GRE Reading Comprehension: JiJing 352-GRE阅读机经352篇 - 405MD37573S5CQ09K

Because of the proximity and likeness of Mars to Earth, scientists have long speculated about the possibility of life on Mars. Roughly three centuries ago, astronomers observed Martian polar ice caps, and later scientist's discovered other similarities to Earth, including length of day and axial tilt. But in 1965, photos taken by the Mariner 4 probe revealed a Mars without rivers, oceans or signs of life. Moreover, in the 1990s, it was discovered that unlike Earth, Mars no longer possessed a substantial global magnetic field, allowing celestial radiation to reach the planet's surface and solar wind to eliminate much of Mars's atmosphere over the course of several billion years. More recent probes have investigated whether there was once liquid water on Mars. Some scientists believe that the presence of certain geological landforms definitively resolves this question. Others posit that wind erosion or carbon dioxide oceans may be responsible for these formations. Mars rovers Opportunity and Spirit, which began exploring the surface of Mars in 2004, have both discovered geological evidence of past water activity. In 2013, the rover Curiosity found evidence that the soil on the surface of Mars is approximately 2% water by weight. These findings substantially bolster claims that there was once life on Mars.