Why in news?
- NASA’s Curiosity rover has discovered high quantities of methane in Mars ‘ air leading to speculation as to whether life exists on or below Mars.
- Later it was discovered that the levels had fallen back to normal.
What is Methane?
- Methane on earth is a natural gas, created primarily by biological and natural processes.
- It is produced by microbes living in the underground and in the digestive system of animals like cows.
It also occurs in natural formations like rocks, springs, and others. It is a result of the chemical reactions at low temperatures between carbon and hydrogen atoms.
- It is a short-lived element on earth. It is one of the 6 greenhouse gases covered under the Kyoto protocol under UNFCCC.
- Scientists are yet to figure out the source of it and its effects on mars.
This shift in gas intensity results from the Martian Plume, whose causes are still undetected by the scientists.