NASA: it snows on Mars

When NASA sent two rovers to Mars they were not quite sure what all they would find. What they ended up finding far exceeded expectations and has proven that the possible foundations for life do exist on other planets.

The scientists were eventually able to conclude that cloud formations do form on the planet and they can, in fact, make it snow on Mars. Scientists were able to observe this phenomenon using the LIDAR instrument (Light Detection and Ranging).

"But the really amazing data came from the LIDAR instrument, which was able to track the formation of the clouds at the atmosphere's boundary layer. Cloud formation became more pronounced as the summer gradually faded and the atmosphere cooled at night, and the scientists were eventually able to detect cirrus-like clouds as they dropped 'tilted vertical sheets' of ice particles back to the surface of the planet. In short, they watched it snow."

Scientists have been able to conclude that Mars does have an active water cycle on the planet but it is presumed that the cycle is dying as the planet appears to have had, at one point, flowing rivers.

What this all means to us is that the possibility for life outside of our planet, while remote, is completely possible. At some point, man may have to leave this planet, and this new discovery of liquid water greatly increases the odds of longer-term human survival.

Report a problem with article
Previous Story

iPods to get cameras in September?

Next Story

Nokia denies plans to run Google's Android

77 Comments

Commenting is disabled on this article.

Bacterial would be very possible, given fact that life has been found in even the most hazardous areas on Earth, so if bacteria can live there, imagine the possibilities!

It would be very interesting if NASA could acquire ice samples for the polar ice caps on Mars. Imagine what they could find if they melt the ice and study it on Earth. Who knows, they may actually find bacterial life. I think that would the greatest discovery of the 21st century.

Hmm.. humans can get a ship to Mars, and then guess that it snows there.. however they can't recover the remains of Air France from the ocean.. pretty backwards priorities.

DJ Specs said,
Hmm.. humans can get a ship to Mars, and then guess that it snows there.. however they can't recover the remains of Air France from the ocean.. pretty backwards priorities.

stupid statement alert. Are you saying we should spend all the space programme money on deep sea recovery instead? Maybe we'd be better off piping water round the world with all the money we invest in cars? ..how far do you want to take this?

lol, like we'd be the only life out of trillions and trillions of planets.
Also, just cuz a planet wouldn't be suitable for us to live on, doesn't mean another life form can't live there.

You'll be surprised how many people believe we are the only life in the universe! (some of them scientists!!) they'll go on about how the probability of finding another planet with the exact conditions Earth has are so slim it's likely life on this planet was a freak accident and that life is so fragile that if another planet was even slightly off life couldn't exist. The thing that bothers me with this school of thinking is that it's been proven life is in fact very resilient and can exist in even the most extreme conditions. I strongly believe the universe is teaming with "life" (I'm hoping they find some form on life in the oceans of Europa, just to shut the nay sayers up) is there other sentient species out there? I'm sure of it, the universe is a big place and just because we can't find another Earth like planet doesn't mean it doesn't exist

One thing is the existence of life in another planet and other totally different is the probability that we will meet with they.

Without a "warp drive", the next star is (over) 10 lightyear far away.
The max speed achieved by the humankind is 0.000056c (Voyager), then a trip to Alpha Centaury will take 178571.4 years, and there are few chances to find life in Alpha Centaury.

So currently we are isolated in the universe, almost the same to be alone in the cosmos.

I believe Humans are from Mars. And we jump from planet to planet extending our kind. Mars used to be like Earth and something terrible happened and we moved to Earth. Only 'few' were able to survive.

So we came to earth on a rocket ship then decided hey, let's start using stone tools and live in caves. Must have been space hippies.

red77stars said,
I believe Humans are from Mars. And we jump from planet to planet extending our kind. Mars used to be like Earth and something terrible happened and we moved to Earth. Only 'few' were able to survive.


We were slaves brought to the planet to mine and capture resources. The pyraminds were the landing pads of our Gods.

Well if that theory were true (which I highly doubt) I'd say the more likely cause of the planetary migration was human caused. Probably a war that ravaged the planet beyond repair. To the comment about the technology, well could of been like Battlestar Galactica, there could of been (primitive) life on Earth already and the fleeing humans from Mars might of chosen to throw away their technology (because of it destroyed their home planet) and "integrate" with the locals...who knows! However, I follow the belief humans are from Earth as that is what all the evidence points too.

Xerxes said,
Well if that theory were true (which I highly doubt) I'd say the more likely cause of the planetary migration was human caused. Probably a war that ravaged the planet beyond repair. To the comment about the technology, well could of been like Battlestar Galactica, there could of been (primitive) life on Earth already and the fleeing humans from Mars might of chosen to throw away their technology (because of it destroyed their home planet) and "integrate" with the locals...who knows! However, I follow the belief humans are from Earth as that is what all the evidence points too.

...you ruined it

That's ridiculous. There isn't any evidence that supports such a model. I mean, why is there such a vast amount of evidence for the origin of human life in, for example, Africa.

If those "humans" had the technology for space travel, why didn't they colonize Earth before their planet was ravaged? Surely they knew of its existence. Perhaps they blindly flew into space hoping to find a habitable planet and happened to get lucky.

I like how they make it sound like it's brand new news to them. Ever since those rovers landed and started sending back images, you could clearly see clouds in a lot of the images. They've also known about water being on Mars since the Viking era, but for some reason not long after they said they found water they were really quick to start denying it.

About life on Mars

A man from NASA has already said that the area the Phoenix landed in has soil that is very similar to whats in our backyards. He also said it would be perfect for growing asparagus. Another thing he said was that a frog could live in that same area for up to 24 hours without any kind of equipment before dying. The guy admitted that life is completely possible and that you can grow vegetation there and nobody really took notice of what he said.

I think Mars was a lot like Earth millions of years ago. With lots of life and even citys with buildings. And then something terrible happen which killed all life on the planet. My guess big solar flares killed everyone on Mars including all buildings. Everything turned to dust. Mars could have been just like Earth millions of years ago with Blue skys and seas.

And then very advanced aliens far far away brought all kinds of lifefroms from mars to Earth to start over again.

All the UFO sightings reported are real. They are watching us and preparing to take some of us to a new Planet to once again start over.

This is what I believe happend and how life started on Earth.

And someday it will happen all over again.

Maybe even in 2012!!!

So what I am trying to say is humans are really from Mars!! :)


This is just one of my ideas of how life started.

Maybe through exploration of the planet we could discover a lost technology which allowed for interstellar travel!

...I'm so unoriginal..

Recon415 said,
Maybe through exploration of the planet we could discover a lost technology which allowed for interstellar travel!

...I'm so unoriginal..


Someone has been playing too much Mass Effect me thinks :P it's ok, I was thinking the same thing! haha

Nah, I don't think Mars ever had advanced life on it, considering how long it took for human life to evolve here seems unlikely it would of existed there and if it did surely the would of been at least some evidence it was there? but you never know, stranger things have happened My theory is Mars was always the way is now, sure there is evidence of water but not solid proof the canyons etc were formed by water, could of been caused by lava flows when the planet was still young for all we know. I'd say the planet had potential but wasn't in the right place to kick start the process and just deteriorated over the millions of years to how it is now. Much life Venus could of also had life but it's far too to volcanically active and as a result it's a pressure cooker. Anyway, I'm more interested in what they'll find (if anything) in the oceans of Europa that is my 2 cents, so take with a grain of salt.

gate1975mlm said,
So what I am trying to say is humans are really from Mars!! :)

Nonsense. Humans came from a planet called "Phaeton", which was sadly blown up a long time ago, and all that's left of it is the rubble that is now the asteroid belt.

gate1975mlm said,
Maybe even in 2012!!!

Nostradamus
Quatrain 5:32
Where all is good in sun and moon and abundant, its ruin approaches.
It comes from the sky to sift through your fortunes in the same state as the seventh rock.

First sentence says there's a healthy planet but the days of it's destruction came.

Second sentence states that it collided with earth and it's chemical make-up is such that of Uranus.

Quatrain 2:91
At sunrise, one will see a great fire.
Noise and light extending towards the North.
Within the earth, death and cries are heard.
Death awaiting them through weapons, fire, and famine.

Lord Ba'al said,
Nonsense. Humans came from a planet called "Phaeton", which was sadly blown up a long time ago, and all that's left of it is the rubble that is now the asteroid belt.

I thought we were saved by ancestors of Emperor Lrrr of Omicron Persei 8. And now he wants to invade us because of jealousy.

ripgut said,
AGain, Mars has no high core activity, which means no magentosphere, solar winds would cook the planet in due time.

Maybe you weren't aware but there are materials which can redirect radiations like RADIO WAVES, MICRO WAVES and soon LIGHT WAVES.
Its the "invisilbility cloak" project. Planet size it, and you've created a microwave sheild.

Artificial farms, heat/cold-resistant equipment, improved building construction... Maybe not now, but in 30-40 years we could see people on Mars. You never know.

So if it snows on Mars, that means there's water on Mars, meaning making the planet habitable is no problem.

Just put all the old cars on there to warm it up!

Jimmy422 said,
Afaik mars is pretty hot the way it is.


from wikipedia
Surface temp.

........................min mean max
Kelvin...............186 K 227 K 268 K
Celsius..............−87 °C −46 °C −5 °C

shinji257 said,
It has no ozone layer... :p

First, it's due to its thin atmosphere, not the lack of an ozone layer. The ozone layer prevent a lot of UV radiation from reaching the surface, but things like a thick atmosphere in general helps reflect sunlight back to the surface (i.e. a greenhouse effect).

And Mars isn't very hot, it's rather cold. But the temperature varations due to its thin atmosphere.

I wonder if it would be possible to give life to Mars. I mean, what if we planted a few trees on the planet and gave it a sufficient supply of soil and water. I'm sure there has to be CO2 on Mars. Eventually the trees would help to produce oxygen for the planet and it would be inhabitable. Of course that would only take a few thousand years to do.

Omen1393 said,
I wonder if it would be possible to give life to Mars. I mean, what if we planted a few trees on the planet and gave it a sufficient supply of soil and water. I'm sure there has to be CO2 on Mars. Eventually the trees would help to produce oxygen for the planet and it would be inhabitable. Of course that would only take a few thousand years to do.

Mars has no magnetosphere. Solar wind would make things very harsh on the surface.

reverseswing said,
you cannot just change things like that - Mars is outside the habitable zone, meaning it's either too hot during the day or too cold at night or both and this cannot be changed unless you figure out how to move an entire planet - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Habitable_zone-en.svg


That's not exactly true. The habitability of a planet isn't only affected by where it is in the solar system. For example, Venus would be habitable if it weren't for the runaway overheating caused by all of the volcanos spewing out CO2. Likewise, Mars could be made habitable by intentionally introducing global warming in a controlled manner.

roadwarrior said,
Likewise, Mars could be made habitable by intentionally introducing global warming in a controlled manner.

As Mio said, Mars has no magnetic field. How exactly would one overcome that little issue?

TRC said,
As Mio said, Mars has no magnetic field. How exactly would one overcome that little issue?

Simple... rob another planet of its iron core (or a large asteroid, often containing large quanities of iron), crash it into mars, let its (newly) liquidified state make the iron core the center (thanks to centrifical motion), then universal nature will take over in forming the magnetic field.

SEE?! TRIVIAL!

Solid Knight said,
We don't need a magnetic field. That's a myth.

For a while you don't, but over time not having one would completely strip away the atmosphere. Certainly faster than we could replenish it.

TRC said,
As Mio said, Mars has no magnetic field. How exactly would one overcome that little issue?

dump all the CRT tv's from earth there in rectangular patches. Magnetic fields FTW!

MioTheGreat said,
For a while you don't, but over time not having one would completely strip away the atmosphere. Certainly faster than we could replenish it.

Its not totally impossible that we, on earth, could do it faster with the combined and focused efforts of all the HUMANS. ;-)

paokun said,
Great. If only our life was long enough to see how life will evolve..

It's just a matter of time and public knowledge until we defeat death and move to other things like travel and exploration to other places in out neighborhood

vladtm said,
It's just a matter of time and public knowledge until we defeat death and move to other things like travel and exploration to other places in out neighborhood

Defeat death? I certainly hope not. The world would be unbearably overpopulated within a generation of a death cure.

rheostat said,
Defeat death? I certainly hope not. The world would be unbearably overpopulated within a generation of a death cure.

That's crazy talk. We'd only make sure the rich people could get it.

rheostat said,
Defeat death? I certainly hope not. The world would be unbearably overpopulated within a generation of a death cure.

It's already overpopulated.

Solid Knight said,
The end of natural death will be the death of man.

100 percent right!

so even though the concept of 'living forever' sounds cool. in reality i think it's a bad idea and hope i aint around if that day ever comes true.

Science can be good but stuff like that is trying to be like God etc. just a bad idea but i honestly don't think it's possible to live forever because even if you drastically slowed the rate in which we age, we will eventually still die or even if you made it to where you don't age at all and your in perfect health it still would seem likely that you would eventually die due to some accident etc.

ThaCrip said,
100 percent right!

so even though the concept of 'living forever' sounds cool. in reality i think it's a bad idea and hope i aint around if that day ever comes true.


Okay, you are wrong.

If I could life forever, would be able to learn so much, keep increasing my knowledge on everything, just life a life and forget about such things.

ThaCrip said,
100 percent right!

so even though the concept of 'living forever' sounds cool. in reality i think it's a bad idea and hope i aint around if that day ever comes true.

Science can be good but stuff like that is trying to be like God etc. just a bad idea but i honestly don't think it's possible to live forever because even if you drastically slowed the rate in which we age, we will eventually still die or even if you made it to where you don't age at all and your in perfect health it still would seem likely that you would eventually die due to some accident etc.

Meh, and people would get bored of it eventually. Seriously.

I hope we can continue to fund and see value in these expeditions. It is just so neat. Related to space, I highly recommend watching "James May On the Moon". It is available out there.