Methane, Water Vapor Point to Something Interesting on Mars

A few months ago, scientists announced preliminary data indicating the presence of methane gas in the atmosphere of Mars. The same team has now announced that this methane appears to be coming from three specific regions on the planet that also have a higher concentration of water vapor than the planetary atmospheric average.

On Monday, Dr. Vittorio Formisano, principal investigator for the Mars Express Planetary Fourier Spectrometer (PFS), presented the new data at the International Mars Conference being held in Ischia, Italy. The presence of methane and water vapor together could point to present geothermic activity, life forms, or both on Mars.

The PFS instrument has also detected other gases and the analysis of this data is being peer reviewed. It is tempting to jump to conclusions, but although the scientists are openly suggesting the possibility of present life on Mars, they emphasis that much more data and analysis are required and that future missions to Mars may be necessary to find out for sure.

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Richard Leis

Richard Leis is a fiction writer and poet, with his first published poem forthcoming later in 2017 from Impossible Archetype. His essays about fairy tales and technology have been published on Tiny Donkey. Richard is also the Downlink Lead for the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) team at the University of Arizona. He monitors images of the Martian surface taken by the HiRISE camera located on board the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter in orbit around Mars and helps ensure they process successfully and are validated for quick release to the science community and public. Once upon a time, Richard wrote and edited the science and technology news and commentary website Frontier Channel, hosted the RADIO Frontier Channel podcast, and organized transhumanist clubs. Follow Richard on his website (richardleis.com), on Goodreads (richardleis), his Micro.blog (@richardleis), Twitter (@richardleisjr), and Facebook (richardleisjr).