Terkini.id, Jakarta – Startling! NASA’s Curiosity robot finds something strange when it drills a hole on Mars. NASA’s advanced Mars rover robot, Curiosity surprisingly finds an unusual mixture of chemical elements on Mars.
Although it is uncertain, The discovery on the Red Planet could hypothetically show signs of alien life, aka aliens.
The Curiosity robot drilled a hole in the Gale crater on Mars and took 24 samples of the soil grains, which were then heated to separate the chemicals from other elements. As a result, they found a lot of variation in the mixture of carbon 12 and carbon 13 isotopes, two stable carbon isotopes that can reveal how the carbon cycle has changed over time.
What makes this variation interesting? That’s because the researchers demonstrated a different process created by the carbon cycle in modern-day Earth. The discovery of carbon on other planets has always attracted the attention of researchers, because it is the basis of all life on earth.
“The amount of carbon 12 and carbon 13 in our Solar System is the amount that existed in the formation of the Solar System. Both are present in everything, but because carbon 12 reacts more quickly than carbon 13, looking at the relative amounts of each sample can reveal the carbon cycle,” said Christopher House, a geologist from Pennsylvania State University, as quoted by ScienceAlert via Kumparan.com, Wednesday. January 19, 2022.
Researchers also say that there are three different scenarios as to why carbon could be found in the sediments of Gale crater, Mars, which were collected over nine years from August 2012 to July 2021.
One of them is a giant molecular dust cloud. Once every few hundred million years, the Solar System passes through a cloud of dust and the resulting cooling effect has left behind carbon deposits. This is a plausible scenario, the team said, but requires further investigation.
Or, it could be due to the conversion of CO2 into organic compounds (such as formaldehyde) through abiotic (non-biological) processes. In this case, ultraviolet light may be the trigger.
This is a hypothesis that scientists have put forward before, but again more research is needed to confirm whether this is really the case or not.
“Thirdly ultraviolet light or microbes have changed the methane produced by biological processes, in other words we are looking at the carbon created as a result of life. However, as with the other two scenarios, this must be proven and further research is carried out,” the researchers said.
This carbon 13 sample is like the sample from Australia taken from sediments that are 2.7 billion years old. The samples were created due to biological activity when methane was ingested by layers of ancient microbes.
“But we can’t say it’s on Mars because it’s a planet formed from different materials and processes from Earth,” explains Christopher House, a geologist at Pennsylvania State University.
Curiosity’s own mission is still ongoing. Future discoveries of remnants of microbial layers, or substantial clumps of methane, or traces of long-lost glaciers could help scientists figure out which of the three explanations is most relevant.