Methane And Hydrogen Could Have Possibly Spawned Life In Mars

First Posted: Nov 25, 2016 03:10 AM EST

A long time ago, a futuristic approach made by some conjecture that Mars could possibly be a new way home for the current civilization. Scientists and astrophysicists explore in detail the physical and chemical composition of Mars whether a man can live on the Red Planet.

According to scientists, direct evidence for life existence in Mars is still elusive. But if a single organism is occupying in there, it is most probably lurking beneath the surface.

The Martian atmosphere is made up of approximately 96 percent carbon dioxide, 3 percent nitrogen, 1.6 percent argon and the remaining elements are traces amount of oxygen, water and methane and other gases. Scientists strongly believed that the atmosphere is unimportant mainly because the planet lost its magnetosphere about 4 billion years ago. A magnetosphere would channel the solar wind around the planet. Without one, the solar wind interacts directly with the ionosphere, stripping away atoms and lowering the density of the atmosphere.

Universe Today reported that a relatively amount of methane has been found in the Martian atmosphere. The methane occurs in large plumes in different regions of the planet, which indicates that it was released in those general areas. The data seem suggesting that there are two main sources for the methane: one appears to be centered near 30°N, 260°W and second near 0°, 310° W. The estimation of production of methane in Mars is 270 tons/year, and under the conditions on Mars, methane breaks down as quickly as 6 months (Earth time).

With this new discovery, scientists speculate whether this dash of methane could have kept Mars warm enough for water to rise. New Scientist reported that ever since during 1970s, chilly Mars has known that it must have been warm enough for rivers. But it has been a struggle to explain how a world much farther from the Sun than Earth could get so warm especially when the Sun was dimmer.

According Robin Wordsworth of Harvard University and his colleagues, they have computed that if just a few percent of a mainly CO2 atmosphere is composed of molecules of hydrogen or methane; it could make all the difference. When these gases collide with CO2 molecules, they absorb light in a key wavelength range, allowing the planet to retain enough heat that water can flow.

Meanwhile, James Kasting of Pennsylvania State University in University Park says that "We had to wave our arms a lot to justify that much hydrogen in the atmosphere, this new paper allows that same hypothesis to work with a lot less arm waving."

With this conspiracy as to whether it was methane or hydrogen that creates the warming, it is still probably reliant on whether Mars could have spawned life. If it could, hydrogen-eating bacteria possibly converted the atmospheric hydrogen into methane.

See Now: NASA's Juno Spacecraft's Rendezvous With Jupiter's Mammoth Cyclone

©2017 All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission. The window to the world of science news.

Join the Conversation

Real Time Analytics