Detection of Methane in the Atmosphere of Mars

  title={Detection of Methane in the Atmosphere of Mars},
  author={Vittorio Formisano and Sushil K. Atreya and Thérèse Encrenaz and Nikolai Ignatiev and Marco Giuranna},
  pages={1758 - 1761}
We report a detection of methane in the martian atmosphere by the Planetary Fourier Spectrometer onboard the Mars Express spacecraft. The global average methane mixing ratio is found to be 10 ± 5 parts per billion by volume (ppbv). However, the mixing ratio varies between 0 and 30 ppbv over the planet. The source of methane could be either biogenic or nonbiogenic, including past or present subsurface microorganisms, hydrothermal activity, or cometary impacts. 

Methane on Mars

In 2004, the first reports of methane (CH4) in Mars’ atmosphere, by both Mars Express and ground-based observations, stirred up excitement in the scientific community [1,2]. These detections (at 10

Non-Detection of Methane in the Mars Atmosphere by the Curiosity Rover

that made three separate searches on Martian sols 79, 81 and 106 after landing. The measured mean value of 0.39 ±1.4 ppbv corresponds to an upper limit for methane abundance of 2.7 ppbv at the 95%

Formation of methane on Mars by fluid‐rock interaction in the crust

Recent spectroscopic detections of CH4 in the atmosphere of Mars are the first definitive observations of an organic compound on that planet. The relatively short photochemical lifetime of CH4 (∼300

Likelihood of methane-producing microbes on Mars

We present a likelihood estimate that methane was a significant component of the gas detected by the Labeled Release (LR) experiment in the Viking Mission to Mars of 1976. In comparison with

Strong Release of Methane on Mars in Northern Summer 2003

Using high-dispersion infrared spectrometers at three ground-based telescopes, methane and water vapor were measured simultaneously on Mars over several longitude intervals in northern early and late summer in 2003 and near the vernal equinox in 2006.

Stability of methane in near surface layers of Mars

The Berlin Mars near Surface Thermal model [4, 5] was updated to study the stability of methane in near surface layers of Mars. The main features of the model are a high vertical resolution down to

No detection of methane on Mars from early ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter observations

Highly sensitive measurements of the atmosphere of Mars with the ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter do not detect any methane over a range of latitudes in both hemispheres, in contrast to previous local or remote detections.

Low Upper Limit to Methane Abundance on Mars

From in situ measurements made with the Tunable Laser Spectrometer on Curiosity using a distinctive spectral pattern specific to methane, no detection of atmospheric methane is reported, which reduces the probability of current methanogenic microbial activity on Mars and limits the recent contribution from extraplanetary and geologic sources.

Evidence for methane in Martian meteorites

It is shown that some Martian meteorites, representing basic igneous rocks, liberate a methane-rich volatile component on crushing, adding strong weight to models whereby any life on Mars is/was likely to be resident in a subsurface habitat, where methane could be a source of energy and carbon for microbial activity.



The state, potential distribution, and biological implications of methane in the Martian crust

The search for life on Mars has recently focused on its potential survival in deep (>2 km) subpermafrost aquifers where anaerobic bacteria, similar to those found in deep subsurface ecosystems on

The delivery of organic matter from asteroids and comets to the early surface of Mars

Carbon delivered to the Earth by interplanetary dust particles may have been an important source of pre-biotic organic matter (Anders, 1989). Interplanetary dust is shown to deliver an

Atmospheric biomarkers of subsurface life on Mars

If life exists beneath the Martian surface similar to terrestrial bacteria that rely upon chemical reactions involving H2 and/or CO as energy sources, then it may be possible to infer its existence

Detection of Molecular Hydrogen in the Atmosphere of Mars

Analysis of D fractionation among a few reservoirs of ice, water vapor, and molecular hydrogen on Mars implies that a global ocean more than 30 meters deep was lost since the end of hydrodynamic escape.

Photochemistry of Planetary Atmospheres

1. Introduction 2. Solar Flux and Molecular Absorption 3. Chemical Kinetics 4. Origins 5. Giant Planets 6. Satellites and Pluto 7. Mars 8. Venus 9. Earth: Imprint of Life 10. Earth: Human Impact

Deep bacterial biosphere in Pacific Ocean sediments

ALTHOUGH around 70% of the Earth's surface is marine, little is known about the microbiology of underlying sediments, which can be more than a kilometre deep1. Selective degradation of organic matter

Atmospheric energy for subsurface life on Mars?

  • B. WeissY. YungK. Nealson
  • Environmental Science, Geology
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
  • 2000
Because both atmospheric and Viking lander soil data provide little evidence for biological activity, the detection of short-lived trace gases will probably be a better indicator of any extant Martian life.