NASA’s Curiosity rover has recently discovered traces of methane gas and organic compounds in the rock formations on the Red Planet. The news comes after the Curiosity rover touched down the inside of Gale Crater. The crater is 96 miles wide and has a three-mile high mountain coming out of the basin floor.
The Curiosity rover discovered that Mars is suitable for microbial life because it has oxygen, hydrogen, nitrogen, carbon, phosphorous and sulphur inside the rock formations.
Last week NASA announced that the recently discovered Gale Crater from Mars was once a gigantic lake. The scientists believe the enormous crater may have been filled with water millions of years ago.
After two-and-a-half years into the mission, the NASA scientists announced the Curiosity rover discovered methane on Mars. This came as a big surprise for the scientists, as they were not expecting the concentration of methane gas around the Gale Crater.
The recent discovery made the scientists reevaluate closed chapters regarding the existence of methane gas on Mars, a gas that is strongly linked to life on Earth. In the past, NASA scientists using Mars orbiters and ground telescopes have been searching to find any clues that could prove the possible existence of life on the Red Planet. The scientists have had several sightings of ten years ago searching the Mars atmosphere but since Curiosity started exploring the Mars land, they’ve found nothing for more than eight months. Until now.
Curiosity rover discovered methane on Mars and will continue to monitor the Red Planet for other sources of methane gas coming from the spikes inside the Gale Crater. NASA scientists do not think the methane concentrations will be rich enough to stand for an isotopic analysis. The scientists want to establish whether the methane gas found on Mars was produced either biologically or geochemically.
The team of scientists could learn more about Mars’ organic compounds from samples found inside an ancient mudstone named Cumberland. The researchers believe the organic compounds were carried to Mars on meteorites or could have been formed on the planet itself. The NASA scientists talked about the recent findings during a conference at the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco.
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