Mars rover’s latest discovery hints at possibility of Ancient life

A new analysis of sediment samples collected by NASA’s Curiosity rover revealed the presence of carbon- the possible existence of ancient life on Mars.

Carbon is the foundation for all of life on Earth, and the carbon cycle is the natural process of recycling carbon atoms. Carbon atoms — with their cycle of recycling — are tracers of biological activity on Earth. So they could be used to help researchers determine if life existed on ancient Mars.

When these atoms are measured inside another substance, like Martian sediment, they can shed light on a planet’s carbon cycle, no matter when it occurred.

Learning more about the origin of this newly detected Martian carbon could also reveal the process of carbon cycling on Mars.

A study detailing these findings has been published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The varied measurements of these carbon atoms could suggest three very different things about ancient Mars. The origin of the carbon is likely due to cosmic dust, ultraviolet degradation of carbon dioxide, or the ultraviolet degradation of biologically produced methane.

(Courtesy: CNN)

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