Published: Wed, June 26, 2019
Sci-tech | By Patricia Wade

Nasa's Mars rover detects methane spike, hinting at life

Nasa's Mars rover detects methane spike, hinting at life

The reading, of about 21 parts per billion, was three times greater than the previous maximum observation taken in 2013.

The quick rise and fall suggests that last week's spike was similar to the previously observed phenomena, albeit on a significantly larger scale.

The NASA statement said scientists need time to analyze data and conduct more observations as well as to collaborate with other science teams.

The specialists of the National Directorate of the United States of America on Aeronautics and space research (NASA) has completed the installation of the suspension and six wheels on the new Rover Mars 2020 Rover, which is scheduled to parachute to the surface of Mars in the winter of 2021.

Scientist of NASA have claimed that they have discovered huge quantity of methane gas on the Red Planet. "There was always a possibility that something was occurring in the atmosphere to trap or remove the methane before we arrived to measure it".

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The measurement deepens the mystery of why a European Space Agency probe sent to Mars to nail down the origins of the planet's methane has so far found no traces of the gas.

The SAM team performed another experiment over the weekend, in hopes of gathering more information on what might be a transient plume (a sudden spike of gas). Right now, they can't even be sure that the methane is coming from a spot in the Gale Crater where Curiosity is located or emerged from elsewhere on Mars. Both missions will be equipped with sensors for detecting the various building blocks of carbon-based life and will reach Mars surface in 2021. The European Space Agency, which launched the Trace Gas Orbiter a year ago, will be a key collaborator. Saturn's moon Titan has lakes of liquid methane. "We're very confident of the measurement".

Such measurements offer the best hope for tracking down the sources of Martian methane, be they biological or purely geological.

There are various efforts to uncover signs of life on the planet by measuring methane, though results have been mixed. One day after Curiosity reported a spike of methane, the orbiter, passing over Curiosity's location, also measured a spike.

Detecting this organic molecule in the atmosphere, combined with the finding of organic compounds in the soil, has strong implications about potential life on Mars in its past. The rover's exhaustive mission consists of investigating the brutal Martian local weather and geology and assessing whether or not fundamental life ever thrived on Mars.

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