NASA’s Curiosity Rover has detected significant quantities of methane in Mar’s atmosphere. Rover’s tunable laser spectrometer, instrumental in sample analysis at Mars (SAM) has provided substantial data to back this development which also records a significant increase in concentration of methane in Mar’s atmosphere.
This will be a strong sign of microbial life on the red planet. These findings have also triggered some more far reaching and complex questions about Martian life, such as the nature of its sources. Biological activities produce methane, therefore all methane in the earth’s atmosphere has biological origins.
As per available models, Methane can remain in the Martian atmosphere for around 300 years from its origin. An episodic increase of around 10 times this value during the period of 60 Martian days has been detected by SAM, the instrument which detects basal levels of methane concentration.
Methanogenesis is the process of methane formation using microbial bugs called methanogens. This might be behind the discovered methane. Organic material degradation by sunlight which is left by meteors on the surface of the red planet can be also explained by this data.
The basis of new data is observations from one Martian years (almost two Earth years), during which Curiosity rover surveyed 5 miles area of the Gale crater.
MAVEN (Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution from NASA) have provided continuous inputs for this research. The trace Gas Orbiter (TGO), jointly developed by European Space Agency (ESA) and the Russian Space Agency ( Ruscosmos) is going to measure methane on Mars from a bigger perspective.
Organic compound chloromethane from Martian soil had been detected by Curiosity rover. Many other researches as well as imaginary analysis of the planet’s landscape – have pointed to traces of plentiful water on Mars in the past.
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