NASA's Curiosity rover discovers organic matter on Mars


Sadly, most scientists dismissed this claim in the decade that followed - finding other explanations for the rock's formation.

And that did the trick.

NASA announced two new clues in the search for life on Mars today (June 7, 2018), both discovered by its Curiosity rover. "If you can do this on Mars, imagine what you can do with analytical facilities available to us on Earth", he says.

Is this the discovery of Martians?

Biogeochemist and geologist Jen Eigenbrode of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center is lead author of one of the two new Science papers, the one related to organic molecules.

"The question of whether life might have originated or existed on Mars is a lot more opportune now that we know that organic molecules were present on its surface at that time", Kate said.

But that's not the only discovery from Mars.

Seasonal changes in methane at Gale Crater.

On 6 August 2012, the Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instrument suite (1) arrived on Mars onboard the Curiosity rover. The one experimental result that wasn't an outright "no" was controversial.

What has NASA found on Mars? The innumerable technological advances which space explorations have given us? So what if scientists were able to drill 10 meters, 100 meters, 1,000 meters?

"Viking was this sort of shot in the dark", says David Grinspoon, an astrobiologist with the Planetary Science Institute. Hints have been found before, but this is the best evidence yet.

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Scientists realized that they had to take a step back and try a more cautious, methodical approach. "It is not telling us that life was there, but it is saying that everything organisms really needed to live in that kind of environment, all of that was there".

Are there signs of life on Mars? And now they've added a catalogue of organic molecules to that list. Finding organics is critical. To combat the contamination, the Curiosity team focused on finding more chlorine-containing organics, and limited subsequent SAM runs to temperatures between 200 and 400 degrees C.

Inorganic carbon is carbon that is found in compounds that are completely unlike biological molecules. The molecules could have been deposited on Mars by meteorites or formed in the lake through non-biological means.

The Mars of today is a barren and inhospitable place for living things, but scientists think it may have been very different in the past. Methane is another organic molecule. Based on the masses of the detected gases, the scientists could determine that the complex organic matter consisted of aromatic and aliphatic components including sulfur-containing species such as thiophenes.

Nasa's Curiosity rover has discovered organic matter on Mars, the agency has announced in a press conference.

Even now, the ExoMars mission is making strides. But the origin of methane on Mars has always been debated.

Researchers said the findings correspond with findings of traces of methane, a chemical produced by some organic life forms, in the planet's atmosphere.

Curiosity has been drilling since 2013. It also signals the next step in our astrobiological investigation of Mars.

"Once it's on the surface, the temperature on the surface regulates the way in which it holds on to the methane through 'stickiness, ' or surface adsorption as we call it", he says.

The next stage might not be just about past life, Pontefract says. "And what it does is give us the key to unlocking the mysteries associated with methane, because now we have something to test our models and our understanding against".

Then she looked at the analyzer results again. "And Mars always surprises us".