Mars Mystery – Open Floor

Hi, everyone. I have been totally crunched by a deadline this week, which is still looming, so I don’t have a post. In the mean time, feel free to have an Open Floor discussion.

To spur things on, here is a link to a story on space.com about the Missing Methane on Mars. Curiosity has failed to find the expected methane – a likely indicator of life –  that was spotted by orbiting survey craft. The plan was to examine the ratio of isotopes to see if it had an organic origin.

So where is the Missing Methane?

18 comments

  1. Reading the article it says the lifetime of methane on Mars is about 300 years. So…. the life died out more than 300 years ago?

    1. Some poor Martian is even now getting reamed out for a) wasting precious methane resources by leaving the valve open and b) being inconsiderate of the delicate Martian ecosystem. Fine= 234 blaglesnorfs.

      The Mars mystery *I* want explored are the lava tube holes!

  2. I wonder if it’s seasonal? I wonder what the freezing temp of methane is at Martian atmospheric pressure? It get cold enough to freeze methane at 1 atm, but . . .

    Or if it’s organic it may only be produced during summer at, say, the edges of the icecap where there’s a bit of subsurface water. Right now it’s northern hemisphere spring, with the summer solstice in February.

    1. No, Mars doesn’t get cold enough to freeze or even liquefy Methane at normal atmospheric pressure, though it does get nearly cold enough to liquefy it (-160C melting point vs -143C low temp according to Wiki).

      My thought is that it’s in the upper atmosphere only, Methane being lighter than Carbon Dioxide

      1. I think the idea with seasonal methane is methane clathrates below the surface of mars melting at water-ice melting pressures and temps during martian summers. That or life.

        I suppose they’re going to be rechecking the atmosphere readings from the orbiters to see if they are still seeing methane and if what they see is really methane.

  3. Obviously the true culprit of the Mavors incident is measurement error and/or natural gas speculators.

  4. Everybody knows that cows fly over the moon, they don’t have time to go that far out. Do Goats create meth…ane?

    1. No, everyone knows that Goats use meth…ane. It lowers their decision making skills. That is why they think it is good idea to stand on the hood of a brand new pickup… with a rifle in the gun rack.

  5. Why, the first stage of the terraforming ate it, of course.

    Wait, what do you mean we haven’t started that yet?

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