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NASA astronaut has discovered new organic compounds on Mars

In a new internal experiment, NASA's Curiosity astronaut has discovered traces of previously unknown organic molecules on Mars.

None of the organic molecules identified in the Martian sand show clear signs of life, but they show that the new method, which did not require drilling into Martian soil, is an effective tool for searching for evidence of carbon-based molecules. They are important building blocks of life as we know them. There were signs of life on the Red Planet, it hit a landmark. Just as the astronaut was preparing to sample the Martian rock at the foot of Mount Sharp, the drill suddenly failed. NASA researchers, however, delayed the mission until To solve the problem, they simply changed gears to transfer some of the soft sand previously collected on Mars' Ogunquit Beach to the Curiosity Wet Laboratory, instead of pulverizing the rock samples. This probe internal laboratory contains only 9 cups of solvent, each of which can be used only once. Therefore, researchers must carefully select experimental samples.

Identifying organic compounds in Martian rocks is very challenging because when they are heated, they break down into simpler molecules. However, if these organic compounds first react with other chemicals, they are likely to enter the Martian gas chromatography and mass spectrometer without decomposition after passing through a cup of solvent.

BingMag.com NASA astronaut has discovered new organic compounds on Mars

Curiosity Martian Wet Chemistry Lab
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

This in-house lab is a cleverly designed system that helps scientists rapidly analyze soil on Mars. However, no experiments were ever conducted in late 2016 because the NASA team did not expect agncoquite sand to be rich in organic matter.

On the other hand, they were unsure if they could continue drilling on Mars. So the existing samples were worth trying. By breaking the seal of the first sand samples from the Agunquit area, the researchers found several organic compounds, including ammonia and benzoic acid. Some of these organic compounds had never been detected on Mars before.

Now, a few years later, scientists' new findings on the discovery of organic molecules with the help of the Curiosity rover were published this week in the journal Nature Astronomy. Astronomy) reviewed and published. However, the presence of organic molecules does not necessarily mean that life once existed on Mars because no amino acid derivatives have been identified in the samples. , Even without the ability to drill. "The Mars derivation experiment has increased the number of molecules discovered in Martian specimens and introduced a powerful tool that could be used in the future to search for more related polar organic molecules, either biotic or prebiotic," said the NASA research team. Finally, it took more than a year for engineers to repair the Curiosity drill from the ground and put it back into operation, but at the same time, the proper operation of the wet chemistry lab with sand samples was confirmed.

By 2019, the second cup was ready to be used for a sample of clay rocks from a higher location on Mount Sharp. Other analyzes will be performed not only on Mars but also on Earth in the future. NASA plans to send a mission to Mars in the 2030s to collect the rest of the Curiosity specimens so that it can study them more closely on Earth.

The "Perseverance" astronaut is also looking to run new challenges at the mouth of the Jezero, he says. This astronaut has also discovered amazing signs of the existence of ancient lakes on Mars.

  • Curiosity astronaut took amazing pictures of Martian clouds

Cover photo: Curiosity rover on the slopes of Sharp Mountain
Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Source: Science Alert

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