Salts Could Be Important Piece of Martian Organic Puzzle, NASA Scientists Find

This is the first photo ever taken on the surface of Mars. It was taken by NASA’s Viking 1 spacecraft just minutes after it landed on the Red Planet on July 20, 1976.
Credits: Credits: NASA/JPL

A NASA team has found that organic salts are likely present on Mars. Like shards of ancient pottery, these salts are the chemical remnants of organic compounds, such as those previously detected by NASA’s Curiosity rover. Organic compounds and salts on Mars could have formed by geologic processes or be remnants of ancient microbial life.

By Lonnie Shekhtman
NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.