The Noah Project

Rebuilding a sustainable world.

Opportunity finds hint of life on Mars

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CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida – Reuters

This photo shows a panoramic view from Mars Exploration rover Opportunity. AP photo

A Martian rock analyzed by NASA’s rover Opportunity contains clays formed in non-acidic water, an environment potentially suitable for the chemistry of ancient life to brew.

The solar-powered Opportunity landed on Mars in January 2004 for what was expected to be a 90-day mission to look for signs there was once water. It, and a twin rover, Spirit, which succumbed to the harsh Martian environment three years ago, had both found rocks altered by highly acidic water.

While acid-loving microbes exist on Earth, scientists suspect the chemical building blocks for life need more neutral conditions to evolve into life.

“The tough thing about an acid environment is that it’s very, very hard, we believe, to get pre-biotic chemistry, the kind of chemistry that can lead to the origin of life,” Cornell University’s Steve Squyres, lead scientist for the Opportunity and Spirit missions, said. “What’s exciting about this discovery is that it points to a neutral pH at a time very, very early in Martian history,” he added.

Author: Daniela

I was born in Croatia, at that time Yugoslavia. My family moved to the US when I was very young, but I still treasure the memories of my grandfather teaching me how to protect myself against the "evil eye," my grandmother shopping early every morning, at the open air market, to buy the freshest vegetables for the day's meals, and the traditions that were the underpinnings of our society. Someone once noted that "For all of us that want to move forward, there are a very few that want to keep the old methods of production, traditions and crafts alive." I am a fellow traveler with those who value the old traditions and folk wisdom. I believe the knowledge they possess can contribute significantly to our efforts to build a more sustainable world; one that values the individual over the corporation, conservation over growth and happiness over wealth.

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