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Fwd = Dried-up sea beds found on Mars

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  • Frits Westra
    Forwarded by: fwestra@hetnet.nl URL:http://www.sunday-times.co.uk/news/pages/sti/2000/12/03/stifgnnws01001.html Original Date: Mon, 4 Dec 2000 03:42:49
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      Forwarded by: fwestra@...
      URL:http://www.sunday-times.co.uk/news/pages/sti/2000/12/03/stifgnnws01001.html
      Original Date: Mon, 4 Dec 2000 03:42:49 -0800

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      December 3 2000

      Dried-up sea beds found on Mars

      NASA scientists have discovered ancient sea or lake beds on the
      surface of Mars that could once have harboured life, writes
      Jonathan Leake.

      The discovery is among the most significant concerning Mars so far,
      because such places are the most likely locations for fossils or other
      signs of past life.

      Nasa will announce the discovery in this week's edition of Science
      with the suggestion that the next generation of Mars landings should
      be sent to such areas.

      This weekend a British group building a craft bound for Mars said it
      was already considering rerouting its vehicle, Beagle II, to land in
      the middle of one of the newly discovered sea beds.

      Professor Colin Pillinger, an astronomer at the Open University who
      heads the Beagle II project, will also announce that he has raised the
      full �30m needed for the British mission.

      He has just been offered �9m by the European Space Agency, with the
      rest coming from commercial sponsors. "We will launch in June 2003 and
      hope to land on Mars on Boxing Day," he said.

      The Nasa discovery is based on images taken by Mars Global Surveyor,
      which has been orbiting the red planet for more than a year.

      It is said to have sent back detailed pictures of rocks that could
      only have been created by sedimentation, in which particles sink to a
      sea bed and are compressed into rock.

      Copyright 2000 Times Newspapers Ltd.

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