Technology: New discovery hints that Mars could have once supported life

Did A Dwarf Planet Crash Into Mars?

  Did A Dwarf Planet Crash Into Mars? Why does Mars look so weird? A dwarf planet may have crashed into it as it was forming, and threw everything out of whack.The Martian system has long been a head-scratcher for astronomers. One reason is that its northern hemisphere is full of smooth and flat land while its southern hemisphere is pocked with craters and has a ton of high-elevation land and volcanoes — a contrast that is commonly called the Martian dichotomy. That planet also has two moons that look more like asteroids spinning around it. But a new study in the journal Geophysical Research Letters might help solve these mysteries, and it involves a big collision.

Mars was capable of supporting microbial life in the distant past, scientists announced today (March 12). They reached this conclusion after studying the latest observations from NASA's Curiosity rover , which just analyzed the first-ever sample collected from the interior of a Red Planet rock. To be clear, Curiosity found no evidence that life has ever existed on the Red Planet. But its results suggest that the John Klein site could have supported microbes long ago, if they ever evolved on Mars or were transported there. So what? Didn't we already know that ancient Mars was wet?

"If Mars had life 4 billion years ago, Mars still has life . Nothing has happened on Mars that would've wiped out life ," said Michael Finney, co-founder of The Genome Partnership, a nonprofit organization that runs the Advances in Genome Biology and Technology conferences. If life did indeed come to Earth from somewhere else, there's a good chance it once flourished on Mars as well, the thinking goes. The Red Planet could have been the source, or it may have been "seeded" as Earth was. Ruvkun views panspermia as very likely; during his Breakthrough Discuss talk, he described himself

  New discovery hints that Mars could have once supported life © Provided by BGR The Mars we see today is a far cry from what it looked like many millions or even billions of years ago. The planet’s dry, reddish landscape once had water, and scientists have already discovered evidence that rivers once flowed on its surface. But did life take root there? That’s a question researchers would love to answer, and a new study points to the possibility that the planet might indeed have had some form of life.

In a research paper published in Geophysical Research Letters, Patrick Gasda of the Los Alamos National Laboratory reveals that NASA’s Curiosity rover has detected the presence of boron in the Gale Crater on Mars. That’s incredibly significant because it’s thought that boron may be a key ingredient for the development of RNA, which is a vital for living things.

6 Riveting Facts About Mars

  6 Riveting Facts About Mars Mars is changing, but nobody knows why. Most people don't realize how active Mars is," Harrison tells Mental Floss. "Other planets aren't just these dead worlds that are frozen in time outside of our own. There are actually things happening there right now." Imagery from the HiRISE and Context Camera instruments on the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter have revealed such events as avalanches, sand dune erosion [PDF], and recurring slope lineae (flowing Martian saltwater).Things are moving, but it's not always clear why. "There's a lot of material that has been eroded away," says Harrison.

News Archive. Print. Mars could have once supported life : NASA. An analysis of rock samples collected by the Curiosity rover indicates that Mars could have supported living This partial oxidation was first hinted at when the drill cuttings were revealed to be gray rather than red,it said.

Remnants of a wet Mars remain the clearest hint that the planet once could have harbored life . Data gathered by Curiosity point to the existence of a massive freshwater lake in the Gale Crater billions of years ago, and scientists’ analyses suggest this environment had habitable conditions: a relatively neutral pH These images hinted at the possibility that liquid water might have existed in the planet’s recent past—and might still sometimes be present on the planet’s surface. More evidence for this idea emerged a few years later when researchers reported that new , light-colored streaks in the form of

“Because [boron] may play an important role in making RNA — one of the building blocks of life — finding boron on Mars further opens the possibility that life could have once arisen on the planet,” Gasda says. “Borates are one possible bridge from simple organic molecules to RNA. Without RNA, you have no life. The presence of boron tells us that, if organics were present on Mars, these chemical reactions could have occurred.”

The location of the boron discovered on Mars is also notable. It was detected in calcium sulfate veins, pointing to the presence of boron in the groundwater. It is thought that life originates in water, and the conditions in the Gale Crater would have been suitable for life as we understand it.

The discovery is a long way from stumbling over fossilized Martian bones, but it’s a step in the right direction.

In desert of Oman, a gateway to life on Mars .
In sunglasses and jumpsuits, a crew of European test astronauts is laying the groundwork for a Mars simulation in the barren expanse of the Omani desert, a terrestrial mission intended to pave the way to the red planet. The "analog astronauts" of the Austrian Space Forum -- a volunteer-based collective -- have arrived in Oman to begin preparations for a four-week simulation mission due to begin next year.

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