Methane. A chemical that results from decay of organice matter, was read by the Mars Curiosity Rover. Measured in the atmosphere around the rover, along with organic molecules in a rock-powder sample via drill, has been the best evidence for life on Mars. Back in 2013, the methane recorded in the atmosphere were was too low to support living microbes — 1.3 parts per billion. However, recording over 20 months show that the amount varies, and that on average, 7 parts per billion of methane exists on the red planet.
Sushil Atreya of the University of Michigan and a member of the Curiosity rover science team, has this to say about the new results, “This temporary increase in methane — sharply up and then back down — tells us there must be some relatively localized source,” and that, “There are many possible sources, biological or non-biological, such as interaction of water and rock.”
Furthermore, Curiosity found organic materials in the rock-powder sample, however skepticism remains, as the organic material could have been delivered by metoreitites.
Time (and science) will tell. Via: NASA