Mahaph explained that curiosity discovered an unusually high level of methane last Wednesday during a routine experiment that tests the concentration of molecules in the atmosphere. The data returned on Thursday and showed a methane level of 21 parts per billion – about three times higher than before. Thus, the plans for the Curiosity weekend were removed to conduct the experiment.
"The methane noise disappeared … is now back to 1 part per billion," Mahaphis said, noting that the measurement was in line with the previous one on Mars.news reveals that methane detection appears to be a "transient tram" and curiosity is not equipped with appropriate tools to tell us whether the tram is biological or geological.
What does this mean for Mars life? Well, not so much. Although the initial finding was confirmed, we are no closer to discovering its source at the moment – it will be to some of the spacecraft that travels around the Red Planet and the future missions of Mars. Moreover, the Methane Jump is definitely an unusual phenomenon, but has been noticed by scientists before.
"The methane of methane continues," says Ashwin Vassabad, a NASA scientist at NASA. "We are more motivated than ever to continue measuring and putting our brains together to understand how methane behaves in the Martian atmosphere."