NASA robot finds 'building blocks for life' on Mars

Al Jazeera 

A NASA robot has found more building blocks for life on Mars, the most complex organic matter yet from 3.5 billion-year-old rocks on the surface of the red planet, the US space agency said on Thursday. The unmanned Curiosity rover has also found increasing evidence for seasonal variations of methane on Mars, indicating the source of the gas is likely the planet itself, or possibly its subsurface water. The data, collected through drilling into the lowest point of the red planet's Gale crater, is part of the US space agency's newly widened search for organic molecules that could indicate past life on the surface of Mars. Additional data from the robotic probe confirms the detection of "seasonal patterns" in methane levels, NASA geophysicist Ashwin Vasvada said in the live-streamed announcement. NASA scientist Chris Webster confirmed that water has been found on the martian surface and has been present for "a very long time," which points strongly toward a "habitable environment".