Scientists at NASA have recently made a scientific breakthrough stating that they have found the first conclusive evidence that there are, or were, large organic molecules on Mars!
Curiosity, NASA’s Mars rover, has been roaming the red planet since it landed in August of 2012. Since then, Curiosity has been reporting back to NASA about the planets atmosphere, activity, and components. The rover has recently discovered that the water from the lake that once filled the Gale Crater contained complex molecules that date as far back as 3.5 billion years ago. Traces of these organic molecules have been stored and preserved in sulfur-spiked rocks from the lake’s sediment.
Though this discovery alone is not definitive proof of possible life, the additional discovery of methane contributes to the theory. With methane as the simplest organic molecule and only survives a few hundred years at a time, this would indicate that Mars is somehow replenishing methane (a peculiar gas to be present in Mars’ atmosphere).
Ever since 2009, scientists have been studying the strange activities of Mars. According to National Geographic, Mars periodically emits clouds of methane gas; although the question of what is producing this methane gas is truly what seizes attention.
Following this incredible leap in astro-biology, scientists plan on continuing their studies of the planet by sending more equipment to Mars. The European Space Agency’s ExoMars spacecraft is due to land in August of 2020, and can reportedly dig six feet down into the martian soil. The digging will produce soil samples that can be transported back to Earth for testing. Exomars’ Trace gas Orbiter, which landed in 2016, has been collecting data on the patterns of methane gas traces in Mars’ atmosphere in the hopes to give scientists a better idea of the patterns of the planet. Whether or not there are organic molecules remaining on Mars is still in question, although supporting evidence is prevails…