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Dig into Montana Before History: 11K Years of Hunter-Gatherers in the Rockies and Plains by D. H. MacDonald, Ph.D. See our online store book collection.

Exploratour: Life on Mars?


Corel Photography

What Would Life Need?

What would life need to exist on Mars?
  • Warmth?
    • It seems that the temperature on Earth (room temperature, so to speak) is just right for life. More importantly, chemical reactions take place at just the right speed in temperature ranges found on Earth. The speed at which chemical reactions take place is relevant to the formation and existence of life. Really extreme temperatures such as -300 F or 5000 F won't work. Thus an habitable planet can't be too cold or life won't be able to get started. Billions of years might pass before the relevant chemicals are exchanged because the chemical reactions take too long. And a planet can't be too hot or molecules won't stay together long enough to form solid matter.
  • Oxygen?
    • seems to be essential for life
  • Water?
    • water is a source of oxygen
  • Protection from Ultra Violet rays
    • Ultra Violet light breaks molecules apart

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ExploraTour - Looking at the World in a Different Light

Even though the sleeping man is no longer on the bed, you can still see where he was lying down. The heat from his body warmed up the bed sheets which are now radiating infrared light toward your eyes....more

ExploraTour - Looking at the World in a Different Light

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ExploraTour - Looking at the World in a Different Light

Your eye is a wonderful detector of visible light. Different frequencies of light produce different sensations in the eye which we interpret as colors. Our eyes detect light by using light sensitive components...more

ExploraTour - Looking at the World in a Different Light

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ExploraTour - Looking at the World in a Different Light

This is a volcano on the island of Miyake in Japan. It has erupted, sending hot lava and ash into the air, a total of ten times. The time after one eruption until the next occurred was about twenty years...more

ExploraTour - Looking at the World in a Different Light

This is a picture of a galaxy in visible light. A galaxy is a large number of stars, some like our sun, some bigger, some smaller and all moving together through space. This galaxy is called Centaurus...more

ExploraTour - Looking at the World in a Different Light

This is a plant in Gary, Indiana where power is made. We use power to run things like television sets, radios, lights, and microwave ovens. The picture looks very strange because it was taken in infrared....more

Windows to the Universe, a project of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, is sponsored in part by the National Science Foundation and NASA, our Founding Partners (the American Geophysical Union and American Geosciences Institute) as well as through Institutional, Contributing, and Affiliate Partners, individual memberships and generous donors. Thank you for your support! NASA AGU AGI NSF