Methane on Mars

June 07, 2019 12:00 am | Updated 03:44 am IST

NASA’s Curiosity rover detected methane gas on Mars. Why is this significant?

Does the presence of methane mean there are living organisms on Mars?

Most of the methane in Earth’s atmosphere has a biological origin (decomposition of plants in bogs, emissions from paddy fields, emissions from termites and cows and sheep, burning of fossil fuels etc.), so discovery of methane on Mars quickens the pulse of scientists who are looking for signs of life on the Red Planet. But the methane there could also have been created by a geological process known as serpentinisation which requires both heat and liquid water. Where there is water there is possibility of life. So discovery of methane on Mars opens up various possibilities and is therefore a very important development.

Top News Today

Sign in to unlock member-only benefits!
  • Access 10 free stories every month
  • Save stories to read later
  • Access to comment on every story
  • Sign-up/manage your newsletter subscriptions with a single click
  • Get notified by email for early access to discounts & offers on our products
Sign in


Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.