It looks as though there is definitely methane on Mars - but what is producing it ? Image Credit: ESA
Scientists have confirmed via ESA's Mars Express probe that Curiosity did detect methane on the Red Planet.
The findings of a study that has taken six years to complete have revealed that on June 16th, 2013 - one day before the Curiosity rover detected traces of methane on Mars - the European Space Agency's Mars Express orbiter also picked up traces of the gas in the exact same region.
The find marks the first time that two independent pieces of equipment have detected methane on Mars in the same place at the same time - suggesting that the gas is almost certainly being produced by something on the Red Planet - whether it be geological or organic in nature.
"Our finding constitutes the first independent confirmation of a methane detection," said planetary scientist Marco Giuranna. "Prior to our study, methane detections on Mars, being either in situ, from orbit, or from Earth-based telescopes, were not confirmed by independent observations."
The discovery keeps alive the possibility that life could still exist on Mars today, however there is still a lot of work to do before scientists can confirm exactly what is producing the gas.
Solving this mystery will no doubt be an ongoing priority for both current and future Mars missions.
Source: Science Alert | Comments (17)