Mars Rover, Curiosity has detected the biggest methane surge for seven years on the Red Planet. The methane surge detected recently is three times greater than before.
Reports from The New York Times first revealed strange findings last Saturday, after obtaining an internal e-mail from Ashwin Vasavada, a project scientist at the mission. The next day, NASA released a statement regarding the discovery,
In a statement, NASA explained how a series of Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instruments had detected methane surge at 21 parts per billion units based on volume, much higher than before.
Methane is an important molecule for microbes on Earth and its detection on other planets has led to small microbial speculations being or exhaling gas at such speeds that the rover can find it.
Did methane surges on mars is a sign of life?
Scientists have detected clues to methane on the surface of Mars in the past, including the Viking mission in the 1970s. So the discovery of more methane does not always mean finding life.
So far, scientists do not know where the methane origin of Mars is. There are already a number of ideas proposed to explain things that include biological and non-biological mechanisms.
Launching Cnet, Tuesday (06/25/2019), Thomas Zurbunchen of the Associate Administrator of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate has warned against thinking directly about the E.T solution on Twitter, by noting methane can be made by geological processes.
Curiosity now has some additional work to do. Further trials to gather more information will be carried out by Curiosity in the near future.
However, the space agency noted, Curiosity does not contain instruments that can definitively tell where methane originates.
“With our current measurements, we have no way of knowing whether the source of methane is biological or geological, or even ancient or modern,” said lead researcher SAM Paul Mahaffy.