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Last Updated : Jun 08, 2018 03:13 PM IST | Source: Moneycontrol.com

NASA reveals conclusive evidence of Earth-like organic compounds on Mars

Lead author of second paper Chris Webster of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory said, “This is the first time we've seen something repeatable in the methane story, so it offers us a handle in understanding it."

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NASA scientists have found 'conclusive evidence' of several organic compounds on Mars in what is being termed as a great discovery.

According to a report by Science Alert, NASA rover Curiosity’s drill bit provided samples of the soil, from two different parts of the Gale crater, offering deeper insights into the organic chemistry of the 300-million-year-old planet. The samples contained methanethiol, thiophene, dimethylsulfide, and 2- and 3-methylthiophenes. Martian geologists believe that this is a great discovery as it indicates that the organic chemistry of the mudstone on Mars is similar to that of Earth.

Another prospect that they are enthused about is that the samples are a small part of a more complex and bigger material, making a strong case for a potential to more such discoveries on the Red Planet.

Thomas Zurbuchen, Associate Administrator for the Science Mission Directorate at NASA Headquarters said: “With these new findings, Mars is telling us to stay the course and keep searching for evidence of life. I'm confident that our ongoing and planned missions will unlock even more breathtaking discoveries on the Red Planet.”

Analysis of the data gathered by Curiosity also confirmed a ‘long-term pattern of methane highs and lows’. This coincides with the seasons on Mars with the methane levels reaching their peak at the end of summer in the Northern hemisphere. The lead author of the second paper, Chris Webster of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), added, “This is the first time we've seen something repeatable in the methane story, so it offers us a handle in understanding it. This is all possible because of Curiosity's longevity. The long duration has allowed us to see the patterns in this seasonal 'breathing'.”
First Published on Jun 8, 2018 12:59 pm
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