Scientists from all around the world are studying Mars trying to determine if there may have been life on the Red Planet in the past, or if some sort of microbial life might still exist on the planet. One of the things that the scientists have been studying is methane gas on the planet because the presence of the gas could be a sign that life exists.
The mystery of methane is that biological processes or geological processes could produce it. Prior studies have suggested that methane isn’t evenly distributed in the atmosphere around Mars, but could be localized in temporary pockets fueling the debate on what processes create the gas. New research by Newcastle University has been published.
The new research has ruled out the possibility that levels of methane detected in the atmosphere could have been produced by wind erosion of rocks. Some scientists thought that the methane levels could be from wind erosion releasing trapped methane from fluid inclusions and fractures on the planets’ surface.
Researchers Dr. Jon Telling says that the big question that scientists want to answer is where is the methane coming from and is the source biological. Before they can answer that question, the team has to rule out several possibilities. Telling says that after all the measuring and research was done, the team determined wind was very unlikely to be the source of the methane.
The research paper has concluded that while the wind isn’t the source of the methane, the exact origin is still unknown. Dr. Emmal Safi says that the source of the methane is still an open question. The paper the team published is a “little” part of a bigger story.