Life on Mars: NASA’s Finds Intriguing Carbon Signatures on the Red Planet
NASA has announced that their Curiosity probe, searching for signs of life on Mars’ Gale Crater, has found fascinating carbon signatures. Although there isn’t any definitive evidence that Curiosity has discovered evidence of ancient microbial existence, it does suggest the possibility. Curiosity is collecting powdered rock samples from the surface of the Red Planet. As scientists examined them, they discovered that many of the models contained a form of carbon linked with biological processes that occur on Earth, according to the space agency report. Carbon is a crucial element in the world of Earth and could contain vital details regarding the Martian environmental conditions.
Scientists are careful not to be ahead of themselves and insist that they have yet to locate conclusive evidence to life on Mars, such as sedimentary rock formations resulting from ancient bacteria or the diversity of complex organic molecules created from life that has taken place on Mars. They also warn that Earth and Mars are quite different, and Earth examples shouldn’t be used to predict life on Mars.
Scientists from Curiosity published their research findings within the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences journal on 18 January. In the paper, scientists offer a variety of reasons to explain these “unusual carbon signals” they discovered. In an article on their blog, NASA said the biological explanation provided in the paper is based on the life that exists on Earth. Two other theories provide alternative reasons that are not biological. One hypothesis suggests that the carbon signature may result from an interaction with ultraviolet radiation and carbon dioxide gas. The other theory suggests that carbon may have been leftover from an event that happened only hundreds of million years ago when the solar system passed through an enormous molecular cloud.
“There are hints of life on Mars that are fascinating; however, we’d require more proof to prove that we’ve discovered existence,” declared Paul Mahaffy. He was the chief scientist of the chemical lab on Curiosity until his retirement in December.