The type of carbon is associated with biological processes on Earth. Curiosity scientists offer several explanations for the unusual carbon signals.
After analyzing powdered rock samples collected from the surface of Mars by NASA’s Curiosity rover, scientists have announced that several of the samples are rich in a type of carbon that on Earth is associated with biological processes.
While the finding is intriguing, it doesn’t necessarily point to ancient life on Mars, as scientists have not yet found conclusive supporting evidence of ancient or current biology there, such as sedimentary rock formations produced by ancient bacteria, or a diversity of complex organic molecules formed by life.
“We’re finding things on Mars that are tantalizingly interesting, but we would really need more evidence to say we’ve identified life,” said Paul Mahaffy, who served as the principal investigator of the Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) chemistry lab aboard Curiosity until retiring from NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, in December 2021. “So we’re looking at what else could have caused the carbon signature we’re seeing, if not life.”
More her https://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/nasas-curiosity-rover-measures-intriguing-carbon-signature-on-mars