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'Life spots' detected

These spots were detected in images taken by Mars Odyssey orbiter and are 20 to 40 degrees warmer than their surroundings.

india Updated: Jan 21, 2004 20:33 IST
Asian News International
Asian News International

Warm spots have been detected in Mars that could harbour life, according to the researchers at the University of Melbourne. These spots were detected in the infra-red images taken by the THEMIS, a heat-sensing camera on the Mars Odyssey orbiter, says the New Scientist.

According to Nick Hoffman of the Melbourne University, these warm spots are similar to spots found in Mount Erebus in Antarctica. Hoffman says that these spots are 20 to 40 degrees warmer than their surroundings and could have been caused due to geothermal activity leading to release of water vapours, he adds.

Scientists say life can thrive in these warm spots on Mars as the conditions are warm and the ice would filter out dangerous ultra-violet rays.

They also say that high atmospheric pressure in the Hellas basin would melt the ice providing microbes an ideal breeding ground.

However, scientists are waiting for the clouds over Hellas basin to clear, therefore facilitating a better study of the area. The clouds, are expected to clear early as next year.

First Published: Jan 21, 2004 00:00 IST