600 million year drought makes life on surface of Mars unlikely

View of Mars' surface near the north pole from the Phoenix lander. Credit: NASA/JPL-Calech/University of Arizona

Mars is often referred to as a desert world, and for good reason – its surface is barren, dry and cold. While water was abundant in the distant past, it has long since disappeared from the surface, although ice, snow, frost and fog are still common. Other than liquid brines possibly trickling at times, all of Mars’ remaining water is now frozen in permafrost and in the polar ice caps. It has long been thought that the harsh conditions would make current life unlikely at best, and now a new study reaffirms that view

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