Bad news for Mars life? Red Planet's wet period may have been shorter than imagined.

Mars may be arid today, but many lines of evidence reveal water flowed across it billions of years ago.  

New research suggests that Mars' surface water may have persisted for shorter time than previously thought.  

That's because NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) found gullies on Mars that were previously considered to be caused by water flow. 

Instead, carbon dioxide ice could have been explosively evaporated.  

Because liquid water is essential for life's emergence and survival, the results may prove unfavorable for the search for ancient microscopic life on Mars. 

“This changes our beliefs about water on Mars in general, and thus our hunt for life on the planet," 

study leader and Utrecht University planetary researcher Lonneke Roelofs said.  

"The results of my research suggest that the chance of life having existed on Mars is smaller than previously thought." 

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