NPR: NASA Says Ancient Mars Could Have Supported Life
Hap McSween, earth and planetary sciences professor, spoke to NPR about NASA’s Mars Curiosity mission’s latest discovery. An analysis of a rock sample collected by NASA’s Curiosity rover shows ancient Mars could have supported living microbes by revealing some key ingredients for life. McSween, who has worked on other Mars rover missions, compared past missions to Curiosity. He said the rover called Opportunity also found rocks that clearly had been altered by water, like Curiosity. But, “the problem was that the water was more like battery acid than drinking water,” he said. Still there is a debate as to whether life could start there. The ancient water in Curiosity’s newest discovery seems like it would be way more hospitable. “This particular water was neutral to very slightly basic, something that would not be such a challenge for organisms to live in,” he said.