Monday, September 23, 2013

No Methane on Mars

Late last week, a paper was published from our team that shows that there is very little methane in the martian atmosphere.  Methane is a really important gas that comes from biology on Earth as well as the reaction of hydrogen and carbon dioxide with iron-containing minerals without the help of biology.  If there is methane in the martian atmosphere, either life or one of these geological processes must be producing it, either of which would be interesting (but particularly if it was from life… which would take a lot of data to prove).  Ground-based telescopes have suggested that methane plumes might be released in the martian spring as the ground warms up.  Our results do not support that at all. Here are two really good articles describing our results, with slightly different perspectives:

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