Latest findings from NASA's Mars rover Curiosity indicate the Red Planet could have been a habitable environment for millions of years, say scientists. Edward Baran reports.
Uncovering new clues about life on the Red Planet NASA's Mars rover Curiosity has found evidence of ancient lakes and wet underground environments that changed billions of years ago. An indication the planet could have supported life for millions of years. (SOUNDBITE) (English) MARS ROVER CURIOSITY LEAD SCIENTIST JOHN GROTZINGER, SAYING: "Gale Crater, which is the site where curiosity landed, could have been a habitable environment for tens to even hundreds of millions of years and that would have been represented by ancient lakes but also groundwater systems with fluid circulating and those fluids had the kind of chemistry to form minerals that would be the kinds of materials that micro-organisms could have thrived on." The rover arrived on Mars four years ago to determine if the planet ever had the ingredients for life. To answer that, it's been drilling into rocks, recently discovering the element boron for the first time. But, Curiosity has had to halt its trek temporarily while engineers fix a problem with one of its key drilling instruments. The difficulties of exploring Mars hasn't diminished its allure --- outgoing U.S.President Barack Obama has pledged to send people to the Red Planet by the 2030s.