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by ibgames

EARTHDATE: June 17, 2018

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by Hazed

Speaking of Mars rovers, the Curiosity rover has found evidence in Martian rocks and in the planet’s atmosphere that suggest it would have been possible for the planet to support life in the past.

No, they haven’t actually found life, or any signs of life from the past, but the findings show life on Mars was possible once.

The new findings are “tough” organic molecules in three-billion-year-old sedimentary rocks near the surface, and seasonal variations in the levels of methane in the atmosphere.

The organic molecules hold chemical clues to the conditions and processes on the planet. Jen Eigenbrode of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center said, “The Martian surface is exposed to radiation from space. Both radiation and harsh chemicals break down organic matter. Finding ancient organic molecules in the top five centimetres of rock that was deposited when Mars may have been habitable, bodes well for us to learn the story of organic molecules on Mars with future missions that will drill deeper.”

Meanwhile the discovery of seasonal variations in methane in the Martian atmosphere over three Mars years (almost six Earth years) was made by Curiosity’s Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instruments. It is possible that the methane was generated by the chemical interaction of water with rocks, but there is also a possibility of biological origins.

Michael Meyer, lead scientist for NASA’s Mars Exploration Program, at NASA Headquarters said, “Are there signs of life on Mars? We don’t know, but these results tell us we are on the right track.”

Source: https://www.nasa.gov/press-release/nasa-finds-ancient-organic-material-mysterious-methane-on-mars

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