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A 3D virtual model of Curiosity is shown inside Gale Crater on Mars. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech.
Scientists have taken an important step towards revealing the mysterious source of methane on Mars, by refining estimates of the gas in the planet's atmosphere.
Methane - Crater - Mars - Sign - Life
The methane puffing from a huge crater on Mars could be a sign of life or other non-biological activity under the planet's surface. Gale crater, which is 154 km in diameter and about 3.8 billion years old, is thought by some to contain an ancient lakebed.
The team was able to improve the estimate of methane by using data from a satellite, ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter, and the Curiosity Rover, which collects rock, soil and air samples for onboard analysis.
Dr - John - Moores - ANU - Visiting
Dr. John Moores, an ANU Visiting Fellow based at York University in Canada who led the new study, said scientists had been speculating for more than a decade as to what the source of methane on Mars could be.
"This new study redefines our understanding of how the concentration of methane in the atmosphere of Mars changes over time, and this helps us to solve the bigger mystery of what the source might be," said Dr. Moores.
Co-researcher - ANU - Professor - Penny - King
Co-researcher ANU Professor Penny King said there were several equally plausible explanations for the methane detected on...
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