Past and Present signs of possible habitability on Mars

The Mars Curiosity rover of NASA is slowly moving up of a steep mountain made up of sedimentary rock which is positioned at the center of the Gale Crater landing site. Surprisingly the rover has found shreds of evidence of habitability on the Red Planet’s past and maybe even in the present, as per the statements of the scientists.

As per the reports revealed, the Curiosity rover has identified different forms of organic compounds which are very much essential for supporting life on earth, within the three billion old rocks at the beneath of the Gale Crater. It is to be kept in mind that the rover previously detected organics. But this time the samples collected are far more authentic and further strengthen the belief of possible habitat on Mars in the past. According to Jen Eigenbrode who is a research scientist and also an astrobiologist at NASA, said that they had found organic molecules in rocks which are a proof that there might have been life on Mars in the past.

In another surprising finding, it was detected that there had been seasonal variations in the level of methane in the Martian atmosphere. Background levels are seen to climb by a factor of three from winter to summer which is an indication of the repeated release of gas. In fact, Chris Webster who is a senior researcher at the Jet propulsion Laboratory has officially announced that they have found seasonal, repeatable and very much identifiable pattern in the methane measurement. Chris feels that this finding of fluctuations in the methane level amidst the Martian atmosphere has unlocked a large number of queries surrounding the habitation on the Red Planet and now they will be able to test their models to perfection. 

Chris further added such seasonal changes in the methane level are very confident in the sense that 95 percent of methane that is present on Earth is due to biology. Moreover, it should be remembered that methane lasts for only a couple of centuries before they are broken down. So its presence currently within the Martian atmosphere proves that something exciting is taking place within the Red Planet.

Previously methane was discovered in the Martian atmosphere but in patches, unlike the recent discovery where repeatable patterns have been identified. When Mars is warmer particularly during the summer season, the level tends to rise further showing signs of on-going biology or may be the result of pure geological processes.