NASA finds ancient organic material, mysterious methane on Mars

NASA finds ancient organic material, mysterious methane on Mars

As said by Eigenbroade, there are 3 possibilities and it includes a meteorite which may have hit the Mars as they are common, the next is it may due to the rock process which is occurring since millions of days, and the last is it may be from the bottom of lake as the planet is warmer and wetter in past.

Organic molecules containing chlorine were detected on Mars before. "Curiosity has not determined the source of the organic molecules", explains Eigenbrode.

"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 the time", wrote Utrecht University astrobiologist Inge Loes ten Kate of the Netherlands.

In two studies published Thursday in the journal Science, this new finding from NASA's Curiosity rover is paired with another discovery: The planet's methane - another organic molecule usually (but not always) produced by living beings - varies with the seasons.

Curiosity discovered Methane in the atmosphere of Mars that displayed a "tenfold spike" on previous findings. Even more compelling was the fact that these compounds seemed to have broken off even bigger, more complex "macromolecules" - substances found on Earth in coal, black shale and other ancient organic remains. That's because the surface of Mars is constantly bombarded with radiation that can break down organic compounds. After drilling, Curiosity heats the rock samples, releasing the compounds.

Although the surface of Mars is inhospitable today, there is clear evidence that in the distant past, the Martian climate allowed liquid water - an essential ingredient for life as we know it - to pool at the surface.

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"We have no proof that the methane is formed biologically, but we can not rule it out, even with this new data set", Webster said.

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.

The organic matter was found in the bed of an ancient, now deceased lake on the planet, and could have formed 3 billion years ago. Or, did they came to Mars through comets or other space debris? "We are on the right track!"

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.

NASA plans to launch the Mars 2020 mission, where it will expand the robotic exploration of the planet. NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, built the rover and manages the project for NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington.

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