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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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RE: Hold your horses
By drycrust3 on 3/13/2013 4:05:49 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
I doubt the guy who made the comment was either in the science of verifying the findings coming back from Mars or in any science field whatsoever, and it is a common attitude I see.

It sounds like you are the one with the unscientific mind.
What did Nasa say? "The rock sample contains nitrogen, sulfur, oxygen, hydrogen, carbon and phosphorous", which are important constituents of living things. Life isn't just about having the right elements around.
Even if they had found every single element necessary for life there, and it wouldn't surprise me if they did, that doesn't mean the environment was such that any living thing would survive there.
Your "scientific" model for the appearance of life requires millions of years of perfect environment for life to arise, but so far there is only scant evidence that Mars possibly had an environment that might have been suitable for a short period of time, not the millions of years you require. All the evidence we've got is the current environment guarantees to kill any living thing, and has been for a long time. So what does NASA say? "...Mars could have, at one time, supported life". So what? I'm sure the same thing could be said about the rest of the planets in our solar system, that at one time they might have had an environment that could have supported life.
The whole thing is just PR to say "Look, we aren't a waste of money" to guarantee funding for the next financial year. It has almost no scientific value at all.


RE: Hold your horses
By tng on 3/13/2013 5:12:16 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
What did Nasa say? "The rock sample contains nitrogen, sulfur, oxygen, hydrogen, carbon and phosphorous", which are important constituents of living things. Life isn't just about having the right elements around.
Again, hate to break it to you, I did not say that there was life there or not. I just suggested that it is unscientific to discount the possibility without more information (in this case, allot more).


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