Friday, January 16, 2009

Methane on Mars Could Indicate Life

Scientists for the first time have definitively detected methane on Mars from a specific active region. Well, three actually. This could be big news for people interested in finding extraterrestrial lifeforms. On Earth methane is usually produced by life forms. The hope is that the methane found on Mars is an indication that they have life as well. This is not the Sci-Fi super smart aliens coming to Earth to abduct humans. This is probobly not even a cute little Mars bunny. It could be some simple and likely tiny organisms. The methane could have been created by geological and not biological processes, but the hot spots give scientists a new and clear target to search for life.

"Methane, an organic molecule that on Earth is usually produced by life, has been found emanating from three specific regions on the surface of Mars.

The regions have suddenly become the most defined and accessible regions in the solar system to look for extraterrestrial life. While the observation is not definitive proof of life on Mars, it's the most promising sign yet.
"This is the first definitive detection of methane on Mars and the first definitive identification of active regions of release," said Michael Mumma, a NASA Goddard Institute scientist and co-author of a paper Thursday in Science on the observations.

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