Due to unusual methane levels registered on the Martian territory, scientists believe Curiosity Rover is responsible for alarming methane spike. Their hypotheses have to be further sustained by evidence and soil analyses, therefore the scientific community is now divided between those who blame the rover and those who support it.
One of the reasons why aeronautics experts believe Mars could sustain life is the high amount of methane gas retraceable on its surface. However, recent findings suggest that the gas might have been caused by NASA’s Curiosity Rover, as recent studies show.
The first methane gas clouds were identified by NASA’s orbiting spacecraft and telescopes in 2003 and 2004. Results lifted scientists’ hopes as they are well-aware that methane gas stems from living organism. Their conclusion was at that time, that there might have been life on Mars in the past and that the Red Planet is perfectly capable of supporting Earth-like existence.
For that matter, researchers at NASA have created Curiosity Rover in an attempt to better study the surface of the celestial body. The small vehicle landed safely on the planet in 2012 and began sending useful reports on Earth. During the period between October 2012 and June 2013, Rover investigated Mars’ surface on repeated occasions, but detected no trace of gas.
At the beginning of 2014, the Curiosity Rover registered a significant outburst of methane gas during its regular checkups. The presence of the methane gas was more than welcomed by scientists as they have many more reasons to believe now that the planet is alive in some way or another.
Kevin Zahnle, a scientist at NASA’s Ames Researcher Center in Moffett Field, California, on the other hand, was not as pleased as the other researchers by the recent results. He told the press that the outburst might have been caused by a small emission coming from the Rover.
The investigating device was endowed with its own Earth methane reserve, which is 1,000 times denser than the gas found on Mars’ surface. The team of researchers coordinating Curiosity’s missions on Mars claim that there is no way the recent outburst of methane gas could be linked to the Rover.
They have reassured everyone in the scientific community that Curiosity did not suffer any gas leakage. Moreover, they expect methane gas outbursts to have been registered on a regular basis, if the rover was indeed responsible for the methane spike.
None of the two hypotheses has been ruled out for the moment. Experts think there are equal chances that the methane spike could come from Mars’ surface or from Curiosity’s methane chamber.
Image Source: The Mary Sue