Curiosity’s latest Mars find: “biologically useful” nitrogen

March 25, 2015 8:51 AM

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Despite the recent resurfaced scandal surrounding Mars One, it's business as usual for those working on the real and present-day Mars. That doesn't mean, however, that NASA's scientists don't have anything just as spectacular but even more scientifically sound. From the results gathered by Curiosity Rover's "Sample Analysis at Mars" equipment, or SAM, researchers discovered the presence of nitrogen, quite a lot of them. While this alone might be boring, it's the nature of those nitrogen molecules that are more interesting. These particular molecules are a type of nitrogen that could have very well been useful to organic life.

While we might immediately think of oxygen as the life-essential element, nitrogen plays an equally perhaps even more important role. It is the building block of life, making up DNA, RNA, and proteins that, in turn, make up body parts. But that kind of nitrogen is only useful if it exists in its "fi...

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