Popular Science

What finding boron on Mars actually means in the hunt for alien life

We're getting closer.
gale crater view curiosity

The view from inside Gale Crater, as seen by Curiosity

NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS

Boron sounds boring, and not just because of the phonetic resemblance. It’s not an element that we use much, other than in some kinds of fiberglass. It’s not toxic or dangerous to humans. Really, the best thing you can say about it—on Earth, anyway—is that it can kill cockroaches in its acid form. But on Mars? It’s a sign of .

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