Published on March 16th, 20130
NASA: Mars could accommodate life and even “safe to drink” water
Curiosity Project Scientific Director, John Grotzinger, states that on Mars was discovered a habitable environment, so innocuous and favorable to life as if it were water nearby and we had found the spot, you would have been able to drink it”.
The analysis of a Martian rock sample, performed on the spot by Curiosity, revealed that the planet and its “ingredients” are basic chemicals of life.
The discovery brings the answer to a key issue related to the Curiosity mission objectives.
“A fundamental question we have to answer is whether this Mars mission could provide a habitable environment”, said Michael Meyer, principal investigator of NASA’s Mars Exploration Program. “From what we know now, the answer is yes.”
The results of laboratory analyzes conducted on board the Curiosity show that once, Mars could host microscopic life forms.
The powder obtained by drilling sedimentary rocks near a former riverbeds on Mars, scientists have identified the presence of sulfur, nitrogen, hydrogen, oxygen, phosphorus and carbon - some of the key elements necessary for the existence of living matter.
Analyses were performed using two instruments on board the rover - Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) and Chemistry and Mineralogy (CheMin).
Data indicate that one area that the rover is currently exploring - Yellowknife Bay - the end of an ancient system of water courses or a seasonal lake existence, they could provide chemical energy and other favorable conditions of existence of microorganisms.
The substrate is composed of fine-grained sedimentary rock containing clay minerals, sulfates and other substances. Unlike other places on Mars, this environment - which in the past was a humid environment - there was strong oxidizing, acidic or extremely salty. Presence of calcium sulphate, with clay, suggests that soil is neutral or slightly alkaline.
Researchers were surprised to discover a mixture of oxidized, low oxidized and unoxidized substances, which could provide an energy gradient of the kind seen on Earth and on behalf of numerous microorganisms that live on land.
Source: Mail Online