LARGE amounts of methane have been detected on Mars.
And the gas, produced in worrying volumes by cows breaking wind on Earth, could indicate life.
2 Nasa’s Curiosity Rover has detected large amounts of methane on Mars but it cannot determine where it came fromCredit: PA:Press Association
Nasa’s Curiosity rover, which made the discovery, cannot determine the exact source of the emissions on the Red Planet.
But the craft has logged spikes in methane levels — with scientists noting how they seem to rise and fall seasonally.
Because the gas is destroyed by solar radiation within several hundred years of entering the atmosphere, the current methane located could well have been released quite recently.
Some 21 parts per billion units by volume was measured in the Gale Crater — the highest concentration recorded since the landing in August 2012.
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The amount is still small compared to Earth, where it is 1,800 parts per billion units.
Paul Mahaffy, from the American space agency, did admit: “We have no way of telling if the methane source is biology or geology, or ancient or modern.” The gas is abundant on Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune, where it is the product of chemical processing. The find on Mars could be very different.
Ironically, though the research could help determine if there is life out there in space, experts here are worried about pollution by the vast quantities of the gas “farted” or belched out by the world’s 1.5billion cows.
2 The amount of methane, produced on earth by cows breaking wind, is still small in comparisonCredit: Getty – Contributor
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