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Space & Astronomy

Curiosity discovers organic matter on Mars

June 8, 2018 | Comment icon 87 comments



Mars had all the ingredients necessary for life to develop. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
NASA has announced this week that complex organic matter has been found in an ancient lake bed on Mars.
The groundbreaking discovery represents the best evidence yet that Mars was once home to lakes filled with the carbon-based compounds necessary for primitive life forms to develop.

Intriguingly, NASA scientists have been unable to determine how this organic matter originally formed, meaning that there is a chance that it was the byproduct of ancient organisms.

It may have also been deposited on Mars by comets or asteroids in the distant past.
Certainly, the presence of these compounds would have helped to sustain any life that did arise.

"We know that on Earth microorganisms eat all sorts of organics. It's a valuable food source for them," said NASA biogeochemist Jennifer Eigenbrode.

"While we don't know the source of the material, the amazing consistency of the results makes me think we have a slam-dunk signal for organics on Mars."

"It is not telling us that life was there, but it is saying that everything organisms really needed to live in that kind of environment, all of that was there."



Source: The Guardian | Comments (87)


Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #78 Posted by qxcontinuum 4 years ago
Comment icon #79 Posted by Merc14 4 years ago
I know these is will be ridiculous questions but seeing how it is you Qx I'll go right ahead and ask.  How long do you think Opportunity should run before its sudden death is beyond suspicion?   Second question, do you think NASA is faking a giant dust storm on Mars in order to cover up the fact that Opportunity made a momentous discovery?
Comment icon #80 Posted by qxcontinuum 4 years ago
They are indeed ridiculous questions But let me play your probing game one more time; take a deep breath, extricate yourself from all the stress *snip* and try to make a difference between conspiracionist and ppl like me questioning decisions taken by operations at NASA.  Look at this photo and ask yourself; really wasn't worth investigating more? Or take some close up photos? 
Comment icon #81 Posted by Emma_Acid 4 years ago
This shorthand for "I know the truth and you don't" doesn't fool anyone. Apart from you apparently.
Comment icon #82 Posted by Emma_Acid 4 years ago
No, it isn't worth investigating. And this keys into two issues the "ancient aliens" bunch simply don't understand; firstly, organisms don't exist in pure isolation. This was the same mistake by those on this board who thought dark smudges in Martian aerial photography were trees. Trees cannot exist without a ecosystem. You wouldn't get one bunch of trees on an otherwise dead, radioactive planet. Same goes for this photo. In the UK, you can walk along the beach and find ammonite fossils sticking out of the ground. I have a cupboard full of them at home. An ammonite on Mars would presumably hav... [More]
Comment icon #83 Posted by Merc14 4 years ago
I notice you failed to answer either question and the above was looked at and dismissed as naturally occurring as it should've been but what, exactly, do you suggest they do to further explore that, drill it?   There was no decision with Opportunity, it is inside a massive dust storm that has cut off the solar panels and therefore its power.  Now answer the questions.
Comment icon #84 Posted by Emma_Acid 4 years ago
And then answer mine 
Comment icon #85 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf 4 years ago
Merc, unusual as it is for me to defend qx, but he didn't make these claims, it was geraldnewfie in the Huge Dust Storm Hits Opportunity Mars Rover thread, here.
Comment icon #86 Posted by Merc14 4 years ago
You are correct, Thanks and sorry qx, I got my threads mixed up.
Comment icon #87 Posted by Emma_Acid 4 years ago
I don't think he's coming back


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