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Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) and the future missions to Mars

  • Michel Cabane (a1) and the SAM Team (a2) (a3) (a4)

Abstract

After their formation, and for almost 0.5 Gyr, Mars and Earth evolved in the same manner. On Earth, life occured very early, around 3.6 Gy ago. Then, the hypothesis that life might have occured also on Mars, and be extinct, is not unrealistic. If this is true, then complex molecules could be present, representing an early state of life-building blocks. Missions to Mars (Viking 1-2, Phoenix) have carried instruments capable to search for molecular indicators, although up to now, no positive detection has been obtained. Future missions to Mars (MSL-NASA, Exomars-ESA) will use enhanced experiments to try to end this quest.

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References

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