NASA Rover found organic molecule on Mars


The evidence (via NBC News) has been found by NASA's Curiosity rover, a robotic vehicle that has been conducting experiments and exploring Mars for nearly six years now.

NASA's Curiosity Rover has done a discovery on the surface of Mars by finding an organic particle.

Analysis by Curiosity indicates that billions of years ago, a lake inside Gale crater held all the ingredients necessary for life, including chemical building blocks, energy sources, and liquid water.

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

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They could be evidence for the development of ancient life on Mars but they could also have come from a meteorite or other sources, Efe reported. Living things produce numerous organic molecules and therefore, the finding of traces of organic matter on Mars suggests that there are conditions that may allow for the formation of life on the planet.

In a second paper in Science, NASA's Christopher Webster and an global team describe how they have used instruments on-board Curiosity to measure a seasonal variation in methane levels in the Martian atmosphere.

In addition to finding organic molecules in the rocks in Gale Crater, rover scientists are reporting another intriguing finding. "And it makes us more confident that if biomarkers" - or direct evidence of biologic activity - "are there, we might find them".

It's unclear exactly what we'll learn from the conference, as the space agency has only revealed that it has new "science results" to share with its eager public. For what was said detected molecule is unknown.

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Scientists do not exclude a biological origin of the methane, due to the fact that its level changes from season to season.

On Thursday NASA had made an announcement, stating that a recent finding seems to confirm that there used to be life on Mars, and maybe even still is.

Christopher Webster, an atmospheric science research fellow at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California, said it is possible existing microbes are contributing to the Martian atmospheric methane, said a report by news agency Reuters.

Webster theorizes the methane created either now or long ago is seeping from deep underground reservoirs up through cracks and fissures in the crust. The organic molecules were found in Gale Crater - believed to once contain a shallow lake the size of Florida's Lake Okeechobee.

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Clearly, there are more questions about Mars that need answering. But the scientists who have published two studies in the journal Science, are optimistic: this means that the organic matter can be preserved in the most challenging environments on the planet Mars.