More building blocks of life found on Mars

Jennifer Eigenbrode, an astrobiologist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, who led the organics study, said she's intrigued by the possibility that life might have existed and adapted on Mars. The surface of Mars readily destroys these molecules, making them hard to detect.

Curiosity also has confirmed sharp seasonal increases of methane in the Martian atmosphere.

"There's a new mission in the planning where they'll be able to drill much deeper than the Curiosity rover can", Freeman says.

Nasa announced that it had something exciting to share with us, adding that there would be a live discussion on Thursday 7 June to explain more about "new science results from Nasa's Mars Curiosity rover". What the study has done, though, is to propel the search for life on Mars higher up the list of global space exploration priorities - giving space agencies ammunition to argue for a coordinated programme of missions to explore the Red Planet.

Nasa has found traces of organic molecules buried in the bed of an ancient lake on Mars. "We also don't know if that methane was created from rock chemistry or it was created by microbes".

Dr Eigenbrode hopes further details about the nature of the carbon molecules will emerge with future missions, such as the European Space Agencies ExoMars Mission or NASA's Mars 2020 mission. "It had the ability to support life-but doesn't mean life were there". Maybe there are subsurface Martian bacteria eating that methane, Tanya Harrison, director of research for Arizona State University's Space Technology and Science ("NewSpace") Initiative, told Gizmodo.

Referring to the findings regarding organic compounds and methane, Webster said, "They hint at an earlier time on Mars when water was present and the existence of primitive life forms was possible". That's a harder question to address scientifically, but I think that we need to give the search for life on Mars due diligence.

The discoveries were found using the USA space agency's Curiosity Mars Rover, which has been studying the Red Planet's surface since it first landed in 2012.

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In addition to finding organic molecules in the rocks in Gale Crater, rover scientists are reporting another intriguing finding.

Curiosity has detected organics embedded in the sediments of the "Pahrump Hills" area of Gale Crater.

But Curiosity's data are providing a clearer and more conclusive picture of the conditions and processes on Mars - and what it may have been like on the Red Planet billions of years ago, when conditions were more suitable for life.

The new results represent the longest systematic record of atmospheric methane, with measurements taken regularly over five years.

Contained below the 3.5 billion-year-old mudstone was a fine-grained sedimentary rock.

That could even be happening beneath the surface now, the researchers said. Hell comes from Mars, NASA, and it's only been two years since we cleaned up the last incident of Mars Hell.

All of the outside sources I spoke with said it's important to be skeptical about claims of life, extinct or otherwise, on the Red Planet. The host of the session, assistant director of science for communications in NASA's Planetary Science Division Michelle Thaller, began by clearing up any rumors that the agency would announce that they had found alien life.

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