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Index – Technical Sciences – Curiosity may have found possible traces of life on Mars

This is the sixth time since the Curiosity rover landing in 2012 that Mars has detected an increase in the atmospheric concentration of methane for Mars carbon dioxide, but it is the first time that scientists have been able to determine its source with nearly accuracy.

This is true for researchers at Caltech work Not yet audited. In a new method developed by the California Institute of Technology, methane particles are examined in packages, taking into account the speed and direction of the wind at the time of detection, thus returning to the location of a potential source of methane. Based on this measurement, one of the emission points is located a few miles from where Curiosity is currently working.

Methane was detected by Mars’ tunable laser spectrometer, which can detect the presence of particle gas half of a billion particles. To our knowledge, the concentration of methane in the Martian atmosphere is less than 0.0013 ppm (Parts per million, i.e. the whole part of a million); The current discovery was 10 ppb (Part of a billion, that is, part of a billion as a wholeMethane detection.

According to Curiosity’s measurements, up to 10 to 20 tons of methane can enter the Martian atmosphere each year, which is fifty million times less than what is in the Earth’s atmosphere.

Since it takes about 330 years for methane to decompose under Martian conditions, it can be assumed that the gas source discovered by Mars is still active. This is important because methane is often formed during geological activities that can be associated with biological or liquid water.

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If biological processes occur on Mars and produce methane, this means that primitive life could also be found on the Red Planet.

And if methane is released into the atmosphere through geological processes related to water, it could be a huge discovery on Mars in terms of the evolution of modern or past life.

However, it is also important to keep in mind that methane can be formed by the release of meteors into the atmosphere or by exposure to ultraviolet light. This does not mean excluding the possibility of life, as there are many microbes on Earth that do not produce methane.

The presence of water was also confirmed by the clay-rich rock sample Curiosity found in Gale Raster. Clay can be a good road sign in looking for signs of life, as it usually forms when rock minerals come into contact with water.

However, two simultaneous rock samples (3.5 billion years old) taken from Mars 402 meters away showed different amounts of clay. In one clay stone, only half of the expected amount of clay was achieved تم to display NASA has discovered the high iron oxide content, from which it was concluded that a highly saline aqueous solution once seeped into the mineral-rich clay layer, which

He simply dug and rinsed the first layer of the layer.

The latter process is a phenomenon also known on Earth, called diagenesis, which means the transition from sediment to sedimentary rock over time. Clay is also formed during the formation process due to pressure: under load, it first becomes unbound sedimentary rock, and under stronger pressure it becomes shale. Another type is cohesion venation, during which the physical and chemical conditions in the migrating solution change in the sediment, and in some cases dissolved matter may precipitate from it. According to the research, the latter may also have occurred in Gale Crater while it was drying up, so it is possible that the Curiosity study revealed different amounts of clay at two very close points.

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NASA to me This discovery is particularly important because it proves that parts of the Martian surface are not as good preservatives for studying the planet’s possible living past as previously thought. In addition, because there are materials on Earth’s surface that evolve under the influence of the ocean as presumably from Martian rocks, the current discovery may help model what water may have covered the surface of Mars millions of years ago and create a life-friendly environment.

Recently, the helicopter also took pictures of possible water impacts on the surface.

(Cover image: Curiosity on February 7, 2018. Photo: Handout/NASA/AFP)