LOS ANGELES (March 12, 2013)--Tests on a Mars rock show the planet could have supported primitive life, NASA scientists said Tuesday.
The rover Curiosity did the analysis, drilling into the rock, crushing it and testing 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 Tuesday at NASA's Washington headquarters, NASA scientists said the rock contains clay minerals that formed in a watery environment, which may be favorable for microscopic organisms.
Curiosity earlier found a hint of the site's watery past, an ancient stream bed 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.