Andrew Steele from the Carnegie Institution of Science in Washington D.C. and his team have published a new paper in Science Advances that proposes a chemical pathway for the formation of organic matter on Mars. Their research could help explain organic compounds discovered in Martian meteorites and at Gale Crater by the Curiosity Rover.

The scientists reported that dense salt solutions known as brines can form organic compounds if the brines have carbon dioxide and certain iron minerals in them.

This brings up the question of whether life exists on Mars since organic compounds are vital for life as we know it.

Moreover, ‘Oumuamua, Hawaiin for “scout,” is an interstellar object that is once again garnering attention, this time for a new theory about its origins.

Scientists from the Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics recently published a new study which looks at the origins of this object, such as the chances that it might be a light sail of artificial origin, designed for interstellar travel.

The new study disputes the object’s classification as a comet and proposes that under an exotic scenario, ‘Oumuamua could be a fully operational probe sent intentionally to Earth’s vicinity by an alien civilization.

In other news, NASA's Parker Solar Probe came within 15 million miles (24 million kilometres) of the sun on Monday (Nov. 5), which is much closer than any mission had ever gotten before.

What’s more, on Wednesday afternoon (Nov. 7), the probe made contact with Earth, letting the controllers know that it's in good health and continuing to gather scientific data.

Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator of NASA's Science Mission Directorate at agency headquarters in Washington, D.C., said in a statement that the Parker Solar Probe was built to take care of itself and its priceless payload during this close approach, with no control from anyone on Earth — and now they are happy to know it went according to plan.

Lastly, the International Space Station is now home to a brand new life-support system. This system is capable of recycling breathable air, which promises to drastically reduce the amount of water that needs to be brought to the ISS, to make oxygen. 

The new system will mark a pivotal move toward what’s known as a closed-loop life-support system, which could one day sustain space crews indefinitely without the need for supply missions from Earth. These systems will be vital for future long-duration missions to the moon and Mars.

The newly installed Advanced Closed Loop System (ACLS), designed by the European Space Agency (ESA), was sent to the space station in late September aboard the Japanese HTV-7 cargo ship. This system could decrease the amount of water required for the oxygen system by 400 litres (100 gallons). 

Since organic compounds are vital for life as we know it, do you think there is life on Mars?

Do you think Oumuamua is a comet or a light sail from an alien nation? Why? 

Let us know in the comments below!