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Mars Images Have Experts Gushing; Space: Scientists say signs of water eruptions increase chance of finding life on planet.
[Home Edition]
Los Angeles Times - Los Angeles, Calif.
Subjects: Mars; Space exploration; Water
Author: USHA LEE McFARLING
Date: Jun 23, 2000
Start Page: 1
Section: Part A; PART- A; PART-; Metro Desk
Abstract (Document Summary)

Any life found on Mars is likely to be microbial, said [Edward J. Weiler], who also cautioned that early reports of the finding were exaggerated. "They have not found lakes and rivers flowing on Mars. They have not found hot springs on Mars. They have certainly not found a hot tub with Martians swimming in it," he said.

Still, excitement at the finding led to immediate speculation over whether NASA would redirect or speed up plans to explore Mars and whether the discovery would justify a manned mission to the Red Planet. Water on Mars, if it is potable or can be purified, would cut down on the supplies people would need to carry with them to the planet. It could also theoretically be broken down into breathable oxygen, though such ideas remain speculative.

The finding rendered normally conservative scientists giddy with excitement about prospects for additional discoveries on Mars and left NASA administrators pleased to have some good news to report after the loss of two Mars spacecraft last year.

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