The cause of the mysterious methane spikes on Mars is still unknown

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A couple of months after the detection of an “extremely high” levels of methane on Mars, researchers have yet to pinpoint the exact cause of the spike. They cannot, however, be one way, and come closer and closer to the answer to the question of whether there is life on other planets.

According to a study published in Scientific Reports, researchers from the University of Newcastle in the united kingdom have ruled out that the spike could have been caused by wind erosion of the rocks that had trapped methane from fluid inclusions and fractures on the Red Planet’s surface.

“The questions are, where is this methane coming from, and that is the source of the biological? That’s a big question, and the answer is that we need to have in order to rule out a host of other factors, of which the first,” lead researcher Dr. John Told said in a statement.

This is a self-portrait of NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover shows the vehicle at the Vera Rubin, Ridge in Gale crater on Mars. To the north is to the left, and to the west, on the right, with Gale crater’s rim on the horizon in both directions. This mosaic was assembled from dozens of images taken by Curiosity’s Mars Hands Lens Imager (MAHLI). They were all taken on Nov. 23, 2018, when Sol, in 1943. (Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS)


On Earth, methane is produced both from biological and geological sources.

Tell it to add that over the last ten years the wind on Mars and have driven more sand movement than had previously been thought of, and that is the erosion that can be compared to that of the sand dunes seen on Earth. With the help of the information that they had, and they found that the wind erosion is not the source of the methane spikes, and is drawn from a different source.

“What is important is that it strengthens the argument that methane must have come from some other source,” Said said. “Whether or not that is biological, and we do not want to know.”

Methane was first detected in the atmosphere in 2003, but the recent spike in the levels detected by NASA’s Curiosity rover has perplexed researchers in the field. In June, the space agency, the rover is measured as the largest amount of methane, 21 parts per billion by volume, and since landing on the Red Planet on Aug. 6, 2012.

The New York Times reported in June that the rays of sunlight and chemical reactions in would be to break up the methane in Mars’ thin air ‘ within a few decades,” adding that the newly detected peak was likely to have been recently released.

The study’s lead author, Dr. Emmal Safi, noted that although the new study is “there is only one small part of a much larger story,” and he hopes that it will lead scientists to the answer to the question of whether there is life on other planets.

“What we are trying to find out if there is the possibility of life on other planets than our own, whether, when, or, perhaps, in the past, which is now preserved as fossils and chemical signatures,” Safi said.


The Mars methane spike has surprised experts in the field. The researchers used Curiosity’s onboard laboratory to “sniff” the amount of methane in the atmosphere is about 12 times greater than that of a 20-month period which ended in 2014.

“When you have two of these a month, by the end of 2013 and early 2014, four measurements averaged seven parts per billion,” said NASA, in 2014, in a statement. “Pre-and post-measurement, on average only one-tenth of that level.”

Sudden, spikes of methane were also included, but the scientists don’t know for how long the “transient plumes of the’ last, or why they are different to seasonal patterns.


Fox News’ James Rogers contributed to this report

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