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Sunspot
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."
djellison
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
paulanderson
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
Sunspot
There's a little more about it here, includig 2 update articles:

http://mainlymartian.blogs.com/semijournal/
DavidVicari
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.
Sunspot
Ahhhh.....I see the press are slowly atarting to pick up on this story. wink.gif
remcook
so....why hasn't there been a press release by ESA yet?
djellison
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
remcook
here we go...


http://www.esa.int/export/esaCP/SEMZ0B57ESD_index_0.html
paulanderson
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
paulanderson
Volcanoes Ruled Out for Martian Methane

http://www.newscientistspace.com/article/d...an-methane.html
BruceMoomaw
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.
paulanderson
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.
AlexBlackwell
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
AlexBlackwell
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
silylene
QUOTE (AlexBlackwell @ Jan 25 2006, 07:14 PM)
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
*



I hypothesized this possibility immediately after the methane detection was announced in the Martian atmosphere, in posts on SDC, complete with literature citations...my posts on "photoreductive processes to form CH4". I wonder if I will be cited?

see this thread http://www.unmannedspaceflight.com/index.p...topic=1671&st=0
AlexBlackwell
QUOTE (silylene @ Jan 26 2006, 03:53 PM)
I hypothesized this possibility immediately after the methane detection was announced in the Martian atmosphere, in posts on SDC, complete with literature citations...my posts on "photoreductive processes to form CH4". I wonder if I will be cited?

You're making the assumption that Bar-Nun and Dimitrov are under an obligation to read the myriad online newsgroups, blogs, discussion forums, etc. Since normal scientific discourse happens through science conferences and peer-reviewed publication, you might fare better with proper credit if you also presented your ideas in those places.
silylene
QUOTE (AlexBlackwell @ Jan 26 2006, 07:31 PM)
You're making the assumption that Bar-Nun and Dimitrov are under an obligation to read the myriad online newsgroups, blogs, discussion forums, etc.  Since normal scientific discourse happens through science conferences and peer-reviewed publication, you might fare better with proper credit if you also presented your ideas in those places.
*



agreed! I am just curious.
deglr6328
I KNEW you were on to something good there silylene! biggrin.gif
silylene
QUOTE (deglr6328 @ Jan 27 2006, 05:34 AM)
I KNEW you were on to something good there silylene!  biggrin.gif
*


I ought to be, half of my thesis and much of the R&D I direct is in the field of photochemistry!
Rob Pinnegar
There's probably room here for coming up with something analogous to the "John Smith, personal communication" type of reference you often see in published literature.
AlexBlackwell
From the March 2006 issue of Geology:

Interglacial clathrate destabilization on Mars: Possible contributing source of its atmospheric methane
Olga Prieto-Ballesteros, et al.
Geology 34, 149152 (2006).
Abstract
AlexBlackwell
From the March-April 2006 issue of American Scientist:

Science Observer
Life on Mars?
by Martin Baucom
Geological and biological processes observed on Earth provide hunky-dory explanations for methane on Mars.
See http://www.americanscientist.org/template/...l/assetid/49613
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