Sunday, September 22, 2013

March: unlikely to find traces of life, according to the robot ... - Metronews

methane as proof of life. On Earth, the biogas is produced in 95% of the fermentation of animal or vegetable organic matter (including bacteria). If microorganisms were present on Mars, Curiosity would have found the presence of methane concentration. However, the NASA rover, exploring the planet for a little over a year, is indeed a state of almost complete absence of methane.

According to measurements made by Curiosity, this gas can not be more than 1.3 parts per billion by volume in March, barely a sixth of previously thought, researchers reported in a study published Thursday, September 19 by the journal Science.

The laser spectrometer Curiosity is not detected

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refute observations made from Earth in a decade. Scientists reported having identified plumes of methane in the Martian atmosphere which, in 2003, a cloud of methane estimated at 19 000 tonnes. Discoveries that had raised hopes of finding life on Mars.

Alas, since August 6, 2012, Curiosity roams the planet in all directions without its laser spectrometer can detect traces of methane. “This important result will help to redirect our efforts to examine the possibility of present life on Mars,” said Michael Meyer, chief scientist for Mars exploration at NASA. However, there is still hope: “We know that on Earth there are many micro-organisms that do not produce methane.”

Directorate Mount Sharp Curiosity

Currently, Curiosity heads to Mount Sharp, five miles distant and main exploration target of the mission is expected to last two years. Scientists believe indeed that the different sedimentary layers visible at the foot of the mountain could help date the periods when Mars was suitable for life, says Nasa.

However, the robot will have several months to achieve, especially since it will stop on the way to analyze interesting geological formations. As Charlie Chapin said, “obstinacy is the way to success” …

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