SCIENCE

Curiosity Rover Finds Nitrogen On Mars, Further Evidence That The Red Planet Was 'Habitable For Life'

03/25/2015 04:29 am ET | Updated Mar 25, 2015

Another ingredient for life has been found on Mars.

NASA announced this week that the Curiosity rover has discovered life-sustaining nitrogen on the Red Planet for the first time.

By drilling into Martian rocks, the rover is said to have located evidence of nitrates -- compounds that contain nitrogen “in a form that can be used by living organisms.” Nitrogen, as Discovery News notes, is essential for life, as it’s a building block of RNA and DNA.

The finding, NASA said, “adds to the evidence that ancient Mars was habitable for life.”

The space agency was quick to note that "there is no evidence to suggest that the fixed nitrogen molecules found by the team were created by life.”

“The surface of Mars is inhospitable for known forms of life,” NASA said.

Instead, the agency believes the nitrates are ancient and “likely came from non-biological processes like meteorite impacts and lightning in Mars’ distant past.”

Curiosity has previously found evidence of the other key ingredients for life, including organic molecules and liquid water.

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