DPS 35th Meeting, 1-6 September 2003
Session 1. Climates and Atmosphere of Early Mars and Early Earth
Plenary, Organizer: R. Young, Tuesday, September 2, 2003, 8:30-10:00am, Steinbeck

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[1.02] Missions to early Mars to explore the biogeochemical traces of ancient life and its environment

C. McKay (NASA Ames)

The most interesting astrobiological questions related to Mars deal with the nature of its early environment and its potential for the origin and development of life. Studies of Earth's early environment provide a basis for considering how life might have developed on Mars and where on Mars records of that early life may be found. Such records would include fossil evidence of life but fossils alone will not address questions as to the nature of life on Mars compared to Earth life. Life on Mars could have shared a common origin with life on Earth or it could represent a second genesis. The question of a second genesis of life on Mars can be resolved only if we can access biological materials from past or present organisms. There are places on mars were such ancient biological material might be preserved.

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Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 35 #4
© 2003. The American Astronomical Soceity.