Something is consuming Mars methane

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JonClarke

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Latest Nature has a paper modelling the fate of atmospheric methane. Something is destroying it at a phenomenal rate (600 times expected). The something is most probably in the regolith. Exactly what is not known. Most peculiar. I have read the Nature paper, it's an accurate report.

BBC report http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/8186314.stm

Jon
 
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vogon13

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I was under the impression the peroxides in the soil could zorch an almost limitless amount of organic materials (for purposes of discussion, regardless of it's genesis, the methane).
 
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centsworth_II

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JonClarke":1455sx8n said:
Latest Nature has a paper modelling the fate of atmospheric methane. Something is destroying it at a phenomenal rate (600 times expected)....
This reduces the chance, which was low to start with, of finding life near the surface. Does it have any effect on the chance of life surviving in deep aquifers?

On the other hand, the 600x expected rate of methane destruction makes even more impresive the amounts of methane which must be released to make it detectable. And such methane destruction rates on the surface reduce the possibility that the methane production is a radiation-induced surface phenomenon. I don't think the mystery of deep geothermal vs life sources has been solved at all!
 
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BreezyJ

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Excuse my senseless mind, but does that mean it's MORE or LESS likely for life to be found in the soil/under the exposed surface?
 
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JonClarke

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vogon13":cb3ifsw5 said:
I was under the impression the peroxides in the soil could zorch an almost limitless amount of organic materials (for purposes of discussion, regardless of it's genesis, the methane).
That's certainly a possibiliy and it is the one mentioned in the paper. But the problem is peroxide is consumed in the process. Peroxide is probably produced in the atmosphere and soil at a slow rate, but since so much methane is being produced and consumed, you need to produce peroxide at a similar rate to get rid of it. That might be a problem.
 
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JonClarke

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centsworth_II":63tulebg said:
JonClarke":63tulebg said:
Latest Nature has a paper modelling the fate of atmospheric methane. Something is destroying it at a phenomenal rate (600 times expected)....
This reduces the chance, which was low to start with, of finding life near the surface. Does it have any effect on the chance of life surviving in deep aquifers?
I am not sure whether it does reduce the chance of near surface life. The rate of destruction is so high it could mean that there are surface merthanophages. This is my speculation, not the paper's!

On the other hand, the 600x expected rate of methane destruction makes even more impresive the amounts of methane which must be released to make it detectable. And such methane destruction rates on the surface reduce the possibility that the methane production is a radiation-induced surface phenomenon. I don't think the mystery of deep geothermal vs life sources has been solved at all!
A third possibility is that it is deep stored methane, natural gas, relicts of an extinct biosphere. The amounts being released are large enough to be potentially userful for Mars settlements, if they are focussed into readily tageted structures.
 
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