Space & Astronomy
Curiosity rover confirms methane on Mars
By T.K. Randall
March 1, 2015 · 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 MartŪn-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."
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