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originally posted by: NightFlight
There are no aliens...
They are MARTIANS !!!
A set of geological results recently delivered courtesy of Curiosity's drill bit provides a deeper understanding of the organic chemistry of the 300-million-year-old mudstone in two separate parts of Gale crater.
The samples were found to contain thiophene, 2- and 3-methylthiophenes, methanethiol, and dimethylsulfide.
These chemicals might not mean a great deal to most of us, but to areologists (that's Martian geologists) it's an indication that the organic chemistry in Martian mudstone is extremely similar to our own.
The super exciting part is that the method used to detect these chemicals indicates they're not floating around in the rock all alone, but are smaller pieces of organic chemistry that's been torn off even bigger, more complicated materials.
Q: What organic molecules did you find, and how do they compare with anything that is found or produced on Earth?
A: [...] SAM detected fragments of much larger molecules that had been broken up during the high-temperature heating experiment. Thus, SAM has detected “macromolecular organic matter” otherwise known as kerogen. Kerogen is a name given to organic material that is present in rocks and in carbonaceous meteorites. It is generally present as small particles that are chemically complex with no easily identified chemical entities. One analogy I use is that it is something like finding very finely powdered coal-like material distributed through a rock. Except that there were no trees on Mars, so it is not coal. Just coal-like.
[...]All we can say from the data is that there is complex organic matter similar to what is found in many equivalent aged rocks on the Earth.
Q: What could be the possible sources for these organic molecules, biological or otherwise?
A: We cannot say anything about its origin. The significance of the finding, however, is that the results show organic matter can be preserved in Mars surface sediments. [...]
Q: The Curiosity rover found the first definitive evidence of organic matter on Mars in 2014. Now with these new results, what does this all say about the possibility that there is, or was life on Mars?
A: [...] On the other hand, the finding that complex organic matter can be preserved there for more than 3 billion years is a very encouraging sign for future exploration. “Preservation” is the key word, here. It means that, one day, there is potential for more sophisticated instrumentation to detect a wider range of compounds in Mars samples, including the sorts of molecules made by living organisms, such as lipids, amino acids, sugars, or even nucleobases.