NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover has discovered a patchwork of ancient mud cracks that provide evidence of wet-dry cycles occurring on early Mars.
The distinctive hexagonal pattern of these mud cracks offers the first evidence of the conditions that may have promoted the origin of life.
Wet-dry cycles control the concentration of chemicals that feed the fundamental reactions leading to the formation of polymers, including nucleic acids, molecules considered to be chemical buildings blocks of life as we know it.
The discovery of the Pontours mud cracks may in fact have provided scientists their first opportunity to study the remains of life’s cauldron.
Mars doesn’t have tectonic plates, so much older periods of the planet’s history have been preserved.
Courtesy: JPL NASA