By Nicole WillettRed Planet Pen BlogIssue #32On December 16, 2014 at the American Geophysical Union conference in
San Francisco, a panel of scientists working on the Mars Science
Laboratory (MSL) Curiosity Rover data announced what we have all been
waiting decades to hear. John Grotzinger stated unequivocally, “…there
is methane occasionally present in the atmosphere of Mars and there are
organics preserved in (…) rocks on Mars.”
Why is this important? All life on Earth that we have discovered so
far is carbon based, aka organic. Carbon is found in the DNA of all
life forms on Earth. Carbon can bind with many other elements to form
thousands of molecules that are involved in biological processes.
Needless to say, finding organics and methane is a game changer for all
of science, from astronomy to zoology. Organics in general refer
to molecules that are often found as components of life. We know from
studying life forms on Earth that methane is a common organic molecule
that is a waste product of bacteria and macro organisms. In fact
approximately 90% of Earth’s methane has a biological origin. However, ...