Scientists find methane in Mars meteorites

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An general group of researchers has detected traces of methane in Martian meteorites, a probable idea in a hunt for life on a Red Planet.

Image credit: Michael S. Helfenbein

Image credit: Michael S. Helfenbein

The researchers examined samples from 6 meteorites of volcanic stone that originated on Mars. The meteorites enclose gases in a same suit and with a same isotopic combination as a Martian atmosphere. All 6 samples also contained methane, that was totalled by abrasive a rocks and regulating a rising gas by a mass spectrometer. The group also examined dual non-Martian meteorites, that contained obtuse amounts of methane.

The find hints during a probability that methane could be used as a food source by easy forms of life underneath a Martian surface. On Earth, microbes do this in a operation of environments.

“Other researchers will be penetrating to replicate these commentary regulating choice dimensions collection and techniques,” pronounced co-author Sean McMahon, a Yale University postdoctoral associate in a Department of Geology and Geophysics. “Our commentary will expected be used by astrobiologists in models and experiments destined during bargain either life could tarry next a aspect of Mars today.”

The find was partial of a corner investigate plan led by a University of Aberdeen, in partnership with a Scottish Universities Environmental Research Centre, a University of Glasgow, Brock University in Ontario, and a University of Western Ontario.

“One of a many sparkling developments in a scrutiny of Mars has been a idea of methane in a Martian atmosphere,” pronounced University of Aberdeen highbrow John Parnell, who destined a research. “Recent and stirring missions by NASA and a European Space Agency, respectively, are looking during this, however, it is so distant misleading where a methane comes from, and even either it is unequivocally there. However, a investigate provides a clever denote that rocks on Mars enclose a vast fountainhead of methane.”

Co-author Nigel Blamey, of Brock University, pronounced a group skeleton to enhance a investigate by examining additional meteorites.

Yale’s McMahon remarkable that a team’s proceed might infer useful in destiny Mars corsair experiments. “Even if Martian methane does not directly feed microbes, it might vigilance a participation of a warm, wet, chemically reactive sourroundings where life could thrive,” McMahon said.

Source: Yale University