“We found organic molecules in rocks from an ancient lake bed,” explained Jen Eigenbrode, research scientist. The rocks are billions of years old. The organic molecules could provide vital clues. The organic molecules found on Mars are not specific evidence of life. “They could have come from things that are non-biological,” Eigenbrode explained. The Curiosity rover is providing additional details of Mars’ methane, scientists confirmed Thursday. The rover has identified “a repeatable, identifiable pattern in the methane measurement,” said Chris Webster, senior research fellow at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
“While the discovery of Martian organics – specifically methane – does not confirm life, it is yet another major piece of evidence that Mars may sustain microbial life,” Chris Carberry, executive director of Explore Mars, a non-profit organization that aims to advance the goal of sending humans to Mars said. NASA’s long-term goal is to send a manned mission to Mars in the 2030s. Other NASA missions to Mars are also planned. A six-wheeled robot is expected to arrive on Mars in 2021. SpaceX CEO Elon Musk said too that he expects to see test flights of the firm’s Mars spacecraft next year.