Organic matter preserved in 3-Billion-year-old mudstones at Gale Crater, Mars

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Title: Organic matter preserved in 3-Billion-year-old mudstones at Gale Crater, Mars
Author(s): Eigenbrode, JL
Summons, RE
Steele, A
Freissinet, C
Millan, M
Navarro-González, R
Sutter, B
McAdam, AC
Franze, H
Glavin, D
Archer, PD
Mahaffy, P
Conrad, PG
Hurowitz, JA
Grotzinger, JP
Gupta, S
Ming, D
Sumner, DY
Szopa, C
Malespin, C
Buch, A
Coll, P
Item Type: Journal Article
Abstract: Establishing the presence and state of organic matter in martian materials, including its possible biosignatures, has been an elusive quest, despite limited reports of organic matter existence. We report the in situ detection of refractory organic matte r preserved in lacustrine mudstones at the base of the 3.8 - 3.1 Ga Murray formation at Pahrump Hills, Gale crater, by the Sample Analysis at Mars instrument suite onboard the Curiosity rover. Diverse pyrolysis products including thiophenic, aromatic, and al iphatic compounds released at high temperatures (500º - 820°C) were directly detected by evolved gas analysis. Thiophenes were also observed by gas chromatography mass spectrometry. Their presence suggests sulfurization aided organic matter preservation. A t least 50 nanomole s of organic carbon persist as probable macromolecules having 5% carbon as organic sulfur molecules.
Publication Date: 8-Jun-2018
Date of Acceptance: 29-Mar-2018
ISSN: 0036-8075
Publisher: American Association for the Advancement of Science
Start Page: 1096
End Page: 1101
Journal / Book Title: Science
Volume: 360
Issue: 6393
Sponsor/Funder: Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC)
Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC)
Funder's Grant Number: ST/J005169/1
Copyright Statement: © 2018 The Authors, some rights reserved; exclusive licensee American Association for the Advancement of Science. This is the author’s version of the work. It is posted here by permission of the AAAS for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Science DOI: 10.1126/science.aas9185
Keywords: Science & Technology
Multidisciplinary Sciences
Science & Technology - Other Topics
MD Multidisciplinary
General Science & Technology
Publication Status: Published
Open Access location:
Appears in Collections:Faculty of Engineering
Earth Science and Engineering

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