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NASA’s Curiosity Rover continues to send new information about the red planet at regular intervals. The latest discovery brings news of an interesting carbon signature that we did not expect to see on Mars. After analyzes of rock samples returned by the rover, NASA announced that several of the samples are rich in a type of carbon that we also see on Earth. The signature, NASA claims, is most often associated with biological processes that could provide more confidence in the possibility of life on Mars.
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NASA Curiosity Rover samples bring more exciting news
Of course, like many previous samples recovered from the red planet, these new ones continue to raise new questions. It is worth noting that the existence of the carbon type on Mars is not necessarily a proof of ancient life. A new study says the signature could be evidence of old life. However, it can also just be the result of an interaction between carbon dioxide and ultraviolet light. In addition, it may be the remnants of carbon left behind after a major cosmic event that happened millions of years ago.
With so many options, the tests continue to give NASA and other scientists plenty to think about. “We find things on Mars that are temptingly interesting,” Paul Mahaffy, a former Curiosity investigator, said in a statement on NASA’s website. “But we really need more evidence to say we’ve identified life.”
Mahaffy also noted that the team behind Curiosity is looking at other options behind the carbon signatures they discovered in the Curiosity Rover trials. The researchers published their study in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences earlier this year. The authors break down their hypotheses as well as more information about the results.
To let go of the Earth’s bias
It is very easy to look at the data from these samples and say that we have found evidence of life. But the reality of the situation is not so simple.
“The hardest thing is to let go of Earth and let go of the bias we have and really try to get into the basics of chemistry, physics and environmental processes on Mars” Jennifer L. Eigenbrode, an astrobiologist with NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center , wrote in the message.
Eigenbrode says we really need to open our minds and think outside the box. Once we do, we can begin to really decode the data we discover on Mars. If we do not, we may end up misinterpreting the data provided by the Curiosity Rover tests. This could jeopardize any mission to the red planet in the future.
See the original version of this article at BGR.com