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Possible fatty acid detected on Mars

RATE THIS! +24
Posted in Science on 20th Mar, 2015 09:09 PM by AlexMuller

A fatty acid might be among organic molecules discovered on Mars by Nasa's Curiosity rover. However, it's not possible at this stage to determine whether the compound has a biological or non-biological origin, and contamination could still be responsible for the finding. The results come from Curiosity's SAM instrument.

 
Nasa scientist Daniel Glavin described the results from the first "wet chemistry" experiment carried out by Curiosity. A long-chain carboxylic acid, or fatty acid, was a good fit for one of the data peaks detected in a mudstone called Cumberland, he told an audience at the meeting. A form of alcohol molecule may also be among the compounds analysed.
 
The preliminary result will excite scientists because fatty acids are key components of the cell membranes found in all life forms, including microbial organisms. Dr Glavin told an audience that the result was "provocative", and said the link to biology was the "million-dollar question". But he explained that a non-biological origin was equally plausible at this stage of the research.
 
One scientist commenting on the presentation suggested that contamination could not be ruled out as a cause of the signal.

Tags: MarsbiologyNASAspaceplanetCuriositylifechemistry

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Comments

Author: Guest
Posted: 2015-03-21
+1
Yes, I agree that this is provocative finding. However, a number of organic compounds can be produced by chemical reactions that do not require life Reply
Author: Guest
Posted: 2016-07-22
+0
The forum is a brgihter place thanks to your posts. Thanks! Reply


 

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