Thursday, December 18, 2014
NASA's rover Curiosity was sent to Mars to explore Gale's crater, looking for the most part for the chemical markers that could indicate that in Mars' distant past, the Martian environment could have supported life.
Unfortunately the rover discovered little in the way of these chemicals, along with methane, which is a strong indicator of life in the past.
That was until recently when Curiosity recorded a brief spike of methane, a 10x time spike.
In early 2013, read-outs suggested there wasn't enough methane to support living microbes. However, Using Curiosity's sample analysis, showed spikes in late 2013 and early 2014, in the atmosphere.
Sushil Atreya of the University of Michigan and a member of the Curiosity rover science team, in a statement said - "There are many possible sources, biological or non-biological, such as interaction of water and rock."
That's not all. Curiosity drilled at a Martian formation called the Cumberland and found different organic chemicals in a powder made from mudstone, the first definitive discovery of organic materials on the planet.
Complete Verge article HERE