There is Methane on Planet Mars, Really?

Two missions that observed Mars detected methane around Gale Grater for a distance of one day. Methane is a promising clue in the search for life related to biological activity on Earth. The NASA Curiosity spacecraft first measured the strong signal of this molecule on June 15, 2013, although a number of experts questioned the reliability of this discovery. Now, the process of re-analyzing data collected by the ESA Mars Express found that this plane detected a methane explosion from the ice cracks near Gale Crater, one day after Curiosity.

This re-analysis called The Guardian confirmed the presence of methane on the planet nicknamed the red planet. Lead author Mario Giuranna of the Institute for Space Astrophysics and Planetology called their data a definite detection of 15 parts per billion volumes of methane in the atmosphere, one day after Curiosity reported a burst of 6 ppb. Parts per billion generally called Giuranna is a relatively small amount, but for the large planet Mars. Methane can be produced either through biological or geological processes, so that its presence cannot be a sure sign of life.

Nonetheless, these findings indicate that scientists are on the right track regarding locations that must be explored further. Predictions estimate that methane originates from the inside of the Gale Crater gap, but this new analysis changes that prediction. Now, scientists suspect that this methane is released from under the ice slit layer at Creater. Meanwhile on Earth, gas can be produced by geological processes, but most of it is released by microorganisms known as methanogens. Methane in the atmosphere of Mars has long been considered a smoking gun that might indicate life.

Meanwhile according to computer simulations, up to 4,000 tons of methane might have been released from the eastern region of Gale Crater. Detection of Mars Express itself is similar to 46 tons of methane coming out of gas with an area of ​​49,000 square kilometers. Meanwhile, the European Spacecraft, the ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter, is thought to better explain the methane mystery of Mars. Meanwhile, analyzing the isotopic sign or carbon strain in methane can help scientists determine whether this gas is a sign of life or not.

Join the Conversation


Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *