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Mars likely to have enough oxygen to support life: study

Mars likely to have eogh oxygen to sustain life

Salty water just below the surface of Mars could hold enough oxygen to support the kind of microbial life that emerged and flourished on Earth billions of years ago, researchers reported.

In some locations, the amount of oxygen available could even keep alive a primitive, multicellular animal such as a sponge, they reported in the journal Nature Geosciences on Monday.

"We discovered that brines" - water with high concentrations of salt - "on Mars can contain enough oxygen for microbes to breathe," said lead author Vlada Stamenkovic, a theoretical physicist at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California, United States.

"This fully revolutionises our understanding of the potential for life on Mars, today and in the past," he told the AFP news agency.

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