Mars may have been able to sustain life in the past, NASA officials concluded, based on an analysis of rock powder by the Curiosity rover that found traces of elements such as oxygen, hydrogen and carbon. The analysis also indicated that the water that existed on the planet was a neutral pH -- neither too salty nor too acidic. "The key thing here is this [is] an environment a microbe could have lived in and might have even prospered in," said lead scientist John Grotzinger.

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