To Evolution

The building blocks of life discovered on Mars

    Abdulaziz Sobh
    By Abdulaziz Sobh

    Categories: Science


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    NASA's Mars Explorer Curiosity has unearthed organic molecules, the basic building blocks of life. The robot drilled samples of organic carbon from sediments from 3,000 million years ago in the Gale Crater of Mars that was once full of water. From the New York Times:

    That does not prove that life has ever existed on Mars. The same carbon molecules, widely classified as organic matter, also exist within meteorites that fall from space. They can also occur in chemical reactions that do not involve biology.

    But the discovery, published Thursday by the journal Science, is a piece of the Mars puzzle that scientists have been searching for for a long time. In 1976, the two Viking modules of NASA conducted the first experiments in search of organic matter on Mars and appeared to be empty.

    "Now things are starting to make more sense," said Jennifer L. Eigenbrode, a biogeochemist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Cea center in Greenbelt, Maryland, and lead author of the Science paper. "We still do not know the source of them, but they are there, they are not lost anymore."