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Curiosity rover  (Source: media.t3.com)
A second drilled sample will be used to confirm these results

NASA's Curiosity rover has found further proof that Mars could have, at one time, supported life.

Curiosity collected a sedimentary rock sample in the Yellowknife Bay area, which is the end of an ancient stream bed in Mars' Gale Crater.

The rock sample contains nitrogen, sulfur, oxygen, hydrogen, carbon and phosphorous, which are all indicative of possible life.

Also, clay minerals make up about 20 percent of the rock's composition, and according to NASA, clay minerals are the end result of the reaction of igneous minerals and fresh water. The reaction could have taken place within the sedimentary deposit or in the source region of the sediment.

Also, calcium sulfate found with the clay indicates that the soil is neutral or "mildly alkaline." The finding of a combination of oxidized, less-oxidized and non-oxidized chemicals offers an energy gradient that many microbes on Earth take advantage of.

"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."

A second drilled sample will be used to confirm these results.

Curiosity will spend several more weeks in the Yellowknife Bay area before setting off to Mount Sharp -- a central mound in Gale Crater.

"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."

Source: NASA



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This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled

By Twisted_Wistom on 3/13/2013 8:51:14 AM , Rating: 2
A huge argument from ignorance a failure of imagination at the same time.

Wish people would stop posting false statements like that and missinforming the readers.

You do realise that there may be other types of life with completely different properties to the DNA based life we're accustomed to ? As a matter of fact many scientist would be "disappointed" if we discovered "our" life on Mars.


By Arsynic on 3/13/2013 9:56:49 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
You do realise that there may be other types of life with completely different properties to the DNA based life we're accustomed to ?


Redefining "life?" Do you realize what a slippery slope that is? There isn't one chemical or element found on Mars or anywhere else that isn't found in some form on the Earth. Everything is made up of the same "bag of stuff".

The fact of the matter is that life is resilient. There are microbes and creatures on the Earth that live near super-heated volcanic vents deep in the ocean. There are creatures in the depth of the oceans that would pulverize man or his machines.

By looking for life on Mars, the scientific community is looking for the Evolutionary Hail Mary.


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