NASA has today announced new findings that suggest Mars could have once sustained organic life. According to a press release from them, the Curiosity rover has found the building blocks for life in some extremely old rocks.
The sedimentary rocks in question are known as mudstone and are said to be three billion years old, housing “tough” organic molecules containing hydrogen and carbon. To be clear, this is far from proof of life, but rather, suggests life may have once been possible long ago.
Scientists are yet to determine the origins of these molecules, but according to past data, the site in which the rock is sitting – Gale Crater – may have once held a lake billions of years ago. If accurate, a liquid lake would almost certainly have hosted the ingredients to sustain life.
It’s an exciting discovery and hopefully one that helps us further our understanding of Earth‘s nearest planetary neighbour.
Curiosity also found variations of methane gas in the Martian atmosphere over three Mars years (equal to six Earth years), something scientists reckon could have been generated via water-rock chemistry or something biological.
“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.”
While we may never know what kind life Mars once hosted, it’s good to know that making it a habitable planet one day could be becoming increasingly possible.Source: NASA
Image: The Martian