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4 months ago

We May Be One Step Closer to Finding Life on Mars, New Study Suggests

Wibbitz Top Stories
Wibbitz Top Stories
We May Be One Step Closer , to Finding Life on Mars, New Study Suggests.
'Time' reports that for the first billion years
of its 4.5 billion-year life span, Mars was covered
in oceans and protected by a thick atmosphere. .
On January 18, NASA announced that the findings of
a new study suggest that some traces of ancient life
may have already been found on the red planet. .
The research, published in the 'Proceedings of the
National Academy of Sciences,' is based on the results
of work conducted by NASA's Curiosity rover. .
The rover reportedly collected rocks and soil samples from 24 different sites around Gale Crater, then analyzed those for traces of carbon, the basis of all life as we know it. .
Nearly half of the samples contained higher levels of carbon-12 than scientists had previously discovered. .
The large carbon-12 amounts observed [on Mars] are found on Earth in biological methane or when biological methane is consumed by microbes. In some ways, the Martian samples resemble Earth rocks from Australia from 2.7 billion years ago, when our atmosphere was rich in biological methane, Christopher House, geoscientist
at Pennsylvania State University, via 'Time'.
'Time' points out that Curiosity's
mission continues, and the rover is now
checking methane plumes for carbon. .
If we were to [discover a large enough
plume]. The result might match the carbon
on the ancient surface, suggesting that the
same microbes still inhabit the subsurface, Christopher House, geoscientist
at Pennsylvania State University, via 'Time'.
All three of the explanations proposed
fit the data that we have. We are being
cautious with our interpretations here,
but that is the right approach when
studying another world such as Mars, Christopher House, geoscientist
at Pennsylvania State University, via 'Time'

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