08/22 - Mars project dispels myths of water in canals - East Valley Tribune: Business

08/22 - Mars project dispels myths of water in canals

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Posted: Friday, August 22, 2003 10:37 am | Updated: 1:54 pm, Thu Oct 6, 2011.

Martian mysteries continue to be unraveled by Arizona State University scientists.

In a report published today in the journal Science, three ASU planetary geologists offer evidence as to whether Mars’ famous "canals’’ ever gushed with flowing waters possibly teeming with forms of life.

Their conclusion: No, probably not.

The findings will help answer long-held questions about the evolution of the Red Planet and provide valuable information to guide Mars explorations, said Joy Crisp, chief scientist for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s Mars land-rover missions.

Geologists Joshua Bandfield, Philip Christensen and Timothy Glotch work at ASU’s Mars Global Surveyor Space Flight Facility. The center built instruments for two orbiting satellites and two land-rover vehicles to analyze Mars’ atmosphere and surface minerals.

The latest data gathered by a thermal emissions spectrometer on the Mars Global Surveyor orbiter dispels speculation that the Red Planet once had a balmy, tropical climate and large oceans and rivers of freeflowing water.

More likely, it has always had the cold, icy climate that exists there now, Christensen said.

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