Possibly not coincidental with the recent resurgence of David Bowie's musical stylings, scientists have discovered a possibility of life on Mars. OH WOW WHAT DID THE ALIENS LOOK LIKE AND DID THEY HAVE LITTLE SHELTERS AND WERE THERE COOL PLANTS?
All unanswered and not really what Curiosity uncovered. The latest samples from NASA's Curiosity rover show that Mars was capable of supporting microbial life in the distant past. The rover drilled 2.5 inches into a rock on a Martian outcrop and found some of the chemical ingredients for life in the powder—like sulfur, nitrogen, hydrogen, oxygen, phosphorus, and carbon. This amalgamation could have supported some microbes on the Red Planet.
While we have known for a while that there was water on Mars, the samples revealed that this aqueous environment could have been life-supporting. Scientists found some clay-type mineral, which could reveal exposure to a benign liquid source. Despite its searching, the Curiosity rover has not discovered life-giving organic compounds on Mars, though these compounds are not necessary for life—microbes can exist by ingesting types of inorganic carbon (like carbon dioxide).
While this is no god-awful small affair, the findings don't mean that Mars actually supported life (only that it could) and the conclusions don't hold up the idea that Mars could support some lovely plants and greenery today. The Red Planet is much colder and drier than it was three billion years ago (which is when scientists suppose life could have been supported).
After making this discovery just seven months into its mission, the Curiosity rover is very proud of itself and will probably continue to search for signs of complex organics. Good luck, little Wall-E creature.
[Yahoo, image via Getty]