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More Methane Mysteries on Mars.

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posted on Aug, 5 2009 @ 03:36 PM

Methane on Mars is produced and destroyed far faster than on Earth, according to analysis of recent data. Scientists in Paris used a computer climate model for the Red Planet to simulate observations made from Earth. It shows the gas is unevenly distributed in the Martian atmosphere and changes with the seasons. The presence of methane on Mars is intriguing because its origin could either be life or geological activity, including volcanism. Writing in the journal Nature, Franck Lefevre and Francois Forget from the Universite Pierre et Marie Curie in Paris describe how they used a computer model of the Martian climate to replicate observations made by a US team.
BBC News

The latest analysis shows that methane on Mars has a way shorter lifetime than it does on Earth. Fair enough? It's a different environment and things should be different shouldn't they? According to the results the short lifespan also means that methane is produced in far greater quantities than we explain with the available data.

The study applied all the methane data to a model of Mars based on all the environmental knowledge available. The model can't explain how so much methane can be produced or why it's 'destroyed' so quickly.

One more mystery on the pile.

New Scientist (Vanishing Mars Methane is a Blow to Life) takes a harder view and suggests that if the conditions are so tough...what chances would life have? This seems like an article that's been rushed out without a lot of consideration.

The important point is identifying the source of the methane. Unfortunately, the next mission is years and isn't focused on the methane.

Ahh begads...will the waiting never end?

posted on Aug, 5 2009 @ 04:08 PM
reply to post by Kandinsky

Good thread, Mars seems full of mysteries my friend. But in my opinion this data shows in a way that it seems highly possible that Mars was indeed once capable of supporting life(if all this is going on now), it is just so dead now that nothing can get started. I still haven't heard any decent explanations for the methane concentrations anyways, have you(I might have missed it)? Well of course maybe the methane is coming in short burst from a underground empire on Mars.

posted on Aug, 5 2009 @ 04:22 PM
reply to post by jkrog08
What I'd like is for JAXA, ESA, NASA and FSA to dig behind their collective chairs and couches for all the loose change they can muster. Then I'd like them to stick it in a 'Mars kitty.' I'm not naive or even optimistic, but it would be rewarding for some co-operation and motivation to get out there a bit faster. Budgets and national interests are simultaneously the backbone and shackles of space exploration.

To discover that the methane is from some thriving microbial colony deep in a fissure, sustained by the extreme environment, would be incredible news. Maybe shift our focus slightly away from ourselves? Life on Mars! is a headline many of us would love to see. IMO it's the best chance of knowing for a fact that life is in this Solar System. UFOs etc is like a dog chasing it's tail. Lotsa fun and no conclusion...

It might even add impetus to the Europa speculation and get things moving. Like I say, I'm not holding my breath, but it's the dream of all this that keeps science moving forward.

posted on Aug, 5 2009 @ 04:28 PM
There might be a huge city of creatures living under the surface of Mars and we are just seeing the methane from their waste treatment facilities.

posted on Aug, 5 2009 @ 04:39 PM
It's interesting that they say the Methane changes seasonly, or seems to replenish itself with the seasons.

The Carbon Dioxide in the Martian atmosphere also changes seasonally. When the atmosphere freezes in winter CO2 falls like snow onto the caps.

Now, I'm definitely not a chemist...but apparently burning Methane and Oxygen (also present in Mars' atmosphere, but just barely) produces CO2 and water, and most everyone believes water is an essential component to life.

I wonder if there's some chemical process going on underground, perhaps biological in origin, that's producing the CO2/Methane cycle, kind of like plants and animals create the CO2/Oxygen cycle on Earth.

For example, CO2 falls in winter, lifeform consumes it and through metabolic processes releases oxygen as a byproduct. Another creature consumes the oxygen and with the help of some internally stored methane (or natural sources available underground) produces CO2 and water to feed the bottom of the food chain.

I'm probably way off but it's fun to postulate

posted on Aug, 13 2009 @ 07:42 AM
reply to post by Avenginggecko

I hope you're right! Life-produced methane would be amazing.

But I'm not holding my breath. Methane is not such a rare gas and is found all over the solar system: Extraterrestrial Methane

But if the emissions of methane are peiodical, it means that there is definitely[i/] some kind of sub-surface activity taking place on the planet. Haven't we been told that the Mars core is inert?

I'm guessing a liquid magma core of sorts...

[edit on 13-8-2009 by The_Modulus]

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