Tuesday , January 19 2021

Confirm the presence of an important chemical on Mars


Photo: RTVE.es

(Caracas, April 1 – News24).- Methane presence in the atmosphere of the planet was confirmed by a new analysis of the data from the Mars Express,Researchers announced Monday that they say the gas it could be a micro life indicator or derived from geological processes.

The European Mars Express is exploring, in orbit around the planet since the end of 2003, has already detected methane residues in its atmosphere in 2004 thanks to its infrared FMA spectrometer. But, for technical reasons, these results were not fully convincing.

In June 2018, NASA announced that its mobile robot Curiosity had detected methane in Martian's atmosphere on June 15, 2013 near Gale Crater. However, these results were "in situ", raising doubts, as some noted that this methane could come from the roamer itself (a mobile robot), the AFP reminded Marco Giuranna, from the Institute of Astrophysics of Italy in Rome.

Meanwhile, the international team led by this Italian researcher succeeded in improving the quality of data collected by the infrared Mars Express spectrometer, the European Space Agency (ESA) mission.

"We have developed a new way of selecting, handling and restoring data" from the spectrometer, explaining Marco Giuranna. "This greatly reduces the uncertainty surrounding the FMA measures"It adds.

Soon after the curiosity of 2012 curiosity pursued the impact on the Gale, “I decided to maintain a long-term surveillance of the planet's atmosphere in that location, explaining the researcher, t whose study was published in Nature Geoscience.

On June 16, 2013, one day after curiosity, the Mars Express spectrometer recorded methane "peak emission" above the crater.

These results include a "Independent confirmation of curiosity measures"the study says.

Methane detection (CH4) on Mars is very important to planetary experts because "it could be an indicator of microbial life," said the researcher. But the presence of this gas can be the result of geochemical reactions, which are not related to life.

In addition, the Marco Giuranna team believes has been able to find the source of this emission of methane in a fault region to the east of Gale Crater.

For this, the scientists carried out two separate studies, one based on digital modeling and the other based on geological analysis of the place. The results of the two studies matched the same area. "It's very exciting and very unexpected," the Italian researcher said enthusiastically.

"We have identified tectonic faults that could extend under a region covered by a thin layer of ice (…) The ice may have the methane below the surface. its episodic release when failures are broken"Added Giuseppe Etiope, from the National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology in Rome.

With knowledge of AFP

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