News & AnalysisPlanetary Science

Search for Martian Life Clears Another Hurdle

Science  28 Mar 2014:
Vol. 343, Issue 6178, pp. 1419
DOI: 10.1126/science.343.6178.1419

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Summary

The simple organic compounds discovered by the Curiosity Mars rover either came with the tons of never-alive cosmic debris that sifts onto every planetary body or are something far more exciting: remains of martian life from eons ago, when a habitable lake graced the rover's landing site. Researchers could learn more about the complex organic molecules that yielded these first finds if Curiosity's drilling strikes a richer vein of organics in the coming months or if a more sophisticated analytical technique is employed.

  • * With additional reporting by Emily Lakdawalla, a freelance journalist in Los Angeles, California.