In a setback to all those who are hoping life on Mars, NASA’s new report suggests that no living condition is likely on the red planet as its Curiosity rover has revealed no trace of methane, a potential sign of life, on the Martian surface.
Whether the Martian atmosphere contains traces of the gas has been a question of high interest for years because methane could be a potential sign of life, although it also can be produced without biology.
The report came as a surprise to the global researchers because previous data reported by US and international scientists indicated positive detections of methane.
The roving laboratory performed extensive tests to search for traces of Martian methane. “This important result will help direct our efforts to examine the possibility of life on Mars,” said Michael Meyer, NASA’s lead scientist for Mars exploration.
“It reduces the probability of current methane-producing Martian microbes, but this addresses only one type of microbial metabolism. As we know, there are many types of terrestrial microbes that don’t generate methane,” said Meyer.
Scientists say, Curiosity analysed samples of the Mars atmosphere for methane six times from October 2012 through June and detected none.
“We measured repeatedly from Martian spring to late summer, but with no detection of methane,” said Webster.