Sunday, April 22, 2018
Contact us    |    Advertise    |   Help   RSS icon Twitter icon Facebook icon
    Home  ·  News  ·  Forum  ·  Stories  ·  Image Gallery  ·  Columns  ·  Encyclopedia  ·  Videos
Find: in

Mars probe to begin hunt for signs of alien life


Posted on Wednesday, 11 April, 2018 | Comment icon 3 comments

Could the Trace Gas Orbiter find evidence of methane on Mars ? Image Credit: ESA
The European Space Agency's Trace Gas Orbiter will be starting its mission within the next two weeks.
The probe, which has spent the last year achieving a stable orbit around the Red Planet, will analyze the Martian atmosphere for gases indicative of geological or biological activity on the surface.

"This is a major milestone for our ExoMars program and a fantastic achievement for Europe," said mission manager Pia Mitschdoerfer.

"We have reached this orbit for the first time through aerobraking and with the heaviest orbiter ever sent to the Red Planet, ready to start searching for signs of life from orbit."

The most important thing that the team will be keeping an eye out for is methane - a gas that is primarily produced by living organisms. NASA's Curiosity rover previously picked up what was believed to be traces of methane on Mars, however the findings were inconclusive.

Because methane on Mars is only expected to have a shelf life of around 400 years, if the Trace Gas Orbiter does detect any then it will mean that it was produced relatively recently.

It will however be important to rule out geological processes such as volcanic activity.

"We have the sensitivity to detect rare gases in minute proportions, with the potential to discover if Mars is still active today - biologically or geologically speaking," said ESA's Hakan Svedhem.

Source: UPI.com | Comments (3)

Tags: Mars, Life

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf on 9 April, 2018, 15:14
ExoMars poised to start science mission  
Comment icon #2 Posted by Merc14 on 11 April, 2018, 14:06
Can't wait to see what it finds.
Comment icon #3 Posted by bison on 11 April, 2018, 17:37
If they find methane, together with ethane and propane, it's said that this will suggest the presence of life. If methane is found with sulphur dioxide, geological processes are apparently likelier. With repeated observations they should be able to achieve remarkable sensitivities ~ 10 parts per trillion in Mars' atmosphere. 


Please Login or Register to post a comment.


  On the forums
Asteroid mining could be worth trillions
4-22-2018
According to Goldman Sachs, asteroid mining has the potential to produce the world's first trillionaires.
Mind control documents released by accident
4-22-2018
A file recently released by the US government contains information about 'psycho-electric weapons'.
'Bizarre' squid seen alive for the first time
4-22-2018
The NOAA's Okeanos Explorer vessel filmed this extraordinary cephalopod during a recent expedition.
Work on lunar space station to begin in 2019
4-21-2018
NASA has revealed that its ambitious Lunar Orbital Platform-Gateway will launch as early as 2022.
Featured Videos
Gallery icon 
Why is US paper money green ?
Posted 4-22-2018 | 0 comments
Simon Whistler investigates why the color green was used when printing US bank notes.
 
Revealing the secrets of the deep ocean
Posted 4-19-2018 | 0 comments
Scientist Mandy Joye has dedicated her life to exploring the depths of the world's oceans.
 
Giant 3D-printed man
Posted 4-15-2018 | 2 comments
British YouTuber James Bruton has created a giant 3D-printed sculpture of himself.
 
 View: More videos
 
Top   |  Home   |   Forum   |   News   |   Image Gallery   |  Columns   |   Encyclopedia   |   Videos   |   Polls
UM-X 10.7 Unexplained-Mysteries.com © 2001-2018
Terms   |   Privacy Policy   |   Cookies   |   Advertise   |   Contact   |   Help/FAQ