Mars Rover Curiosity Finds More Clues to the Potential for Life

Getty    
     IMMINENT NASA is to reveal findings from its Mars mission

"With these new findings, Mars is telling us to stay the course and keep searching for evidence of life", said Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator for the Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters, in Washington. What they found are organic molecules but not something in a molecular form that is important for life. Organic molecules contain carbon, the chemical element central to life.

Scientists reported Thursday that NASA's Curiosity rover has found potential building blocks of life in an ancient Martian lake bed.

Almost six years into its survey of a site called Gale Crater on Mars, NASA's Curiosity rover has delivered what may be the biggest discovery yet in its quest for signs of habitability and life: Organic molecules are abundant in Red Planet rocks, and the simplest organic molecule, methane, seasonally blows through the thin Martian air.

"Curiosity has not determined the source of the organic molecules", cautioned Jen Eigenbrode of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in a NASA release. The 2020 rover will include an advanced spectrometer to scan for organic molecules. The organic molecules and volatiles, comparable to samples of sedimentary rock rich in organics on Earth, included thiopene, methylthiophenes methanethiol and dimethylsulfide.

Regardless, the detection is a technical achievement, said Williford, because it demonstrates that organic molecules can persist near Mars's surface for billions of years.

"And maybe we can find something better preserved than that, that has signatures of life in it", she told AFP. There was also mention of some "mysterious" methane fluctuations in Mars' atmosphere, but I'm more concerned with the ancient organic stuff, which, it should be noted, does not mean ancient living stuff.

"That would be exciting because if that is done within two years, NASA can send a mission specifically to that place", he said. On Earth, 1,800 out of every billion molecules in the atmosphere is methane, and 95 percent of it comes for biological sources: Burning fossil fuels, decomposing debris, burping cows. "Those organic molecules could have come from life".

Beyoncé and Jay-Z Re-Introduce the Twins During OTRII Tour Kick-Off
It is unclear who the babies in the photos are and why Beyonce and Jay-Z chose to display these portraits during the tour opening. Starting tonight in the United Kingdom, JAY and Bey's worldwide run will focus on a mixture of Europe and North America stops.

Curiosity's project scientist, Ashwin Vasavada of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, said: "The chances of being able to find signs of ancient life with future missions, if life ever was present, just went up".

NASA calls the Curiosity rover the "largest and most capable" device ever constructed to explore Mars. They could even have been transported from elsewhere in the solar system.

The team picked up a welter of closely related organic signals reflecting dozens or hundreds of types of small carbon molecules, probably short rings and strands called aromatics and aliphatics, respectively.

The methane observations provide "one of the most compelling" cases for present-day life, she said. About 3.5 billion years ago, research suggests, this pockmark on the Martian surface was brimming with water. Or reactions driven by Mars's ancient volcanoes could have formed the compounds from primordial carbon dioxide.

NASA will use both these discoveries to inform the design of its upcoming Mars 2020 rover.

This latest discovery of organics does more than open the door for more study of organic matter on Mars.

Dr Webster said the difference was much larger than what you would expect if the methane was produced by the breakdown of organic matter from space. "But it doesn't tell us that life was there".

Related News:



Most liked

NTSB releases preliminary findings on March's fatal Tesla Model X crash
In April, a Tesla Model S that struck a firetruck in Utah while in Autopilot mode may also have sped up before impact. Drivers are expected to keep their hands on the wheel and engaged at all times when the feature is activated.

Dutch queen's sister dies in Argentina
Her body was found Wednesday night by her mother María del Carmen Cerruti and a friend of Zorreguieta, said news agency EFE. Her death comes 10 months after the death of Maxima's father Jorge Zorreguieta , who died at the age of 89 from cancer.

Liverpool closing in on Nabil Fekir deal with Lyon
The case won't certainly be resolved during the World Cup and I do not think that there will be changes before (the WC). "Talks between the clubs could conclude on Friday about a deal that may amount to 60m euros", reported the BBC.

Amazon is killing the TV remote
Google's $130 (£105) Home speaker is triggered by the phrase "Hey Google" while Amazon's Echo uses "Alexa". The Amazon Fire TV Cube features eight microphones embedded deep within to listen to user's commands.

Texas man bitten by severed rattlesnake head
Sutcliffe says her husband quickly took his shovel and cut off the snake's head. "He had to rip it off". Following the bite, the man started having seizures, lost his vision and suffered internal bleeding.

French Open 2018: Muguruza dumps Sharapova to reach semis
An American awaits in the final, as Sloane Stephens beat Madison Keys in a rematch of the US Open final. Maria Sharapova's French Open comeback has been ended in straight sets by ruthless Garbine Muguruza .

Koch brothers take on Trump over tariffs with multi-million dollar campaign
David, who was diagnosed with prostate cancer nearly two decades ago, is the executive vice president at Koch Industries. He also gave $128 million to New York Presbyterian Hospital, $26.5 million to the M.D.

Why The Warriors Are Unhappy With Kendrick Perkins
For a Toronto-based sports writer, it is an odd feeling to come to Cleveland and see the home team as heavy underdogs. The Cavaliers kept him to 11 points on 3-of-16 shooting, leaving Durant to pick up the slack.

Cristiano Ronaldo's wish to leave Real Madrid is 'irreversible'
Cristiano Ronaldo wants to leave Real Madrid this summer and his decision is "irreversible", according to reports in Portugal. Ronaldo posted a photograph on Twitter with Portugal's possible starting XI and the message: "Ready".

Val Kilmer Confirmed For Top Gun 2 Return
The actor had previously confirmed that he was indeed asked to come back to reprise his role as Iceman in the sequel. Production on the long-in-the-works follow-up began last week , and Tom Cruise is back again in the lead role.

Fekir chances boosted for Liverpool as Lyon confirm Ben Arfa interest
However, Fekir has never started a competitive match for France so is unlikely to be a key player at the 2018 World Cup . But with the player reportedly insisting on leaving the club only for Liverpool, has forced Aulas' hand in the deal.

Kevin De Bruyne defends Pep Guardiola over Yaya Toure racism claims
In 2010, the former African footballer of the year joined Manchester City from Spanish club Barcelona in which he claimed Guardiola forced him out at the Nou Camp.

Irish boxing gym 'heartbroken' by fatal shooting
Sky Sports reported Tuesday morning that the attacker entered the gym, fired numerous shots and fled in a silver Volkswagen. Katie Taylor, 31, won gold at the 2012 Olympics before turning professional, having been trained by her father Pete.

Days feel longer? Blame the Moon for moving slowly away from Earth
The calculations unveiled the fact that about 1.4 billion years ago our Blue Planet witnessed a full revolution about its axis. These variations ultimately determine where sunlight is distributed on Earth, based on the planet's rotation and tilt.

Samsung Galaxy Note 9 renders leak
Further, rumours point to the Note 9 featuring a Snapdragon 845 or Exynos 9810 chipset, 6GB of RAM and up to 256GB of storage. As it turns out, the Galaxy Note 9 won't be too different from last year's Note 8 - just as we previously assumed.