Not a day goes by when scientists look at the sky and hope for an alien spaceship. Now, there is a chance for that. Well, not exactly.
For the first time in history, NASA has finally confirmed that they have clear evidence that basic building blocks of life exist on Mars. However, they are not sure whether there was or still is a life on the Red Planet. The lone ranger of Mars, the Curiosity rover, poked a hole and gathered two rock samples in late 2014 and early 2015. Those rocks are the best evidence we have that shows signs of life on Mars.
The extracted rocks were analyzed by the sample analysis machine (SAM), and heated till a certain level to find any gases that came out of them. The analysis found organic and chemical molecules similar to that are found on the Earth. For instance, dimethyl sulfide that puffs from cooking cabbage and vile methanethiol. Both are the basic building blocks that might be a part of larger organic molecules. The research hints that–just maybe–there was a life on Mars, or still is hiding somewhere underground.
The newly-found samples are taken from a three billion-year-old mudstone in the Gale crater that harbored organic matters including ingredients microbial and carbon-based life. The samples suggest that the planet might once had an alien life or still does. However, it is too soon to draw any conclusions. Moreover, the rover also discovered methane in the planet’s atmosphere, which is further discussed in another paper. The findings hold a huge significance as it might mean that Gale Crater had habitable conditions similar to the Earth, where life was evolving around that time. However, there are several reasons for planet to contain basic building blocks.
“There are three possible sources for the organic material,” said Jennifer Eigenbrode, the astrobiologist of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Centre in Maryland. “The first one would be life, which we don’t know about. The second would be meteorites. And the last one is geological processes, meaning the rock-forming processes themselves.” Eigenbrode said that recent organic detection tells the prehistoric environment on Mars that could have supported life.
Apart from the organic evidences, Curiosity also found abnormal levels of methane in the atmosphere of Mars. Here on the Earth, about 95 percent of methane present in the atmosphere is produced from biological activities. Thus, there is a hope that the changes in methane content in the atmosphere are because of the microbiological activities as they release methane as a waste or byproduct. However, scientists need more evidences and observations to draw any conclusions as it is premature to know how the compounds were created in the biological process. Clearly, Curiosity must dig deeper to find the truth as it has once again opened the most asked question of the Earthians, “Are we truly alone in the universe?”