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NASA discovery puts life on Mars "on the table"

A self-portrait of NASA's Curiosity Mars rover .
A self-portrait of NASA's Curiosity Mars rover. Photo: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS via Getty Images

NASA scientists found evidence on Mars that suggests ancient life could have existed on the planet, providing "a piece of the Mars puzzle that scientists have long been seeking," per the New York Times. Specifically, scientists found organic matter in rock fragments that formed billions of years ago.

But, but, but: This isn't direct evidence of life itself, NASA cautions. Per the Times, the carbon molecules discovered by NASA's Curiosity rover can be found in meteorites, and can be produced "in chemical reactions that do not involve biology."