At one time, curiosity was best known for killing cats. Now, it may well be remembered for finally proving the existence of extra-terrestrial life.
On Monday, NASA announced that Mars Rover Curiosity had discovered evidence of an ancient freshwater lake on Mars, in an area named “Yellowknife Bay”.
Curiosity lead scientist John Grotzinger says that in order for an environment to be considered habitable
“Habitability only requires that the chemicals and minerals in the rock preserve evidence of an ancient environment. To search for organic carbon you’re actually looking for particular material … that is not really compatible with the present environment of Mars. To find something you need a guidebook, you need some rules,” Grotzinger said.
According to a report by lead author Doug Ming, of NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston and his team:
“Not only has Curiosity accomplished its primary goal of finding evidence for an ancient environment that could have supported life, but it also has provided evidence habitable conditions existed more recently than expected and likely persisted for millions of years.”
As a life-long fan of Star Trek, this is a very welcome and promising development. Indeed.
Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS