Curiosity rover found a big hint pointing to life on Mars

The NASA Curiosity rover made a remarkable discovery this week that may hint at signs of life on Mars.

The surprising development, reported on by The New York Times, brings legitimacy to the long-held notion that aliens may actually be occupying the red planet.

According to a measurement taken on Wednesday by NASA's Curiosity rover, scientists unearthed high amounts of methane in the air on Mars — indicating microbes could survive on the planet. As The Times noted, methane is typically just produced by living things.

Business Insider has reached out to NASA for comment.

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This image from Curiosity's Mastcam shows inclined beds of sandstone interpreted as the deposits of small deltas fed by rivers flowing down from the Gale Crater rim and building out into a lake where Mount Sharp is now. It was taken March 13, 2014, just north of the "Kimberley" waypoint.
Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS
This March 25, 2014, view from the Mastcam on NASA's Curiosity Mars rover looks southward at the Kimberley waypoint. In the foreground, multiple sandstone beds show systematic inclination to the south suggesting progressive build-out of delta sediments in that direction (toward Mount Sharp).
Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS
This image shows inclined beds characteristic of delta deposits where a stream entered a lake, but at a higher elevation and farther south than other delta deposits north of Mount Sharp. This suggests multiple episodes of delta growth building southward. It is from Curiosity's Mastcam.
Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS
This evenly layered rock photographed by the Mast Camera (Mastcam) on NASA's Curiosity Mars Rover on Aug. 7, 2014, shows a pattern typical of a lake-floor sedimentary deposit not far from where flowing water entered a lake.
Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS
This image shows an example of a thin-laminated, evenly stratified rock type that occurs in the "Pahrump Hills" outcrop at the base of Mount Sharp on Mars. The Mastcam on NASA's Curiosity Mars rover acquired this view on Oct. 28, 2014. This type of rock can form under a lake.
Credits: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS
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This isn't the first time that scientists have found methane on Mars: In 2004, scientists reported the discovery of methane in the air, following three year's of observations. "We are 99 percent confident," Dr. Michael Mumma, a senior scientist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, told The Times following that news. "It surprised all of us, actually. We really are still scrambling to understand what it means."

However, in 2013, new measurements from the Curiosity rover found that the atmosphere contained very little or no methane, reducing the prospect of life on the planet. Study author Christopher Webster, director of the microdevices lab at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, described those results as "disappointing for many," in a 2013 interview with Business Insider.

According to an email obtained by the Times, Ashwin R. Vasavada, the project scientist for the mission, wrote to his team that "given this surprising result, we've reorganized the weekend to run a follow-up experiment," with the results of those observations expected on Monday.

Read The New York Time's full article here

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