NASA Rover Finds Methane On Mars Hinting At Life On The Planet


Over the course of its mission since landing in August 2012, Curiosity has detected methane many times and studies have been written about how the gas levels actually appear to rise and fall depending on the season.

Spikes in methane levels on Mars are not unusual, with a NASA study past year reporting on seasonal variations in the gas' atmospheric concentration.

Next year, two new rovers are scheduled for launch to Mars: NASA's Mars 2020 and the ESA/Roscosmos Rosalind Franklin.

On Thursday, the data arrived back and scientists working on the mission were excitedly discussing the news on Friday, But officially, this news has not yet been announced by NASA.

Some theories suggest that first waft of Martian methane may have escaped from a fractured permafrost. One parts per billion means that if you take a volume of air on Mars, one billionth of the volume of air is methane.

The agency notes these uncommon methane spikes have been picked up earlier than, however, we're probably not certain how long they last or what is likely to be inflicting them.

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Curiosity doesn't have instruments that can definitively say what the source of the methane is, or even if it's coming from a local source within Gale Crater or elsewhere on the planet.

"The methane mystery continues", said Ashwin Vasavada, Curiosity's project scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.

On conducting further experiments over the analysis, scientists found out that the methane levels on Mars started to decline rapidly and was just another "methane transient plumes".

This probe, known as the Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO), started observing the the planet's atmosphere in April 2017. For example, methane makes up about 5 percent of the atmosphere of the Saturnian moon Titan, which is so cold that methane and other hydrocarbons pool up in lakes and rivers. And UFO conspiracy theorists now imagine NASA's Mars Curiosity rover has now stumbled onto its biggest discovery but, after an anomaly was clearly noticed in a photograph. And this pattern offers a potential clue about the source of the methane. "The previous "discrepancy" in findings was always complicated by the fact that we never made measurements at the same time", Patel said.

"The methane plume went's back down now to below 1 part per billion", Mahaffy said, noting the measurement is consistent with what has previously been seen on Mars. But, that might be the most reliable proof that life on Mars exists, at least in the form methanogen microbes.