Friday, 8 June 2018

Was There Life on Mars?



News that NASA's Curiosity Rover has detected organic hydrocarbons in 3 billion year old rock from an ancient lake bed has further piqued excitement about the possibility of life on Mars(https://www.theguardian.com/science/2018/jun/07/nasa-mars-rover-finds-organic-matter-in-ancient-lake-bed). The difficulty is that the rocks have to be subjected to great heat before the tell-tale information can be transmitted. Although hydrocarbons would support (bacterial-style?) life there is currently no real evidence on how they got there. They could have been formed, as presumed on Earth, by electrical discharges triggering chemical interactions between water and atmospheric gases (items that are now much rarer on the planet) or they could have arrived via collisions with comets or large meteorites. It is, however, an intriguing addition to our available information.  

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