NASA'sCuriosityrover has found new evidence preserved in rocks on Mars that suggests the planet could have supported ancient life, as well as new evidence in the Martian atmosphere that relates to the search for current life on the Red Planet.
"Curiosity has shown that Gale crater was habitable around 3.5 billion years ago, with conditions comparable to those on the early Earth, where life evolved around that time", she wrote.
Apart from the organic evidences, Curiosity also found abnormal levels of methane in the atmosphere of Mars. It previously found hints of methane and organic compounds, but these findings are the best evidence yet. "Curiosity has not determined the source of the organic molecules", explains Eigenbrode. The press conference will be headed by the big NASA researchers along with people who were directly working on the samples Curiosity has been diligently gathering on Mars.
The studies were conducted using evidence collected by NASA's Curiosityrover, which is now rolling around the Martian surface.
The amount of methane peaked at the end of summer in the northern hemisphere at about 2.7 times the level of the lowest seasonal amount.
On Thursday NASA had made an announcement, stating that a recent finding seems to confirm that there used to be life on Mars, and maybe even still is. "That means Mars today is not a 'dead planet, ' but somewhere underground there are reactions occurring today that release and absorb an atmospheric gas that is nearly always related to warm water or life on Earth". The molecules in the mudstone could have once enabled life to form in lakes when Mars still had liquid water on its surface and the methane could have been produced by life.
Despite the fact that it is still not clear how these molecules were created, NASA emphasized that these kinds of particles could have been the food source for hypothetical microbial life on Mars. Mars scientists have long feared that any organics would be extremely tough to find.
Attention, however this does not mean that life exists or has ever existed on the Red planet! "But it gave us a lot of anticipation that, if we can find these molecules here, perhaps we're going to come across other layers of rock that have more organics in them".
The study, which has been in place for around six years (the equivalent of almost three martian years), shows that low levels of methane within the crater repeatedly peak in warm, summer months and drop in the winter every year.
Christopher Webster, an atmospheric science research fellow at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California, said it is possible existing microbes are contributing to the Martian atmospheric methane, said a report by news agency Reuters.
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