(Image Source: NASA)

 

BY HARUMENDHAH HELMY

ANCHOR ZACH TOOMBS

 

In a microwave-sized analytical chemistry lab inside its belly, the Curiosity rover has successfully studied Martian soil, finding what NASA calls “complex chemistry.”
 

In a release, NASA says the rover’s analysis found water and sulfur” and “tentatively identified the oxygen and chlorine compound perchlorate” in the Red Planet’s soil. It also detected “chlorinated methane compounds -- [a] one-carbon organic.”
 

That last finding is what’s getting everyone excited. The presence of an organic compound could be evidence of life on Mars. One problem, though. The chlorine in the compound is definitely Martian, but Curiosity’s scientists can’t be sure where the carbon came from.
 

As Wired points out, the scientists worry about contamination. “Mars’ atmosphere contains carbon dioxide but ... the carbon may simply have been carried from Earth in small amounts...”
 

The Washington Post saysfurther tests will help clarify the source of the chemicals, but mission scientists cautioned that the rover is not equipped to find life itself, only the conditions that may be ripe for life.”
 

The news of the latest finding comes after a misunderstanding between an NPR reporter and Curiosity’s scientists sparked widespread rumors that Curiosity had found signs of life on Mars.
 

Astronomer and Slate columnist Phil Plait says though some might consider what Curiosity actually found kinda boring — we need to take a step back and give the situation some perspective.
 

We have a one-ton nuclear-powered mobile chemistry lab roving around an ancient riverbed of another planet! That very fact gives me chills.”

 

 

Curiosity Finds 'Complex Chemistry' in Mars Soil

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Dec 3, 2012

Curiosity Finds 'Complex Chemistry' in Mars Soil

(Image Source: NASA)

 

BY HARUMENDHAH HELMY

ANCHOR ZACH TOOMBS

 

In a microwave-sized analytical chemistry lab inside its belly, the Curiosity rover has successfully studied Martian soil, finding what NASA calls “complex chemistry.”
 

In a release, NASA says the rover’s analysis found water and sulfur” and “tentatively identified the oxygen and chlorine compound perchlorate” in the Red Planet’s soil. It also detected “chlorinated methane compounds -- [a] one-carbon organic.”
 

That last finding is what’s getting everyone excited. The presence of an organic compound could be evidence of life on Mars. One problem, though. The chlorine in the compound is definitely Martian, but Curiosity’s scientists can’t be sure where the carbon came from.
 

As Wired points out, the scientists worry about contamination. “Mars’ atmosphere contains carbon dioxide but ... the carbon may simply have been carried from Earth in small amounts...”
 

The Washington Post saysfurther tests will help clarify the source of the chemicals, but mission scientists cautioned that the rover is not equipped to find life itself, only the conditions that may be ripe for life.”
 

The news of the latest finding comes after a misunderstanding between an NPR reporter and Curiosity’s scientists sparked widespread rumors that Curiosity had found signs of life on Mars.
 

Astronomer and Slate columnist Phil Plait says though some might consider what Curiosity actually found kinda boring — we need to take a step back and give the situation some perspective.
 

We have a one-ton nuclear-powered mobile chemistry lab roving around an ancient riverbed of another planet! That very fact gives me chills.”

 

 

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