Curiosity to Find Spike in Methane on the Red Planet

NASA’s Curiosity has discovered huge amounts of methane on the Red Planet. This could actually be a sign that there is life on Mars. The fact that it has found methane is actually a great discovery. This is due to the fact that it will break down in a few centuries, because of the sunlight and all the chemical reactions.  This means that it actually had to be regenerated recently, if we are to take a look at the historical time. The high level of methane could be generated underground by microbes that are called methanogens.  They survive without oxygen and they produce gas just as a metabolic byproduct. 

For now, it is nothing for sure

The sudden spike from 2013 lasted several months. They found nothing after its touchdown in 2012. Curiosity has detected about 7 parts per billion of methane later in 2012.  The newest measurements are 21 parts per billion. There is also the possibility of the Curiosity rover has just found some pockets of methane, that were leaking from under the surface. It is good to keep in mind that these readings are only preliminary.

Methane can be found due to  geothermal reactions

Methane was detected on Mars back in 2004. Scientists say that the methane could also be generated by geothermal reactions that involve water and heat. This happened through the same exact mechanism that occurred on Mars. however, they are still uncertain about how it happened. 

The team behind Curiosity made a technique that enabled the rover to find even the tiniest  amounts of methane with its tools. Apparently, the gas rises and falls with the seasons of the Red Planet. A day after Curiosity reported a spike of methane and the orbiter passing over the location of Curiosity, it also measured a spike.

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Meagan Kozlovs

About the Author: Meagan Kozlovs

Meagan Kozlovs is a reporter for Debate Report. She’s worked and interned at Global News Toronto  and CHECX. Megan is based in Toronto and covers issues affecting her city. In addition to her severe milk shake addiction, she’s a Netflix enthusiast, a red wine drinker, and a voracious reader.

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