NASA's Curiosity rover could have found evidence that Mars might have held life in the Gale Crater. Curiosity's primary goal when it landed inside Gale Crater in 2012 was to determine whether Mars ever had environmental conditions suitable to support microbial life.
Previous observations had revealed the presence of a lake more than three billion years ago in Mars' Gale Crater and now new data provided by the Curiosity rover forms the basis of a theory that the Gale crater had indeed been home to a lake with conditions suitable for life for around 700,000,000 years approximately 3 and a half billion years ago.
After an analysis of the rock samples which were collected in Gale crater during the Curiosity's exploration time period, it was confirmed the lake had once an abundant supply of minerals necessary to support life.
The Gale crater, named after an amateur astronomer called Walter Frederick Gale, lies in the Aeolis quadrangle and is about 160 kilometers in diameter. The scientist were able to successfully create a climate history map of the planet based on the data collected by the rover and confirm that Mars had a very Earth-like climate in its early years
The rover on its way to Mount Sharp in the Gale crater, drilled into six rocks and pulled samples which contained many elements including nitrogen, phosphate minerals and organic carbon compounds, as well as sulfur and iron as told by Joel Hurowitz of Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, New York to the Los Angeles Times. Curiosity Project Scientist Ashwin Vasavada of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California, told Los Angeles Times "These results give us unprecedented detail in answering questions about ancient environmental conditions on Mars."
The researchers feel that this is compelling evidence that established an environment which could be habitable by living organisms, said the Los Angeles Times. Hurowitz who is the lead author of a report of the findings in the June 2 edition of the journal Science contains revealing new information about chemical conditions within the lake,and also documents explaining fluctuations in the climate of ancient Mars.