Mars had the ingredients needed for life

NASA  JPL-Caltech  MSSS

After years of searching Mars for any signs that it might sustain life or might have sustained life, NASA has finally found organic matter on the Red Planet.

It has been six years since the Mars rover Curiosity landed on the red planet, and now, the space vehicle has some news to share. "That means Mars today is not a 'dead planet, ' but somewhere underground there are reactions occurring today that release and absorb an atmospheric gas that is nearly always related to warm water or life on Earth".

Humayan is a professor of geochemistry at Florida State Univeristy and on staff at the FSU-headquartered National High Magnetic Field Laboratory.

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

A NASA rover has detected a bonanza of organic compounds on the surface of Mars and seasonal fluctuations of atmospheric methane in findings released on Thursday that mark some of the strongest evidence ever that Earth's neighbor may have harbored life.

"We know that on Earth microorganisms eat all kinds of organic products, it is a source of valuable food for them", said Eigenbrode.

In samples of soil on Mars was discovered organic matter.

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. They've found organic carbon on the surface of Mars! The molecules in the mudstone could have once enabled life to form in lakes when Mars still had liquid water on its surface and the methane could have been produced by life.

"All this is possible thanks to the longevity of Curiosity, the long duration of this mission has allowed us to see the patterns in these seasonal changes", said the lead author of this research, Chriss Webster, in a statement released by NASA.

While this still does prove the existence of extraterrestrial life, it certainly is a step in the direction of potential life on Mars billions of years ago. "The first one would be life, which we don't know about". Besides, Curiosity is confident: "I have not yet found life on Mars, but the signs do not deceive ..."

Scientists also discovered that the amount of methane gas in the Martian atmosphere changes with the seasons, although the cause of these fluctuations was not clear. According to ten Kate, the recent findings leaves so many questions unanswered and calls for better equipment and extensive measurement hours.

The findings were also remarkable in that they showed that organic material can be preserved for billions of years on the harsh Martian surface. Although there was no way to directly date the organic material found within the rocks, it has to be at least as old as the rocks themselves.

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