NASA’s curiosity rover has discovered spikes of methane levels on Mars as the rover’s Sample Analysis at Mars tunable laser spectrometer or SAM measured about 21 parts per billion units by volume of methane in the Martian atmosphere.
While the methane level is all time high on the planet, scientists are still trying to figure out the source of the methane on the red planet.
“The methane mystery continues,” said Ashwin Vasavada, Curiosity’s project scientist at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California. “We’re more motivated than ever to keep measuring and put our brains together to figure out how methane behaves in the Martian atmosphere.”
NASA scientist, Paul Mahaffy, scientist at NASA’s Goddard Spaceflight Center and principle investigator for the rover’s SAM said that they have no way to determine the methane source or when it originated in the Martian atmosphere.
However, this isn’t the first instance scientists have discovered spikes in Mar’s atmosphere. Previously, both ESA’s Mars Express probe and NASA’s Curiosity have measured methane spikes on the planet. At the time, scientists concluded that the frozen slab of ice or permafrost containing methane is the most logical explanation at the moment.
In order to test their speculation, the scientists have developed a test which will be conducted in the next weekend. After Curiosity completes the tests, we are like to know about the reasons for sudden methane spikes in the planet.