Has the Mars Curiosity rover found something? NASA shares news today

  • Has the Mars Curiosity rover found something? NASA shares news today

Has the Mars Curiosity rover found something? NASA shares news today

NASA went a step further in its investigation into the presence of life on Mars by announcing that its Curiosity explorer robot, a mission that landed on that planet in 2012, has found organic molecules in rocks on the Martian surface."The chances of finding signs of remote life in future missions, if life was ever present on Mars, simply increased", said Curiosity project director Ashwin Vasavada on the USA agency's television channel.

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". Billions of years ago, Mars had water on its surface, and the Gale Crater region on Mars had all the necessary elements that are necessary for the creation of biological life forms.

On June 7, 2018, NASA released their new findings of the red planet, Mars.

In the second paper, scientists describe the discovery of seasonal variations in methane in the Martian atmosphere over the course of nearly three Mars years, which is almost six Earth years.

While such organic compounds could have been produced by ancient life - or could have provided a food source for ancient organisms - it is also possible that the molecules were created in the complete absence of life.

The discovery includes a rock which was drilled by Rover during the year 2014 and 2015.

The amount of methane peaked at the end of summer in the northern hemisphere at about 2.7 times the level of the lowest seasonal amount. Thiophenes are the simplest sulphur-containing aromatic compounds (aromatic refers to how the molecules are bonded together) and it occurs with benzene in coal tar. Kate told Live Science that it is a big deal to find organic compounds in rocks aged 3.5 billion years. According to scientists, this is the best piece of evidence that have been found so far.

The discovery has been reported in the journal Science by NASA's Jennifer Eigenbrode and an worldwide team of scientists.

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.

NASA has not yet provided clues on what the new results are about, but it said that during the event, NASA scientists will have chats with the the public and media on the findings.

Although the origin of the gas is unknown, scientists say it could have been trapped underground as a byproduct of organic processes in the distant past and is now slowly seeping out.

"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. The findings hold a huge significance as it might mean that Gale Crater had habitable conditions similar to the Earth, where life was evolving around that time. The organic molecules were found in Gale Crater - believed to once contain a shallow lake the size of Florida's Lake Okeechobee. "We need to go to places that we think are the most likely places to find it".