In puffs of gas from rocks more than 3 billion years old dug up by one of NASA's robotic explorers on Mars, scientists have identified several complex organic molecules - possible building blocks for ancient life. The discovery is said to be the most compelling evidence that billions of years ago, the parched Red Planet once consisted of carbon-based compounds essential to sustain life. The first place we look is to our nearest neighbors, the other planets and many moons in the Solar System, with Mars receive special focus.
And NASA's Mars rover Curiosity has deceptively found something that is quite interesting on Mars, and the space agency has chose to reveal its discovery in a press conference which is to be held on Thursday. Mars scientists have long feared that any organics would be extremely tough to find. This organic particle is said to be the fundamental organic molecules for life, and NASA announced this discovery at a press conference which was held at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Goddard Md. and in NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. "That pessimistic possibility that has lurked as a fear at the back of everyone's minds may just have been changed forever". In 1976, NASA's two Viking landers were the first to conduct experiments in search of organic matter on Mars, but until now, they had appeared to come up empty. This new discovery builds on the inventory of molecules detected in the ancient lake sediments on Mars and helps explains why they were preserved.
"Hard" organic molecules found in rocks aged about 3 billion years, they were near the surface of the rocks.
Do you believe that Mars once sustained life?
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.
NASA has not yet provided clues on what the new results are about, but it said that during the event, NASA scientists will have chats with the the public and media on the findings. "But it doesn't tell us that life was there". "That gives me great hope because we can perhaps get past these surface environments that are so harsh and maybe [go] a little deeper and find better-preserved materials".
"There are active processes happening in the Martian subsurface today, which could include heated reactions between water and rocks, possible biological activity, or some other mechanism", Siebach noted.
The methane study, spearheaded by JPL atmospheric scientist Chris Webster, is also intriguing for astrobiologists.