NASA Has Discovered Organic Matter ‘Fundamental to Life’ on Mars
NASA Has Discovered Organic Matter ‘Fundamental to Life’ on Mars
Life on Mars? NASA’s Curiosity rover discovers ancient evidence on the red planet
10 June, 2018, 21:58
After years of searching Mars for any signs that it might sustain life or might have sustained life, NASA has finally found organic matter on the Red Planet. Even more compelling was the fact that these compounds seemed to have broken off even bigger, more complex "macromolecules" - substances found on Earth in coal, black shale and other ancient organic remains. "We are one step closer to understanding our neighbor planet's history, and I look forward to all this mission will continue to find".
Updated on June 8 with news that Curiosity found the building blocks of life on Mars.
Analysis by Curiosity indicates that billions of years ago, a lake inside Gale crater held all the ingredients necessary for life, including chemical building blocks, energy sources, and liquid water. That's because the surface of Mars is constantly bombarded with radiation that can break down organic compounds.
The third theory we've all been wanting to prove it's true is that methane could be created by life on Mars. About 95 percent of the methane in Earth's atmosphere is produced from biological activity, though the scientists said it is too soon to know if the Martian methane also is related to life. This is the first time that we've gathered concrete evidence of the existence of organic compounds on the red planet.
"All this is possible thanks to the longevity of Curiosity, the long duration of this mission has allowed us to see the patterns in these seasonal changes", said the lead author of this research, Chriss Webster, in a statement released by NASA.
The rover also discovered traces of methane in the Martian atmosphere, which was reported in a second paper in Science. "Past detections have been so faint that they could be just contamination", the journal said.
The Curiosityrover which is now trundling around the Gale Crater has found organic material in samples of mudstone, that once upon a time sat at the bottom of an an ancient lake.
In addition to finding organic molecules in the rocks in Gale Crater, rover scientists are reporting another intriguing finding.
"We have no proof that the methane is formed biologically, but we can not rule it out, even with this new data set", Webster said.
Analyzing pieces of rock in different seasons, Curiosity found that the rocks have variation of methane which differs from season to season. "We need to go to places that we think are the most likely places to find it".
So, at present, this new information may not be a strong indicator of the presence of life on Mars at present, or somewhere during its past, it does provide a starting point for further Mars missions, NASA is planning on sending new Mars missions that will search for signs of life on the planet's surface and also below its surface.
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