NASA’s Curiosity rover holding the first sample of powered rock.
At 1pm today there was a press conference by NASA LIVE stream about a rock that Curiosity Rover drilled into, that they think may now show that at one time there was indeed primitive life on the surface of Mars.
On Feb. 8th Curiosity, using it’s arm mounted hammering drill, drilled deeper into the rock at the John Klein outcrop then any robot had ever drilled before on the surface of Mars.
The area within Gale Crater where Curiosity collected it’s first sample by John Klein Rock.
The sample was collected from the 2.5 inch hole and two weeks later the rover transferred the gray rock powder into the 2 onboard instruments called Chemistry and Mineralogy (CheMin) and Sample Analysis at Mars (or SAM.)
What was in the sample was exhilarating because some of the key ingredients for life was found. These new findings and what it could mean has everyone talking anew about life on Mars. This is something NASA scientists have been searching for, after much debate on the subject in the past. Now, it looks like they have their proof.
The rock dust sample shows traces of sulfur, nitrogen, hydrogen, oxygen, phosphorus and carbon. The fine grained rock also contains clay minerals, suggesting a long ago ocean that was salty and neutral, a place that was habitable. A place that had everything that primitive microbes needed to live.
Due to problems with the A and B side computer modules and a Mars bound solar eruption, further analysis of the rock powder sample has had to be put on hold. Engineers plan to upload two software patches later this week, then reassess when full mission operations can resume, officials said.
On August 5th Curiosity landed inside the Gale Crater starting on a two year surface mission to determine if Mars could have ever supported microbial life on it’s surface. It’s main destination is rock deposits at the base of Mount Sharp.
My hope is the same as NASA’s, that they find even more signs of life on Mars and I can’t wait to see what else they find out about this new and exciting discovery and what it might mean to us.
“Mars is there, waiting to be reached.” Buzz Aldrin