Mars: Curiosity rover discovers diverse cache of organic minerals

Organic molecules and clay minerals found in Gale Crater could be a sign of ancient Martian life, but it isn’t possible yet to rule out that they are products of inorganic processes


10 March 2022

Martian surface

The Gale Crater as viewed through a camera on NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover


The Curiosity Mars rover has discovered its most diverse and abundant trove yet of organic molecules needed to sustain life.

The molecules, which contain the sulphur and carbon that life would have needed if it ever existed on Mars, were well-preserved in the clay minerals of the Gale Crater, a 155-kilometre-wide suspected former lake.

These sulphur-bearing organics were found in the Glen Torridon region of the crater, which the Curiosity rover explored from 2019 to 2021. Kristen Bennett …