Possible signs of life found Curiosity on Mars


A local increase in methane concentrations was spotted by the robotic vehicle Curiosity, a discovery that is likely to indicate the presence of living microorganisms in the area. The measurements came from the Gale Crater on the Red Planet, which was examined by the robot for two months. Thus, the resulting data show that the average methane levels showed a local increase of 1000%.nasa curiosity

The discovery can prove to be historic, as methane production is considered to be one of the basic characteristics of biological activity, at least based on life forms existing on Earth. Thus, it is likely to mean that in the past, or even today, the Red Planet "hosted" living beings.

 

On the other hand, for the moment at least, it can not be excluded that emissions are due to a different cause, such as a geological phenomenon. "It's impossible to come up with safe conclusions from a mere measurement," said Paul Spacefield, one of the authors of the article describing the discovery and researcher at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center.

"All we can do right now is to appreciate the various possible scenarios. Even if there are actually microbes on Mars, which produce methane, it is just a guess at the moment, "he added.

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A hole that opened the Curiosity on a rock on Mars in order to collect a sample.

The study was published online yesterday at the Science magazine. In addition to the above finding, scientists reveal that the atmospheric levels of methane on the Red Planet are about 0,7 parts per billion (ppb). This figure is smaller than previous estimates and calculations, but far larger than previous Curiosity measurements.

These measurements were published last year, suggesting that there is no trace of methane in the Martian atmosphere. This time, however, scientists have found a way to gather larger gaseous samples so that new data is more reliable.

Last year, the news that there was no methane in Mars had disappointed several researchers, as it seemed to mean that there is no biological activity on the planet. The new research, however, raises hopes, as it may indicate that Mars conditions were not so "inhospitable" to any form of life.

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