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Mars-Like Soils in the Atacama Desert, Chile, and the Dry Limit of Microbial Life
The presence of Mars-like soils in the extreme arid region of the Atacama Desert is reported and incubation experiments show active decomposition of organic species in these soils by nonbiological processes.
A possible nitrogen crisis for Archaean life due to reduced nitrogen fixation by lightning
An experimental simulation of nitrogen fixation by lightning over a range of Hadean and Archaean atmospheric compositions infer that, as atmospheric CO2 decreased over the Archaean period, the production of nitric oxide from lightning discharge decreased by two orders of magnitude until about 2.2 Gyr, potentially long enough to cause an ecological crisis that triggered the development of biological nitrogen fixation.
Mars methane detection and variability at Gale crater
Curiosity confirms the presence and variability of atmospheric methane, implying episodic production from an unknown source, and reports of plumes or patches of methane in the martian atmosphere that vary over monthly time scales have defied explanation.
Reanalysis of the Viking results suggests perchlorate and organics at midlatitudes on Mars
- R. Navarro‐González, E. Vargas, J. D. L. Rosa, A. Raga, C. McKay
- Environmental Science
- 1 December 2010
 The most comprehensive search for organics in the Martian soil was performed by the Viking Landers. Martian soil was subjected to a thermal volatilization process to vaporize and break organic…
The Sample Analysis at Mars Investigation and Instrument Suite
The Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) investigation of the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) addresses the chemical and isotopic composition of the atmosphere and volatiles extracted from solid samples. The…
Organic matter preserved in 3-billion-year-old mudstones at Gale crater, Mars
In situ detection of organic matter preserved in lacustrine mudstones at the base of the ~3.5-billion-year-old Murray formation at Pahrump Hills, Gale crater, by the Sample Analysis at Mars instrument suite onboard the Curiosity rover is reported.
Evidence for perchlorates and the origin of chlorinated hydrocarbons detected by SAM at the Rocknest aeolian deposit in Gale Crater
A single scoop of the Rocknest aeolian deposit was sieved (< 150 µm), and four separate sample portions, each with a mass of ~50 mg, were delivered to individual cups inside the Sample Analysis at…
Organic molecules in the Sheepbed Mudstone, Gale Crater, Mars
Chlorinated hydrocarbons identified in the Sheepbed mudstone by SAM are the reaction products of Martian chlorine and organic carbon derived from Martian sources or exogenous sources such as meteorites, comets, or interplanetary dust particles.
Transient liquid water and water activity at Gale crater on Mars
Liquid water on equatorial Mars is inconsistent with large-scale climatic conditions. Humidity and temperature measurements by the Curiosity rover support the formation of subsurface liquid brines by…
Background levels of methane in Mars’ atmosphere show strong seasonal variations
In situ measurements at Gale crater made over a 5-year period by the Tunable Laser Spectrometer on the Curiosity rover show large seasonal variation in the background and occurrences of higher temporary spikes that are consistent with small localized sources of methane released from martian surface or subsurface reservoirs.