March 12th, 2013
02:38 PM ET

NASA: Yes, Mars could have hosted life

By Elizabeth Landau, CNN

Curiosity, humanity's most powerful rover  to land on Mars, has made a startling discovery: Conditions that could have supported life once existed there.

"We have found a habitable environment that is so benign, and supportive of life, that probably if this water was around and you had been on the planet, you would have been able to drink it," John Grotzinger, Curiosity project scientist at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, said in a Tuesday news conference.

This discovery is based on the chemical analysis of powder that the rover recovered by drilling a hole in a rock. This was the first time a robot sent from Earth had drilled on another planet.

The powder from the drilling turned out to have a wealth of chemicals in it, including sulfur, nitrogen, hydrogen, oxygen, phosphorus and carbon. These are ingredients for life, scientists said.

"What do we mean by habitability? The key thing here is an environment that a microbe could have lived in and maybe even prospered in," Grotzinger said.

What they found

Powder from the drill was a gray-green color, meaning it was not highly oxidized, said David Blake, principal investigator for Curiosity's Chemistry and Mineralogy investigation at NASA's Ames Research Center. That means if there were organic material present there, it could have been preserved.

The sample had between 20% to 30% of a type of clay called smectite, which forms in the presence of water, Blake said.

In Yellowknife Bay, the area where the rover is located, it appears "slightly salty liquid water" was once there, said Michael Meyer, lead scientist for the Mars Exploration Program at NASA Headquarters in Washington.

Left: Rock found by rover Opportunity. Right: Rocks found by rover Curiosity

These observations contrast sharply with the findings of Mars rover Opportunity, which landed on a different part of Mars in 2004 and is still chugging along. A rock that Opportunity found called Wopmayappeared to be made of hematite with iron-bearing sulfates, indicative of acidic water. That would not have been a habitable environment.

The rock that Curiosity found, on the other hand, has calcium sulfate and seems to have been in water with a neutral pH.

"This rock quite frankly looks like a typical thing that we would get on Earth," Grotzinger said.

Were there tiny creatures eating minerals from rocks?

Here's something else exciting: Grotzinger also described what he termed "batteries." Some of the minerals found have various charges and oxidation states. Modern microbiology has determined that tiny organisms can derive energy by feeding on rocks.

Five reasons to be excited about Curiosity

Life on Mars could have taken the form of a microorganism that used the minerals as an energy source. He compares this to a battery-powered light, in which you hook up the wires and electrons flow to make a light bulb turn on.

Scientists don't have any other examples of extraterrestrial environments with this distinction of having been able to support life.

"This is probably the only definitely habitable environment that we’ve described and recorded," said Paul Mahaffy, principal investigator for Curiosity's Sample Analysis at Mars investigation at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center.

The question of organic molecules

With the habitability issue out of the way, Curiosity has yet to explore the question of organic molecules, which could indicate life but could also come from other sources.

Grotzinger identified several challenges with this. For example, although the findings concerning water are exciting, the presence of water may mean that organic molecules indicative of life were not well-preserved, Grotzinger said.

A lot of organic compounds also are degraded in the presence of heat, he said. Mars appears to have cooled with time, so radiation may be the problem instead.

"Our trick is to find a place where all ... of those things went right, and that could take the entire length of this mission, but we're going to give it our best," he said. But organic molecules could be manufactured on Mars from nonlife sources, or they could come from meteorites and comets.

It's also important to note that Curiosity is not a life-detection mission.

"If there was microbial metabolism going on, we wouldn't have the ability to measure that," Grotzinger said.

And if there were microbial fossils in the rock,  the rover would not be able to resolve individual fossil microbes even with the many cameras on board Curiosity, including the high-powered MAHLI, Grotzinger said.

501 days in space with your spouse?

Still going to the mountain

Curiosity won't make its second drill hole until May. Scientists are excited about that because the first sample could have been tainted by material analyzed at a different site on Mars.

The 2-ton rover landed on Mars on August 6 in a series of acrobatic maneuvers dubbed the "seven minutes of terror." The mission comes with a price tag of $2.5 billion.

Scientists have now confirmed that each of the many intricate instruments on board the rover are working. "The rover is now fully commissioned for science," Meyer said. He added, "The keys to rover have been turned over to science team - Woohoo!"

Curiosity landed in Gale Crater, which hosts a mound called Mount Sharp. The bedrock in the crater where the rover drilled appears to be located in an ancient network of stream channels, which came down from the crater's rim, NASA said.

Curiosity still has plans to travel to Mount Sharp, where it will slowly climb the mountain analyzing the sedimentary rock to explore its geological history.

"The question is: How many of these different kinds of 'batteries' can we find at Gale Crater? I think that really becomes our mission along with the search for organic compounds," Grotzinger said.

What we've done on Mars and what's next

Post by:
Filed under: In Space • Mars
soundoff (864 Responses)
  1. osei

    heard NASA discovered 2 tablet rocks with scriptures written on them.

    July 18, 2013 at 7:28 am |
  2. Checked_Other

    Ironic, when the hottest news hype & blogs are about the new man-god named Jorge, Frank, whoever, our galaxy and the millions of others out there are unaffected by the news.

    March 15, 2013 at 1:59 pm |
  3. Cal Newlan

    Go to Do it now!

    March 14, 2013 at 8:30 am |
  4. edmond haskell

    uptil I saw the bank draft which said $7628, I accept that my neighbour woz like they say truley making money part-time online.. there great aunt started doing this 4 only 17 months and just repaid the morgage on there condo and bought a great new Cadillac. this is where I went............. BIT40. ℂOℳ

    March 14, 2013 at 5:02 am |
  5. Samuel Bess

    Just because those elements are present, doe not even scientifically nor rationally confer upon that data as evidence of
    life of any kind on mars. Under that rational, because there are these elements in asteroids, there is life or was life on those too? How boneheaded can we get here. It seems this kind of reasoning is very Bertrand Russelish, saying as fract what ever we wish to make a false point.

    March 14, 2013 at 12:55 am |
  6. helenecha

    No matter how NASA says, our human should say 'thank you very much' to Mars, for Mars is giving people courage, confidence and opportunities of exploring the universe.

    March 13, 2013 at 10:28 pm |
  7. Professor

    No one believes this. It is a fabrication of deceit.

    March 13, 2013 at 11:46 am |
  8. Jeff

    As a scientist, I disagree with this hypothesis. No life on mars. Nope. No life. Maybe in the olden days but not now. Nope.

    March 13, 2013 at 11:06 am |
  9. Valkyrie

    Whereas religion is the hope for many millions of people, scientific discovery and understanding is the hope of us all.

    March 13, 2013 at 10:44 am |
    • CalDude

      Ok, but science also gives us more efficient way to kill people and wage war... just say'n.

      March 13, 2013 at 10:48 am |
  10. calvin

    I hate to be the party pooper, but what good is it really doing us to explore Mars. We're never sending anyone there, and Mars doesn't affect us in any way, shape, or form. And what does it matter if there ever was life there ? Why don't we spend all those billions of $$$ doing some good in this country ?

    March 13, 2013 at 10:28 am |
    • CalDude

      I rather have NASA spend the 2.5billion.
      Obama, and his band of thieves, would only take it and waste it.

      March 13, 2013 at 10:39 am |
  11. Jeff

    I love when the Apollo astronuts went up there in the 60's.

    March 13, 2013 at 10:24 am |
  12. CalDude

    The article, basically, says that they found some traces of chemicals that are necessary for "life" to form.
    After that, who knows and what does it mean other than a very big "MAYBE?", if conditions were EXACTLY right.

    They can probably find these chemcals everywhere in this universe... if they dig long enough.

    March 13, 2013 at 10:17 am |
  13. Bob1god

    Sorry, double post, thanks Win 8.

    March 13, 2013 at 10:15 am |
  14. Bob1god

    Old news! Everyone knows men are from Mars & women from Venus.

    March 13, 2013 at 10:13 am |
  15. Jeff

    I agree. This is very interesting.

    March 13, 2013 at 10:12 am |
  16. Bob1god

    Old news! Everyone knows men are from Mars – women from Venus.

    March 13, 2013 at 10:07 am |
  17. john reed davis

    How long does it take for commands (signals) to go from NASA to the rover? Considering the distance and all of the cosmic activity, how is it possible for the signal to stay intact?

    March 13, 2013 at 10:04 am |
    • I'm The Best

      It takes about 14 minutes for a signal from Earth to get to Mars and the Rover. That's why it moves so slow, they can only program it to move a certain way, then send the signal, and wait for the 14 minute travel time there for it to move, then another 14 minute travel time back for them to see it. So about 28 minutes for someone to say move forward and to see it move on the video onbaord the rover.

      As for the signal not degrading, it does. But once the signal hits space there really isn't that much that will disrupt it. There is a lot of cosmic activity, but the signal shoudln't have much trouble going through it. The problem is it will disperse and slowly get weaker, so as long as they aim well and have a strong enough signal, there isn't much of a problem with the rover picking it up.

      March 13, 2013 at 11:55 am |
  18. CalDude

    C'On, Man! Leave the Martians alone.

    C'On, Man!... C'On Man! lol.

    March 13, 2013 at 9:47 am |
  19. FISH FRY

    Could've would've should've. Can we get back the $1B, please?

    March 13, 2013 at 9:37 am |
  20. SpencerRifle

    I for one don't really care if Mars could have supported life in the past. I believe there is intelligent life other than ours in the universe so what bacteria might have lived on Mars millions of years ago doesn't really thrill me. So until starships appear over our cities with the goal of either 1) enslaving us 2) exterminating us 3) welcoming us to the intetsteller community then my mortgage, grocery & utility bills concern me more.

    March 13, 2013 at 9:06 am |
    • john reed davis

      Hear, hear. I'm surprised you didn't get hateful comments from those that agree with space exploration.

      March 13, 2013 at 10:08 am |
  21. OrganicManLives_N_anOraganicUNiverSE

    Some of us know the true answer to this, we are not alone and have never been alone.

    March 13, 2013 at 9:01 am |
    • CalDude

      So, where are the others?

      March 13, 2013 at 10:08 am |
  22. Buck Rogers

    Ah, I see that the fakery of NASA continues to dupe the masses.....

    Fake moon landing = International Fake Station = fake pics of 'exploding stars' = astro-evolutionary fakery on Mars....

    March 13, 2013 at 8:59 am |
    • OrganicManLives_N_anOraganicUNiverSE

      Cosmology dumbfounds you doesn't it. Move to Florida and meet an astronaut who will gladly tell you about space.

      March 13, 2013 at 9:03 am |
      • Buck Rogers

        Actually I used to hang around FLA quite a bit. I did meet an Apollo astro. He said that the reentry velocity was "35,000 mph", and I asked ,"And that 'special plastic' protected you from vaporizing in temperatures ten times hooter than the sun?" The he said, "Well, it worked swell inside the simulator......"

        March 13, 2013 at 9:10 am |
      • John T

        Organic man, leave the Troll alone he does it on purpose, if you respond to him than he's all happy. Probably a result of upbringing or something. Maybe he didn't like Star Wars or something as a kid, and has hated space ever since.

        March 13, 2013 at 11:43 am |
    • David Myers

      And most amazing of all, you are not real and are the product of a rogue computer program putting on humanity for a chuckle. Talk about the ultimate troll!

      March 14, 2013 at 3:08 am |
  23. lonelyMartian

    Now you know. We Martians had been looking for intelligent life on Earth and we haven't found it yet.

    March 13, 2013 at 8:49 am |
    • OrganicManLives_N_anOraganicUNiverSE

      We pleiadians feel the same my space brother, you are not so all alone on this rock.

      March 13, 2013 at 9:06 am |
  24. roccop777

    I assume this must the newest publicity stunt by NASA to keep the funding rolling. About six months ago, one of their leading researchers on the "Curiosity" team said that "a historic announcement about a new discovery on Mars" would be forthcoming in a week or two. While the rest of those commenting were guessing whether microbes or even Jimmy Hoffa had been found, I commented that it was just another publicity buzz and nothing would come of it. Boy did I get blasted for that! Trouble is, I was right. - Here we go again! A huge headline announcement which will soon dissipate and be forgotten. And when it does - another reminder, that life is not the product of undirected, mindless mechanisms.

    March 13, 2013 at 8:00 am |
    • Buck Rogers

      And we mustn't forget, the previous "rover" landed with.... parachutes..... And now this "rover" landed via a one-time tested inside a building (never in flight because it would flop)..... sky crane......

      March 13, 2013 at 9:06 am |
  25. Melissa

    This is just amazingly cool.

    March 13, 2013 at 7:29 am |
    • Cal Newlan

      What, a non-story that's all hype and no substance?

      March 13, 2013 at 7:58 am |
  26. Josh

    I don't understand with all the other probes on Mars finding that any water would have been very acidic, how long could this one "pocket" of neutral pH water have lasted in isolation? I mean, it would have had to exist for millions of years for life to have had a chance to take a foothold and flourish.

    March 13, 2013 at 7:16 am |
    • John T

      Possibility of position of the probe in question. If an alien probe landed on Earth, say the dead sea, they would get some similar readings, at least in regard to acidity and such.

      March 13, 2013 at 11:45 am |
  27. GO_GOP

    ...And the comedy begins again! The atheist scientists will use this to try and prove there is no God. And the sheep (other atheists) will follow them without once realizing this is only a big "MAYBE". Just like the big bang (false), Quantum theory (improbable) and evolution (absurd). I laugh at them. The Bible answers all these questions with ease and grace and we would be a fool to reject it. But of course atheists are the most intelligent. NOT.

    March 13, 2013 at 4:01 am |
    • xirume

      You're trying to hard to convince yourself that your absurd and 100% unproven fairy tales are true.

      March 13, 2013 at 9:01 am |
    • John T

      You know based on your rhetoric, I am willing to bet your not even GOP, your to obvious. You are trying to make it look like all GOPs are right wing radical nut cases, so chances are you are the exact opposite.Old Bait and Switch huh?

      March 13, 2013 at 11:47 am |
  28. ER1729

    Mars might well have sustained light a few billion years ago, when the Sun was younger and hotter, meaning the same amount of light and heat reached Mars then as it reaches Earth now. A few billion years later when life on Earth has vanished, and the Sun is smaller and cooler, Venus might be a hospitable place because it won't be as hot there and maybe a lot similar to Earth.

    March 13, 2013 at 3:07 am |
    • John T

      I lelieve the sun was cooler in the past, it continues to warm up, that is why the Goldilocks zone continues to move out.

      March 13, 2013 at 11:49 am |
  29. rtbrno65

    This just proves that Aynsley Dunbar should never have left Jefferson Starship.

    March 13, 2013 at 3:03 am |
  30. raptorskull

    So all we have is, "there might have been water here" or "this combination of chemicals in this rock may have supported microbes". God wake me up when you at least find a fossil.

    March 13, 2013 at 2:29 am |
  31. Seriously....

    "NASA: Yes, Mars could have hosted life" Ummm, simply by knowing the fact that mars is a PLANET, one could come to such "startling discovery" of "could". My turds could sustain beings with minds, I don't go looking at it with a microscope to reassert "Yes, my turds could have being with minds!"

    March 13, 2013 at 2:26 am |
  32. Macrix

    Who the hell cares? There way bigger problems on earth that we need to fix. We can't even make machines without an error! Stop spending billions on trying to find out idiotic theories. I'm sick and tired of this. We've been trying to find life and water on other planets for years and...nothing! NASA, you aren't God, you'll never be. If God wanted us on mars, he would've placed us there. Focus on what we have, beautiful earth. Learn to clean up and take carte our God given planet instead of planning an escape to other planets. God bless!

    March 13, 2013 at 2:26 am |
    • raptorskull

      You're right friend, all those awesome "machines" that are making your life easier (electric grid, computers, airplanes). We should have given up on those long ago, I mean what good are they? If God wanted us to fly, he would have given us wings right? You see friend God isn't our nanny and He doesn't have a plan for us. We make our future. The reason we are searching for life is the same reason we explored and are still exploring Earth. Or maybe you think we shouldn't have gone through all that trouble? Thing is friend, one day this comfortable rock we're on won't be so comfortable. I'm not saying humans don't have problems here on Earth but we will die if we stay here. Don't you want the human race to live on past the destruction of Earth? Or maybe you think God will save us?

      March 13, 2013 at 2:44 am |
      • John T

        Well said, a lot ofour modern conveniences have their basis in technology that came out directly as a result of the space race. Plus I am Catholic, and guess what "God helps those that help themselves". If someone wants to stand in the middle of the train tracks, because he thinks God is going to help him, than he deserves the wake up call that is going to hit him at 70 miles an hour.

        March 13, 2013 at 11:52 am |
  33. Cal Newlan

    Why are you wasting your time on a science blog featuring a boring non-story when you could be at Go to my blog–NOW!

    March 13, 2013 at 2:16 am |
  34. Mr. Shepard

    But.......haven't we known for the last five or ten years that Mars was capable of supporting life during it's warmer wetter past? It probably didn't though. Maybe Europa would be a better place to send probes? and wind down o the Mars visitors, unless those visitors are people.

    March 13, 2013 at 1:49 am |
  35. easchner

    To all of those who think the cost is a huge waste: Even if we drop the fact that NASA has traditionally paid for itself many times over in new technologies and assume that nothing of financial value will be discovered here, I have another example of how incalculable the benefit research like this is. Many companies have 'flagship' products that not only aren't money makers for the company but often even lose money. Why have them then? To build a strong brand image, to connect the name of the company with something people are interested in even if not able to afford. The US has that with NASA.

    How many countless children watched NASA missions when they were young? How many had Saturn V rocket posters? How many made model rockets? How many started playing with electronics? These are the reasons we have as many people as we do graduating with physics, mathematics, and chemistry degrees. Standing up to meet every challenge, continually showing our scientific dominance, and exposing our children to the possibilities and excitement of the universe is why the US has been a continual leader in research, development, and technology over the last century.

    Killing off NASA only tells children that nobody cares about scientific exploration. That is the wrong message to send to our young who are already receiving some of the poorest education in the developed world. If we want to remain dominant we need to not only pay for education, but pay for mental stimulation.

    March 13, 2013 at 1:35 am |
  36. cynthia

    Mars was the actual garden of Eden mythologized by immigrants, who emigrated from the deteriorating conditions on Mars, to our current planet?
    The Mahabharata nuclear wars were actually fought on Mars?
    No wonder we don't find archaelogical evidence of ancient toothbrushes as evidence of ancient advanced civ, because they may be found on Mars?

    March 13, 2013 at 1:20 am |
    • John T

      Wow you actually had to think about this didn't you.

      March 13, 2013 at 11:53 am |
  37. Murray

    We search for answers because we came out of the cave. We will continue to search for answers till we are gone.

    March 13, 2013 at 12:20 am |
    • John T

      Well said. As long as we are curious we will survive and expand, otherwise we may as well as curl up and die.

      March 13, 2013 at 11:55 am |
  38. angryoldguy

    I find it ironic in the extreme that all of the anti-science Trolls have chosen to express their opinions here, by computer. Computers are not "magic", they are a product of the science that the anti-science Trolls hate so much.

    March 12, 2013 at 11:55 pm |
    • cynthia

      Computers are items of "faith". People who question how we could accept Evolution with "blind faith" when it is a mere "theory". Computer hardware runs mostly on "theories".

      We place great "faith" in the quantum-mechanical "theories" thro which we construct high-tech circuits, and we are not worried that those "theories" will collapse on us, as we allow our lives and survival to increasing hinge on those "theories", but yet we say Evolution is not reliable because it is a mere "theory".

      Therefore computers are material of "faith".

      March 13, 2013 at 1:28 am |
    • Fearless Freep


      Computers are items of "faith". People who question how we could accept Evolution with "blind faith" when it is a mere "theory". Computer hardware runs mostly on "theories".

      We place great "faith" in the quantum-mechanical "theories" thro which we construct high-tech circuits, and we are not worried that those "theories" will collapse on us, as we allow our lives and survival to increasing hinge on those "theories", but yet we say Evolution is not reliable because it is a mere "theory".

      Therefore computers are material of "faith".


      Nut case.

      March 13, 2013 at 6:51 am |
      • John T

        She or more likely, he, is trolling Fearless let it go, you are just making her/his day.

        March 13, 2013 at 11:57 am |
  39. Steamer

    So is THIS the big news that Nasa has been promising us the past few months. What an absolute revelation this is! Time to ' sequester' their funding and put the money somewhere legitimate. What a waste of money the last 40 years have been!

    March 12, 2013 at 11:54 pm |
  40. Paul

    I don't understand why people resist the idea that Jesus is from another planet. He said clear in the Bible that He was from another world and He will come back commanding a fleet os starships. The Bible even mention the size of the fleet, teens of thousands. You should read the bibleufo website.

    March 12, 2013 at 10:43 pm |
    • Rationalist

      I resist the idea of bringing religion buIIsh!t to a science article. Stick religion where it belong, in church, and other places where the sun doesn't shine.

      March 12, 2013 at 10:50 pm |
      • Cal Newlan

        Jesus loves even you, Rationalist. Drop to your knees (only this time in prayer).

        March 12, 2013 at 10:57 pm |
      • TheBob

        Sounds like Cal knows a LOT about dropping to his knees, Rationalist. For all kinds of reasons. Better listen to him.

        March 12, 2013 at 11:05 pm |
  41. TheWordpressGhost

    Reblogged this on thewordpressghost and commented:

    Nasa says, Mars could not support life, but it could support life.

    Why do we get told lies in the name of 'Science?'

    Why can't we just get told the facts and let us decide the truth without trying to change our minds? Why has science become another propaganda tool?

    Does it bother you as much as it bothers me?


    March 12, 2013 at 10:41 pm |
    • heliocracy

      What are you blabbing about? NASA is trying to discover if Mars could once support life, and there is some evidence though it is still inconclusive. If you see that situation as involving "lies," you are a moron.

      March 12, 2013 at 11:00 pm |
      • TheWordpressGhost


        I guess you did NOT read the article. The article claimed this was the 'FIRST' evidence. It was not.

        Previous evidence indicated that Mars was NOT conducive to life.


        Hidden in a news release counter to what the previous evidence was.

        At least you can spell moron, I guess you get lots of practice looking at yourself in the mirror.



        March 12, 2013 at 11:15 pm |
    • Fearless Freep

      The only thing that bothers me is....
      Why would any of us care if you re=blogged this ?

      March 13, 2013 at 6:54 am |
      • TheWordpressGhost


        I re-blogged this because I study Evolution. And I occasionally write about that MY readers.

        So, I ask, WHY WOULD YOU CARE? You are not one of my readers. Are you?

        March 13, 2013 at 10:30 am |
  42. paul n m/

    the UFO seen in russia was n is looking 4 jew citys that need dune away with an r wating 4 thay r to get of the earth./pnm,.

    March 12, 2013 at 10:33 pm |
    • isolate

      Be sure to write back after you've completed your basic literacy course.

      March 12, 2013 at 10:44 pm |
    • John T

      This actually hurt to read, I think I got dumber just trying.

      March 13, 2013 at 11:59 am |
  43. Dee

    how about the theory – Mars was the first earth... I'm guessing that planet was used up and we ended up here on this earth.... this one could look like that someday....

    March 12, 2013 at 10:20 pm |
    • Cal Newlan

      Spare us your bush-hippie babble.

      March 12, 2013 at 10:23 pm |
    • heliocracy

      Earth is actually a much more likely place for life to develop, and if there had been a civilization on Mars capable of moving to the earth, why is there a fossil record of early humans that clearly lived non-technological lives? Why make up a complicated theory when a simple one is far more likely, and not just because it's simple?

      March 12, 2013 at 11:03 pm |
      • wafffles

        You're thinking all wrong. The theory he's referring to is that very early in the development of single-celled organisms, a sample of rock from Mars was ejected (by a meteor strike, for example; this is very common and still occurs today, though obviously no martian life comes attached to it) and seeded life on Earth. This is an appealing theory because Mars was actually more conducive to very early evolution of life, while Earth offered preferable habitats and room to 'grow' once the initial development of replicating life was accomplished. It also offers a solution to one of the fundamental questions about evolution that creationists are elated to latch on to: what was THE original life? We have a fossil record of early single-celled organisms, but they already have a great deal of biochemical development, such as RNA. Where is the original RNA? The answer, of course, could simply be that something that small and that delicate has long since been destroyed in any and all fossil records. A competing hypothesis is that, indeed, RNA and other very early developments of life happened on Mars and got flung to the more hospitable Earth.

        So no, I don't think he was suggesting there was some original super-advanced Mars creature a billion years ago.

        March 12, 2013 at 11:21 pm |
    • andyeugene

      You are correct. It explains the asteroid belt (destroyed planet). Our water and the gold are generally considered to have been deposited on earth long ago by asteroid, comet, or other hit. Those two appear to be consensus now. There is evidence the OIL (hyrdrocarbon planets...) was deposited that way as well and is not from decayed life. All flora and fauna are created by and for the tiny viral-like building blocks of life. Our own cells are outnumbered 10 to 1 by them and our DNA is 90% the same as a clam. Those are both facts from what I understand. That leads to the conclusion we are meatbags existing for the purpose of continuing THAT life...our species is just one of their more successful means of spreading......

      March 13, 2013 at 12:01 am |
  44. Mohammad

    No surprise there. The Quran already said that life exists on places other than earth (42:29) "Among His (God's) signs is the creation of the heavens and the earth, and the living creatures that He has scattered through them :and He has power to gather them together when He wills.". For those Muslims or non Muslims who think the evolution theory (really now a fact) is contradicting religion think again. Muslim scientists wrote about it 1000 years before Darwin (just an example Ibn Khaldoon in his book “the introduction”). In fact Darwins contemporary scientists (ex Sir William Draper ) referred to the theory as the Mohammedan theory because so many Muslim scientists talked about it as a fact. There are multiple verses that clearly show that Adam was the first prophet but the not the first Hominidae, and that Adam was created from minerals and clays and evolved to be what humans are today. The Janna mentioned in the Koran is not Heavan but a lush peaceful spot on earth that he was cast off after committing the sin. Quran first verse is “Read”. Muslims stopped reading and sided with the Christian theologians in the late 18th century and look what that got us, Al Qaeda – really the dark age mentality – instead of ibn Khaldoon and the Quran text that gave woman the right to inherit fight and vote 1400 years before the West.

    March 12, 2013 at 10:16 pm |
    • Cal Newlan

      Throw away your satanic verses, Mohammad, and pick up a Bible. God is waiting to hear from you!

      March 12, 2013 at 10:21 pm |
      • Mohammad

        Next time you read the bible and you have a question about something that doesn't make sense like the trinity considers searching what Islam says. For example The Quran corrected many human customizations put in the bible. Jesus was born in late summer, and the sovereign who ruled Egypt during Joseph's day is named "King" not Pharaoh. Plus the Quran mentions so many details about the birth of Jesus Christ son of Mary the Messiah that the bible doesn't even come close to. No wonder why smart people always have a copy of the Quran like our founding father Jefferson.

        March 12, 2013 at 10:29 pm |
      • Cal Newlan

        Do you love the Jewish people, Mohammad? Tell the truth!

        March 12, 2013 at 10:49 pm |
      • snowboarder

        lol. all religious verses are worth little more than the paper they can cleanse the backside with.

        March 12, 2013 at 11:39 pm |
      • andyeugene

        "Mohammed" is a Christian/Catholic... most likely Catholic troll. Net is full of them. They are the same people who 1000 years ago Crusaded to the mideast and north africa, even the children.... to kill their enemy Muslims as told by their leaders. Now it is E-crusades. They have these scripts to start with, then they get into it. they all use that same sing-song tone with their words, always making it sound robotic and droll. It is possible there is even an app for creating that dialog. Don't fall for it. Do you think the Islamic want those headaches or have time to argue it here? Large groups of older Catholics sit at home and do this full time, fully believing it well ensure heaven.

        March 13, 2013 at 2:03 am |
    • Major Tom

      If I ever want a plane rammed into a building I'll be sure to give you a call. In the meantime, stick to molesting 8-year olds and don't stick your ugly head in places it doesn't belong.

      March 12, 2013 at 10:58 pm |
      • andyeugene

        That is a bit out of place for this forum, try the Vatican website for the material you are describing. Fact: most posters on the web claiming to be Islam and ranting on with dreary talk are..... Christian/Catholic groups with large numbers of members, happy to alter/spew fake script to defame their "enemy". 1,000 years ago it was armed Crusades to go Kill Muslims. they fought back so...we call them war-mongers and killers. Now it is E-Crusades. 2013. Same idiotic war, same bloody hands. Rome MUST finally die. Not the Catholics..they are cool. Rome Sucks.

        March 13, 2013 at 12:43 am |
    • andyeugene

      The bible and quran talk... the corporate church policy manual discussion.... what does that have to do with life OR mars? All of it is total nonsense that everyone translates and interprets differently in order to justify stupidity and selfishness. One God, an Afterlife.... all western religion is identical in core belief. the differences are all political/cultural/climate related.

      March 13, 2013 at 12:03 am |
  45. pdenorte

    NASA once again demonstrating it's decent from Science to Speculation.....

    March 12, 2013 at 10:11 pm |
    • Cal Newlan

      No apostrophe in "its," and that's "descent," not "decent."

      March 12, 2013 at 10:18 pm |
    • heliocracy

      Explain. I'll try not to laugh until you finish.

      March 12, 2013 at 11:04 pm |
    • andyeugene

      Budget time on Capitol Hill. Analyze rock. Announce opening of McMars in 2 years assuming funding.

      March 12, 2013 at 11:54 pm |
    • andyeugene

      NASA News Update, CNN day 1: Urgent NASA Funding Required for National Security. Obama sin Laden believed hiding on Mars. Taliban- al Queda using Mars as Terrorist Base.
      NASA News Update, CNN day 2 Woman raped on Mars by Taliban. Funding needed to stop Mars Rape. See CNN video of tragedy.
      NASA News Update CNN day 3 President asks Congress for NASA funding to fight terrorism on Mars and free women from rape. Remember, men are from Mars, Women are from Venus.
      NASA News Update CNN day 4 President seeks NASA funding to invade Venus.

      March 13, 2013 at 12:13 am |
  46. JR

    How is this new? I feel a lot of people will omit the word "could have existed" and will replace it with existed.

    March 12, 2013 at 10:07 pm |
  47. plato101

    I guess life could have existed on Mars if it could stand -100F temperatures and exist in a near vacuum. If it could, then it could also exist on the dark side of the moon. Any conjecture that Mars was significantly more hospitable in the distant past is unsupported speculation, yet scientists discuss it as if it were a known fact.

    March 12, 2013 at 9:58 pm |
    • heliocracy

      There's a great deal of evidence that Mars was wetter in the past...there's a huge ocean basin that dominates the northern half of the planet. Think about it for a second. What do you need to have an ocean? Warmer temperatures and higher pressures. Now do you understand? Scientists don't guess...they follow the evidence to its logical conclusions.

      March 12, 2013 at 11:16 pm |
  48. Cal Newlan

    "Conditions that could have supported life once existed there." More phony hype. This is CNN's equivalent to "Made you look!" God doesn't need any hype; He's the real thing!

    March 12, 2013 at 9:45 pm |
    • andyeugene

      CNN: "NASA Announces Woman's Breasts Found Covering Mars" The CNN Picture-Proof: grainy pictures of mountains on Mars. Budget time on Capitol Hill.

      March 13, 2013 at 12:20 am |
    • andyeugene

      CNN Completely Unbiased, Neutral , Factual, Objective News Update that is totally unrelated to CNN Advertising Revenue Sources: "NASA Announces Life on Mars prefers Apple i-phones more than 10 to 1." Zero divided by zero is infinity but can be positive or negative infinity. They hide those technical details in the 2-year contract.

      March 13, 2013 at 12:31 am |
      • andyeugene

        Correction: "NASA Discovers Martian Life Prefers Apple Products over 200 to 1" Article below headline in the science section: "NASA scientists surveyed the entire subset of intelligent life on Mars who use Apple products and compared it to the total population of Mars. The absolute value of the results derived from application of the IEEE 754 floating point standard by teams of NASA scientists proves preference levels of at least 200 to 1 but many scientists and executives who invest in Apple believe actual results are much more favorable, possibly infinite. More news follows as we imagine it.

        March 13, 2013 at 1:08 am |
  49. Doctorstrangeluv

    Gee, NASA has already been saying "Mars MAY have hosted past life" ever since the first Mariner probe in 1964 sent back images of what appeared to be dried up river channels. Are we ever gonna get something new for our NASA money ?

    March 12, 2013 at 9:38 pm |
    • TheBob

      "Our NASA money"? Yeah, people who sit home and collect wellfare don't get a say in how NASA spends its budget. Go back to chomping on Cheetos. Loser.

      March 12, 2013 at 10:56 pm |
      • andyeugene

        Bobby boy.... NASA is a bunch of bureaucrats. You think astronaut. NOT. NASA meets all day, thousands of them. All of government and corporations are like giant Adult Care Center except you don't even get the occasional knitted sweater. They have a few scientists, last I knew the astronauts were air force and giant corporations, same ones that make all the expensive weapons systems... they design and build the spacecraft. I am totally serious. Go down to ANY big office anywhere... insulting mental games and completely made up "work", often conflicting with the stated goals of the organization. Google NASA, see all the little nooks and crannies. See that the police in most towns and even most parts of the larger cities do nothing but hassle citizens over minor made up traffic crap and then make sure the tiny bit of actual crime is hyped up. Go LOOK for yourself with YOUR EYES, don't accept what you read or were told and let me know what U find. Ask your dad if your are a kid. He will likely agree with this at least partly.

        March 13, 2013 at 1:21 am |
      • andyeugene

        My point being is that people who sit in their houses eating Cheetos as you describe might have an Orange Dick at the end of the day but... they don't hurt anyone and don't cost much. Others who do nothing but cause attorney who make war so two attorney are needed..... they are a much bigger actual problem to you and me.

        March 13, 2013 at 1:23 am |
      • Fearless Freep

        Go back to chomping on Cheetos. Loser

        You must be a Christian.

        March 13, 2013 at 6:59 am |
  50. zippy

    "Shocking" discover?

    March 12, 2013 at 9:22 pm |
  51. scifieye

    I don't think they are really looking very hard for life. Try looking in cracks and holes instead of surfaces exposed to the everyday radiation. Lifeforms are not going to be sitting out in the open on a rock. Also, I would like to see them release a balloon with a camera to float wherever it might and send back real-time video of the surface from a couple hundred feet up. Come on! Get going! Do I have to think of everything?

    March 12, 2013 at 9:14 pm |
    • heliocracy

      That's why they drill, genius. You also seem to have missed the part where it says Curiosity isn't designed to find microbes, just the conditions necessary for them to live.

      March 12, 2013 at 11:18 pm |
  52. amaws

    This is not news. It seems like findings are always shared with us that have already been shared ten years ago. It's funny how the american public is so fascinated by "there possibly could have been bacteria life here once upon a time". Let's face it, the government already knows about much more advanced ET life and they just like to humor us with this garbage.

    March 12, 2013 at 9:10 pm |
    • heliocracy

      Even if intelligent aliens appeared to us, there would still be scientific curiosity about the story of the life that evolved in our solar system. And the government doesn't know any aliens, that's a myth.

      March 12, 2013 at 11:20 pm |
  53. polystyrene

    Great pay off for the $; better we have been getting for wars lately. The number I hear regarding the Iraq war is something like 60 Billion $ unaccounted for. Afghanistan? I suppose we do not know yet. Mars, 2.5 billion $ got us there and we are learning things that no human has ever known or could know without us being there. Kudos to American engineering and science. A national triumph!

    March 12, 2013 at 9:03 pm |
    • CalDude

      That's shocking.

      March 13, 2013 at 10:06 am |
  54. Skeptimist

    If Curiosity gets a parking ticket, that's confirmation.

    March 12, 2013 at 8:57 pm |
  55. Dan

    This is no big surprise. Life is most likely all over the universe. The odds of us being alone are slim to none.

    March 12, 2013 at 8:51 pm |
    • Major Tom

      Rectally-extracted statements like this are worth about as much as the orifice they are spewed from.

      March 12, 2013 at 11:01 pm |
      • heliocracy

        He's right, and you're wrong. It's you who is spewing rectally.

        March 12, 2013 at 11:21 pm |
    • CalDude

      Ok, that solves all our curiosity. No more needs to be done.... because you already know.

      March 13, 2013 at 10:04 am |
  56. ofcourselifeexistonotherplanets

    Whoever thinks life does not exist elsewhere in the universe is an idiot...have you ever seen how small we are in the Milky Way? A small dot..Humans and their egos...I tell ya

    March 12, 2013 at 8:49 pm |
  57. longtooth

    Gosh, why should we leave the cave when we have all the slugs and mushrooms we need right here?

    March 12, 2013 at 8:39 pm |
  58. Zwei Stein

    Take me to your leader!

    March 12, 2013 at 8:19 pm |
    • TheWordpressGhost

      I would. But, he doesn't go to work.


      March 12, 2013 at 11:28 pm |
  59. ID

    We should be searching Europa for life... I bet it does.

    March 12, 2013 at 7:50 pm |
    • wicklow-whirlwind

      Well to start with it's too far away from the sun, I'd stick with Mars for now

      March 12, 2013 at 8:17 pm |
      • Sciguy73

        You don't need the sun when you have Jupiter. The core of Europa will be nearly as hot as io's due to tidal forces.

        March 12, 2013 at 8:28 pm |
      • GPS Girl

        Europa doesn't depend on the Sun for energy; it gets its heat from tidal strains from orbiting Jupiter.

        This would keep its vast ocean of water liquid beneath the ice crust.

        March 12, 2013 at 8:36 pm |
      • ID

        You don't need the sun in order to have heat and warmth. The constant pull from Jupiter heats that large moon up so much so that it most definitely has a happy medium where life can sustain itself. That moon is all but guaranteed to have ACTIVE life on it. We are searching for ancient life on Mars but we could find current life there. We should go! 🙂

        March 13, 2013 at 8:38 am |
      • Brian Hartman

        I think the main difficulty in searching for life on Europa is getting under the ice. If I remember what I read correctly, the ice is pretty thick, and getting through to the water (if, indeed, there is water there) wouldn't be easy.

        I think we also have to temper our enthusiasm. Water being there doesn't guarantee life being there. It greatly raises the chances, but it doesn't guarantee it.

        March 13, 2013 at 9:09 am |
    • John Doe

      We should limit any exploring Europa to passive/non-invasive for the near future. As in we should only observe. Earth born microbes have been proven to survive in space. Actively cutting into and probing Europa will contaminate it. Until we can manufacture our probes in space, as free from microbes as possible (the builder craft could still contaminate the probe if said builder craft was built on Earth...), we should steer clear from Europa. If we truly respect whatever form of life we expect to find there, we need to think about contamination.

      March 12, 2013 at 8:46 pm |
      • Timetraveler

        Yes, but once we find life on Europa, we will end up killing it one way or another, sooner or later. We are, after all, human, and a brief look at our history will put any doubts on that outcome to rest.

        March 12, 2013 at 9:43 pm |
      • gah

        @timetraveler – we could kill it or enslave it. you see all these alien movies about that happening to us when history shows humans do that to each other so it's really more realistic we'd be the aggressive parties in an alien invasion 🙂

        March 13, 2013 at 1:47 am |
    • vj

      What would searching for life on other planets serve? Do you think they'll fix our ozone layer or something? Do the millions of abduction victims report a positive experience? Those aliens we perceive are fallen angels/demons. There is no life in outer space, God only made earth to be specially inhabited. Isaiah 45:18. Parting comment to atheists: the big bang and primordial soup are a scam.

      March 12, 2013 at 9:18 pm |
      • Michael

        Troglodytes like you are the reason why people spent so long believing in a flat earth. For the sake of our species, never EVER breed.

        March 12, 2013 at 9:26 pm |
      • albert

        For the record Michael, the Bible does not say that the world is flat. Don't confuse religion with what thew Bible actually says.

        March 12, 2013 at 9:33 pm |
      • SomeDude

        I dont know about the big bang but what I do know vj is that you're an idiot.

        March 12, 2013 at 9:34 pm |
      • Just Me

        They are not looking specifically for life as we know it. What they are looking for is a place were we can send you and your buddys to live.

        March 12, 2013 at 9:40 pm |
      • wafffles

        God is a scam, the bible is a farcical, sarcastic comedy that got taken seriously, and Jesus was a promiscuous handyman who got lucky enough to pull off a prank that got taken seriously and inflated into a full blown conspiracy.

        March 12, 2013 at 11:15 pm |
      • Craig

        And...the person who wrote Isaiah knew this exactly how? Did he and the "God" have a conversation? Was he allowed to ask questions? Can anyone else confirm that the conversation took place? What did they report "god" said?

        In our legal system such a report, excluding all the potential translation errors and "editing" by others with an interest in a specific outcome, would be considered hear-say and not admissible as evidence. I'm thinking this is a pretty questionable theory upon which to base a conclusion. Science, on the other hand, creates theories that can be tested, using tests that can be replicated, and even then still considers them only theories. Gravity, which you might be familiar with, is still just a "theory."

        Therein is the difference.

        March 13, 2013 at 2:06 am |
      • Bob

        @vj "There is no life in outer space, God only made earth to be specially inhabited. Isaiah 45:18."

        That's not what that Bible passage says. Yes, it says that the earth was formed by God to be inhabited. But it says nothing about it being the only place in the universe with life. You are proposing that God created an immense universe, but chose to put life on only one of millions of worlds? Your argument doesn't even make sense to Christians.

        March 13, 2013 at 2:51 am |
      • Epidi

        Hahahahaha! Thanks for the giggle. I am not an Atheist but your comment is just too ridiculous NOT to laugh.

        March 13, 2013 at 5:30 am |
      • Fearless Freep



        Troglodytes like you are the reason why people spent so long believing in a flat earth. For the sake of our species, never EVER breed.

        March 12, 2013 at 9:26 pm |


        For the record Michael, the Bible does not say that the world is flat. Don't confuse religion with what thew Bible actually says.


        Where in Michaels statement does it say anything about the bible ?
        A little defensive, are we ?

        March 13, 2013 at 6:48 am |
      • xirume

        VJ you are a scam

        March 13, 2013 at 8:57 am |
      • Johnny

        albert, the bible says that the Earth is a circle, which would make it flat.

        March 13, 2013 at 9:48 am |
      • Blahman

        Fearless Freep,

        Seriously? Do you not see the bible passage that he mentioned?

        March 13, 2013 at 10:03 am |
      • Valkyrie

        Science is the "what" and the "how" of truth. Religious beliefs can help us answer the human question of "why"; but religious beliefs are only true if you believe them to be. Whereas, scientific truth is true, whether you choose to believe it or not.

        March 13, 2013 at 10:34 am |
      • LetsBeFactual

        the bible doesnt mention that god created (or didnt create) life on other planets because the desert nomads who made up the genesis accounts did NOT know that there were other planets.
        If we r to believe ur tale, it should strike u as peculiar that an all-knowing god who inspired genesis only created heavenly objects that people at that time could see with their naked eyes. In genesis he specifically creates the sun/moon/stars, all things that people at that time knew about. But he conveniently didnt mention creating other solar systems, other planets, other galaxies or nebulae.
        What i am trying to get at is that god's knowledge was limited to the knowledge of the people of his time; this should give u a good clue that no god wrote genesis or the bible, but people from that time made it up!

        March 13, 2013 at 11:45 am |
      • LetsBeFactual

        the bible implies over and over that the world is flat. U r right when u say that it doesn't flat out mention it (excuse the pun), but it is implied in the biblical stories.
        I was a christian too and was sad to find out that Jesus himself taught the world was flat. Why would the son of god not know that the world is round?? Here r a few examples:
        For example, Revelation 1:7: "Behold, he is coming with the clouds! Every eye shall see him..." In this passage Jesus will return on judgment day in the clouds for ALL eyes to see him. All the people could see him in his return only if the world was flat. But because the world is round, less than 1/8th of the worlds population will see him. How come Jesus or the writer of revelation did not know this?
        Another example: in describing the temptation of Jesus by Satan, Matthew 4:8 says, "Once again, the devil took him to a very high mountain, and showed him all the kingdoms of the world (cosmos) in their glory." You see the problem with this statement too, dont u? Again, u can only see the entire earth from a mountain if the earth was flat. But because it is round, it is not possible to see the entire earth from a mountain top. Surprisingly, both satan and Jesus who were of supernatural/godly status did not know this?
        This shows that Jesus shared the same belief of the ignorant people of his time that the earth was flat as implied by the above bible quotes. So sadly according to Jesus himself, the earth is flat :[
        you can also easily look up some flat references in the bible:
        Flat Earth references include:
        Isaiah 11:12,Revelation 7:1 (four corners of the Earth) <- if the earth has 4 corners then this implies that the bible thought it was flat
        Job 38:13, Jeremiah 16:19, Daniel 4:11, Matthew 4:8 (ends of the Earth) <- end of the earth only if it was flat

        March 13, 2013 at 11:59 am |
    • John Doe

      I try so hard not to feed the Trolls. Just this once:
      Searching for and discovering new life forms would expand out knowledge of what "life" is. Abduction (if it even exists) is akin to lab-rat testing. Of course it would be an unpleasant experience! If they are indeed fallen angels or demons are they not alive, in space? And if God only made earth to be specially inhabited, he/she will fix the ozone layer.

      March 12, 2013 at 9:32 pm |
      • Steve

        What's wrong with the ozone?

        March 12, 2013 at 10:11 pm |
      • hehe

        It's out of zone.

        March 13, 2013 at 5:31 am |
    • Cal Newlan

      We should be searching the Bible for wisdom not speculating about possible former microbial life on a now dead rock.

      March 12, 2013 at 9:54 pm |
      • greyspy

        Cal, you are absolutely right. We should all just stop what we're doing with our lives and do exactly as you say. Gosh, what were we thinking, satisfying our intellectual curiosities? Thanks for showing us the way dude! Now where is that kool-aid?

        March 12, 2013 at 10:40 pm |
      • heliocracy

        Sure, why investigate when we can just make up stories that sound good, and pat ourselves on the back for knowing it all?

        March 12, 2013 at 10:58 pm |
      • BobbyGanoosh

        I visited your site Cal and read your post about how you keep mentioning your website in the the comment section on the cnn science articles in hopes to get "hits" on your blog. I find it sad you act like some cyber martyr in regards to what you are doing. While I respect your beliefs, you have shown you do not respect the beliefs of others. You are doing the very thing that you are railing against in your blog. I find it funny you chose to only post on the science articles. Is it because you're right and you feel the need to push your beliefs and views onto others? You are doing it for the sole purpose of getting a rise out of people so you can go back to your blog and tell everyone how hateful and mean everyone is towards your beliefs and views. Show respect...get respect. It really is that simple.

        March 12, 2013 at 11:02 pm |
      • snowboarder

        cal, the bible is a collection of myths and legends. nothing more.

        March 12, 2013 at 11:34 pm |
      • Gaunt

        Yes, the wonders of Bible wisdom.

        On a side note, Cal, would you mind if I raped your virgin teenage daughter? I promise to pay you the 220$ penatly required for such a crime in the bible.

        March 13, 2013 at 3:43 am |
      • capnmike

        The bible was written by a bunch of primitive people who thought the earth was flat and couldn't even begin to imagine a microbe. We should toss that pack of lies nonsense and fairy tales in the trash where it belongs.

        March 13, 2013 at 9:50 am |
    • rotorhead1871

      we have searched and there is NO life on Europe....sorry.....

      March 12, 2013 at 10:36 pm |
    • PheaNiques

      I have a question...

      I have often heard and read comments stating that life probably exists many times over, throughout the universe, and it is what I personally believe to be the truth. what that eventually discovery who mean to the creation myth of Earth Religions...but what would it mean, if we find, again and again and again, places that could have / should have supported life, but it doesn't and hasn't?

      March 13, 2013 at 7:37 am |
    • Full Disclosure Needed

      THis is stupid, they already know that mars has life and are already there studying it.

      March 13, 2013 at 9:06 am |
    • Jack Rivera

      Maybe we should send some libs to Mars and see how fast the wreck the Martian economy?

      March 13, 2013 at 10:50 am |
  60. Red Pison

    Eisenhower has been to Mars and spoke to the martians making a deal with them for our natural resources in exchange for their technology.

    March 12, 2013 at 7:31 pm |
    • Festivusfortherestofus

      Wonder if there was any chance that humans once roamed there...stripped the planet of all its resources and then moved here?

      March 12, 2013 at 7:52 pm |
      • sanjosemike


        March 12, 2013 at 8:39 pm |
      • Just Me

        Yea, that sounds like a Republican idea. Maybe that is why the TEA GARBAGE is against spending for space exploration. They don't want us to discover what they have been up to.

        March 12, 2013 at 9:45 pm |
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