Log in

No account? Create an account

Previous Entry | Next Entry

Curiosity gets a whiff

Of something interesting...  From an article in Sky and Telescope:

Curiosity Finds Methane, Other Organics

By: |

NASA’s Curiosity rover has detected both methane in Mars’s atmosphere and carbon-bearing organic compounds in its rocks.

On December 16th, team members with NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory reported that the Curiosity rover has confirmed the presence of methane and other organic compounds on Mars. But it’s unclear where these molecules come from — or whether there’s any biological connection.

There are several ways to add methane to Mars's atmosphere (and take it away again). Although microbes are the most exciting possibility, other likely sources include reactions between water and the minerals olivine or pyroxene, or solar ultraviolet radiation breaking up meteoritic dust on the planet's surface.
NASA / JPL-Caltech / SAM-GSFC / Univ. of Michigan