Photos of the Sun

Methane on Mars The Earth, the Moon and Mars

Methane on Mars The Earth, the Moon and Mars

During the observations carried out by the European Mars Express probe, methane gas was detected in the Martian atmosphere. Scientists prepare to take the following steps to better understand the role of this substance in the Red Planet. The Mars Express has obtained magnificent scientific results.

One of the objectives of this mission is the detailed analysis of the chemical composition of the Martian atmosphere, consisting of 95% carbon dioxide and a remaining 5% of minor constituents. Scientists expect these constituents to be oxygen, water, carbon monoxide, formaldehyde and methane; All of them can offer important information about the evolution of this planet and the possible implications for the presence of past or present life.

The measures confirm that the amount of methane is very small, close to 10 parts per billion, so that its production process is probably of very low magnitude. However, scientists are wondering about the origin of this gas, still unknown. Methane gas, unless it is produced continuously by some source, only survives in the Martian atmosphere for a few hundred years because it quickly oxidizes to form water and carbon dioxide, substances both present in the atmosphere of the planet Mars . In this way it follows that there must be some mechanism by which methane is generated and expelled into the atmosphere.

◄ PreviousNext ►
Furrows on MarsWater on Mars
Album: Photos of the Solar System Gallery: Earth, Moon and Mars