NASA: Ancient Martian Lake May Have Supported Life - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

NASA: Ancient Martian Lake May Have Supported Life

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LOS ANGELES - NASA says the Mars Curiosity rover has uncovered signs of an ancient freshwater lake on the Red Planet that may have supported tiny organisms for tens of millions of years.

The lake near the Martian equator existed about 3.5 billion years ago and scientists say it was neither salty nor acidic, and contained nutrients - a perfect spot to support microbes.

The findings were published online Monday in the journal "Science" and presented at the American Geophysical Union meeting in San Francisco.

Curiosity touched down near the Martian equator last year.  Now that the $2.5 billion mission has accomplished a key goal - finding a habitable environment - the rover will look for organic compounds that are fundamental to all living things.