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It may have been living in the shadow of its younger sibling Perseverance for the last few months, but NASA's Curiosity rover has just provided evidence of a key ingredient for life on Mars.

Scientists using data from NASA's Curiosity rover measured the total organic carbon in Martian rocks for the very first time, a press statement reveals. Their results showed that there is an abundance of this key ingredient for life on the red planet.

The Curiosity rover landed on Mars on August 5, 2012, while the more recent Perseverance rover https://interestingengineering.com/nasa-perseverance-rover-landing-on-mars">landed on Mars' Jezero Crater on February 18 last year. The Perseverance mission has recently performed several historic firsts, including the first controlled flight of a helicopter on another planet.

That's not to say Curiosity isn't still providing valuable insight into our planetary neighbor. Most recently, it has provided compelling evidence for the key ingredient of life.

 

"Total organic carbon is one of several measurements [or indices] that help us understand how much material is available as feedstock for prebiotic chemistry and potentially biology," said Jennifer Stern of NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. "We found at least 200 to 273 parts per million of organic carbon. This is comparable to or even more than the amount found in rocks in very low-life places on Earth, such as parts of the Atacama Desert in South America, and more than has been detected in Mars meteorites."

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