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September 23, 2019 Monday 06:53:31 AM IST

Source of Methane on Mars

Science Innovations

Geochemical research done at Newcastle University, UK, and published in Scientific Reports,has ruled out wind erosion of rocks as the primary cause of methane gas release on Mars.

Methane can be produced over time through both geological and biological routes and since its first detection in the Martian atmosphere in 2003, there has been intense speculation about the source of the gas and the possibility that it could signal life on the planet.
Previous studies have suggested that methane may appear in localised and very temporary pockets on the planet's surface.

The team found that for wind erosion to be a viable mechanism to produce detectable methane in the Martian atmosphere, the methane content of any gas trapped within rocks would have to rival those of some of the richest hydrocarbon containing shales on Earth; a highly unlikely scenario. It strengthens the argument that the methane must be coming from a different source.


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