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Rover Finds Whiff of Possible Organics on Mars


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NASA's Mars rover Curiosity has turned up tantalizing clues of the planet's complicated chemical evolution, a story that includes carbon, the first detailed analysis of the planet's soil shows.

Scientists found traces of carbon in several compounds detected by the rover's Sample Analysis at Mars, or SAM, instrument. They do not yet know if the carbon, which is a key building block for life, is contamination from Earth, was delivered to Mars by organics-rich comets or asteroids, or arose on Mars.

If indigenous, the carbon could be an indicator of geologic or biological activity.

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