NASA’s Curiosity rover discovers useful Nitrogen on Mars
NASA’s Curiosity rover for first time has found evidence of nitrogen in the form of nitrate in aeolian deposits and in two mudstone deposits on Mars.
It was detected by using the Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instrument suite mounted on Curiosity rover by the team of Scientists.
Scientists believe that the detected nitrogen in the form of nitric oxide could be released from the breakdown of nitrates during heating of sediments from Mars.
These nitrates are a class of molecules that contain nitrogen in a form used by living organisms. Thus this discovery adds evidence to the hypothesis that ancient Mars was habitable for life.
However, there is no evidence suggesting that the discovered nitrogen molecules found by the rover was created by life on the red planet. Scientists also believe that the discovered molecules are ancient and might have been deposited from non-biological processes like meteorite impacts and lightning on Mars’ in past.
It should be noted that Nitrogen is essential part for all known forms of life as it used in the building basic blocks of larger molecules like DNA and RNA that encode the genetic instructions for life. It is also essential in proteins that is used to build structures like hair and nails in living organisms.