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Update on Mars' atmosphere, Media briefing on NASA Jan 15th
Stu
post Jan 12 2009, 06:01 PM
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Interesting...

http://www.spaceref.com/news/viewpr.html?pid=27336



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djellison
post Jan 12 2009, 06:02 PM
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Methane?
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Stu
post Jan 12 2009, 06:06 PM
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I reckon so... after all, all those plesiosaurs, scorpion-people and "blue suited humanoids" must break wind sometimes... laugh.gif


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elakdawalla
post Jan 12 2009, 06:16 PM
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Mike Mumma's name is synonymous with methane.

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Tesheiner
post Jan 12 2009, 07:09 PM
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I'm just trying to remember... wasn't something "methane related" already reported few months ago, ESA perhaps?
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remcook
post Jan 12 2009, 07:09 PM
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For more detail you could probably look at Mumma's DPS talk, though that talk may not be online anymore.
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lyford
post Jan 12 2009, 07:16 PM
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QUOTE
Mike Mumma's name is synonymous with methane.

unsure.gif Awkward silence biggrin.gif


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"Zis is not nuts, zis is super-nuts!" Mathematician Richard Courant on viewing an Orion test
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helvick
post Jan 12 2009, 09:03 PM
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Yep Methane and with the others on this Press Conference it seems to me that the emphasis will be on the implications for biological origins. Now before anyone goes postal those implications could, of course, be negative.
Checking out the other names home pages shows that they all have notable experience researching Methane in Mars Atmosphere:
Sunil Atreya (Mars Express PFS, Sources and sinks of methane on Mars .. )
Geronimo Villanueva (
Search for Biomarker Gases on Mars, Identification of a New Band System of Isotopic CO2 near 3.3 Ám: Implications for Remote Sensing of Biomarker Gases on Mars .. )
Lisa M. Pratt (Director NASA Astrobiology Team, Life in the Deep Subsurface of Earth and Mars, Long-Term Sustainability of a High-Energy, Low-Diversity Crustal Biome .. )
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Juramike
post Jan 12 2009, 10:04 PM
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Here's some handy numbers (source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mud_volcano)

On Earth, mud volcanoes are estimated to belch out about 2E11 - 1E14 m3 methane per year (at STP).
= 8.79E12 - 5.49E15 mol CH4
= 141E12 - 88E15 g CH4.

(The estimated amounts vary wildly, the numbers above are at the high end of the range. It's about 5-10% of the total methane output, most being biogenic).

What I didn't realize is that the main route for destruction of methane in Earth's atmosphere is reaction with hydroxyl radical in the upper atmosphere. Would this be a similar process for removal of methane from the Martian atmosphere, or would direct photolysis (CH4-->CH3. + H.) be operative? Or would dust grains be a catalytic surface?

Here's a handy link on tropospheric oxidizing processes on Earth: http://www.atmosp.physics.utoronto.ca/peop...0Oxidation%20of

-Mike





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stevesliva
post Jan 12 2009, 10:43 PM
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Isn't the methane emitted from mud volcanoes originally biological in origin, even if it's geological now?
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Juramike
post Jan 12 2009, 11:45 PM
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QUOTE (stevesliva @ Jan 12 2009, 05:43 PM) *
Isn't the methane emitted from mud volcanoes originally biological in origin, even if it's geological now?


Dunno. I always assumed it was from oxidation of iron minerals with H2 reduction of carbonate rocks. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Serpentinite)

[olivine + wa-wa + carbon dioxide --> serpentine + magnetite + methane]

(Fe,Mg)2SiO4 + nH2O + CO2 --> Mg3SiO5(OH4) + Fe3O4 + CH4

-Mike


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Tom Tamlyn
post Jan 13 2009, 12:52 AM
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There's some interesting background on Mars and Methane on Oliver Morton's wonderful blog, Mainly Martian.

The blog is now, alas, largely inactive, but for a year and a half it was a leading source for news of the rovers and unequaled for thoughtful and extremely well informed commentary on the rovers and planetary exploration generally. (Another starting point for the methane discussion is the Two Thousand Cows post.)

Mainly Martian is worth reading in chronological order, starting here, and it's a shame that the site doesn't make it easier to do so.
It's practically a sequel to Morton's book on Mars, Mapping Mars, itself an outstanding discussion of the state of Mars exploration on the eve of the Rover landings. The book is also a meditation on the experience of visualizing a distant planet, and provides a kind of historical and philosophical background to the activity of umsf.com.

TTT
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tdemko
post Jan 13 2009, 02:43 AM
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The methane from most large mud volcanoes (e.g. Caspian Sea region and Indonesia) is most likely biogenic gas from the degradation of near-surface hydrocarbon accumulations.

For newbie mud volcanologists, here is a great place start.


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HughFromAlice
post Jan 14 2009, 10:07 AM
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QUOTE (djellison @ Jan 13 2009, 03:32 AM) *
Methane?


Methane!! Yes, this could be a v interesting update/briefing.

QUOTE (HughFromAlice @ Oct 15 2008, 07:11 AM) *
Michael Mumma and his team are confident that they have measured local methane plumes of up to 60 parts per billion over Nili Fossae and the S.E. quadrant of the nearby Syrtis Major shield volcano.
................................ The big question still to answer - do they come from geochemical processes, biological processes or both? I - for one - am dying to find out!!!!


I posted this in topic Local Methane Plumes On Mars a few months ago. In particular, check the interesting replies........ The problems on interpreting gases in the Martian atmosphere at parts per billion using ground based spectroscopy, alternative explanations for methane production such as via a Sabatier type process (good basic reference in Wikipedia) and Mars Express results.

For a start, I wonder if the update will be based on data derived from ground based spectroscopy???!!!
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Guest_Enceladus75_*
post Jan 14 2009, 11:15 PM
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I hope that it has to do with a detection of methane by an orbiter spacecraft, to verify/back up the Earth based spectroscopy claims. This would be a really exciting finding either way.

Or it might be do do with the erosion/stripping away of Mars's atmosphere and the implications of this for its geological and hydrologic history and lilkihood of standing water bodies on the surface in the past.
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