18 January 2009
If you follow space news, you’ve probably heard by now the announcement that methane has been detected with confidence in the martian atmosphere. This is a big deal because methane is broken down very quickly on Mars, so the fact that it is detectable means that there must be a source somewhere, indicating either geologic or biological activity.
It’s important to point out that this is not evidence of life on Mars, as some tabloids claimed. It is evidence that Mars is active in some way, but beyond that nobody can say for sure what the source is. For more details from the press conference, check out Emily’s post over at the Planetary Society blog.