Curiosity has made an exciting discovery on the surface of Mars. The rover has just found possible evidence of life on the planet billions of years ago. NASA might not quite ready to confirm that creatures once roamed the Red Planet. Nevertheless, the agency believes that the findings could mean positive things for future missions.
The NASA rover has found organic molecules in sedimentary rocks near the planet’s surface. These molecules may contain hydroxen, carbon, oxygen, and nitrogen and are usually associated with life. However, their presence in the billion-year-old rocks does not confirm life on Mars just yet.
NASA's Jen Eigenbrode believes Mars may have been habitable billions of years ago.
Jen Eigenbrode of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center explained that the new discovery is a good sign for future explorations.
“Curiosity has not determined the source of the organic molecules,” said the lead author of one of the two new Science papers. “Whether it holds a record of ancient life, was food for life, or has existed in the absence of life, organic matter in Martian materials holds chemical clues to planetary conditions and processes.”
Curiosity also found evidence that Mars was once able to hold liquid water at the surface. Billions of years ago, the Gale Crater on the Red Planet once has a water lake with all the ingredients necessary for life like energy sources and chemical building blocks.
NASA's Curiosity rover used an instrument called SAM (Sample Analysis at Mars) to detect seasonal changes in atmospheric methane in Gale Crater.
Eigenbrode is hopeful about Curiosity’s new findings.
“The Martian surface is exposed to radiation from space. Both radiation and harsh chemicals break down organic matter. Finding ancient organic molecules in the top five centimeters of rock that was deposited when Mars may have been habitable, bodes well for us to learn the story of organic molecules on Mars with future missions that will drill deeper.”
NASA’s Mars rover also found seasonal methane changes on the planet’s surface. The methane and the ancient organics will certainly play an important part once the agency sends the Mars 2020 rover in two years. The rover will be joined by European Space Agency’s ExoMars rover and will hopefully find more organics.
See more of the exciting Mars discovery in the video below.
NASA’s ‘Clean Rooms’ Are Not So Clean, No Thanks to Bacteria That Eat Cleaning Products
And they can contaminate other worlds when they hitch a ride to outer space.
At NASA, they have what they call 'clean rooms,' where they assemble their spacecrafts. These pristine chambers are religiously cleaned and scrubbed with alcohol-based solvents. Every matter must go through several filters to ensure the area is never contaminated; every person must be in the proper coveralls when entering the rooms - all these to prevent Earth microbes from reaching and contaminating other worlds during NASA explorations, as part of the international planetary protection treaty.
But even with NASA's meticulous standards, it is impossible to completely sterilize the clean rooms. Bacteria can still thrive in their immaculate walls.
The tough Acinetobacter bacteria can be found in NASA's clean rooms.
Groundbreaking Study Can Help Many Women with Breast Cancer Skip Chemotherapy
This new finding is expected to make a radical change in cancer treatments.
According to a new major international study, women with early-stage breast cancer who would receive chemotherapy under current standards do not actually need it. The study, titled Adjuvant Chemotherapy Guided by a 21-Gene Expression Assay in Breast Cancer and published by The New England Journal of Medicine, is expected to make a significant impact in cancer treatments.
The study found that gene tests on tumor samples can identify breast cancer patients who do not need to undergo chemotherapy. Instead, they can take a drug called tamoxifen that blocks the hormone estrogen or stops the body from making it, and undergo endocrine therapy. The findings apply to an estimated 60,000 women a year in the United States alone.
With this discovery, women with breast cancer who will not benefit from chemotherapy can skip the unpleasant process.
USA Can’t Defend Itself Against This NEW Weapon, Russia Claims
The hypersonic weapon may be ready for deployment by 2020.
As if the world didn’t have enough scary weapons to worry about, recent reports tell us that Russia is boasting a new “hypersonic” one that “skips along the upper atmosphere to deliver a potentially nuclear payload,” wrote IFLScience.
Apparently, the said hypersonic glide vehicle is called the Avangard. The new weapon has the capabilities of traveling at 5,000 kilomoters per hour and it has already been tested thrice, with two of those tests considered successful. Another test - a fourth one - has been scheduled for summer.