NASA's Curiosity Rover Finds Chemical Building Blocks For Life On Mars

NASA finds organic matter on Mars

"That the Curiosity rover recovered organics from a drilled mudstone sample is a game changer for Mars life studies".

Curiosity's latest data reveal that the watery lake that once filled Mars's Gale Crater contained complex organic molecules about 3.5 billion years ago.

The search robot NASA has discovered new evidence that Mars once could have life.

Curiosity recently discovered carbon-containing compounds in an ancient lakebed, as well as shifting levels of the organic molecule methane in the Martian atmosphere.

What they can't say yet is whether there is, or ever was, life on the Red Planet. In 2013, the rover found that liquid water and the chemical components behind life had once existed on Mars.

Carbon, which is the primary ingredient of coal was also found to be in roughly the same quantities as those observed in Martian meteorites found on Earth, and about 100 times greater in concentration than prior detections of organic carbon on Mars' surface.

The third theory we've all been wanting to prove it's true is that methane could be created by life on Mars.

Curiosity observed that the amount of methane gas in the planet's atmosphere increased in the summer and decreased in the summer.

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This is not the first time that Curiosity has detected organic molecules, but previous measurements were considered unreliable because of possible sample contamination and unwanted chemical reactions.

The findings were also remarkable in that they showed that organic material can be preserved for billions of years on the harsh Martian surface.

In addition to finding organic molecules in the rocks in Gale Crater, rover scientists are reporting another intriguing finding. According to ten Kate, the recent findings leaves so many questions unanswered and calls for better equipment and extensive measurement hours.

The discovery, published on Thursday by the journal Science, is longtime in the making.

"We have no proof that the methane is formed biologically, but we can not rule it out, even with this new data set", Webster said.

Organic molecules are mainly made up of carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen and various other elements, and presence of all these elements is necessary for the evolution of biological life on any planet. "We need to go to places that we think are the most likely places to find it".

As it stands, conference participants include Paul Mahaffy, director of the Solar System Exploration Division at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland; Jen Eigenbrode, a research scientist at Goddard; Chris Webster, a senior research fellow at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California; and Ashwin Vasavada, Mars Science Laboratory project scientist at JPL.

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