“Total organic carbon is one of several measurements [or indices] that help us understand how much material is available as feedstock for prebiotic chemistry and potentially biology,” Jennifer Stern, lead author of the study and a space scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, said in the statement. “We found at least 200 to 273 parts per million of organic carbon. This is comparable to or even more than the amount found in rocks in very low-life places on Earth, such as parts of the Atacama Desert in South America, and more than has been detected in Mars meteorites.”
[…] However, in addition to organic carbon, the researchers identified other signs suggesting Gale crater may have once supported life, including the presence of chemical energy sources, and chemical compounds such as oxygen, nitrogen and sulfur and low acidity. “Basically, this location would have offered a habitable environment for life, if it ever was present,” Stern said in the statement. Their findings were published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
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