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NASA Curiosity rover detects high amounts of methane on Mars, a gas that on Earth is usually produced by living things. This finding is also one step closer to mysterious planet. It is obvious that scientists should try to study the Martian air more and more constantly. This is fantastic because microbial life is an important source of methane on Earth, but methane can also be created through interactions between rocks and water.
The data of methane on Mars returned on Earth on Thursday. NASA has written “This week, NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover found a surprising result: the largest amount of methane ever measured during the mission — about 21 parts per billion units by volume (ppbv). One ppbv means that if you take a volume of air on Mars, one billionth of the volume of air is methane”.
“Given this surprising result, we’ve reorganized the weekend to run a follow-up experiment,” said Ashwin R. Vasavada, the project scientist for the mission.
The study came from the rover’s Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) tunable laser spectrometer. “With our current measurements, we have no way of telling if the methane source is biology or geology, or even ancient or modern,” said SAM Principal Investigator Paul Mahaffy of NASA’s Goddard Spaceflight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland.
The team of Curiosity should analyze these clues and conduct many more methane observations.
As mentioned NASA [They also need time to collaborate with other science teams, including those with the European Space Agency’s Trace Gas Orbiter, which has been in its science orbit for a little over a year without detecting any methane. Combining observations from the surface and from orbit could help scientists locate sources of the gas on the planet and understand how long it lasts in the Martian atmosphere. That might explain why the Trace Gas Orbiter’s and Curiosity’s methane observations have been so different].
Source: Text; NASA
Image credit; NASA
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