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Methane Detection?
Guest_Sunspot_*
post Mar 26 2004, 01:29 PM
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An interesting article:

http://mainlymartian.blogs.com/semijournal...ne_and_thu.html

http://mainlymartian.blogs.com/semijournal/

Quote:

"Dick Kerr of Science magazine, who's been writing planetary science a good bit longer than most of us in this game, has a remarkable story up on the Science Now site -- something potentially far more striking than the crossbedding announcement. The team on the Mars Express Planetary Fourier Spectrometer (PFS) has announced the discovery of what look like methane absorption lines in the Martian atmosphere at 3.3 microns. Kerr quotes the PFS principal investigator, Vittorio Formisano saying it's "A very little amount," -- 10.5 parts per billion -- "but the result is clear." If this is indeed methane, then it's evidence that something is going on: either volcanic activity or life."
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djellison
post Mar 26 2004, 02:51 PM
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Far more important discovery than anything the MER's have found imho - this is the big one - there's not to many ways to generate methane at mars, modern day vulcanism seems unlikely - general outgassing a little more likely - but the most obivous answer is biomass.

Doug
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Guest_paulanderson_*
post Mar 26 2004, 04:18 PM
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A few more related links:

'Methane Means Martians?' - ScienceNOW (by subscription)
http://sciencenow.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/2004/324/1

'Does Methane Mean Life of the Red Planet?' - Discovery Channel
http://www.discoverychannel.ca/_home/science_popup1.shtml

Some earlier commentary re methane on Mars from ESA (no new info posted yet):

'Signatures of Life'
http://www.esa.int/SPECIALS/Mars_Express/SEMSL75V9ED_0.html

Two of the other non-ESA spectrometer studies (PDF files), the first from January 2004, the second from 1999 (page 3):

'Detection of Methane in the Martian Atmosphere: Evidence for Life' - Canada-France-Hawaii Telescope
http://www.cosis.net/abstracts/EGU04/06169/EGU04-A-06169.pdf

'High-Resolution Spectroscopy of Mars: Recent Results and Implications for Atmospheric Evolution' - Fifth Annual Mars Convention
http://adsabs.harvard.edu/cgi-bin/nph-data...ICLE&db_key=AST

Please note I'm not saying this must be biological(!), but the scientists involved are apparently thinking either a geothermal or biological explanation, if the methane is being replenished somehow to the atmosphere as their findings seem to indicate. Either of those possibilities of course would be exciting.

Mars Express has also reportedly found sulphate deposits in Valles Marineris, similar to those at Meridiani, reported by the science team for the OMEGA Near-IR Mapping Spectrometer at the Lunar and Planetary Science conference last week, see comments section of the MainlyMartian web site (scroll down a few paragraphs):

http://mainlymartian.blogs.com/semijournal...i.html#comments


huh.gif
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Guest_Sunspot_*
post Mar 26 2004, 05:26 PM
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There's a little more about it here, includig 2 update articles:

http://mainlymartian.blogs.com/semijournal/
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DavidVicari
post Mar 29 2004, 07:05 AM
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latest news story from BBC...
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/3577551.stm

Says it was detected last year with two earth based IR telescopes.
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Guest_Sunspot_*
post Mar 29 2004, 08:27 AM
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Ahhhh.....I see the press are slowly atarting to pick up on this story. wink.gif
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remcook
post Mar 29 2004, 02:28 PM
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so....why hasn't there been a press release by ESA yet?
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djellison
post Mar 30 2004, 11:23 AM
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QUOTE (remcook @ Mar 29 2004, 02:28 PM)
so....why hasn't there been a press release by ESA yet?

Esa's crap at the whole publicity thing. biggrin.gif

Doug
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remcook
post Mar 30 2004, 03:08 PM
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here we go...


http://www.esa.int/export/esaCP/SEMZ0B57ESD_index_0.html
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Guest_paulanderson_*
post Nov 2 2005, 02:47 AM
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In another addition to the methane on Mars debate, researchers find methane-producing organisms in Mars-like, arid desert Earth soils:

http://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/200...c-mfi103105.php
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Guest_paulanderson_*
post Nov 4 2005, 05:39 PM
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Volcanoes Ruled Out for Martian Methane

http://www.newscientistspace.com/article/d...an-methane.html
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Guest_BruceMoomaw_*
post Nov 6 2005, 09:26 PM
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While the article confirms that the Martian CH4 isn't being produced by conventional volcanic reactions, note that it does nothing whatsoever to rule out the production of the methane by the "serpentinization" reaction, and in fact explicitly states at the end of the article that this is a major possibility. Indeed, it's been proposed for some time as the possible source not just of Mars' methane, but of the much larger amount at Titan.
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Guest_paulanderson_*
post Nov 6 2005, 09:48 PM
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QUOTE (BruceMoomaw @ Nov 6 2005, 01:26 PM)
While the article confirms that the Martian CH4 isn't being produced by conventional volcanic reactions, note that it does nothing whatsoever to rule out the production of the methane by the "serpentinization" reaction, and in fact explicitly states at the end of the article that this is a major possibility.  Indeed, it's been proposed for some time as the possible source not just of Mars' methane, but of the much larger amount at Titan.
*

That's true, I think both theories (serpentinization and biological) are viable at this point. At least there is a process of elimination happening finally. And with Mars Express' PFS working again now, hopefully this will help in making further determinations.
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Guest_AlexBlackwell_*
post Nov 11 2005, 08:09 PM
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QUOTE (paulanderson @ Nov 6 2005, 09:48 PM)
That's true, I think both theories (serpentinization and biological) are viable at this point.

See also

Formation of methane on Mars by fluid-rock interaction in the crust
J.R. Lyons, C. Manning and F. Nimmo
Geophys. Res. Lett., 32 , L13201, 2005
Reprint
Auxiliary Material
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Guest_AlexBlackwell_*
post Jan 25 2006, 07:14 PM
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A new, fairly short paper currently in press with Icarus:

Methane on Mars: A product of H2O photolysis in the presence of CO
Icarus, In Press, Corrected Proof, Available online 25 January 2006
Akiva Bar-Nun and Vasili Dimitrov
Abstract
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