Martian Landscaping: Spacecraft eyes evidence of a frozen sea | Science News

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Martian Landscaping: Spacecraft eyes evidence of a frozen sea

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1:19pm, March 2, 2005

A flat region near the Red Planet's equator may hold a frozen ocean that was once as deep and big as the North Sea. The region's relatively craterless facade suggests that water gushed to the surface and froze recently, raising the possibility that life might exist today on or just beneath the surface, says Mars Express researcher John Murray. Last week, his team reported its analysis of images that were taken by the orbiting Mars Express spacecraft.

In this region, "you've had water above freezing beneath the face of Mars for thousands of millions of years," says Murray, a volcanologist and planetary scientist at the Open University in Milton Keynes, England. "This is the place to go look for life," he adds.

His group, which examined images taken with the spacecraft's H

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