NASA has revealed in a press conference on Thursday that they have found organic molecules essential for life on the barren planet of Mars.
Their findings were a part of the Curiosity rover on the Red Planet and suggest that there was a presence of ancient life on the planet and gives scope for earthlings to survive on that planet.
“We found organic molecules in rocks from an ancient lake bed,” explained Jen Eigenbrode, a research scientist at Goddard. A variety of molecules were identified, she added.
The rocks are billions of years old, according to NASA.
“The chances of being able to find signs of ancient life with future missions, if life ever was present, just went up,” said Curiosity’s project scientist, Ashwin Vasavada of Nasa’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.
Scientists have long been amused by the discovery of significant amounts of methane on Mars. On our planet, most methane is produced by biological sources. This huge amount of methane suggests that the red planet is more alive than we ever thought.
The new data suggests that the methane is being stored underneath the surface of the planet. Seasonal changes appear to bring that methane out and onto the surface, where it has been detected by Curiosity, suggest the scientists.
The methane observations provide “one of the most compelling” cases for present-day life, said a scientist.
Curiosity took new samples and heated them so that it could analyse the molecules that were released – and the data showed there is certain matter similar to the kind of organic-rich rock found on Earth
NASA also made it clear that they have not found life on the planet, but organic molecules those are building blocks of life essential for Earth. The discovery is not only a significant way to understand whether there was life on Mars, but whether it can continue to support life.
Described as the most technologically advanced rover ever built, Curiosity launched on Nov. 26, 2011. The rover landed on Mars’ Gale Crate on Aug. 6, 2012, with the goal of determining whether Mars was ever able to support microbial life.