Low upper limit to methane abundance on Mars

Webster, Christopher R., Mahaffy, Paul R., Atreya, Sushil K., Flesch, Gregory J., Farley, Kenneth A., MSL Science Team and Vasconcelos, Paulo (2013) Low upper limit to methane abundance on Mars. Science, 342 6156: 355-357. doi:10.1126/science.1242902


Author Webster, Christopher R.
Mahaffy, Paul R.
Atreya, Sushil K.
Flesch, Gregory J.
Farley, Kenneth A.
MSL Science Team
Vasconcelos, Paulo
Title Low upper limit to methane abundance on Mars
Journal name Science   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0036-8075
1095-9203
Publication date 2013-10-18
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1126/science.1242902
Open Access Status Not Open Access
Volume 342
Issue 6156
Start page 355
End page 357
Total pages 3
Place of publication Washington, DC, United States
Publisher American Association for the Advancement of Science
Formatted abstract
By analogy with Earth, methane in the Martian atmosphere is a potential signature of ongoing or past biological activity. During the past decade, Earth-based telescopic observations reported “plumes” of methane of tens of parts per billion by volume (ppbv), and those from Mars orbit showed localized patches, prompting speculation of sources from subsurface bacteria or nonbiological sources. From in situ measurements made with the Tunable Laser Spectrometer (TLS) on Curiosity using a distinctive spectral pattern specific to methane, we report no detection of atmospheric methane with a measured value of 0.18 ± 0.67 ppbv corresponding to an upper limit of only 1.3 ppbv (95% confidence level), which reduces the probability of current methanogenic microbial activity on Mars and limits the recent contribution from extraplanetary and geologic sources.
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: School of Earth Sciences Publications
Official 2014 Collection
 
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Created: Thu, 13 Feb 2014, 01:36:10 EST by Jon Swabey on behalf of School of Earth Sciences