Mars feature

Life On Mars?

Pull My Finger

Nasa’s robotic rover, Curiosity, has detected wafts of methane on the surface Mars. One of the possible reasons for this would be gaseous leaks from an biological source.Other reasons, that could possibly fit are; geological occurrences or meteoroid deposits.

“That we detect methane in the atmosphere on Mars is not an argument that we have found evidence of life on Mars, but it’s one of the few hypotheses that we can propose that we must consider,”

John Grotzinger -Curiosity team,

mars curiosity

It’s life Jim

This finding could indicate that life does, or has, existed on the Red planet, if confirmed this would surely be one of the biggest scientific discoveries of all time. However there are several other reasons for the 10-fold increase in methane that was detected.

“There are many possible sources, biological or non-biological, such as interaction of water and rock.”

Sushil Atreya, Curiosity science team at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.

 This is not the first time methane has been found on Mars. Satellites have detected plumes of methane from the surface before, but none as noticeable or prominent as the the gas measured at Gale Crater, where it’s likely water flowed in the past.

Life is the most common producer of methane on Earth, but many non-biological processes can generate the gas.

When will we know?

In 2019 the European Space Agency will attempt to land a 300kg rover on the surface of Mars as part of their ExoMars mission. The, as yet unnamed, rover will be equipped with a two-metre drill that will be fitted out with all the equipment needed to detect signs of life on the seemingly barren red planet.

The ExoMars rover will not be landing at the Gale crater, where precision was key in the landing, instead they will aim for a larger and flatter area to ensure a safe landing.

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