NASA thinks it might well have found signs of life on Mars after its Curiosity rover discovered some exciting supporting evidence.

New research has discovered that rocks collected by the rover contain organic carbon, which could have come from bugs that previously lived on Mars.

The space agency analyzed sediments from six locations the rover had explored, including an exposed cliff, and found an ancient carbon cycle. It has been suggested that the samples could have a ‘biological basis’, and resemble fossilized remains of microbial life in Australia that date back 2.7 billion years.

Carbon has two stable isotopes – 12 and 13 – and the amounts of these give an insight into its origin.

As per The Metro, Professor Christopher House, the lead author of the study from Penn State University in the US, explained, ‘The samples extremely depleted in carbon 13 are a little like samples from Australia taken from sediment that was 2.7 billion years old.’

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On ancient Mars, it means that large plumes of methane could have been being released from the subsurface, where production would have been energetically favorable.

There are other theories as to why this might be, including a cosmic dust cloud or perhaps ultraviolet radiation breaking down carbon dioxide.

‘All three of these scenarios are unconventional – unlike processes common on Earth,’ concluded House.