Saturday, January 17, 2009
Who is cutting the farts of Mars?
The discovery of methane in the atmosphere of Mars has both astronomers and biologists in a tizzy. There really shouldn't be any in the atmosphere so this is a very exciting mystery. There are a few equally plausible reasons it could be there. A geological one, in that internal heat causes subsurface water to react with carbon dioxide, a chemical one from the oxidation of iron, and a biological one, being made by the waste of bacteria. Naturally it's the last one that's generating interest. Given the many depictions of martians in popular culture, it would be deliciously ironic that we would finally find them by their flatulence. Image credit: NASA