News & AnalysisPlanetary Science

Life Could Have Thrived on Mars, but Did It? Curiosity Still Has No Clue

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Science  22 Mar 2013:
Vol. 339, Issue 6126, pp. 1373
DOI: 10.1126/science.339.6126.1373

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With its first sample of martian rock, the Curiosity rover has achieved the primary objective of its $2.5 billion mission. Mars scientists have shown that, at least in one place and time on ancient Mars, life as we know it could have survived: Prolonged benign wetness, the essential building blocks of life, and an energy source were all on Mars. As to ancient martian life itself—the focus of public interest—the news has been a letdown.