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Planetary and Space Science 55 (2007) 358369 Methane and related trace species on Mars: Origin, loss,
 

Summary: Planetary and Space Science 55 (2007) 358369
Methane and related trace species on Mars: Origin, loss,
implications for life, and habitability
Sushil K. Atreyaa,, Paul R. Mahaffyb
, Ah-San Wonga
a
Department of Atmospheric, Oceanic, and Space Sciences, Space Research Building, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-2143, USA
b
Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD 20771, USA
Accepted 8 February 2006
Available online 22 August 2006
Abstract
One of the most puzzling aspects of Mars is that organics have not yet been found on the surface. The simplest of organic molecules,
methane, was detected in the Martian atmosphere for the first time in 2003. The existence and behavior of methane on Mars is of great
significance, as methane is a potential biomarker. In this paper we review our current understanding of possible sources and sinks of
methane on Mars. We also investigate the role of other trace species in the maintenance and removal of methane from the atmosphere, as
well as of other organic material from the surface. In particular, we examine the exogenous, hydrogeochemical--especially
serpentinization--and biological sources, for supplying methane to Mars. We suggest that comets and meteorites are the least likely,
whereas low-temperature serpentinization is the most plausible of all candidates to explain the methane observations. Nevertheless, it is
premature to rule out the role of biology in producing methane on Mars, in view of available data. It is important to note that the loss of

  

Source: Atreya, Sushil - Department of Atmospheric, Oceanic and Space Science, University of Michigan

 

Collections: Physics