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Mars Shows Signs of Having Flowing Water, Possible Niches for Life, NASA Says

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nytimes articleThe following is an excerpt from Kenneth Chang | September 28, 2015 | Nytimes.com |

Scientists have for the first time confirmed liquid water flowing on the surface of present-day Mars, a finding that will add to speculation that life, if it ever arose there, could persist now.

“This is tremendously exciting,” James L. Green, the director of NASA’s planetary science division, said during a news conference on Monday. “We haven’t been able to answer the question, ‘Does life exist beyond Earth?’ But following the water is a critical element of that. We now have, I think, great opportunities in the right locations on Mars to thoroughly investigate that.”

That represents a shift in tone for NASA, where officials have repeatedly played down the notion that the dusty and desolate landscape of Mars could be inhabited today.

But now, John M. Grunsfeld, NASA’s associate administrator for science, talked of sending a spacecraft in the 2020s to one of these regions, perhaps with experiments to directly look for life.

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