Ashwin Vasavada, a project scientist on the mission. On Sunday, NASA released a statement confirming the discovery, explaining how Curiosity's Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) had methane at 21 parts per billion units by volume – much higher than ever before.
Methane is an important NASA's intrepid rover can spot them.
including as far back as the Viking missions in the 1970s. Thus, the discovery of more methane does not necessarily mean we stumbled upon life.
Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator of NASA's science mission directorate, has cautioned against jumping Straight to the ET solution on Twitter, notifying methane can be created by geological processes. And sadly, as far as we know, rocks are not living beings.
Importantly, Curiosity now has some extra work to do, with a follow-up experiment being conducted over the weekend "to gather more information on what might be a transient plume. " NASA notes these unusual methane spikes have been picked up before, but they're not really sure how long they last or what could be causing them.
However, the agency notes definitely say where the methane may have come from.
"Good science relies on."
"With our current measurements, we have no way of telling if the methane source is biology or geology, or even ancient or modern," said Paul Mahaffy, SAM principal investigator, in a statement follow-up and repeat findings before confirmation, so while it's easy to get excited by the potential for signs of life, a lot more work needs to be done before we can truly confirm the presence of any tiny, underground martian friends.