Rover Curiosity discovered organic molecules previously undiscovered on Mars


November 6, 2021 06:07 GMT

Although these are not biomarkers, they were located in a nozzle that was filled with water. Therefore, it can be associated with a habitable environment in the past.

NASA’s Curiosity probe found organic particles in soil samples taken from Bagnold Dunes in Mars Gale Crater.

The substance in question was collected in March 2017. Now, unlike previous experiments, it was analyzed with a solvent in one of the nine containers of chemical reagents that the rover was equipped with.

“One of the things we’ve been looking for when looking for organic molecules on Mars is understanding the habitability of this planet in the past and finding biomarkers,” to explain This Tuesday for Inverse magazine Maeva Millan who was part of the team.

Life indicators are not determined. However, the device detected organic molecules such as phosphoric acid and phenol, as well as benzoic acid and ammonia, which had not been observed before on Mars. Likewise, “several nitrogen-bearing molecules and higher molecular weight compounds have been recorded, and have yet to be identified,” the scientists explain in study Published in Nature Astronomy.

Milan says the experiment “was definitely a success”. “Although we didn’t find what we were looking for, and the biological signatures, we showed that this technology is really promising,” the scientist explained.

“Once we find out, we can determine where it came from,” he said. The researcher said that because Gale Crater is supposed to have once filled with water, the organic molecules may be traces of Mars’ past habitability.

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