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Saturday, June 21, 2008

Looking for Organics on Mars!

The Phoenix Mars Lander team is now reviewing the confirmed ice layer found on the Red Planet in the hope of a finding unique organic material as the next major discovery step in the NASA theme of "follow the water" on Mars.

"The fact that there's ice there doesn't tell you anything about whether its habitable," mission principal investigator Peter Smith, of the University of Arizona in Tucson, said. "The ice may be always in a frozen state and with ice in a frozen state and no food, that's not a habitable zone."

Debate has raged within the scientific community since the 1976 Viking 1 and Viking 2 landers sent back data as to organic compounds or microbes on the surface of Mars. The Mars life debate reached the White House in the 1990's. Phoenix may provide more certain answers to these central scientific questions.

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