4 May 2010, JellyBean @ 3:35 pm

What’s up with Mars? Mars the mysterious. Mars the enigmatic. Since ancient man began tracking the unique red world across the night sky, we have always known there is something special about Mars. The invention of the telescope brought it in to clearer view, and for the first time we could distinguish intriguing markings on the planet’s surface that Italian astronomer Giovanni Virginio Schiaparelli in 1877 called canali. American astronomer Percival Lowell, publicized by the popular media of the time, literally (and mistakenly) interpreted Schiaparelli’s term with the idea that there were artificial canals on Mars – and the notion that Mars was inhabited by intelligent life became more widespread.

In the decades that followed, science fiction stories and motion pictures explored the fantasy of Mars life, while science produced more powerful telescopes and rocket-propelled probes that revealed an equally awesome reality: a planet of gigantic canyons, dust storms and massive volcanoes that dwarf their Earthly counterparts.

What draws us to Mars? Although it is much smaller than Earth, Mars is the most Earth-like planet in our solar system, bearing many similar geological features, including polar ice caps and what appear to be ancient (but now dry) river beds. In fact, many planetary scientists suspect that in the distant past Mars was even more Earth-like, with raging river systems and vast oceans. And this theory is strengthened by the recent discovery of evidence that there are vast amounts of water ice lying just beneath the surface of Mars. And where there’s water, many researchers conclude, there may be life.

But is there life on Mars?

Read the whole article:

Paranormal @ About.com

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