The Source of Mars Methane?

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robnissen

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http://www.space.com/scienceastronomy/mars_vulcanism_041222.html<br /><br />"The European Space Agency's Mars Express orbiter photographed lava flows that must have occurred within the past two million years and imply, scientists say, that volcanoes on Mars might still pump molten rock to the surface now and then."<br /><br />If this article is correct that there were lava flows in the last 2 million years, the odds would be EXTREMELY small that all volcanic activity on Mars has now ceased. For volcanic activity to last for nearly 5 billion years, and then coincidentally stop within a geologic blink of time before we were there to see it, is very unlikely. <br /><br />The good news is that volcanic activity would be a valuable energy source to melt ice and provide energy for any microbe that might exist. The bad news is that it is now less likely (granted, it wasn't very likely to begin with) that the source of Mars methane is current biological activity.
 
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toymaker

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"The bad news is that it is now less likely (granted, it wasn't very likely to begin with) that the source of Mars methane is current biological activity"<br />Volcanism as a source of methane has its own problems, including the period in which methane is destroyed(aprox 300 years) <br />also :<br />http://www.planetary.org/news/2004/mars_methane-expands_1119.html<br />Kransopolsky also reported on a recent search for sulfur dioxide (SO2) on Mars, which he conducted with M.J. Richter, J.H. Lacy, and T.K. Greathouse, using TEXES spectrograph at NASA's Infrared Telescope Facility (IRTF), in Mauna Kea, Hawaii. They found that the most abundant volcanic gas (on Earth) is absent in the Martian atmosphere with an upper limit of 0.5 ppb, therefore seepage of the volcanic gases is "ineffective" on Mars and "cannot be a significant source" of methane. "This is a crucial argument against volcanic methane," Krasnopolsky told the DPS crowd<br /><br />Definetly more research and exploration is needed.
 
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robnissen

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"Volcanism as a source of methane has its own problems, including the period in which methane is destroyed(aprox 300 years) <br />also : <br />http://www.planetary.org/news/2004/mars_methane-expands_1119.html"<br /><br />Interesting article but it states that the last volcanoes died out 12 million years ago, obviously that is contradicted by the article I cited (I'm not offering an opinion on which is right, merely pointing out the contradiction). Now if there was volcanic activity 2 million years ago, it is very likely that Mars is still geologically active, such that volcanic processes could have created the methane within the last 300 years. But how it could do that without releasing SO2 is an interesting question. <br />
 
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nexium

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Micro organisms far below the surface of Mars convert most of the sulphur dioxide SO2 to hydrogen sulphide H2S, carbon disulfide CS2 and/or sulphuric acid H2SO4 ?<br /> There is not enough free oxygen below the surface of Mars to oxydize sulphur? Neil
 
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paleo

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"The bad news is that it is now less likely (granted, it wasn't very likely to begin with) that the source of Mars methane is current biological activity."<br /><br /> I'm sorry to get picky but this is science and it's<br /> neither 'good news' or 'bad news'. It's evidence to support or not support a theory. <br />
 
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robnissen

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"I'm sorry to get picky but this is science and it's <br />neither 'good news' or 'bad news'."<br /><br />No, you are confused. What the ESA, the Mars Rovers, Cassini, Huygens, etc. does is Science. What we do on the message boards is NOT science (there is no scientific method followed, there is no reproducibility, etc.), but rather speculation based on science. I think most here would think that confirmed life on Mars would be "good news" and that evidence that tends to make life on Mars less likely is 'bad news," while still being good science.<br /><br />Science is interested in truth, humans are interested in what that truth means. For example, if tonight an astronomer were to detect a 5 KM asteroid coming from the direction of the sun in the southern skies, which was going to impact earth tomorrow. That would be GOOD Science (a truth was uncovered) but BAD NEWS (the implication of that truth is we are toast).
 
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silylene old

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Photoreduction of CO2 on metal oxide dust surfaces would explain the very low levels of methane observed on Mars. In fact the observation that most of the methane is generated at the equatorial zone (highest insolation) is consistent with this mechanism. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <div class="Discussion_UserSignature" align="center"><em><font color="#0000ff">- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -</font></em> </div><div class="Discussion_UserSignature" align="center"><font color="#0000ff"><em>I really, really, really miss the "first unread post" function.</em></font> </div> </div>
 
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