Methane Indicates Microbial Life on Mars

Methane, according to researchers, can be a sign of potential, yet primitive, life. Trace amounts of this element are sometimes found in Meteorites from Mars, giving credence to the idea that life, even if it is primitive, exists on Mars.

However, methane does not guarantee that there is actually, or ever was, life on Mars. However, according to lead author and geochemist at Brock University in St. Catharines, Canada, Nigel Blamey, said that methane “is an ingredient that could potentially support microbial activity in the Red Planet.”

But what is methane? Methane itself is a simple, the simplest in fact, organic molecule. It’s colorless, odorless and flammable and its discovery in the Martian atmosphere was in 2003 by the European Space Agency’s Mars Express spacecraft. Curiosity also detected a spike of the gas when it landed.

The few meteorites from Mars that have landed on Earth have had trace amount of methane, giving even more strength to the idea of life on the red planet, but methane can be produced by other means—such as volcanic activity. Despite that, most methane on earth is produced by—you guessed it—living things.

Image: http://static.guim.co.uk/

Source: http://www.nbcnews.com/science/space/traces-methane-mars-meteorites-suggest-possibility-life-n376416

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