While operating on the Mars surface, NASA's Curiosity rover carried out experiments on its ancient past and if it was habitable. The rover sampled rocks by drilling into it, in an attempt to find organic molecules that signalled life. Clues and intriguing proof were obtained while scientists are in the process of verification to find out their beginnings.
In 2018, they examined the Martian surface that produced soil samples of what seems to be a 3 billion-year-old mudstone sample in the Gale Crater.
The rover went about sampling sites and drilled '5-centimetre holes' in the Gale crater, where the robotic planetary probe went down in 2012. This Martian crater, which was named for Australian astronomer Walter F. Gale, has a 96-mile radius wide and dated to have struck Mars in a meteoric impact from 3.5 and 3.8 billion years ago (BYA). Initial guesses about the crater if it was a lake, but Mount Sharp developed into a mountain.
Examining the samples were done by heating the rock bits from between 932 and 1,508 degrees Fahrenheit, to see what organic molecules were captured in the gaseous analysis. Results of the probe's tests revealed organic molecules and volatiles, that are similar to earthen sediments that gas thiophenes, methylthiophenes methanethiol and dimethylsulfide.
All these earth-like sediments are thought to be part of larger complex molecules, that were numerous on the Martian land, estimated to be billions of years old. Also, the high sulfur content in the soil samples are the reason why these traces are still detectable, remarked scientists.
Based on the findings of the Curiosity Rover, life on Mars will get more data as thiophenes, that are found in considerable amounts in coal, crude oil, also white truffles on earth. More analysis is needed to get to their probable origins.
Chances are that thiophenes are not indicative of white truffles on the red planet. Though some researchers speculate that 'thiophenes' might be the link, to life in Mar's ancient epochs. All indication might point to a dynamic biological process that included bacteria, as on earth.
According to Dirk Schulze‑Makuch, study author and Washington State University astrobiologist, "there are several biological pathways for thiophenes, this less to chemical pathways, but the proof is still needed."
He added that finding thiophenes on Earth, most will consider a biological pathway, though on Mars to prove it, more effort is needed.
These thiophene molecules are in a ring layout of four carbon atoms and Sulphur, which are important elements to create life.
For the record, organic substances can either be a fossil or remnants of ancient life, food sources to sustain life, and something indicating a former life-like state in samples and proofs.
Finding these 'chemical clues' on Mars should point out why there is 'thiophenes' on Mars. Another possibility is other ways why 'thiophenes' exists in the Martian soil.
Most likely 'thiophenes' were brought in by meteors and foreign bodies into the Martian surface. Or a reaction that created it, by the reaction of sulfates and hydrocarbons at extreme temperatures.
If 'thiophenes' is proof of life on Mars, then the Curiosity Rover might be on the right track, as earth scientist decipher the red planet,