Organic chemistry may be on the Martian surface

Organic chemistry may be on the Martian surface

To determine the details, follow-up studies are needed, which will reveal the places of detection and the reasons for which she managed to survive.

A new analysis from the NASA rover Curiosity shows that the red planet is organic.

“I’m convinced that it is,” says Jennifer Eigenbrod, a biogeochemist and geologist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland.

“She's all over the surface. And we need to get to the bottom of this, ”she said last week during a seminar at the National Academy of Sciences on the search for life outside the Earth.

On Tuesday, scientists presented additional findings from a rover that landed on Mars four years ago to study a mountain of precipitation rising from the center of a wide 96-mile impact crater.

The rover quickly coped with the main task of the mission, which was to determine whether Mars had ever had chemical ingredients and a suitable environment for maintaining microbial existence.

Believing that Martian life has a past, the team used the device to find evidence. A key part of the search focused on organic matter, which led to an amazing discovery - organic matter can be widespread on the surface. “For me, this is the most important message. 4 years ago I would not even believe it, ”says Eigenbrod.

Scientists do not yet know about the source, or how the material managed to survive in the harsh conditions of the radiation environment. It was found in samples drilled from rocks and subject to chemical analysis.

It does not matter has a material of biological or chemical origin. The main thing is that a rich supply of organic matter pushes for the search for past life, and also gives chances for the future of agriculture on Mars.

“Organic is important!” She believes. “The door to the potential of habitability has opened wide for us.”

Jon Grotzinger of Caltech said that Curiosity was making its way up Mount Eolida and found several examples of modified primary igneous materials.

“The sedimentary basin is a chemical reactor, in which the samples found under different chemical conditions turn into different minerals,” said Grotzinger. “We are not sure what this means, but it is of great interest for habitability.”

The Curiosity team also made progress in finding potential types of breeds that could preserve evidence of past life. The most promising discovery was a silicon-rich rock, which by its chemical composition is similar to terrestrial rocks, in which fossil cells are preserved. “Silicon will outlast everything,” he says. “If you got him early, he is able to keep things that interest you the most. And, apparently, Mars succeeded. ”

Rover also found enriched boron concentrations inside rock cracks. Here it is associated with the formation of ribose (a key component of RNA).

“We did not find any other boron-containing materials, so you should be careful with the conclusions,” said Grotzinger.

The results of the mission plan to present at the conference of the American Geophysical Union this week in San Francisco.

Comments (0)