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Space & Astronomy

Curiosity rover confirms methane on Mars

By T.K. Randall
March 1, 2015 · Comment icon 43 comments



The Curiosity rover has been able to confirm that there is methane on Mars. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech
The rover's instruments have picked up unequivocal evidence that there really is methane on Mars.
The presence of methane on the Red Planet, a gas that on Earth is predominantly a product of biological activity, has been a matter of considerable debate ever since traces of it were first picked up by telescopes on Earth more than a decade ago.

Now NASA's Curiosity rover has been able to satisfactorily confirm that methane is indeed present in the Martian atmosphere, a tantalizing indicator that life forms may exist or may have once existed on what is now a cold, dead and barren world.
"It is a finding that puts paid to the question of the presence of methane in the Martian atmosphere," said Francisco Javier Martín-Torres of the Andalusian Institute of Earth Sciences.

"But it does pose some other more complex and far-reaching questions, such as the nature of its sources - which must lie, we believe, in one or two additional sources that were not originally contemplated in the models used so far."

Source: Phys.org | Comments (43)


Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #34 Posted by Harte 8 years ago
Get a grip and try and learn something rather than continue your zoser like crusade to appear clueless about every subject you are interested in. Honestly, you have to work at it to be as ignorant as you appear to be. Merc, it's all in the logisticals. Harte
Comment icon #35 Posted by Noteverythingisaconspiracy 8 years ago
why would so many of you opposing theories regarding the possibility of life on Mars? why is this subject still a tabu? Can't we just accept and move on to actually finding the life forms ? If finding life on Mars is such a taboo, why are ESA sending a probe to Mars next year, with the purpose of trying to find life ? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ExoMars
Comment icon #36 Posted by seeder 8 years ago
Actually, there are serious scientific discussions about life on Saturn's moon Titan, which has a dense methane atmosphere. I actually read about that today!! No water needed: Methane-based life possible on Saturn’s moon Titan, study saysResearchers from the Cornell University have developed a methane-based, oxygen-free life form that theoretically may exist in the cold and harsh environment of the planet Saturn’s giant moon Titan, defying the idea that water is necessary for life. http://rt.com/news/2...n-life-methane/ If you dont rate RT, they sourced the article from here http://advances.sc... [More]
Comment icon #37 Posted by Calibeliever 8 years ago
Isn't there plenty of methane in the atmospheres of the gas giants and at least one of their moons? Doesn't seem life is a prerequisite for its existence on those worlds. Absolutely correct. The existence of methane doesn't correlate directly to the existence of life. What's interesting on Mars however, is the conditions there don't allow methane to hang around very long before it degrades. Observations of rising and falling levels in certain areas over the last couple of years "suggests" that it's being replenished somehow. There are a very small set of reasons this could be happening. Includ... [More]
Comment icon #38 Posted by Hammerclaw 8 years ago
There are people in this thread who are genuinely interested in the scientific investigation of our solar system, and are very interested in any facts hinting at the possibility extraterrestrial life. Then there are others who are content to roll their eyes up in their heads and drool over the mere thought of it. I trust you all know which ones you are.
Comment icon #39 Posted by Merc14 8 years ago
Absolutely correct. The existence of methane doesn't correlate directly to the existence of life. What's interesting on Mars however, is the conditions there don't allow methane to hang around very long before it degrades. Observations of rising and falling levels in certain areas over the last couple of years "suggests" that it's being replenished somehow. There are a very small set of reasons this could be happening. Including the very exciting (if very unlikely) *whispers* life. It's another piece to a puzzle that we all hope is coming together but all we can do is wait, aside from the knuc... [More]
Comment icon #40 Posted by seeder 8 years ago
Oops!! Curiosity suffers short circuit on Mars: Rover stops work as engineers investigate severity of the problem A short circuit occurred in the rover's arm as it was moving It had been transferring rock powder into a sample analysis container However an electrical problem then caused the rover to stop operations Nasa engineers in California are now investigating the problem If it can be solved the rover should begin operations again in a few days http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2979075/Curiosity-suffers-short-circuit-Mars-Rover-stops-work-engineers-investigate-severity-problem... [More]
Comment icon #41 Posted by Merc14 8 years ago
Oops!! This could be really bad news
Comment icon #42 Posted by seeder 8 years ago
This could be really bad news Indeed, fingers crossed the tech guys can sort it
Comment icon #43 Posted by Merc14 8 years ago
Indeed, fingers crossed the tech guys can sort it Looks like they have it figured out and will be back on-line next week http://www.nasa.gov/jpl/msl/use-of-rover-arm-expected-to-resume-in-a-few-days/index.html (found by waspie)


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