facebook
twitter
rss
account
search
search
 

Rover finds no methane on Mars

Sept. 19, 2013 at 3:36 PM   |   Comments

WASHINGTON, Sept. 19 (UPI) -- The Mars rover Curiosity has found no methane, a gas thought to be a possible alert to the presence of microbes, the U.S. space agency said Thursday.

While the absence of methane doesn't entirely preclude the possibility of present-day life on Mars, it does present a setback to researchers, The New York Times reported.

"You don't have direct evidence that there is microbial process going on," said Sushil Atreya, a professor of atmospheric and space science at the University of Michigan and a member of the science team.

John Grotzinger, NASA's project scientist for the Curiosity mission, said the lack of methane "discounts" the possibility of creatures living on Mars.

"It does diminish the argument that there are methanogenic organisms there," Grotzinger said.

Ten years ago, observations from telescopes on Earth and a spacecraft orbiting Mars suggested plumes of methane were rising from certain regions, but Curiosity's readings debunked those determinations.

"It just isn't there," Atreya said of the methane.

Atreya said he originally thought highly reactive chemicals on the Martian surface could be destroying methane, but later determined that theory wasn't "panning out."

Topics: Mars rover
© 2013 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
Most Popular
1
Android phones to join iPhone in saying no to the police Android phones to join iPhone in saying no to the police
2
Physicists teleport photon over 15 miles Physicists teleport photon over 15 miles
3
Perth's first iPhone buyer immediately drops brand new phone on live TV Perth's first iPhone buyer immediately drops brand new phone on live TV
4
Dogs are the favorite food of leopards in rural India Dogs are the favorite food of leopards in rural India
5
New research suggests China's CO2 output is almost twice U.S.'s New research suggests China's CO2 output is almost twice U.S.'s
Trending News
Video
x
Feedback