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Explore Alliance Presents: How Do You KNOW? – Episode #44: ''Carbon Signals on Mars"

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Stromatolite fossils are a dominant record of life for most of Earth’s history prior to the appearance of complex, multicellular organisms. Scientists are seeking something similar to stromatolites in the dry lakebed Perseverance is exploring on Mars. On Earth when we find enhanced carbon-12 signatures in ancient microbial matts. 

Scientists announced on January 17, 2022, that they’ve discovered enriched amounts of carbon-12, life's most crucial isotope in powdered rock that Curiosity drilled from a hole on Mars. While carbon-12 on Earth is a sign of life, it’s too soon to say whether this discovery on Mars is a sign of life there as well. But life is one of the possibilities that scientists are entertaining to explain the newly discovered carbon-12 on Mars. 

In this 44th episode of How Do You KNOW? Dr. Barth discusses the importance of the Carbon-12 discovery to keep you informed of this amazing find on the Red Planet.

The activities and materials provided free for the How Do You Know? program are based upon Dr. Barth’s award-winning book: Astronomy For Educators. This book is used as a resource in more than 5,700 schools across the United States and in more than 50 countries world-wide. Published as an Open Educational Resource Text, it is made available from the University of Arkansas Library Press.