In a new study, scientists report that some rock dusts that Curiosity has accumulated over the years contain carbon-rich organic matter, the latter being linked to life on Earth.
But Mars is very different from our world, and many processes on Mars remain mysterious. Therefore, it is too early to decide who created the curious chemicals according to the space.
“We find interesting things that are tempting on Mars, but we need more evidence to say that we have identified with life,” Paul Mahfi said in a statement in 2021. In December, he was chief investigator at the Chemistry Laboratory for Curiosity Sample Analysis on Mars (SAM).
Sample analysis for approximately a decade
In August 2012, Curiosity landed in the 154-kilometer Gail crater on Mars, on a mission to determine if any microorganisms had ever existed in the area. Millions of years ago, the rover team soon discovered that the bottom of the Geilo Crater was a life-threatening atmosphere, with systems of lakes and streams.
In the new Research In 2012, Curiosity used its impact drill to test two dozen samples of powdered rock collected from various locations since 2012. August. July 2021.
The researchers found that about half of these samples were rich in the carbon-12 isotope compared to previous measurements of meteorites and the atmosphere of Mars.
These carbon-12 enriched samples were taken from five different locations in the Gilo crater, and their surfaces were well preserved.
On Earth, carbon-12 is commonly used by organisms for metabolic processes, and enrichment of this isotope in ancient rock samples is commonly interpreted as an indication of biotic chemistry.
However, the carbon cycles on Mars have not been studied enough to make similar hypotheses about the Red Planet’s findings, members of the research team said.
Some possible explanations
The researchers offered three possible explanations for the interesting carbon footprint. The first is related to the methane-producing microorganisms on Mars, which transform into more complex biological molecules by interacting with ultraviolet (UV) light in the red planet’s air.
These large organic compounds fall to the ground and hit the rocks sampled by Curiosity, space writes.
However, similar reactions with ultraviolet light, the most abundant gas in Mars’ atmosphere, and non-biological carbon dioxide may lead to this effect. The researchers said that the Solar System could have moved through a giant molecular cloud rich in carbon-12.
The team hopes that Curiosity will go through another explosion of methane, determine the carbon-12 content and further investigate the origin of these organisms. However, it will be very successful as scientists cannot predict when and where such eruptions will occur.
Another useful piece of data could be provided by another Mars robot, NASA’s Perseverance Robot, in 2021. In February, another Red Planet landed in a crater. Perseverance hunts for signs of ancient life on Mars and collects dozens of samples returning to Earth for analysis.
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