Mars Curiosity Rover – NASA Update, Mar 12 2013

NASA Rover Finds Conditions Once Suited for Ancient Life on Mars

Scientists identified sulfur, nitrogen, hydrogen, oxygen, phosphorus and carbon — some of the key chemical ingredients for life — in the powder Curiosity drilled out of a sedimentary rock near an ancient stream bed in Gale Crater on the Red Planet last month.

“Clay minerals make up at least 20 percent of the composition of this sample,” said David Blake, principal investigator for the CheMin instrument at NASA’s Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, Calif.

“The range of chemical ingredients we have identified in the sample is impressive, and it suggests pairings such as sulfates and sulfides that indicate a possible chemical energy source for micro-organisms,”

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