More signs of past - and possibly present - habitability of Mars

Scientists agree more powerful spacecraft - and, ideally, rocks returned to Earth from Mars - are needed to prove whether tiny organisms like bacteria ever existed on the red planet.

The new findings - "tough" organic molecules in three-billion-year-old sedimentary rocks near the surface, as well as seasonal variations in the levels of methane in the atmosphere - appear in the June 8 edition of the journal Science. While commonly associated with life, organic molecules also can be created by non-biological processes and are not necessarily indicators of life, NASA says. Organic matter can be one of several things: a record detailing ancient life, a food source for life or something that exists in the place of life. "It probably indicates more active water in the subsurface than we understood", scientist Kirsten Siebach, Martian geologist at Rice University not involved with the studies, told Gizmodo. The organic material discovered on Mars is rich in sulphur, which would have also helped to preserve it.

It was to a great fanfare of publicity that researchers announced they had found evidence for past life on Mars in 1996. In addition, some of the readings could have come from contamination that had tagged along from Earth; others could have been produced in combustion as the sample was heated, which may have been the case in an earlier detection of organics by Curiosity.

From everything we can tell of the chemistry and the minerals deposited in the Gale crater where Curiosity is stationed, "we think it was a habitable environment", Jennifer Eigenbrode from the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center told Gizmodo.

Curiosity rover on Mars.

NASA scientists announced at a press conference that soil samples analyzed from a dry lake bed on the red planet's surface had revealed traces of organic molecules that have been apparently preserved on Mars' surface for billions of years, USA Today reported. "And then we went, 'oops, not only did we not find it, but we don't really know what we're looking for if it's not exactly like Earth.' And maybe that was not the best way to go about it".

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".

Curiosity also has confirmed seasonal increases of methane in the Martian atmosphere. Methane previously had been detected in Mars' atmosphere in large, unpredictable plumes.

NASA's Curiosity rover used an instrument called SAM (Sample Analysis at Mars) to detect seasonal changes in atmospheric methane in Gale Crater.

NASA also has another rover in the works with its Mars 2020 mission, which plans to drill cores and set them aside for a possible future pickup and return to Earth.

The surface of Mars may be inhospitable today, but there is strong evidence that the Martian climate once accommodated liquid water - which, as most of you will know, is one of the key components to life - to pool at the surface. And NASA didn't launch another mission to Mars for over a decade.

NASA has been searching for confirmation of organic molecules on Mars since the 1970s when it sent the Viking landers to the planet.

"We've considered three possible sources for the organics: geology, meteorites and biology", she said.

Related News:



Most liked

No Kaala release in Karnataka, fans devastated
Most theatres in Bengaluru also chose to heed to the call made by pro-Kannada organisations and Karnataka chief minister H.D. The usual buzz around a Rajinikanth film was missing for Kaala till recently due to the low-key promotions.

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.

Video shows rats crawling through bags of Burger King buns
In a statement to 6abc Action News, Burger King Media Relations said, " Food safety and hygiene is always a top priority for us ". A leak was also spotted in the kitchen ceiling, and flies were seen coming from a drain not far from where the rolls were stored.

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.

Ex-defence intelligence officer arrested over alleged spying for China
Officials said he was arrested after a sting operation near the Seattle airport, as he was headed toward a China-bound flight. He suggested the informant should "cut a hole in a nearby tree and hide [the documents] in that location", agents wrote.

Reham Khan's book has 'moronic theories': Imran Khan's first wife Jemima Goldsmith
PTI supporters fear such allegations or claims of infidelity could hurt Imran's appeal among Pakistan's conservative urban middle-class.

Cast of Oceans 8 turn the red carpet into a runway
So it was a big "wake-up moment" when she arrived in Hollywood, which is infamous for its boisterous boys' clubs. But in the case of Cate Blanchett and Sarah Paulson's Tuesday morning Today Show interview, it was anything but.

Here's The Massive First Setlist From Beyoncé & JAY-Z's New World Tour
Starting tonight in the United Kingdom, JAY and Bey's worldwide run will focus on a mixture of Europe and North America stops. Beyoncé and Jay-Z kicked off their On The Run II world tour tonight in Cardiff (June 7).

Isaiah Thomas trolls Cavs, says they will get swept
Why? The exchange starts at about the 6:40 mark in the video below, and sends the older I.T. scurrying off camera in laughter. On the day the NBA Finals began, former Cleveland Cavalier Isaiah Thomas took a side: he was rooting for his former squad .

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.

Hooked on your iPhone? At WWDC 2018, Apple finally offers help
Apple iOS 12 will show a detailed battery usage graph along with screen on usage, and screen off usage time, mentioned separately. The iPhone X's Animoji feature gained a few new characters, but all of the attention is on a new feature called Memoji .

Moto Z3 Play Hands-On: A Modular Phone You Can Afford
Motorola says the front and rear cameras can also record slow-motion footage, but the company didn't provide any specifics. As of writing, there hasn't been enough information averrable to get an accurate estimation of the Moto Z3 Play's price .

Chuck Schumer Rips Trump Amid Reported ZTE Deal
Commerce Department spokesperson said that no definitive agreement between the agency and ZTE has been signed. The report says ZTE could pay a total of $1.7 billion as part of the agreement.

South African gets life in prison for axe murders of family
We know from an independent witness that there was an argument‚ a loud one‚ which persisted in your house for several hours. These attacks show a high level of innate cruelty and disregard for the welfare of your own family.

Israeli troops fatally shoot Palestinian stone-thrower during West Bank raid
It was not immediately clear whether Tamimi died at the scene or after the soldiers took him away in an armoured vehicle. Palestinians said she repeatedly told the soldiers to leave her land, which is considered occupied under global law.