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SAM is the Sample Analysis of Mars instrument suite. It roams about the Red Planet on the back of the Curiosity Rover. One of the major goals of this mission, and a mission that SAM is crucial for, is detecting habitable environments on the surface of Mars. Now, before we begin, an important note: When we say “habitable,” we don’t mean that you could pull out a blanket and have a picnic because the environment is just so lovely. Rather, we are referring to environments that previously could have supported life. Also of note, “life” has a rather broad definition. Of course it includes the things that come to mind most immediately—dogs, cats, people, elephants, and so on—but it also includes more simple lifeforms (like microbes). And that’s really what we are talking about here.
With this in mind, there are several pieces of big news coming from SAM. First, it found a dramatic increase and decrease in methane in Gale crater. Ultimately, this means that the environment on Mars is still active. Now, this could come from inorganic interactions on Mars (like the meeting of water and rock somewhere subsurface). But it could also come from organic sources, like methanogenic bacteria below the crust of the Red Planet. Second, SAM has made the first definitive detection of organic molecules at Mars. This is rather notable, as organic molecules make life as we know it. Indeed, they are the building blocks of all known forms of terrestrial life.
originally posted by: stirling
Think of it this way....didn't they show microbial life in martian metoric material from Antarctica???
That would seem to confirm wouldn't it?
originally posted by: Char-Lee
a reply to: Jenisiz
There are people on ATS who have made fun of any suggestion that there could be life on Mars and actually resorted to name calling, I would bet when they do tell us they have found life no one will apologize.