Curiosity Finds Simple Organics, But Big Questions

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 ” The Curiosity rover has detected organic compounds on Mars, NASA scientists announced at a press conference today. But the source of these carbon-containing molecules, which are essential to sustaining life, is still up in the air. Using Curiosity’s Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) suite of instruments, researchers found traces of water, sulfur, and small amounts of organics in the form chlorine-containing compounds, though the researchers were quick to point out that they’re still trying to determine the source of the organics—they could very well could be from residual earth contaminants, the scientists warned. “[SAM] has made this detection of simple, organic compounds; we just don’t know if they’re indigenous to Mars or not,” said project scientist John Grotzinger. “