Kicking off a quest to determine the possibility of life on Mars, the Curiosity rover touched Martian soil in August 2012 and drilled into the red planet in 2014 and 2015.
They could be evidence for the development of ancient life on Mars but they could also have come from a meteorite or other sources, Efe reported.More news: Alaphilippe wins Dauphine stage four, Moscon takes overall lead
"When you work with something as insane as a rover on Mars, with the most complex instrument ever sent to space, it seems like we're doing what may have been perceived earlier as impossible", says lead author Jennifer Eigenbrode , a biogeochemist at NASA Goddard.
Referring to the findings regarding organic compounds and methane, Webster said, "They hint at an earlier time on Mars when water was present and the existence of primitive life forms was possible".
Apparently barren and devoid of life today, scientists believe that Mars may have once been a more hospitable environment.
"This is the first time we've seen something repeatable in the methane story, so it offers us a handle in understanding it", said Chris Webster of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, lead author of the second paper. On Thursday scientists said the rover found potential building blocks of life in an ancient lakebed and confirmed seasonal increases in atmospheric methane. About 95 percent of the methane in Earth's atmosphere is produced from biological activity, though the scientists said it is too soon to know if the Martian methane also is related to life.More news: Actor Vince Vaughn charged with DWI, resisting arrest in Hermosa Beach
Webster theorizes the methane created either now or long ago is seeping from deep underground reservoirs up through cracks and fissures in the crust. Seasonal peaks of methane are caused by the change of temperature, the hotter it is, the more of it is being released into the atmosphere.
"We have no proof that the methane is formed biologically, but we can not rule it out, even with this new data set", Webster said. "That means Mars today is not a 'dead planet, ' but somewhere underground there are reactions occurring today that release and absorb an atmospheric gas that is nearly always related to warm water or life on Earth". So they looked elsewhere. It also demonstrates that organic molecules can exist on Mars's surface for billions of years.
"I'm equally as fascinated by the idea that life never got started on Mars in the first place". "Everything that was needed to support life was there". If you're interested in being part of the conversation, or have a burning question that you'd like NASA to answer, you can submit inquiries using the hashtag #askNASA up until 1 p.m. this afternoon.More news: Dead Or Alive 6 announced with 2019 release date