Self-portrait of the Curiosity rover on Mars. Image via NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS/ANU.
The mystery of Mars’ methane has been in the news again lately, starting with a study announced earlier this month saying it’s not likely caused by wind erosion of rocks. Now, another new study has refined estimates of methane gas in Mars’ atmosphere, showing how concentrations change over the course of a single Martian day.
The peer-reviewed study, led by John Moores at York University in Canada, was published in Geophysical Research Letters on August 20, 2019. According to Moores:
This new study redefines our understanding of how the concentration of methane in the atmosphere of Mars changes over time, and this helps us to solve the bigger mystery of what the source might be.
The source of Mars methane is the true mystery. Where does the methane come from? On Earth, methane gas can be associated with microbial life. The idea of living microbes on Mars has long intrigued astronomers. Various spacecraft sent to Mars have search for signs of life, but so far no sign of life has been revealed. In 2018, scientists announced that seasonal variations of Mars methane could be related to microorganisms. Or the variations ...