May 27th, 2012 21:30 EST
NASA's Mars Research Proves the Existence of Carbon on Red Planet
NASA has spent a lot of funds on many different types of research on Mars and they continue to do so with even more funded programs. NASA recently studied meteorites that landed on Earth from Mars and has found the existence or at least strong evidence that very large molecules containing carbon, which is a key ingredient for the building blocks of life, can originate on the Red Planet.
Carbon is one of the main key ingredients and building blocks for the existence of life. This data found by NASA may prove that those little green men and their little flying saucers we hear about all the time may not be just someone three sheets to the wind after a power drinking binge at their local tavern and as they stumble out the door they think they just saw something fly buy in the night sky because that 90 proof Jack Daniels is playing with their imagination; no, it may have really been little green men out on a night cruise.
With the new findings by NASA there is now evidence that complex carbon chemistry has taken place on Mars. And more and more information and data that is being found has given NASA better insight into the chemical process that has and is still taking place on Mars.
NASA is really focusing on the fact that life does exist outside of our planet and the main focus is Mars. They are trying to prove the life may have in the past or still does exist on Mars that these new findings by NASA may assist in future quests for evidence of life on the Red Planet. The findings are published in Thursday`s online edition of Science Express.
Andrew Steele who is the lead author from Carnegie made this statement, "These findings show that the storage of reduced carbon molecules on Mars occurred throughout the planet`s history and might have been similar to processes that occurred on the ancient Earth," (Steele, 2012)
One of the main objectives by NASA on their Mars missions and research is to find large chains of carbon and hydrogen. These elements have been found in past meteorites that have hit Earth but scientists still have questions on how the carbon was really formed in those meteorites and have possible doubts that did that carbon found in those meteorites really come from Mars or not but the one piece of data that has been proven is that Mars has the ability and can produce organic carbon.
Mary Voytek who is the Director of NASA`s Astrobiology Program at NASA`s Headquarters in Washington, D.C. elaborated on this by stating, "Although this study has not yielded evidence that Mars has or once may have supported life, it does address some important questions about the sources of organic carbon on Mars. With the Curiosity rover scheduled to land in August, these new research results may help Mars Science Laboratory scientists fine-tune their investigations on the surface of the planet by understanding where organic carbon may be found and how it is preserved." (Voytek, 2012)
Scientists have formed many theories about the large carbon Macromolecules that have been in the past detected on those Martian meteorites but still are trying to form the final hypotheses on this and they are leaning more towards the idea that the carbon found on those meteorites could have possibly originated from terrestrial continuation form Earth or the possibility it could also have originated from other meteorites or other chemical reactions or biological activity that has taken place on Mars.
Andrew Steel`s team recently examined eleven Martian meteorites dating back about 4.2 billion years ago and detected large carbons compounds in ten of those meteorites studied. The molecules of carbon were found inside large grains of crystallized minerals within the meteorites.
Some of the other findings that Steele and his team uncovered is on one some of the past meteorites they studied they found possible relics of ancient biological life on Mars. The meteorite studied that surfaced this data is known as ALH84001. The same meteorite also found to contain organic macromolecules of non-biological origin.
So, from this data found it tells me that there is still doubt and non-concrete evidence that Mars has or did sustain life at one time but there is also the possibility that Mars did sustain life at one time or another. The findings and data is still a work in process.
At the very least, this new data found by NASA will help in the current and future missions to Mars to be able to distinguish non-biological carbon molecules that have been formed and the possibility that life did at one time or even still does exist on Mars, so don`t give up that imagination of yours that those little green men do still have a place in this huge galaxy of ours.
NASA Funded Research Shows Existence of Reduced Carbon on Mars, (www.nasa.gov) Retrieved 2012.