Carbon Molecules on Mars Open New Mystery

A greatly reduced carbon 13 signature is discovered in a drill sample taken by NASA’s Curiosity rover on Vera Rubin Ridge in Gale Crater.

Beth Johnson
3 min readJan 21, 2022

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IMAGE: A selfie taken by NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover on Sol 2291 at the “Rock Hall” drill site, located on Vera Rubin Ridge. Reduced carbon released from powder from this drill hole was strongly depleted in carbon 13, the surprising carbon isotopic signature reported by the team. The selfie is composed of 57 individual images taken by the rover’s Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI), a camera on the end of the rover’s robotic arm. CREDIT: NASA/Caltech-JPL/MSSS

Scientists have been analyzing recent data collected by NASA’s Curiosity rover that has led to headlines everywhere being less than circumspect and a little…

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Beth Johnson

Planetary scientist, podcast host. Communication specialist for SETI Institute and Planetary Science Institute. Buy me a coffee: https://ko-fi.com/planetarypan