Organic molecules on Mars

  title={Organic molecules on Mars},
  author={Inge Loes ten Kate},
On 6 August 2012, the Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instrument suite (1) arrived on Mars onboard the Curiosity rover. SAM's main aim was to search for organic molecules on the martian surface. On page 1096 of this issue, Eigenbrode et al. (2) report SAM data that provide conclusive evidence for the presence of organic compounds—thiophenic, aromatic, and aliphatic compounds—in drill samples from Mars' Gale crater. In a related paper on page 1093, Webster et al. (3) report a strong seasonal… 

Boron and Lithium in Calcium Sulfate Veins: Tracking Precipitation of Diagenetic Materials in Vera Rubin Ridge, Gale Crater

The NASA Curiosity rover's ChemCam instrument suite has detected boron in calcium‐sulfate‐filled fractures throughout the sedimentary strata of Gale crater including Vera Rubin ridge. The presence of

Following the Astrobiology Roadmap: Origins, Habitability and Future Exploration.

The field of space biology uses the ISS and low gravity analogs to gain insight on how transplanted Earth-evolved organisms will respond to extraterrestrial environments.

Methanol in the RNA world: An astrochemical perspective

The role and relevance of methanol in the origin and structure of the RNA world is discussed. Methanol is a pivotal, renewable, and regenerable source from which almost all chemical materials, simple



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.

Organics on Mars

Abstract Organics are expected to exist on Mars based on meteorite infall, in situ production, and any possible biological sources. Yet they have not been detected on the martian surface; are they

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

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.

Mitigation of the impact of terrestrial contamination on organic measurements from the Mars Science Laboratory.

The effort presently underway to understand and mitigate, wherever possible within the resource constraints of the mission, terrestrial contamination in MSL and SAM measurements is described.

Some final conclusions and supporting experiments related to the search for organic compounds on the surface of Mars

The Viking molecular analysis experiment has demonstrated the absence (within the detection limits which range from levels of parts per million to below parts per billion) of organic substances in

Degradation of the organic molecules in the shallow subsurface of Mars due to irradiation by cosmic rays

Detection of the organic matter on Mars is one of the main goals of the future Martian landing missions. Yet, the degradation of organic molecules by cosmic ray irradiation on Mars is often ignored.

A Habitable Fluvio-Lacustrine Environment at Yellowknife Bay, Gale Crater, Mars

The Curiosity rover discovered fine-grained sedimentary rocks, which are inferred to represent an ancient lake and preserve evidence of an environment that would have been suited to support a martian

The evolution of organic matter in space

  • P. EhrenfreundM. SpaansN. Holm
  • Physics, Geology
    Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences
  • 2011
Material from both carbon sources (extra-terrestrial and endogenous) may have contributed to biochemical pathways on the Earth leading to life’s origin and guide the knowledge to other habitable worlds.