Since its landing in 2012 on the Mars surface, Curiosity rover has been sending plenty of information about the Red Planet, such as Mars’ climate and geology, including whether life can be sustainable on this planet. Curiosity rover didn’t disappoint. As of recently, the rover registered the highest level of methane on Mars after the seven years it spent in space. And the presence of methane gas could mean a single thing: that life on Mars. Mars 2020 would sort out that mystery.
Methane is a colorless and odorless gas. It can be found on Earth, and it is created by not only geologically but also as a result of biological activity. The instrument that determined the level of the gas is also able to measure levels of CO2 and H2O. While it is not a first in discovering methane on Mars, as the vehicle detected its existence over the years, it is the first time the level of the gas was that high, meaning that something generated the increase of the compound. Consequently, Curiosity was programmed to look into the matter thoroughly and to report back.
Mars 2020 might solve the mystery of methane and life on Mars
What the researchers have learned was that the level of methane dropped again after its increase, reaching a level similar to what Curiosity registered before. This occurrence left the astronomers baffled and unable to answer questions in regards to the rise in methane gas. But that does not mean that they will let the matter go. The researchers are even more triggered to continue evaluating and figuring out the way methane acts in Mars’ atmosphere and whether it is discharged due to geological or biological activity.
One possible explanation is that the gas is set free from below the surface and could be generated by extinct life forms. Another explanation is that methane is the result of the reaction between water and CO2. Maybe the rover NASA plans to send to Mars in 2020, Mars 2020, which will be equipped with different scientific gadgets, is going to solve the mystery of methane on Mars and life on Mars, subsequently.
Doris’s passion for writing started to take shape in college where she was editor-in-chief of the college newspaper. Even though she ended up working in IT for more than 7 years, she’s now back to what he always enjoyed doing. With a true passion for technology, Doris mostly covers tech-related topics.