As he arrived on Mars in 2012, Curiosity is one of the main scientific goals of the Crowosity to find evidence of the past (or even current) life on the Red Planet. In 2014, Rover may have done this thing when he discovered a 10-fold increase in atmospheric methane in his neighborhood, and found traces of complex organic molecules in drilling samples while moving into Gail's crater.
About a year ago, Curiosity They re-dirty when they found organic molecules in sedimentary rocks, located nearly three billion years, located near the surface of Sharp's lower peak. But last week, Curiosity made an even deeper discovery when it discovered the largest amount of methane ever measured on the surface of Mars ̵
Samples have been taken from a place called "Teal Ridge" emerging from a layered base that is part of the larger area known as the "clay-bearing unit." The router has been on this ridge since mid-June in the hope of characterizing the unusual a peculiarity that lies in the middle of a sea of sand and pebbles
The methane detection was reassured by the laser spectrometer of the SAM, but before anyone gets too excited, it's important to note that scientists still do not know what this methane can do. Such is the mystery of Martian methane, which can be the result of microbes under the surface or because of interactions between rocks and water.
The cause of methane and its source
Based on previous findings, scientists have found that atmospheric methane levels on Mars are rising and falling seasonally. There have also been sudden methane jumps that seem unrelated to seasonal models and have an unknown duration. To gather more information and determine if the last detection is an example of the activity of the track, the SAM team organizes a subsequent methane experiment.
The results of this experiment were obtained on Monday morning (June 24th) and showed that methane levels dropped sharply to less than 1
Although these discoveries have helped to characterize the latest methane detection, they have not come close to recognizing the pattern at the onset of transient jets. As Asvin Vasavadas, a Curiosity scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory explained: "The mystery of methane continues. We are more motivated than ever to continue measuring and putting our brains together to understand how methane behaves in the Martian atmosphere. "
Meanwhile, the Curiosity team will analyze data from these last readings in hopes of gaining more clues about these issues. They will combine their results with other missions that have discovered methane on Mars, including Trace Gas Orbiter that has been in orbit for more than a year in search for methane.
Furthermore, when the Mars 2020 Marshes land on the Red Planet, it will search for methane sources using a tool known as SHERLOC – which means scanning a habitable environment with raman and luminescence for organic and chemical substances. This ultraviolet Raman spectrometer will use a small-scale image and ultraviolet (UV) laser to continue the search for organic matter.
By combining measurements obtained from the surface with those obtained from orbit, scientists hope to gain a better understanding of these jets and where they come from. Once this is done, we can finally determine what is the source of the methane on Mars, and whether this is an indication of past or present life!