AN ICE DAY ON MARS MARS; New Pictures Raise Hope of Discovery of Life on the Red Planet

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Byline: By Ian Dow

GRAND CANYON SCIENTISTS yesterday took a giant leap towards solving the mystery of Mars. Europe's Mars orbiter found frozen wateron the surface of the Red Planet.

And it may help answer the question is there or has there ever been life on Mars?

Experts have long believed the planet's poles contained ice.

But European Space Agency science director David Southwood said previous conclusions were based on indirect measure-ments of temperatures and gas. At the ESA HQ in Darmstadt, Germany, he said: ''This is the first time we have direct indications of molecules that are present in water.''

And scientist Allen Moore house added: ''The presence of water is no guarantee that Mars ever supported even the most primitive life form. But without water, the possibility ofany life is simply anon-starter.''

However, Orlando Figueroa, director of NASA's Mars exploration programme, disputed that the European discovery was new.

He said: ''Our Odyssey spacecraft that has been orbiting Mars since 2001 did discover vast amounts of frozen water.

''It's not new news but we're happy to see their satellite is also able to pick upwhere it exists.''

Europe's Mars Express has sent back hundreds of stunning pictures from 195 miles abovethe surface. …