Skip to comments.Curiosity set to weigh in on Mars methane puzzle
Posted on 11/02/2012 12:03:25 AM PDT by neverdem
After years of debate, a mystery with implications for life gets the 'sniff' test.
Is there methane on Mars? The question has dogged scientists since 1969, when George Pimentel at the University of California, Berkeley, an instrument leader on NASA's Mariner 7 programme, held a press conference to announce that methane had been detected near Mars south polar cap. The revelation came less than 48 hours after his team received the data it was based on; he retracted the finding a month later after realizing that the methane signal was actually coming from carbon dioxide ice.
It is easy to understand why scientists are so keen for an answer. Although there are plenty of ways to make trace amounts of methane, levels of more than a few parts per billion would imply the presence of an unexpectedly active source and raise the possibility that the planet supports methane-producing microbes.
NASA's Curiosity rover is poised to settle the question as early as this week. But the tale of George Pimentel, and a handful of hotly debated methane detections reported over the past decade from orbiting spacecraft and ground-based telescopes, have instilled a sense of caution in the rover science team. Were committed to getting this right, John Grotzinger, the Curiosity project scientist at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, told Nature on 17 October, during a meeting of the American Astronomical Societys Division for Planetary Sciences in Reno, Nevada.
Michael Mumma of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, is trying to wait patiently. In 2009, he reported finding seasonal plumes of methane following an analysis of observations made years earlier with telescopes in Hawaii1. In 2003, methane levels in one of the plumes reached 45 parts per billion, but three years later the methane had all but...
(Excerpt) Read more at nature.com ...
Do you think there is or was life on Mars?
It almost sounds like curiosity is searching for cow pharts.
As we know it, I don't think so, but I don't know.
where there’s smoke, there’s fire.
Where there’s pharts, there’s a pharter.
Then is it really a “fossil fuel”?
The primary mission of "curiosity" was to search for $2,500,000,000 of taxpayer money, and in that it was successful. It is going to continue to look for additional cost overruns to fund an extended mission and to keep government (NASA) employees' paychecks flowing into their pockets and out of the taxpayers' pockets.
Hard to tell. Coal is obviously the result of living fossil stuff from the early days of life on earth. oil is less obviously so. There are two theories - one abiotic origin somewhat supported by isotope ratios - that says it was a component of the original solar nebula, and the other that it was formed from the residue of living things. My personal preference is that it is primarily abiotic, but I wouldn't want to bet my next paycheck on it.
You only have to go to utube to find out there are huge underground cities on Mars not to mention forest and lakes. It is amazing the stuff being kept from people because we just can not handle it, that you can find out on utube....the NAZI's are living in hollow Earth at the North Pole or was it the South Pole, the moon is hollow and is a huge alien made satellite housing their population, we even have aliens living in huge underground bases on the Earth.
There is just so much information out there to learn...lol.