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Space & Astronomy

Mars methane spike 'not a seasonal event'

By T.K. Randall
May 18, 2016 · Comment icon 7 comments

What caused the recent spike in methane on Mars ? Image Credit: NASA
A mysterious spike of methane picked up by the Curiosity rover two years ago has yet to reoccur.
Methane in the atmosphere of Mars could indicate the presence of microbial life on the Red Planet, a fact that was not forgotten when a huge spike of the gas was picked up over the course of several weeks back in late 2013 and early 2014 by NASA's Curiosity rover.

The spike saw methane levels rise from around 0.7 parts per billion to 7 parts per billion, prompting speculation that some sort of biological process could be at work.
Now though, over two years later, Curiosity has failed to pick up any other similar surges of methane, meaning that the mysterious spike doesn't appear to be a seasonal event.

"It was an episodic release, still unexplained," NASA wrote.

"However, the rover's measurements do suggest that much subtler changes in the background methane concentration - amounts much less than during the spike - may follow a seasonal pattern."

Source: | Comments (7)

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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by qxcontinuum 8 years ago
its a 3.5 billion dollars mistery...
Comment icon #2 Posted by phantulum 8 years ago
Lets face it... its a fart
Comment icon #3 Posted by TonopahRick 8 years ago
A Martian fart, how unique.
Comment icon #4 Posted by Ell 8 years ago
Maybe the spike was due to a meteorite burning up locally?
Comment icon #5 Posted by paperdyer 8 years ago
If the Rover isn't near the same area it was when the spike occurred, how can NASA be sure? Maybe the spike was regional or just a release akin to a volcano gassing on Earth.
Comment icon #6 Posted by Sundew 8 years ago
Mars Farts, almost sounds like a candy bar....
Comment icon #7 Posted by pallidin 8 years ago
If I'm not mistaken, the rover indicated this anomaly at location "x" then moved to location "y" for other experiments, upon which it did not find this anomaly. Perhaps at some point the rover should return to location "x" and perform another sample.

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