Life-friendly environment confirmed on Mars

Drill sample from bedrock reveals chemistry that could have supported microbial life

By Andrew Grant, 19:00 PM March 12, 2013

WASHINGTON — Microbial life could have thrived on Mars billions of years ago, researchers from NASA's Curiosity mission reported March 12. An analysis of the rover's first drill sample on the Red Planet revealed a nonacidic, slightly salty aquatic environment with plenty of energy-rich minerals. There is no evidence of past life, the researchers said, but the sample revealed the most hospitable environment ever detected beyond Earth.

"We have found a habitable environment that is so benign and...

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