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Detection of Methane in the Atmosphere of Mars

Detection of Methane in the Atmosphere of Mars

Publication date: 15 December 2004

Authors: Formisano, V. et al.

Journal: Science
Volume: 306
Issue: 5702
Page: pp. 1758-1761
Year: 2004

Copyright: 2004 Science

We report a detection of methane in the martian atmosphere by the Planetary Fourier Spectrometer onboard the Mars Express spacecraft. The global average methane mixing ratio is found to be 10 +/- 5 parts per billion by volume (ppbv). However, the mixing ratio varies between 0 and 30 ppbv over the planet. The source of methane could be either biogenic or nonbiogenic, including past or present subsurface microorganisms, hydrothermal activity, or cometary impacts.

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