NASA's Curiosity Rover Stumbles Upon Hints Of Rocky Life On The Red Planet

  • Osvaldo Nunez , Design & Trend Contributor
  • Jul, 27, 2016, 04:50 PM
Tags : Mars, Red Planet, NASA
(Photo : Getty Images/NASA) Did NASA find a skull on the surface of Mars?

NASA's Mars rover, the Curiosity, has found rocks on the Red Planet with manganese. The manganese finding leads researchers back on Earth to believe that oxygen once existed in Mars' atmosphere.

The Curiosity discovered large amounts of manganese in 2013. The finding debunked earlier studies that claimed the planet could not have the element.

"If we could peer onto Mars millions of years ago, we'd see a very wet world," stated Nina Lanza, a researcher from Los Alamos National Laboratory. "Yet we didn't think Mars ever had enough oxygen to concentrate manganese - and that's why we thought the data from Caribou must have been an error."

The conclusion now is that the manganese must have formed after basalt rock was dissolved in oxygenated water.

After the finding, the Curiosity was sent out to find more manganese. Using its ChemCam, it used one of its tools to vaporize samples taken from the Gale crater. The rover found more manganese.

Dr. Lanza suggests that radiation from the sun could be the culprit of the Red Planet's split water molecules. Since Mars has no magnetic field and low gravity, remaining oxygen after a split would be absorbed into rock. The result would be the rock's red color due to oxidation.

The information found by Curiosity is not enough for Lanza, however. She noted that oxygen and life aren't always mutual.

"This tells us that Mars has evolved very differently than we thought it did," Lanza told The Christian Science Monitor in a previous report. "We need to start looking for different types of minerals and other evidence about Mars's past."

It looks like NASA still does not have that rock-solid evidence of life on the planet. The Curiosity has a lot of work to do.

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