NASA's Curiosity rover discovers organic matter on Mars

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And that did the trick.

The two studies appear in the journal Science.

Is this the discovery of Martians?

Organic molecules are considered one of the basic building blocks of life.

The rover also discovered traces of methane on Mars.

NASA's Curiosity rover has again found evidence that Mars was potentially capable of hosting life.

The discovery proves that while Mars is inhospitable today, it previously allowed for "liquid water" to pool, meaning a water lake inside Mars' Gale Crater could have once supported life, NASA said in an announcement on Tuesday. "We were just blown away", he said.

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Curiosity has detected organics embedded in the sediments of the "Pahrump Hills" area of Gale Crater.

Curiosity rover on Mars.

NASA actually isn't looking for life on Mars right now. The one experimental result that wasn't an outright "no" was controversial. The innumerable technological advances which space explorations have given us?

"Ideally we want to get to samples that have not been irradiated". "It's on the table with all the other ones", Dr. Eigenbrode said. In the past, scientists have seen plumes and patches of this intriguing substance, but this is the first time they've been able to discern a pattern in its presence.

"Viking was this sort of shot in the dark", says David Grinspoon, an astrobiologist with the Planetary Science Institute.

At this point, we simply don't know whether the origin is biological or geological. "It is not telling us that life was there, but it is saying that everything organisms really needed to live in that kind of environment, all of that was there", explained Eigenbrode.

Clearly, there are more questions about Mars that need answering. Methane is another organic molecule. Finding organics is critical.

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For his part Webster says he has no preference among the different explanations, and believes it will take a long time before any final conclusions can be drawn. So they looked elsewhere. Regardless of how these molecules originated, they are a key sign of habitability.

The Mars Curiosity rover is sniffing methane in the Martian air but NASA researchers suspect that the distinctive gas-often a sign of life on Earth-may be leaking from buried deposits and not from microbes living on the Red Planet today, space agency scientists said Thursday. Samples of ancient mudstone yielded a diversity of organic molecules in SAM's oven-and in a separate study, five years' worth of atmospheric samples gathered by SAM tracked fluctuating levels of methane that peaked in the Martian summer. Or it could be ancient, belched out billions of years ago by geologic or biological processes and then trapped in matrices of ice and rock that unfreeze when warmed by the sun. So like the organic molecules, it's not an unambiguous biosignature. Or reactions driven by Mars's ancient volcanoes could have formed the compounds from primordial carbon dioxide. Now, scientists working with NASA's Curiosity rover are reporting that this rock still harbours organic molecules that must have been present in the water all those eons ago.

"Curiosity has not determined the source of the organic molecules", cautioned Jen Eigenbrode of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in a NASA release. All we can say from the data is that there is complex organic matter similar to what is found in many equivalent aged rocks on the Earth. From those components, scientists work backward to figure out what molecules the rock was originally made of.

The new study reveals the discovery of complex and diverse organic compounds in more detail, however. It also signals the next step in our astrobiological investigation of Mars. "Whether there was in the past or not is certainly an open question".

"The results convincingly show the long-awaited detection of organic compounds on Mars".

"You're seeing a factor of three change in the methane in the atmosphere of Mars".

Potential contaminants were analyzed and accounted for, so the results are the most conclusive yet.

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