Nasa's Curiosity rover has found organic matter preserved on Mars, in a discovery that could suggest it was once home to life.
The molecules represent an intriguing suggestion that Mars has been far more alive than we ever knew. While the discovery does not shed light on whether Mars was once home to alien life, and whether it could still be, the findings could be the result of ancient life there.
"The chances of being able to find signs of ancient life with future missions, if life ever was present, just went up," said Curiosity's project scientist, Ashwin Vasavada of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.
Experts say that the findings should propel us to look for conclusive evidence of alien life living on the planet.
“With these new findings, Mars is telling us to stay the course and keep searching for evidence of life,” said Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator for the Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters, in Washington. “I’m confident that our ongoing and planned missions will unlock even more breathtaking discoveries on the Red Planet.”
The new announcement is actually the result of two new studies reveal vast new detail about how methane exists on the planet, as well as the unexpected organic molecules that are preserved in its soil.
And one team has made a significant breakthrough in our attempt to understand the ancient organic matter on Mars, which could help us understand whether the world was once habitable and what happened to it in the billions of years since.
The surface of Mars inhospitable today. But in the past, it almost certainly had liquid water, which could have helped fuel life there.
The Curiosity rover has headed to an area that was thought to once have been a large lake of that water, inside Gale Crater. It was inside that hole that scientists found the new findings, which suggest that water lake had all the necessary ingredients for life – from the chemical building blocks needed to the energy sources required to keep it alive.
SOURCE: NASA https://svs.gsfc.nasa.gov/12967
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