NASA’s Curiosity rover has found new evidence preserved in rocks on Mars that suggests the planet could have supported ancient life, as well as new evidence in the Martian atmosphere that relates to the search for current life on the Red Planet. While not necessarily evidence of life itself, these findings are a good sign for future missions exploring the planet’s surface and subsurface.

BTW: Follow the money…follow the water…follow the methane!

A biological signature for the methane is not ruled out.

“Are there signs of life on Mars?” said Michael Meyer, lead scientist for NASA’s Mars Exploration Program, at NASA Headquarters. “We don’t know, but these results tell us we are on the right track.”

Credit: NASA/JPL-CALTECH

Next steps

Carnegie Institution’s Andrew Steele was a key member of the research team, whose work on this project built off his discovery six years ago of indigenous organic carbon in 10 Martian meteorites. The organic molecules he found in 2012 are comparable to those found by Curiosity.

Steele says that the next steps must be looking for organic compounds that are released from the rock samples at lower temperatures.

“The next target is material that comes out when heated to less than 600 degrees Celsius, which is where the molecules are that will provide evidence of biological activity or the kinds of abiotic chemistry that could give rise to life,” Steele said.

Go to Science magazine at:

http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2018/06/nasa-rover-hits-organic-pay-dirt-mars

Also:

http://science.sciencemag.org/content/360/6393/1096.full

 

 

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