According to a news report by the NASA, the Mars Curiosity found evidence that, in the distant past, the planet may have provided conditions for the existence of life, more specifically to the survival of microorganisms. The conclusion came after analysis of a sample obtained by drilling a rock in an area known as Yellowknife Bay.
The results revealed that the sample contained traces of nitrogen, hydrogen, oxygen, sulfur, phosphorus and carbon, which are all essential ingredients for the existence of microbial life. According to scientists from the space agency, the material collected indicates that the rocks probably were part of a drainage network or a dried lake bed that millions of years ago, but that would be an ideal environment for the survival of microorganisms.
-Michael Meyer, Mars Exploration Program, Nasa.
Unfortunately, despite the incredible conclusion, the spacecraft couldn’t find any evidence (as of this writing) in the form of fossilized microbes. However, the test results are encouraging enough that NASA publicly declare that this is the strongest evidence yet found that life forms may have existed on another planet besides Earth.
The rock samples were analyzed by mineralogical and chemical instruments on Curiosity, which uses X-rays to measure the amount of specific minerals present in the collected material. The results showed that 20% of rock drilled is composed of clay minerals formed in the presence of water.
In addition, the instruments of the spacecraft also detected the presence of non-oxidized and oxidized chemical elements, that is, the same combination that offers favorable conditions for the existence of microbial life on earth.