NASA's hunt for life on Mars moved forward a bit yesterday with the announcement that the Curiosity rover had found organic material in an ancient lakebed and discovered seasonal spikes in methane gas.
|NASA's Curiosity rover has discovered ancient organic molecules on Mars, embedded within sedimentary rocks that are billions of years old.Credit: NASA/GSFC|
"Are there signs of life on Mars?" said Michael Meyer, lead scientist for NASA's Mars Exploration Program, at NASA Headquarters. "We don't know, but these results tell us we are on the right track."
It is becoming clear that the search for life in the Universe beyond our own planet can focus right here in our solar system. Water abounds on planets and moons in clouds, in craters, poles that never see sunlight and under ice warm salt oceans. And one thing our planet has shown us is that life can live in the most extreme environments.
I think it is only a matter of time until we find the proof we are seeking that past, and maybe even current life, exists beyond Earth. Whether that will be "simple" cellular life only or intelligent life (in the form of received signals) remains to be seen.
Sky Guy in VA