Latest in Science

Image credit:

NASA Curiosity rover digs Mars, finds sulfur, chlorine and organic traces of unknown origin

Michael Gorman, @Numeson
December 3, 2012
Share
Tweet
Share

Sponsored Links

Since NASA's Curiosity rover made its way to Mars, it's been sending back a wealth of data from our rust-colored planetary neighbor: landscape photos, radiation readings and even evidence of liquid water. We can now add soil composition to the list, as Curiosity became Earth's first visitor to the Red Planet to both gather and analyze Martian soil on its own.

What's Mars made of? Well, after scooping up some loose sand, Curiosity's Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) suite and the Chemistry and Mineralogy (CheMin) instruments found a menagerie of chemicals, including sulfur, chlorine, and traces of carbon-based materials. Don't get carried away thinking there's life on Mars just yet, however, because NASA's boffins aren't sure the organic molecules are native -- they may have come from Earth on this, or a previous mission. Still, the analysis is a significant step in unlocking Mars' secrets, and the high quality data resulting from it will keep NASA's best and brightest busy as Curiosity continues sampling Martian dirt in the coming months. Those interested in learning more can check out the source below or tune into the press conference after the break.

All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.
Comment
Comments
Share
Tweet
Share

Popular on Engadget

Engadget's 2020 Back-to-School Guide

Engadget's 2020 Back-to-School Guide

View
Space Force official logo and motto unveiled

Space Force official logo and motto unveiled

View
Nintendo 'gigaleak' reveals the classic games that never were

Nintendo 'gigaleak' reveals the classic games that never were

View
Google extends shutdown deadline for native Chrome apps

Google extends shutdown deadline for native Chrome apps

View
Nreal Light mixed reality glasses launch in Korea with the Galaxy Note 20

Nreal Light mixed reality glasses launch in Korea with the Galaxy Note 20

View

From around the web

Page 1Page 1ear iconeye iconFill 23text filevr