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Space & Astronomy

Mars methane has been independently verified

By T.K. Randall
April 1, 2019 · Comment icon 17 comments

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)

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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #8 Posted by bison 5 years ago
The story seems legitimate, not an 'April Fools'. I have seen similar reports on a number of media sources, including the scientific press. In thinking about life on exoplanets, it's sometimes observed that methane plus oxygen is a far better indicator of life, than either gas alone. This should apply to Mars, as well. I note that Mars has about 1 part per thousand of oxygen in its atmosphere. Methane was detected at 15.5 parts per billion. That's a ratio of about 65,000 to 1.  One Earth the ratio of these two gases, almost all of which is due to life, is about 117,000 to 1; not too dissi... [More]
Comment icon #9 Posted by marsman 5 years ago
NASA's new rover for Mars 2020 is now in development The robot is headed to the red planet to collect samples “Mars 2020 has two new objectives – to specifically seek the signs of life, and then sample materials and prepare a cache that could be returned to Earth by a future mission,” explains project scientist Ken Farley. “[The rover will] have instruments on board which are expressly designed to seek evidence of ancient life, what we call biosignatures, and we have the capability to prepare samples, drill them out of a rock, seal them in a tube so that a future mission could go and b... [More]
Comment icon #10 Posted by marsman 5 years ago
when the samples come that will be hugely interesting to see.....we could be on the brink of discovering life elsewhere......if only microbial.....    
Comment icon #11 Posted by bison 5 years ago
Whenever the proportion of the lighter carbon isotope, carbon 12, to the heavier, carbon 13, can be discerned in Mars' methane, we should have a pretty good verdict on the question of life. Life processes consistently favor the lighter isotope. If more carbon 12 is found than expected in a lifeless scenario, then life is the ready answer.  
Comment icon #12 Posted by tmcom 5 years ago
Apart from the forests, plants, animals and rivers, lakes, etc the place is completely dead. PS it is April.
Comment icon #13 Posted by marsman 5 years ago
  methane had been detected some time ago.....this isnt a prank post at all  
Comment icon #14 Posted by tmcom 5 years ago
I Know!
Comment icon #15 Posted by ChrLzs 5 years ago
at least back to 2007, and the discoveries happened earlier - 2003-ish..?  
Comment icon #16 Posted by Orphalesion 5 years ago
And I hope you understand I was speaking hypothetically. And that the cows were a joke...(Everybody knows that Mars cows became extinct when the energy pyramids of Cydonia went into overload and blew up the atmosphere )
Comment icon #17 Posted by tmcom 5 years ago
Methane source found! Ignore the things that look like houses, buildings, tree's, cars and roads, they are just "what did NASA call it" "when our minds see's a building it interprets it as a ummm, never mind". I am sure it is just the way the film is processed?

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