Monday, 20 August, 2018

Scientists found loads more molecules associated with life on Mars

Curiosity tests a new way to drill on Mars What has Nasa found on Mars? Alien life? Watch announcement livestream here
Cary Marshall | 08 June, 2018, 07:11

Findings from Curiosity also reveal that a water lake inside Mars" Gale Crater once held all the "ingredients necessary for life", including "chemical building blocks and energy sources'. This is the matter-chemically characterized as combinations of carbon, hydrogen, and other elements routinely found in biology like sulphur and oxygen-often associated with life.

Two recent discoveries from Mars - one from the surface and one in the atmosphere - are the latest evidence that the Red Planet could have once supported life, according to NASA.

No, NASA hasn't discovered life on Mars yet-but a new result makes it seem like maybe, at some point in the planet's history, the conditions were ripe for some extraterrestrial beings.

The Mars Curiosity rover made an interesting discovery while on our neighboring red planet: organic material and a "mysterious" methane.

Curiosity rover on Mars. But the organic molecules identified by the car-sized rover then were too few and ambiguous. The organic molecules and volatiles, comparable to samples of sedimentary rock rich in organics on Earth, included thiopene, methylthiophenes methanethiol and dimethylsulfide. If scientists keep drilling deeper and more widely, as they plan to do with the European and Russian space agencies' ExoMars rover and NASA's Mars 2020 mission, who knows what they might find? The Viking Project was the first United States mission to safely land spacecraft on the Martian surface, as well as send back images.

"We don't know, but these results tell us we are on the right track"'.

One thing is for sure, though - whatever we can figure out about the chemistry of Mars, it's nearly certainly going to add precious details to our understanding of life in the cosmos.

More news: Kevin De Bruyne defends Pep Guardiola over Yaya Toure racism claims

NASA is remaining characteristically tight-lipped, but has confirmed the announcement will feature "new science results from NASA's Mars Curiosity Rover".

NASA's Curiosity Mars Rover snaps a self-portrait at a site called Vera Rubin Ridge on the Martian surface in February 2018 in this image obtained on June 7, 2018. However, finding organic material in such abundance suggests that it potentially has biological origins-either from bacteria or other forms of life that existed long ago. More powerful spacecraft are needed to prove whether life ever existed on Mars. So they looked elsewhere.

NASA scientists announced at a press conference that soil samples analyzed from a dry lake bed on the red planet's surface had revealed traces of organic molecules that have been apparently preserved on Mars' surface for billions of years, USA Today reported.

SAM measured small organic molecules that came off the mudstone sample - fragments of larger organic molecules that don't vaporize easily. This could be a sign that there is a reservoir of methane somewhere under the surface that was generated by chemical reactions involving water or, possibly, by Martian microbes. And scientists already expected that, in the early, more turbulent days of the solar system, organic compounds would rain down on Mars. "Both radiation and harsh chemicals break down organic matter", Eigenbrode continued. "But it doesn't tell us that life was there".

"I'm equally as fascinated by the idea that life never got started on Mars in the first place".

Researchers can not yet say whether their discovery stems from life or a more mundane geological process.

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