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Lifeless Martian samples and their significance

Although a major objective in Mars exploration is the search for life, there are many scenarios that could lead to the recovery of lifeless samples. What could lifeless samples tell us about Mars and its habitability?

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Acknowledgements

C.S.C. acknowledges support from Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) grant ST/R000875/1. S.M. acknowledges support from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme under Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement 747877.

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Correspondence to Charles S. Cockell.

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Fig. 1: Scenarios leading to the recovery of lifeless samples from Mars.