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Jul 21 / Dave Schumaker

Mars cold for longer than we’ve thought is reporting that a study to be published in the July 22nd issue of Science by Caltech graduate student David Shuster and MIT assistant professor Benjamin Weiss shows that Mars has been a cold planet for much longer than we’ve previously thought. They came to this conclusion by analyzing gas contained in meteorites from Mars. A new study of gas in meteorites suggests Mars was bitterly cold for pretty much all of the past 4 billion years, putting the freeze on hopes that the red planet had any extended wet periods during which life could have flourished. Several rocks that were once near the surface of Mars, and have in the past few million years been kicked up by impacts that sent them to Earth, have been freezing cold for most of the past four billion years, the study concludes. […] “Our research doesn’t mean that there weren’t pockets of isolated water in geothermal springs for long periods of time, but suggests instead that there haven’t been large areas of freestanding water for four billion years.”

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