Powder drilled out of a rock on Mars contains the best evidence yet that the Red Planet could have supported life billions of years ago, the team behind NASA's Curiosity rover said Tuesday.
"I think this is probably the only definitively habitable environment that we have described and recorded," said David Blake, a scientist at NASA's Ames Research Center who is the principal investigator for Curiosity's CheMin lab.
The findings are in line with what the scientists hoped to find when they sent the 1-ton, six-wheeled laboratory to Mars' Gale Crater. "It wasn't serendipity that got us here. It was the result of planning," Caltech's John Grotzinger, the $2.5 billion mission's project scientist, told reporters at NASA Headquarters in Washington on Tuesday.
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