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Wed Aug 14, 2019, 03:44 PM

Methane on Mars Isn't Being Released by Wind Erosion

By Mike Wall 8 hours ago Science & Astronomy

But the origins of the gas remain unclear.

This diagram shows possible ways by which methane might incorporate into Mars' atmosphere (sources) and disappear from the atmosphere (sinks).(Image: NASA/JPL-Caltech/SAM-GSFC/Univ. of Michigan)

One small piece of the Mars methane mystery may have just been solved.

NASA's Curiosity rover has spotted multiple surges of methane in Mars' air over the past few years most recently in June, when levels of the gas inside the Red Planet's Gale Crater spiked to 21 parts per billion per unit volume (ppbv).

That's far higher than background methane levels on Gale's floor, which Curiosity has determined range seasonally from 0.24 ppbv to 0.65 ppbv.

Scientists don't know what's producing this methane, or where exactly it's coming from. But they're keen to find out, because the gas is a possible sign of life. More than 90% of the methane in Earth's air, for example, was produced by microbes and other organisms.


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