According to NASA, There Are Chances Life May Have Existed on Mars

James Marshall
June 10, 2018

But it is "consistent with the past presence of biology", said Ken Williford, an astrobiologist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. However, scientists need more evidences and observations to draw any conclusions as it is premature to know how the compounds were created in the biological process.

While the rover hasn't exactly found solid evidence of life-like activity on Mars, it did make quite a major discovery a year after landing.

Although the media and the scientific community had speculated that NASA would today announce clear evidence of the existence of life on Mars, today's message means only one more step in that direction. It also demonstrates that organic molecules can exist on Mars's surface for billions of years. "And even if life was never around, they [the molecules] tell us there was at least something around for organisms to eat".

It's been quite some time since we heard from Curiosity, which first landed on Mars in August of 2012.

"When you work with something as insane as a rover on Mars, with the most complex instrument ever sent to space, it seems like we're doing what may have been perceived earlier as impossible", says lead author Jennifer Eigenbrode , a biogeochemist at NASA Goddard. With so many plans being set forward, this is an exciting time for mankind, as we begin the next stage of exploring Mars and gaining a greater understanding of the many mysteries it holds. "Both radiation and harsh chemicals break down organic matter", said Jen Eigenbrode, a NASA scientists who was the lead author of two papers detailing the latest findings, in a statement.

There are some non-biological explanations for the detection - this combination of compounds has also been found in meteorites.

In 2013, SAM detected some organic molecules containing chlorine in rocks at the deepest point in the crater.

Methane is considered the simplest organic molecule. The study, which ran for three Martian years (about five Earth years), found that methane concentration in the summer was almost three times higher than in the winter. Methane levels were measured over a period of 4.5 years, which showed an increase of methane during late winter in the southern hemisphere and late summer in the northern hemisphere. They suggest that warmer conditions might release the gas from reservoirs beneath the surface. Hints of them are still preserved in sulfur-spiked rocks derived from lake sediments. Future missions might also seek places where there's "significant seepage" and attempt to figure out its source.

The molecules, containing carbon and hydrogen, are locked in rocks that are 3 billion years old. Since on Earth most of methane found in the atmosphere has an organic origin, it's not that insane to suggest that this might be the case on Mars as well.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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