Friday, 19 April, 2019

Yes, there is methane on Mars, new study reports

Very Exciting: Scientists CONFIRM Existence of Possible Life Sign Gas on MarsCC0 Very Exciting: Scientists CONFIRM Existence of Possible Life Sign Gas on MarsCC0
Cary Marshall | 03 April, 2019, 19:10

The news confirms that Mars at least once had the right conditions to support life as we know it. Seeking a better knowledge of Martian precipitation, researchers lacked photos and elevation models for over 200 early Martian riverbeds spanning more than a billion years.

According to computer simulations, up to 4,000 tonnes of methane in total may have been released from a region less than 800 kilometres east of Gale Crater. The detection was made by the Fourier PFS spectrometer about 15 years after the probe's initial 2004 detection of trace amounts of methane in the Martian atmosphere.

Even though there are still doubts over methane on Mars, the study revealed some interesting insights on potential methane sources and how the Red Planet's fluctuating atmosphere might have tampered with a permafrost and allowed methane to be released. Methane produced by micro-organisms in the distant past could also get trapped within ice. Now the European Space Agency (ESA) has independently confirmed their findings, with methane eruption not only detected by Curiosity, but by the ESA's Mars Express orbiter as well. Scientists wanted to find out if methane on the Red Planet is created by some forms of alien life.

There are a variety of ways methane might be produced on Mars.

An worldwide team of scientists comparing observations made by two separate spacecraft taken a day apart in 2013 have finally conclusively confirmed the presence of methane on Mars, following over a decade and a half of speculation after an ESA probe discovered the existence of trace elements of the compound on the Red Planet.

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NASA's spacecraft have taken pictures of tens of thousands of those lakes out of orbit, and once rover Curiosity landed in 2012, it was sent back pictures of pebbles which were curved, campaigning for a quite long time in the bottom of a river.

Marco Giuranna suspects the plume didn't originate from Gale Crater. The next day, ESA's Mars Express probe captured air samples with a methane concentration of 15.5 parts per billion as it whizzed through the atmosphere above Gale Crater.

This process is well known on Earth to occur along tectonic faults and from natural gas fields. When the ice melts, it could then release the ancient methane into the atmosphere.

Lead researcher Marco Giuranna said, 'Since permafrost is an excellent seal for methane, it is possible that the ice here could trap subsurface methane and release it episodically along the faults that break through this ice. "Let's just say it will make for an interesting discussion in the community as we seek to resolve the observations from existing and new measurements of methane on Mars". The most likely origin block we've identified on the surface contains numerous geological faults that could account for the release.

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