Mars Curiosity Detects Organic Molecules

©NASA/HiRISE

Mars Curiosity

Organic molecules revealed in Mars's Bagnold Dunes by Curiosity's derivatization experiment, Nature Astronomy

" .. No amino-acid derivatives were detected. However, chemically derivatized benzoic acid and ammonia were detected. Mass spectra matching derivatized phosphoric acid and phenol were present, as were several nitrogen-bearing molecules and as yet unidentified high-molecular-weight compounds. ... This derivatization experiment on Mars has expanded the inventory of molecules present in Martian samples and demonstrated a powerful tool to further enable the search for polar organic molecules of biotic or prebiotic relevance."

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