Elixir of Life! NASA's Curiosity Rover Finds Water on Mars

Elixir of Life! NASA's Curiosity Rover Finds Water on Mars

Mars Curiosity Rover 310x

NASA's rover drills into "Cumberland" rock, finds ancient water within.

While we're still searching for that underground river paved with Mars gold, NASA's Curiosity rover has found ancient water inside of surface rock on Mars.

The bedrock, nicknamed "Cumberland," is Curiosity's second drilling site on the Red Planet. After drilling into the rock, NASA tested what's called the "D-to-H" ratio in the water, which compares the amounts of deuterium (heavy hydrogen) and normal hydrogen in the compound. Compared to the water vapor present in Mars' atmosphere, the water within Cumberland has roughly twice as much hydrogen. NASA says the tests confirm that most of the water present on the surface of Mars disappeared at least 3.9 billion years ago.

Also present in the water? Organic molecules, which are the first found by Curiosity. Hydrogen was present (as it's a part of water), but carbon was also found in the same drilling sample. The findings, "...shed light on a chemically active modern Mars and on favorable conditions for life on ancient Mars."

"This first confirmation of organic carbon in a rock on Mars holds much promise," said MIT's Roger Summons, who works on the Curiosity team as a Participating Scientist. "The challenge now is to find other rocks on Mount Sharp that might have different and more extensive inventories of organic compounds."

The Cumberland bedrock dates back to the Hesperian period on Mars, which took place 2.5 to 4 billion years ago.

Source: NASA

Permalink

This is so fucking awesome. Hopefully they'll be able to make more discoveries soon.

Captcha: milk was a bad choice. Martians confirmed for going extinct from spoilt milk.

That title's misleading. We've found water on Mars before - mostly as ice and vapour. (I don't think we've found liquid water anywhere - but the source doesn't mention what state this bedrock water was in.)

It's the organic compounds within the water that are so fascinating. And I mean fascinating. It's the sort of thing that makes (prehistoric and bacterial) life on Mars actually likely in my mind (though I'm not a biologist, so take that with a pinch of salt).

Or as King's Quest V put it: Narrator: Ah, life giving water! Nectar of the gods!"

I have to admit, this is particularly cool information. This is basically found alien life. Yes, aliens in at least basic forms like bacteria have at least existed for sure. Two planets in one solar system is very nice. Shame though, imagine if Mars had an entire sentient species that we could be communicating with now? Oh well, organic molecules are better than nothing. I wonder what properties the material has. Traditional organic like most of Earth's inhabitants or totally different. Is there potentially life we wouldn't even recognize if we saw it?

That there is active gas and probable life is cool too.

Hah, it seems that WE are invading alliens,who possess superior technology. Or are we? Only searching Marses underground fully can yield results.

Lightknight:
I have to admit, this is particularly cool information. This is basically found alien life. Yes, aliens in at least basic forms like bacteria have at least existed for sure. Two planets in one solar system is very nice. Shame though, imagine if Mars had an entire sentient species that we could be communicating with now? Oh well, organic molecules are better than nothing. I wonder what properties the material has. Traditional organic like most of Earth's inhabitants or totally different. Is there potentially life we wouldn't even recognize if we saw it?

That there is active gas and probable life is cool too.

Calm your role buddy, we haven't found life on Mars yet. All we found was organic compounds - carbon, hydrogen, etc. That's not bacteria. The methane gas found is also not definitive proof of ongoing life in any capacity. All we found was the gas, and we have no link to what was causing it. Methane gas can point to life, but it's not something that we have definitive answers on.

It's possible that we might come across life we aren't familiar with, but our knowledge of chemistry is pretty wide. With a similar atmosphere under similar conditions, it's more then likely that we'll find carbon based lifeforms. There are possibilities of silicon based life.

The methane gas found is likely due to a process called serpentinization, and it's a non-biological process, although it would have been a contributing factor to the abiogensis "deep sea vent" theory of life on earth as the organic compounds it gives off would have formed part of that primordial ecosystem.

People interested can read more about that here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abiogenesis#Deep_sea_vent_hypothesis

Disclaimer: This is my favorite theory for the origin of life on Earth.

Mister K:
Hah, it seems that WE are invading alliens,who possess superior technology. Or are we? Only searching Marses underground fully can yield results.

Within their tiny molecular world, the Martian people find their way of life threatened by an invader...

Martian Citizen: It's huge!

The creature's proportions are incredible. No such lifeform or construct had ever been conceived of before now.

Martian Scientist: We much capture the monster, not destroy it. It must be studied for the betterment of Martian kind.

But even so, the monstrosity continues its reign of terror!

Marvin: You make me angry! Very angry indeed!

Come and see...Slig Posbern's: The Probe!

Another Martian: It's going to probe my anus!

Coming Soon!

FalloutJack:

Mister K:
Hah, it seems that WE are invading alliens,who possess superior technology. Or are we? Only searching Marses underground fully can yield results.

Within their tiny molecular world, the Martian people find their way of life threatened by an invader...

Martian Citizen: It's huge!

The creature's proportions are incredible. No such lifeform or construct had ever been conceived of before now.

Martian Scientist: We much capture the monster, not destroy it. It must be studied for the betterment of Martian kind.

But even so, the monstrosity continues its reign of terror!

Marvin: You make me angry! Very angry indeed!

Come and see...Slig Posbern's: The Probe!

Another Martian: It's going to probe my anus!

Coming Soon!

So...basically Horton hears a Who?

Lilani:

FalloutJack:

Mister K:
Hah, it seems that WE are invading alliens,who possess superior technology. Or are we? Only searching Marses underground fully can yield results.

Within their tiny molecular world, the Martian people find their way of life threatened by an invader...

Martian Citizen: It's huge!

The creature's proportions are incredible. No such lifeform or construct had ever been conceived of before now.

Martian Scientist: We much capture the monster, not destroy it. It must be studied for the betterment of Martian kind.

But even so, the monstrosity continues its reign of terror!

Marvin: You make me angry! Very angry indeed!

Come and see...Slig Posbern's: The Probe!

Another Martian: It's going to probe my anus!

Coming Soon!

So...basically Horton hears a Who?

Well, I was going for bad 50s sci-f, but sure.

 

Reply to Thread

Posting on this forum is disabled.