The Curiosity Rover's latest mission has registered methane gas, a waste product which only living organisms are capable of releasing. Following this logic, NASA astrophysicists believe that the discovery is proof of life on Mars.
Methane on Earth comes from living organisms only and since our planet shares some similar characteristics with Mars, scientists are now considering the theory that our neighboring planet also harbors life.
The methane fumes appear and disappear, say NASA scientists.
"For now, it's still too early for conclusions but the fact that methane levels aren't constant but are always changing leads us to believe that it's being released by living things, " NASA claims.
The samples from Curiosity need to be analyzed to identify the gas's source.
Since Curiosity began its journey on the Martian surface, it's photographed a mineral structure that could only have been formed by water. To scientists this is proof that water once flowed there.
According to experts, the terrain being explored by Curiosity right now was once a massive lake. In addition, the observations along the base of Mount Sharp made some time ago reveal that the Red Planet was teeming with lakes 2 billion years ago.
As well, the discovered clay deposits were shown to have formed more recently, NASA adds. This indicates that the window of time in which Mars was capable of supporting life was much wider than anticipated.
But for scientists to confirm their theory of life on Mars, they need to use additional methods for analyzing the organic matter in the planet's rocks.
The task is difficult and will take years, plus it may ultimately turn out that these signs of living organisms were caused by an asteroid or comet that hit the Red Planet.See more