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Still Waters

Mars Curiosity rover sees key water indicator

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The US space agency (Nasa) has reported that its Curiosity rover has made another significant discovery on Mars.

The robot has drilled into a rock that contains clay minerals - an indication of formation in, or substantial alteration by, neutral water.

Scientists say the find is one more step towards showing conditions on the Red Planet in the distant past could have supported life.

http://www.bbc.co.uk...onment-21755976

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Have'nt we known this for at least 10-15 years now?

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It might be an indication as to what is going to happen to this planet.

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The first time i read bout life on mars i was so excited. As i read on i found out it was just microbes

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Have'nt we known this for at least 10-15 years now?

No, we've assumed it was the case but now we have definitive proof.

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what about the canals on mars .have they disapeared,havent heard about them latley.

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what about the canals on mars .have they disapeared,havent heard about them latley.

There never were canals on Mars. It was a mistranslation of the Italian astronemer Giovanni Schiaparelli who used the word "canali" meaning channels in his observations.

It has been known that the canals do not exist for around a century but were in fact an optical illusion, which is why they only ever showed up when observers looked directly through the telescope and never on photos.

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I say Mars will one day become habitable. Whether it occurs naturally or we make it so.

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Posted (edited)

NASA Rover Finds Conditions Once Suited for Ancient Life on Mars

733496maingrotzinger2pi.jpg

This set of images compares rocks seen by NASA's Opportunity rover and Curiosity rover at two different parts of Mars. On the left is " Wopmay" rock, in Endurance Crater, Meridiani Planum, as studied by the Opportunity rover. On the right are the rocks of the "Sheepbed" unit in Yellowknife Bay, in Gale Crater, as seen by Curiosity. Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Cornell/MSSS › Full image and caption › Latest images › Gallery › Videos

PASADENA, Calif. -- An analysis of a rock sample collected by NASA's Curiosity rover shows ancient Mars could have supported living microbes.

Scientists identified sulfur, nitrogen, hydrogen, oxygen, phosphorus and carbon -- some of the key chemical ingredients for life -- in the powder Curiosity drilled out of a sedimentary rock near an ancient stream bed in Gale Crater on the Red Planet last month.

"A fundamental question for this mission is whether Mars could have supported a habitable environment," said Michael Meyer, lead scientist for NASA's Mars Exploration Program at the agency's headquarters in Washington. "From what we know now, the answer is yes."

Clues to this habitable environment come from data returned by the rover's Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) and Chemistry and Mineralogy (CheMin) instruments. The data indicate the Yellowknife Bay area the rover is exploring was the end of an ancient river system or an intermittently wet lake bed that could have provided chemical energy and other favorable conditions for microbes. The rock is made up of a fine-grained mudstone containing clay minerals, sulfate minerals and other chemicals. This ancient wet environment, unlike some others on Mars, was not harshly oxidizing, acidic or extremely salty.

The patch of bedrock where Curiosity drilled for its first sample lies in an ancient network of stream channels descending from the rim of Gale Crater. The bedrock also is fine-grained mudstone and shows evidence of multiple periods of wet conditions, including nodules and veins.

Curiosity's drill collected the sample at a site just a few hundred yards away from where the rover earlier found an ancient streambed in September 2012.

"Clay minerals make up at least 20 percent of the composition of this sample," said David Blake, principal investigator for the CheMin instrument at NASA's Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, Calif.

These clay minerals are a product of the reaction of relatively fresh water with igneous minerals, such as olivine, also present in the sediment. The reaction could have taken place within the sedimentary deposit, during transport of the sediment, or in the source region of the sediment. The presence of calcium sulfate along with the clay suggests the soil is neutral or mildly alkaline.

Scientists were surprised to find a mixture of oxidized, less-oxidized, and even non-oxidized chemicals, providing an energy gradient of the sort many microbes on Earth exploit to live. This partial oxidation was first hinted at when the drill cuttings were revealed to be gray rather than red.

"The range of chemical ingredients we have identified in the sample is impressive, and it suggests pairings such as sulfates and sulfides that indicate a possible chemical energy source for micro-organisms," said Paul Mahaffy, principal investigator of the SAM suite of instruments at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md.

An additional drilled sample will be used to help confirm these results for several of the trace gases analyzed by the SAM instrument.

"We have characterized a very ancient, but strangely new 'gray Mars' where conditions once were favorable for life," said John Grotzinger, Mars Science Laboratory project scientist at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, Calif. "Curiosity is on a mission of discovery and exploration, and as a team we feel there are many more exciting discoveries ahead of us in the months and years to come."

Scientists plan to work with Curiosity in the "Yellowknife Bay" area for many more weeks before beginning a long drive to Gale Crater's central mound, Mount Sharp. Investigating the stack of layers exposed on Mount Sharp, where clay minerals and sulfate minerals have been identified from orbit, may add information about the duration and diversity of habitable conditions.

NASA's Mars Science Laboratory Project has been using Curiosity to investigate whether an area within Mars' Gale Crater ever has offered an environment favorable for microbial life. Curiosity, carrying 10 science instruments, landed seven months ago to begin its two-year prime mission. NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., manages the project for NASA's Science Mission Directorate in Washington.

For more about the mission, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/msl and http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/msl/ . You can follow the mission on Facebook and Twitter at: http://www.facebook.com/marscuriosity and http://www.twitter.com/marscuriosity

DC Agle 818-393-9011

Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.

agle@jpl.nasa.gov

Dwayne Brown 202-358-1726

NASA Headquarters, Washington

dwayne.c.brown@nasa.gov

2013-092

arrow3.gifSource

Edited by Waspie_Dwarf
typo.

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thankyou waspie for clearing that up.

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It is one thing to have the chemical elements, compounds, water and other conditions necessary for life and quite another to find life itself. The DNA molecule is one of the most (if not the most) complex known and along with RNA and protein is necessary for life as we understand. It is quite a step from have carbon, oxygen, etcetera to having a DNA molecule or something remotely complex as a living cell.

I suppose it is possible to have a truly alien biology of some sort, but if that is the case would we overlook it in favor of how we understand life to exist?

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Sundew - Who's to say any life Curiosity finds will be completely alien?

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Posted (edited)

Sundew - Who's to say any life Curiosity finds will be completely alien?

Yes. Earth and Mars have apparently been trading rocks, blasted off one by asteroid impacts, and eventually falling onto the other, just about forever. It seems that simple life, lodged inside the rocks, might survive the trip. Mars, being smaller than Earth, may have cooled sufficiently for life to take hold there first, and then colonize Earth. We could all, in a sense, be Martians, at least by ancestry. Edited by bison

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Here is the video of the press conference where these findings were announced. At just over an hour it is quite a long video, but well worth watching.


Curiosity's Mars Rock Drilling Discussed

Analysis of the first sample of rock powder ever collected on Mars is discussed in this NASA TV briefing from the agency's headquarters in Washington, D.C. on Mar. 12.

Source: NASATelevision - YouTube Channel

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its fake. Curiosity never been to Mars. It was actually inside a studio

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its fake. Curiosity never been to Mars. It was actually inside a studio

proof please

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nothing new

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Curiosity Rover Report (Mar. 15, 2013): Rover Hits Paydirt

Curiosity's analyzed rock sample proves ancient Mars could have supported living microbes.

Source: JPLnews - YouTube Channel

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