NASA Detects Organic Matter on Mars

17th December, 2014 03:29:06 printer

NASA Detects Organic Matter on Mars

Washington In a promising find, the NASA Curiosity rover has detected organic molecules - the building blocks of all known forms of terrestrial life - on Mars.

The organic molecules, found by the team responsible for the Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instrument suite on Curiosity, were in a drilled sample of the Sheepbed mudstone in Gale crater - the rover's landing site - the US space agency said in a statement.

Organic molecules consist of a wide variety of molecules made primarily of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen atoms. However, organic molecules can also be made by chemical reactions that do not involve life.

The Curiosity rover with its suite of instruments including SAM was sent to Mars in 2011 to discover more about the ancient habitable Martian environment by examining clues in the chemistry of rocks and the atmosphere.