The problems of how warm and wet Mars once was and when climate transitions may have occurred are not well understood. Mars may have had an early environment similar to Earth's that was conductive to the ermergence of life. In addition, increasing geologic evidence indicates that water, upon which terrestrial life depends, has been present on Mars throughout its history. This evidence suggests that life could have developed not only on early Mars but also over longer periods of time in longer lasting, more clement local environments. Indications of past or present life most likely would be found in areas where liquid water existed in sufficient quantities to provide for the needs of biological systems. We suggest that paleolakes may have provided such environments. Unlike the case on Earth, this record of the origin and evolution of life has probably not been erased by extensive deformation of the Martian surface. Our work has identified eleven prospective areas where large lacustrine basins may once have existed. These areas are important for future biological, geological, and climatological investigations. ?? 1991 Kluwer Academic Publishers.