The latest news from the Mars Curiosity rover has yielded mixed results in the search for life that may exist (or once existed) on the surface of the Red Planet. A month ago, Curiosity discovered small channels on the Martian surface that were most likely carved by running water. But just recently, the rover used its Tunable Laser Spectrometer to search for evidence of methane–the most abundant organic compound on Earth–only to find none.
While Curiosity’s findings on the search for extraterrestrial life are a tossup, at least for now, European astronomers have fared a little better through the recent discovery an exoplanet that could be classified as a super-Earth. Revolving around an orange star that is smaller than our own Sun, this planet is seven times the size of Earth and exists in a habitable zone that could allow it to maintain both a stable atmosphere and liquid water on its surface.
Lynn Rothschild, an astrobiologist at NASA’s Ames Research Center discussed other candidates that could support extraterrestrial life in the following Commonwealth Club video.