Good Morning Australia!! - NASA finds some interesting signs on Mars - North Korea somehow plays it cool - A former Perth student gets three life sentences for killing his family - And more in your CareerSpot Interplanetary News Briefs:

The US Space Agency NASA announced that it has found ancient organic molecules on Mars that are consistent with the building blocks of life.  The Mars Curiosity Rover was able to drill down five centimeters in a dry lake bed, and dug up rock sample that contained thiophenes, benzene, toluene, as well as small carbon chains such as propane or butene.  Given that these molecules survived the bombardment of radiation from the Sun and from space (from which Earth is protected by its atmosphere) that penetrates a meter of surface material, it's an amazing find:  "Finding ancient organic molecules in the top five centimeters of rock that was deposited when Mars may have been habitable, bodes well for us to learn the story of organic molecules on Mars with future missions that will drill deeper," Jen Eigenbrode of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland.

Mars Curiosity Rover

The Rover also detected Methane gas in the atmosphere, which on earth is caused by organic processes.  But the level rises and falls to a regular pattern over the Martian seasons, with heavier concentrations in the summer.  "This is the first time we've seen something repeatable in the methane story, so it offers us a handle in understanding it," said Chris Webster of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California.  This may be caused by some sort of underground water-rock chemical reaction, but they can't rule out a biological process.

The findings have given scientists confidence that NASA's Mars 2020 rover and the European Space Agency's ExoMars rover that will land on Mars in 2021 will find even more organics, both on the surface and in the shallow subsurface.  "Are there signs of life on Mars?" said Michael Meyer, lead scientist for NASA's Mars Exploration Program, at NASA Headquarters.  "We don't know, but these results tell us we are on the right track."

Here's a link to NASA's hour-long media event.


A South African court sentenced Henri van Breda to three life sentences for the 2015 axe murders of his father, mother, and brother on the van Breda estate outside of Cape Town.  "Each murderous attack upon a family member constitutes a very serious crime, warranting the severest penalty possible," said Judge Siraj, who tacked on another 15 years for the attempted murder of van Breda's sister.   The defendant was schooled in Perth when the family moved to Australia to escape South Africa's high crime rate.  They moved back and were brutally murdered by one of their own.

A rogue Baltimore Police sergeant was sentenced to 25 years in prison for running a ring of bad cops who framed innocent people and dealt drugs that they had confiscated on raids.  Once the commander of the elite Gun Trace Task Force, 37-year old Wayne Earl Jenkins was convicted on multiple counts including racketeering, robbery and falsification of records.  Almost every other member of the unit was arrested.  The East Coast American city's Black community had for years complained of brutality and cops planting drugs on innocents.

North Korea, amazingly, has not responded to the extremely stupid comments made by Donald Trump's lawyer Rudy Giuliani, who claimed the Kim Jong-un begged "on his hands and knees" for the Singapore summit scheduled to take place on 12 June.  US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo made it clear that Giuliani, a member of Trump's inner circle, doesn't speak for the US government.  And Trump himself said he might invite Kim to the US if the Singapore soiree goes well, which would be a concession to the growing diplomatic credibility of the despotic Pyongyang regime.

The younger sister of Queen Maxima of the Netherlands has died at her home in the Argentine capital Buenos Aires.  Reports say 33-year old Ines Zorreguieta committed suicide.  That's also the official cause of fashion designer Kate Spade, who was found hanging from a door knob in her Manhattan home earlier this week, now that New York city medical examiners have signed off on the death certificate.

The opposition wants Guatemala's emergency response chief to be sacked for failing to heed warnings about the imminent eruption of the Fuego volcano.  At least 99 people are dead and dozens are still missing.  The country's institute for seismology and volcanology says it issued the relevant warning in plenty of time, and faults the emergency management agency CONRED for failing to order evacuations in villages that are now buried.

Peru's congress has suspended Kenji Fujimori, son of the 1990's fascist dictator, and two allies in an influence peddling probe.  The younger Fujimori brokered the pardon of his father, Alberto Fujimori, by the then-president Pedro Pablo Kuczynski, who was forced to resign over that scandal and his links to the Odebrecht construction company - the alleged international champion of pay-to-play contracting corruption.