A new study that surveyed the organic molecules located within the dry mud found in the Gale Crater reveals new data as they may have come from a biological source. Information and samples related to the molecules are scarce at this point, but there is a chance that life bloomed on the planet billions of years ago.
Curiosity has been hard at work since it landed on the planet, and the iconic rover has collected samples from an area of the Gale Crater, which is reached in mudstone. The section is known as Murray’s Formation, and an initial study was published in 2018, describing the results of the first experiments, which tracked down a fascinating number of molecules.
Organic Molecules Found on Mars Could Come From a Biological Source
The discovery of thiophenes was quite puzzling. They are aromatic compounds that tend to be encountered in specific places on Earth. Two of the most popular sites are areas where crude oil and coal are being extracted. Both resources come from organic sources as oil is the result of bodies, algae, and zooplankton that have been compressed and kept at a high temperature. In the case of coal, the same conditions require the presence of dead trees.
Researchers have thought that the compounds form via an abiotic process as sulfur will interact with organic hydrocarbons at a specific temperature, with the process being known as thermochemical sulfate reduction. At this point, it is essential to mention the fact that while the reaction may tend to be abiotic, the sulfur and hydrocarbons may come from an organic source.
Several opportunities that favor the formation of thiophenes have been identified, with some being biological while others are abiological. Thiophenes have been observed on some meteorites, and they may have been brought on the planet by a few. More data will be collected with the help of the Rosalind Franklin rover, which should be launched in the summer.