Mars had the right stuff for life, scientists find

By REUTERS
March 12, 2013 20:44

 
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CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla.- Seven months after NASA's rover Curiosity landed on Mars to assess if the planet most like Earth had the ingredients for life, scientists have their answer: Yes.

Analysis of a powder drilled from an ancient and once water-soaked rock at the rover's Gale Crater landing site show clays, sulfates and other minerals that are all key to life, the scientists told a news conference at NASA's headquarters on Tuesday.

The water that once flowed through the area, known as Yellowknife Bay, was likely drinkable, said Curiosity's lead scientist John Grotzinger, who is with the California Institute of Technology.

The analysis stopped short of a confirmation of organics, which are necessary for Earth-like life. But with 17 more months left in the rover's primary mission, scientists said they expect to hone in on that question.

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