Mars had the ingredients needed for life

NASA invites a live discussion about Findings by Curiosity rover on Thursday

NASA invites a live discussion about Findings by Curiosity rover on Thursday

CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida-New Mars discoveries are advancing the case for possible life on the red planet, past or even present.

Jennifer Eigenbrode, with the NASA's Goddard Space Center in Maryland, said that the organic molecules found on Mars do not provide specific evidence of life since "they could have come from things that are non-biological".

The data, collected through drilling into the lowest point of the red planet's Gale crater, is part of the United States space agency's newly widened search for organic molecules that could indicate past life on the surface of Mars.

Also, scientists describe the discovery of seasonal changes of methane in the atmosphere of Mars for almost three years of Mars, which is nearly six earth years.

"This is a very exciting discovery, but we cannot confirm the origin of these molecules yet, it could be a previous life test, but they could also belong to a meteorite or other sources", said a cautious Mahaffy in the same presentation. Supporting these claims were other organics, found near Curiosity's landing site, using a Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instrument.

"The detection of organic molecules and methane on Mar has far-ranging implications in light of potential past life on Mars", explains Inge Loes ten Kate, a scientist at Utrecht University.

Although the media and the scientific community had speculated that NASA would today announce clear evidence of the existence of life on Mars, today's message means only one more step in that direction. Methane levels were measured over a period of 4.5 years, which showed an increase of methane during late winter in the southern hemisphere and late summer in the northern hemisphere.

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"Hard" organic molecules found in rocks aged about 3 billion years, they were near the surface of the rocks. About 3.5 billion years ago, research suggests, this pockmark on the Martian surface was brimming with water.

"What the organic detections in the rock do is to add to the story of habitability".

"The big takeaway is that we can find evidence". The experiment involved scientists heating the rock fragments to more than 900 degrees Fahrenheit, followed by a close inspection of the molecules that wafted away.

Humayun has done extensive work analyzing a Martian meteorite known as Black Beauty and has been published in prestigious journals such as Nature, Science, Meteoritics & Planetary Science and Earth & Planetary Science Letters.

He and his colleagues think the methane is coming from underground. This indicates that back then, favorable conditions on Mars might have allowed life to emerge and populate the planet.

Organic molecules contain carbon and hydrogen, and can include oxygen, nitrogen, and other elements.

Clearly, there are more questions about Mars that need answering.

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