Friday, November 2, 2012

Nov 2nd MSL Telecon: Negative Result for Methane on Mars

src: nasajpl
  Today's MSL teleconference focused on the SAM suite of instruments used to study the composition of gases in the Martian atmosphere and the presence of volatile compounds from the surface. The Tunable Laser Spectrometer is can measure the isotopic composition of the carbon compounds in the atmosphere. The relative abundance of the isotopes present can give information on the escape of gases from the Martian atmosphere over time. Heavier isotopes are less likely to escape which results in a higher abundance. The instument was not able to detect the presence of methane in the atmosphere. The conclusion is that if there is any methane present the sinks on the surface dominate over the sources.  telecon images  related press release

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