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 (89)