Curiosity’s Methane Result Causing Reexamination Of Previous Data

The Washington Post (9/23, Achenbach, 4.28M) continues coverage of how the Curiosity rover found no trace of methane on Mars. Michael Mumma of the Goddard Space Flight Center said his team is reviewing their data since they previously had detected the gas. Michael Meyer, lead scientist for NASA’s Mars Exploration Program, said, “It’s possible that we don’t understand something that’s going on in the Martian atmosphere.” Jim Green, director of NASA’s planetary sciences division, added that Curiosity is not looking for life present today as “today is a small microcosm of time, and Curiosity is going for the geological record of the planet, which includes maybe millions or hundreds of millions of years when life existed.” The article notes how other planetary bodies also “pique the interest” of scientists looking for life. NASA’s Chris McKay said, “The interior of Enceladus would be dark and cold and not very pleasant for us humans. … But we find microbes [on Earth] living under ice in remarkably similar conditions.”