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article imageScientists Spot 'Cave Entrances' on Mars

By Tea Lulic     Mar 17, 2007 in Technology
While studying recent photos from NASA's Odyssey spacecraft, scientists noticed what they think may be seven caves on the surface of Mars. They say it's a significant find because caves are present to protect primitive life forms from harmful elements.
I have promised everyone that I will update them on Mars research. This connects to my previous article, which talked about vast amounts of water found recently underneath the surface of Mars.
The 'caves' can be found near Arsia Mons volcano. They're really deep so their floors cannot be seen at all. The data from the spacecraft supports the idea of presence of caves (based on the temperature they have recorded).
According to the scientists, this is a significant find because caves are the only natural structures that could protect primitive life forms from micrometeoroids, UV radiation, solar flares, and high energy particles that tend to bombard the Red Planet's surface.
The data and pictures show that there is a significant drop in the ground (about 80m - 130m), which leads to the conclusion that these are in fact caves. The spacecraft spotted what seemed to be vertical "skylight" entrances to caves below the surface.
The data showed that one of these caves called Annie is warmer than surrounding pits but cooler than those areas that receive sunlight. These are the specific properties of caves.
There are seven caves and they also have nicknames right now: Dena, Chloe, Wendy, Annie, Abbey, Nicki and Jeanne.
Entrances are about 100-252m wide which would be approximately 330-828ft. The scientists have tried to calculate how much they extend below the surface and they have stated that they are approximately 73m and 96m below the surface.
In cave Dena, however, the floor can be seen. This cave approximately extends 130m below the surface.
Mars Odyssey was launched in April 2001 to hunt for past or present water on the Red Planet.
Its Themis (Thermal Emission Imaging System) instrument uses the visible and infrared part of the electromagnetic spectrum to measure the temperature properties of the Martian surface.
I think now we can start talking about possible life in the universe. In my opinion, this is ground-breaking evidence that there is more on Mars than we thought. Incredible find, don't you think?
More about Mars, Caves, Universe
 

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