Home » News & Blogs » Organic molecules are interesting but...
Bookmark and Share

Organic molecules are interesting but...

21 Nov 2012, 10:18 UTC
Organic molecules are interesting but...
(200 words excerpt, click title or image to see full post)

So following an NPR piece there's a lot of rumour going round about the possibility that Curiosity has found some organic molecules (Boing Boing, Emily's always excellent Planetary Society blog). If this is indeed the case, then it's interesting but not in itself epoch making. To some extent, since Viking, the surprise had been that there have not been organic materials detected.
As discussed in this post, thousands of tonnes of organic material arrive at the surface of Mars every year. Once it gets there, it either has to be got rid of or it accumulates. Recent work has also shown that most of the Martian meteorites studied have been found to contain organics that were aparently created on Mars through means that have no link to biology (Science paper here). So not only should people presume there are at least some organics on Mars -- people have actually found and studied organics from Mars.
Investigations by Viking and Phoenix did not detect organics, but that is consistent both with processes in the soil destroying them and the protocols used to look for them them being unable to succeed due to the presence of perchlorate (JGR paper here). Curiosity's ...

Latest Vodcast

Latest Podcast

Advertise PTTU

NASA Picture of the Day

Astronomy Picture of the Day