The US space agent Mars rover Curiosity has recorded its largest methane measurement.
The robot often sniffs the Red Planet for gas, but has never seen such a high concentration ̵
However, the latest data will raise interest in the subject.
In the course of his mission, Curiosity has noticed a number of peaks in methane and feels
chemical laboratory on the robot – Sample Analysis Tool on Mars (SAM) "With our current measurements, there is no way we can say whether the source of methane is biology or geology, or even ancient or modern," said chief researcher SAM Paul
While the Curiosity continues to measure some spikes, one of them is confirmed by the European Union, satellite mars Express in the orbit of the planet – another cosmos ki ship, supposedly with much better sensitivity not seen anything. As the TGO began to observe the atmosphere of the planet in April 2017, it must be able to detect methane at concentrations in trillion parts.
That's why he can not see what the curiosity sees as a basic puzzle.
One suggestion is that there is some destruction mechanism that removes the methane jump in the lower atmosphere very quickly – before the joint European-Russian CTO can overcome the Curiosity site in the Gale Crater.
But if this process exists, scientists can not explain it right now.
NASA's controllers ordered the Curiosity to conduct a further weekend air sampling experiment. The results were expected on Earth again on Monday.
For the context, the methane concentration in the Earth's atmosphere is 1,865ppb. So the quantities of Mars, irrespective of their source, are still very small
The main sources of methane on Earth are from wetlands, livestock, biomass and the burning of fossil fuels, landfills and rice fields.
The term "parts per billion" (ppbv, or ppb for short) means that in a given volume of air some billions of this volume will be of interest to the gas.
One of the geological processes that can produce methane is a "serpentine" that gives gas at the end of a chain of reactions when the water comes into contact with some minerals of stone.
Dr. Mahawi's statement on historical methane is important. Although Curiosity sees gas today, it is quite possible that the original source is ancient and is just released into the atmosphere, perhaps because some shop underground is upset.
On Earth, methane can be kept on ice under the seabed or in the ever-frozen areas of land for a very long time before exploding into the air.