When it comes to searching for ancient microbial life beyond Earth, Mars is the closest trace of gas and conditions that can keep it active. However, this gas has plagued scientists for many years. A component of the natural gas(Methane) on Earth that exists on Mars puzzles scientists. Although the Curiosity rover observed gas on the surface of Mars Gale Crater, the ESA orbiter hovering above it could not detect it in the Martian atmosphere.
New research shows that the methane concentration on the surface of Gale Crater rises and falls throughout the day, which in turn may be the cause of the gas detection mismatch. A study published in the journal of Astronomy and Astrophysics showed that the amount, distribution, and behavior of methane in the Martian atmosphere have aroused great interest because this gas is considered a potential biological feature for microbial reproduction.
The microorganisms that help most farm animals digest plants produce large amounts of methane on the earth. Therefore, its potential presence on a planet 300 million kilometers away caused a sensation. The presence of methane on Mars may mean that microorganisms live or are living on this red planet; however, the methane on Mars may have nothing to do with microorganisms or any other organisms, and may be through geological interactions with rocks, water, and heat.
Some scientists believe that when the rover was moving, it might have released gas, crushed rocks, and damaged wheels; however, in-depth analysis of the rover showed that this chemical reaction did not occur while Curiosity was travelling. Scientists are now investigating the difference between methane measurements by analyzing the readings. When other Curiosity’s instruments are not working, Rover TLS mainly works at night. Scientists have observed that the methane is piled up near the surface in the night, where Curiosity can find it.
Scientists are now trying to find out why there is a lack of methane in the Martian atmosphere, which is composed of 95% carbon dioxide. NASA said: “Experiments are currently underway to test whether very small discharges caused by dust in the Martian atmosphere will destroy methane, or whether excessive oxygen on the surface of Mars will quickly destroy methane before it reaches the upper atmosphere.”