Planets and Moons  ID: 11320

The Right Stuff

NASA’s Curiosity rover landed on Mars on August 6, 2012. A primary goal of its mission is to search the planet for evidence of organic compounds, carbon-based molecules that are a key ingredient of life on Earth. One of the places that Curiosity will look is inside rocks and sediment layers that are within reach of its seven-foot-long robotic arm and rotating turret of sampling instruments. If organic compounds do exist on Mars, scientists believe they will most likely be found in samples that are hidden from the high-energy particles that penetrate the planet’s thin atmosphere and bombard the surface. They will also be buried in locations where water might have been present billions of years ago, when Mars was thought to be a much wetter planet. Watch the video to learn more.

Story Credits

Lead Writer:
Crystal Garner (NASA/GSFC)

Please give credit for this item to:
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center
Video and images courtesy of NASA/JPL

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