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Mars could have supported life, NASA says

This image released by NASA shows Curiosity rover holding scoop powdered rock Mars. The rover recently drilled inMartian rock for

This image released by NASA shows the Curiosity rover holding a scoop of powdered rock on Mars. The rover recently drilled into a Martian rock for the first time and transferred a pinch of powder to its instruments to analyze the chemical makeup. (AP Photo/NASA)

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Updated: March 12, 2013 2:39PM



LOS ANGELES — NASA scientists say tests on a Mars rock show the planet could have supported primitive life.

The analysis was done by the rover Curiosity, which drilled into the rock, crushed it and tested a tiny sample. The rover was the first spacecraft sent to Mars that could collect a sample from deep inside a rock.

At a briefing at NASA’s Washington headquarters on Tuesday, NASA scientist said the rock contains clay minerals that formed in a watery environment — an environment that may be favorable for microscopic organisms.

Curiosity had already found a hint of the site’s watery past — an ancient streambed that the six-wheel rover crossed to get to the flat bedrock.

The rover made a dramatic landing near the Mars equator last August for a two-year mission.



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