NASA is leaning closer to answering the age-old question, “Is there life on other planets?”
Last August, NASA landed a rover named Curiosity on Mars for a 2-year exploratory mission. On Tuesday, it was announced that the rover has found rocks that suggest life could have been sustained on the planet.
"A fundamental question for this mission is whether Mars could have supported a habitable environment," said Michael Meyer, the lead scientist for Nasa's Mars Exploration Program. "From what we know now, the answer is yes."
Curiosity drilled a rock sample from sedimentary bedrock and found clay and sulfate minerals, as well as other chemicals in the sample. According to NASA’s anaylsis of the sample, researchers were able to conclude that the water that helped create the rock had a very neutral pH level. In other words, it was a small step for Curiosity, but a huge leap for NASA in determining if there may have been life on Mars.
"We have found a habitable environment that is so benign and supportive of life, that probably if this water was around and you had been there, you would have been able to drink it," said John Grotzinger, a Curiosity project scientist from the California Institute of Technology.
The rover is the most sophisticated instrument to be sent to another planet, and will continue around the planet collecting more samples to send back to Earth. Scientists will be working with Curiosity in the same area the rock samples were collected for a few weeks before sending the rover on a long drive to Mount Sharp.
Source: The Telegraph