NASA Robot Finds Evidence of Organic Matter on Mars
On Al Jazeera.com, NASA’s announcement of building blocks for life on Mars made a splash.
“This is the first really trusted detection,” said Sanjeev Gupta, a professor of Earth science at Imperial College London.
A NASA robot has found more evidence of potential life on Mars in identifying the most complex organic matter yet from 3.5 billion-year-old rocks on the surface of the red planet. The unmanned Curiosity rover has also found increasing evidence for seasonal variations of methane on Mars, indicating the source of the gas is likely the planet itself, or possibly its subsurface water.
With all the proper ingredients for life being found on the Red Planet, is it possible to prove we might not be the only life in the universe?
“This is a significant breakthrough because it means there are organic materials preserved in some of the harshest environments on Mars,” Jennifer Eigenbrode, an astrobiologist at NASA Goddard Spaceflight Center, told AFP news agency. “And maybe we can find something better preserved than that, that has signatures of life in it,” she said.
NASA scientist Chris Webster confirmed that water has been found on the Mars surface and has been present for “a very long time,” which points strongly toward a “habitable environment.”
The detection of a “repeatable identifiable methane cycle” could be a sign of active biological processes, Webster said.
NASA is planning to launch a new rover as early as July 2020 with a mission to comprehensively determine whether life ever arose on Mars, while characterizing the climate and geology of the red planet and preparing for human exploration.
Both a European and Russian Rover are scheduled to land on Mars in 2021.
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