Systems built and operates the camera system. Lockheed Martin
> Astronautics, Denver, CO, developed and operates the spacecraft.
> Images for this release are available at:
> http://www.msss.com/mars_images/moc/dec00_seds/
> Information on the Mars Global Surveyor is available at:
> http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/mgs
> - end -
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Received on Mon 04 Dec 2000 04:09:18 PM PST

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