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Mars Space Science

Curiosity Detects Mysterious Methane Spikes On Mars 68

astroengine writes: A gas strongly associated with life on Earth has been detected again in the Martian atmosphere, opening a new chapter in a decade-old mystery about the on-again, off-again appearance of methane on Mars. The latest discovery comes from NASA's Curiosity rover, which in addition to analyzing rocks and soil samples, is sniffing the air at its Gale Crater landing site. A year ago, scientists reported that Curiosity had come up empty-handed after an eight-month search for methane in the atmosphere, leaving earlier detections by ground-based telescopes and Mars-orbiting spacecraft an unexplained anomaly. "We thought we had closed the book on methane. It was disappointing to a lot of people that there wasn't significant methane on Mars, but that's where we were," Curiosity scientist Christopher Webster with NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., told Discovery News.
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Curiosity Detects Mysterious Methane Spikes On Mars

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  • Sorry... (Score:4, Funny)

    by TWX ( 665546 ) on Tuesday December 16, 2014 @05:38PM (#48612321)
    I'm really sorry. Excuse me.
  • JPL article (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 16, 2014 @05:46PM (#48612377)

    Related links:

    JPL update:
    http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/news/news.php?feature=4413

    Research papers:
    http://go.nasa.gov/1cbk35X
    http://www.sciencemag.org/content/early/2014/12/15/science.1261713.full.pdf?ijkey=wh80Qt3dcQZKw&keytype=ref&siteid=sci

  • by __aaclcg7560 ( 824291 ) on Tuesday December 16, 2014 @05:49PM (#48612397)
    Who gives a fart about Mars these days?
  • by Cro Magnon ( 467622 ) on Tuesday December 16, 2014 @05:49PM (#48612399) Homepage Journal

    I expected that around Uranus, but not Mars.

    • I expected that around Uranus, but not Mars.

      You could ask the Klingons orbiting around Uranus.

      When methane's around,
      Fart jokes abound.
      But what we can't figure
      Is who pulled the Martian's finger?
      Burma Shave

      Okay, all joking aside, we don't know if the methane is even indigenous to Mars, or if it rode in on a dirty snowball comet, or what.

  • another possibliity (Score:5, Interesting)

    by iggymanz ( 596061 ) on Tuesday December 16, 2014 @05:50PM (#48612413)

    there once was life on Mars, and it left methane hydrates in somewhat permafrost type situation that gets slightly warmed at times

    • by Anonymous Coward

      More likely there is still some geological activity on Mars to some degree.

    • by Matheus ( 586080 )

      Nope. It's gotta be aliens farting... There is NO other acceptable answer.

      • well, I almost said the same thing; just that they're ancient permafrost preserved alien farts, aged like fine wine

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Finally, indisuptable evidence of man-made climate change!

    Oops... wrong planet.... never mind.

  • I've thought about writing stories or a book before, scifi, with total drivel for the science part but in a way that could provoke thought anyway. It turns out that space and time are one in a much more intimate way than Einstein could have guessed. That is, every planet in our solar system IS Earth, just at different times in its lifespan before it finally "dies" by becoming a rogue planet wandering the cosmos.

    The characters in the story would only just have learned this. The discovery brings about a
  • Oh my Gawd! It's the first signs of global warming on Mars!!!! All them dang human's fault. Especially the white, male, middle aged, Republican ones. /sarcasm

  • by wonkey_monkey ( 2592601 ) on Tuesday December 16, 2014 @06:16PM (#48612601) Homepage

    He who smelt it dealt it.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    So that old book "Men Are From Mars..." might have actually been correct?

    • What, so in your own words, Mars shows no signs of life, except for farting, and Venus is very stormy and no-one can touch (land on) her? Sounds about right!

      • by lannocc ( 568669 )
        Mars displays a cold and barren exterior but, given time, reveals many exciting prospects.
  • I bet it was someone here
  • by amaurea ( 2900163 ) on Tuesday December 16, 2014 @07:03PM (#48612963) Homepage

    Here [sciencemag.org] is a non-paywalled version of the actual scientific article, including a graph showing the measurements as a function of time on page 7. It's a significant but still faint detection, with the highest value being about 4 standard deviations away from zero.

  • Then, on the day after Thanksgiving in 2013, methane readings shot up in Gale Crater and stayed high while Curiosity made three more measurements over the next 60 days.

    Right after Thanksgiving? I suspect they did it Gilligan's Island-style and the probe really landed on Earth, in middle America.

  • by PPH ( 736903 )

    The bovine abduction [youtube.com] mystery.

  • There is no redundancy in Universe. You''ll NOT find another Earth.

BLISS is ignorance.

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