Scientists say it may be a very small part of Mars’ atmosphere but methane presence increase and decrease with the seasons. The discovery will help to narrow down the likely sources of gases. The sources of these sources on earth are wetlands, paddy fields, livestock etc. it’s too early to associate it with life signature on Mars but its seasonal behavior rules out some geological explanations.
NASa scientist Dr Chris Webster told BBC news, gas measurements is first time in history of Mars and we have something that’s repeatable. It is likewise the car, if it goes intermittent fault you are unable to understand it and if occurs repeatable you are well aware of it.
Methane occurrence in Mars is fascinating topic. As the gas is short-lives so there must be constant, on-going source present in the planet. The link of methane to biology on Earth raises the curiosity to find out the bottom of the mystery.
What possible cause of variable methane emission?
‘Curiosity’ scientists were sniffing so far the air of Mars for methane presence. The scientist showed the rise of gas from 0.22ppb in northern hemisphere winter to 0.66ppb in the summer. The gas might rise from underground, from stored ices perhaps, and released above warm surface. The team is still could not determine the origin of methane but researchers hoped to close down its production mechanism. This may involve the breaking up carbon-rich organic molecules fallen from meteorites.
Dr Webster said the variation in ultraviolet rays in different season is not big enough to change the gas concentrations. We know the intensity of sun can only increase 20% methane concentration during summer. But here we see the increase by the factor of three.
The microbial activity in sub-surface reservoir is also capable to change the concentration. The biological contribution still cannot be eliminated. The European Space Agency (Esa) has a new satellite to measure the methane in atmosphere known as Trace Gas Orbiter. It is possible to detect the places of gas emissions.