Sunday , February 23 2020
Home / canada / First Methane, Now Oxygen: Gaseous Mysteries of Mars Scientist Scientists – National

First Methane, Now Oxygen: Gaseous Mysteries of Mars Scientist Scientists – National



Mars' oxygen is behaving in a way scientists cannot yet explain, according to NASA.

On its website this week, the space agency noted what they learned from measuring "seasonal changes in gases" over the Mars crater.

READ MORE:
Life on Mars was possible 4 billion years ago, researchers at Western University say

"They have noticed something puzzling: oxygen, the gas that many Earth creatures use to breathe, behaves in a way that scientists cannot yet explain through known chemical processes," the post reads.

A rover portable chemistry laboratory ios curiosity analyzes the Martian air make-up over Gale's crater over the course of six years on Earth (or three Martian years).

Scientists expected oxygen to behave predictably, but "not so" – unlike nitrogen and argon, which follows a "predictable seasonal pattern".

The story continues under the ad

NASA Administrator Thomas Zurbuchen said on Twitter that the rover "has discovered seasonal variations of oxygen on Mars that cannot be explained by known chemical processes so far."






Rover McQueve? NASA has open content to name Mars Rover


Rover McQueve? NASA has open content to name Mars Rover

Obviously, oxygen levels rose by 30% in spring and summer – which they termed "over-prediction" on the NASA Web site chart.

These findings were published in an academic article this week in the journal Geophysical Research: Planets.

One of the co-authors – Sushil Atrea, a scientist at the University of Michigan – called it "a fool's errand" when the researchers first saw the measurements.

The story continues under the ad

READ MORE:
NASA announces shooting of original probable "marquee"

Another scientist who led the research, Melissa Coach of Maryland, in a NASA post said they were "struggling to explain this".

Scientists again checked the accuracy of the measuring device they were using, but it was "okay".

They compared the oxygen mystery to the still-unsolved methane jigsaw puzzle on Mars. Methane obviously increases by 60% during the summer, for reasons we don't know.






The ancient impact of the asteroid can cause a mega-tsunami on Mars


The ancient impact of the asteroid can cause a mega-tsunami on Mars

University of Maryland scientist Timothy Mekonohi – also co-author of the paper – told the BBC the measurements indicate a possible "reservoir" of oxygen near the surface.

Oxygen and methane may be products of biological processes, but scientists said the rover has no way of knowing whether the gas source is the result of biology or geology.

They rely heavily on "non-biological explanations", according to NASA.

READ MORE:
The images show evidence of a system of underground lakes on Mars, scientists say

"The abiotic processes look very promising, so we will have to shut them down first before contributing to the microbes," Atrea told the BBC.

So far, researchers are reporting to the world their observations and asking Mars experts in the scientific community about any and all ideas.

The story continues under the ad






NASA has selected three of Mars' best home designs


NASA has selected three of Mars' best home designs

© 2019 Global News, division of Corus Entertainment Inc.


Source link