NASA’s curiosity rover is pushing up our levels of curiosity now. In a recent finding from its ongoing experiments on the red planet, the rover has discovered high amounts of methane in the Martian air. Now why is that interesting ? Because methane is a highly prominent gas on Earth, usually produced by living creatures. These high levels of methane on Mars are thus signalling towards existing of life on the red planet.
In a measurement taken on Wednesday by the robot and observed by NASA researchers, high levels of methane output is been discovered, suggesting microbial lifeforms present on the planet.
Methane is present in high concentrations on the Earth’s atmosphere due to output from living beings, giving researchers enough motivation to dig deeper and see if they can find any strengthening evidence to back up the theory that the gas is due to output from subterranean Martian microbes.
The mission controllers on Earth have sent new instructions to the rover to follow-up on the observations. The results of its new investigation is likely to be back by Monday, if everything goes according to the plan.
Methane, present in the thin Martian air, is significant, indicating that it would have been produced recently by an organism, because otherwise, sunlight and chemical reactions would have broken up the molecules within a few centuries. However, it is important to note that Methane could be produced without any living organisms. It is also possible that the gas is long-buried, trapped inside mars for million years, and escaping to the surface via tiny cracks.
This isn’t the first time that evidences of methane are been discovered by researchers, but it is the highest proportion detected so far. NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, have backed Rover’s observations, atleast provisionally. It is surely not the first time that we’ve received evidences of life beyond earth, but so far nothing definitive has been discovered suggesting about life on other planets.
Summer Intern under The Tech Portal’s Fall Summer 2019 Internship program.