The object, discovered by the US space agency, is a mineral formation with a fine structure formed by minerals precipitating from water.

“We’re finding enticingly interesting things on Mars, but we really need more evidence to say we’ve identified life,” said Paul Mahaffy, principal investigator in the Sample Analysis Chemistry Laboratory at the Mars Chemistry Laboratory (SAM) aboard Curiosity.

“The hardest part is letting go of the concept of Earth and getting rid of the preconceptions we have and really trying to get into the basic chemistry, physics and ecological processes on Mars,” explained Goddard astrobiologist Jennifer L. Eigenbrode, who participated in the study. .

Unlike Earth, Mars does not have a magnetic field to protect it from high-energy particles flying through space. This radiation can harm human health, as well as seriously undermine the life support systems on which Martian astronauts will depend.

Based on data from the Curiosity Radiation Evaluation Detector, the researchers concluded that using natural materials such as rocks and sediment on Mars could provide some protection against this ubiquitous cosmic radiation.

In August 2012, a 1-ton rover landed inside an ancient impact basin. He quickly discovered an area inside the landing site at Gale Crater that was chemically and geologically suitable for the same kind of rock-eating microbes commonly found on Earth.