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The methane on Mars is confirmed – but there is probably no life there

Artist's impression of Mars Express. The background is based on an actual image of Mars taken by the spacecraft's high-resolution stereo camera. Spacecraft image credit: ESA / ATG medialab; March: ESA / DLR / FU Berlin, CC BY-SA 3.0 IGOA new part of the puzzle of the disappearing methane on Mars has been revealed. Data collected from the orbban by ESA's Mars Express mission has been investigated to look for correlations with data collected from the surface of the curiosity stirrer. Previously, the curiosity data showed that methane was present in the Mars atmosphere, but this methane was not detected by Mars Express. Now, a re-analysis of satellite data shows that methane was present in just one place one day after the curiosity readings. The analysis used a new observation technique that gathered several hundred actions in a short time. This technique is more accurate than previous techniques and has been able to determine only 1 5 parts of methane per billion percent by volume of the atmosphere. Although Mars Express and the curiosity data sets now seem to match what they did earlier, the detected methane is still a mystery. "Our new Mars Express data, taken one day after the curiosity recording, changes the interpretation of where methane originated, especially when considering global atmospheric circulation patterns along with the local geology" Marco Giuranna of the National Institute for Astrophysics, Institute for Space Astrophysics and Planetology in Rome, Italy, and leading author of the paper, said in a statement. Scientists…

 Mars Metan Satellite Data Express Node 2 1 Artist’s impression of Mars Express. The background is based on an actual image of Mars taken by the spacecraft’s high-resolution stereo camera. Spacecraft image credit: ESA / ATG medialab; March: ESA / DLR / FU Berlin, CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO

A new part of the puzzle of the disappearing methane on Mars has been revealed. Data collected from the orbban by ESA’s Mars Express mission has been investigated to look for correlations with data collected from the surface of the curiosity stirrer.

Previously, the curiosity data showed that methane was present in the Mars atmosphere, but this methane was not detected by Mars Express. Now, a re-analysis of satellite data shows that methane was present in just one place one day after the curiosity readings.

The analysis used a new observation technique that gathered several hundred actions in a short time. This technique is more accurate than previous techniques and has been able to determine only 1

5 parts of methane per billion percent by volume of the atmosphere.

Although Mars Express and the curiosity data sets now seem to match what they did earlier, the detected methane is still a mystery.

“Our new Mars Express data, taken one day after the curiosity recording, changes the interpretation of where methane originated, especially when considering global atmospheric circulation patterns along with the local geology” Marco Giuranna of the National Institute for Astrophysics, Institute for Space Astrophysics and Planetology in Rome, Italy, and leading author of the paper, said in a statement.

Scientists believe that methane could have been trapped in ice below the Mars surface and arose from tectonic errors. Alternatively, meteorite effects may have caused cracks that released gas below the surface.

 Mars Metan Satellite Data how to create and destroy at This graphic shows some of the possible ways methane can be added or removed from the Martian atmosphere. ESA

In conclusion, the current evidence suggests that methane is present on Mars due to temporary geological events that emit small amounts of the gas trapped beneath the surface, possibly thousands of years ago. It seems that methane, as some had considered, is constantly being filled all over the world. So Mars may once have been habitable, but it seems increasingly unlikely that there is life there now.

More information on this subject is expected to be collected by the Trace Gas Orbiter craft, part of the ExoMars mission, which currently collects data on the composition of the Martian atmosphere and which can reveal more about where this mysterious methane comes from.

The results are published in Nature Geoscience.

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