Scientists find likely source of methane on Mars

3 April, 2019 12:00 AM printer

Scientists find likely source of methane on Mars

The mystery of methane on Mars may finally be solved as scientists Monday confirmed the presence of the life-indicating gas on the Red Planet as well as where it might have come from, reports AFP.

In the 15 years since a European probe reported traces of the gas in the Martian atmosphere, debate has raged over the accuracy of the readings showing methane, which on Earth is produced by simple lifeforms.

Because methane gas dissipates relatively quickly—within around 12 years on Earth—and due to the difficulty of observing Mars’ atmosphere, many scientists questioned previous studies that relied on a single data set. Now an international team of experts have compared observations from two separate spacecraft, taken just one day apart in 2013, to find independent proof of methane on our neighbouring planet.

Furthermore, they conducted two parallel experiments to determine the most likely source of methane on Mars to be an ice sheet east of Gale Crater—itself long assumed to be a dried up lake.