Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Mars missions may learn from meteorite from Australia

Date:
May 30, 2012
Source:
University of Edinburgh
Summary:
A discovery about the make-up of the atmosphere of Mars could help inform future missions searching for life there.

University of Edinburgh scientists have made a discovery about Mars' atmosphere, which could inform the search for life there. Scientists have tried to find out how the planet's environment came to contain methane gas, which contains carbon -- a substance found in all living things.

They found that meteorites, which continually bombard the surface of Mars, contain enough carbon compounds to generate methane when they are exposed to sunlight.

Better value missions

Researchers say their findings give valuable insights into the planet's atmosphere.

Scientists planning future missions to Mars could use the findings to fine-tune their experiments, potentially making their trips more valuable.

Meteorite experiments

To reach their findings, researchers from the University of Edinburgh, the Max Planck Institute in Germany and Utrecht University carried out experiments on samples from the Murchison meteorite, which fell on Australia more than 40 years ago.

The team took particles from the rock -- which has a similar composition to meteorites on Mars -- and exposed them to levels of ultraviolet radiation equivalent to sunlight on the red planet, which is cooler than Earth.

They found that the amount of methane given off by the particles was significant, and could account for a large part of the methane in Mars' atmosphere.

Astrobiology input

The study, published in Nature, benefited from related studies of methane and ultraviolet radiation supported by a Royal Society Leverhulme Trust Fellowship and the Natural Environment Research Council, with input from the UK Astrobiology Centre.

"Whether or not Mars is able to sustain life is not yet known, but future studies should take into account the role of sunlight and debris from meteorites in shaping the planet's atmosphere," said Dr Andrew McLeod.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Edinburgh. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Frank Keppler, Ivan Vigano, Andy McLeod, Ulrich Ott, Marion Frόchtl, Thomas Rφckmann. Ultraviolet-radiation-induced methane emissions from meteorites and the Martian atmosphere. Nature, 2012; DOI: 10.1038/nature11203

Cite This Page:

University of Edinburgh. "Mars missions may learn from meteorite from Australia." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 30 May 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/05/120530152205.htm>.
University of Edinburgh. (2012, May 30). Mars missions may learn from meteorite from Australia. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 17, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/05/120530152205.htm
University of Edinburgh. "Mars missions may learn from meteorite from Australia." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/05/120530152205.htm (accessed April 17, 2014).

Share This



More Space & Time News

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

New Baby Moon 'Peggy' Spotted In Saturn's Rings

New Baby Moon 'Peggy' Spotted In Saturn's Rings

Newsy (Apr. 15, 2014) — A bump in the rings could be a half-mile-wide miniature moon. It was found by accident in Cassini probe images. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Americas Glimpse Total Lunar Eclipse

Americas Glimpse Total Lunar Eclipse

AFP (Apr. 15, 2014) — A total lunar eclipse, the first since December 2011, took place early Tuesday morning with the Americas getting the best glimpse. Duration: 1:19 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
NASA Showcases Lunar Eclipse

NASA Showcases Lunar Eclipse

AP (Apr. 15, 2014) — Star gazers in parts of North and South America got a rare treat early Tuesday morning - a total eclipse of the moon. (April 15) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Spacecrafts Could Use Urine As Fuel Source

Spacecrafts Could Use Urine As Fuel Source

Newsy (Apr. 15, 2014) — New research says the urea from urine could be recycled for fuel. Urea is filtered out of wastewater when making drinking water. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins