Friday, March 15, 2013

Has Curiosity Found Evidence That Mars Could Have Harbored Life?

It would seem that the Mars Curiosity Rover may have uncovered, quite literally, evidence that ancient Mare could have easily supported life.  In fact the conditions on ancient Mars were, according  to a recent KTLA news article:

  • so benign, and supportive of life, that probably if this water was around and you had been on the planet, you would have been able to drink it
This from John Grotzinger, Curiosity project scientist at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena.

The evidence is based on powder that Curiosity retrieved after drilling into rocks.  

According to the article: The powders contained were
  • sulfur, nitrogen, hydrogen, oxygen, phosphorus and carbon. These are ingredients for life.
Curiosity is presently in the Yellowknife Bay area.  According to Michael Meyer, lead scientist for the Mars Exploration Program:
  • "It appears that slightly salty liquid water existed in the area"
The sample That Curiosity contained  between 20% to 30% of a type of clay, which forms in the presence of water.  All is not rosy however.  These results are in sharp contrast to the findings of Mars rover Opportunity, which amazingly is still in operation on another part of Mars, found rocks which appeared to be made of hematite with iron-bearing sulfates, indicative of acidic water. That would not have been a habitable environment.   The rock that Curiosity found,  seems to have been in water with a neutral pH, much more conducive to life .

There is much more information available on the KTLA site.  click HERE for more

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