Fresh from analyzing a sample of rock, the Mars rover Curiosity has answered a key question: Could the Red Planet have once supported life?
“From what we know now,” said Michael Meyer, one of the lead scientists for NASA’s Mars Exploration Program, “the answer is yes.”
So, no little green men yet, but quite possibly, one day soon, the remains of, at very least, little green microbes. [readon]
According to NASA:
… “The range of chemical ingredients we have identified in the sample is impressive, and it suggests pairings such as sulfates and sulfides that indicate a possible chemical energy source for micro-organisms,” said Paul Mahaffy, principal investigator of the SAM suite of instruments at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md.
Scientists plan to work with Curiosity in the “Yellowknife Bay” area for many more weeks before beginning a long drive to Gale Crater’s central mound, Mount Sharp. Investigating the stack of layers exposed on Mount Sharp, where clay minerals and sulfate minerals have been identified from orbit, may add information about the duration and diversity of habitable conditions.