Methane

  • The latest methane measurements on Mars to generate some intrigue among planetary scientists stems from the largest ever reading of the gas taken during the Curiosity rover's seven-year mission, which again raises the prospect of microbial life existing at some time, some place on the Red Planet.
  • A new study has independently measured methane emissions from a number of ammonia fertilizer plants. The startling results suggest methane emissions are 100 times higher than industry estimates, and three times higher than the EPA’s estimate for all industry methane emissions in the United States.​
  • The ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO) has made a map of the distribution of watery minerals in the Martian surface, studied how the global dust storm affected the atmosphere, and intriguingly found very little methane, which calls into question the results of a study just last week.
  • Scientists in Europe have made an exciting breakthrough in the effort to limit methane seeping into the atmosphere, isolating a previously unknown bacterium that appears to have a ravenous appetite for the atmospheric trace gas.​
  • The mystery of methane on Mars has been wafting around for decades. Now, using data gathered by the ESA's Mars Express orbiter and NASA's Curiosity rover on the ground, a new study has not only confirmed that the gas is there, but identified its likely source.
  • Titan, the largest moon of Saturn, is a surprisingly dynamic world. Summer was due to hit its northern hemisphere in 2016, but strangely it didn’t seem to arrive as expected. Now, astronomers have analyzed Cassini images and found evidence of rainfall, indicating that finally, summer is coming.
  • According to the Environmental Defense Fund (EDF), the oil and gas industries alone release 75 million metric tons of methane each year. In response, the organization is planning to launch MethaneSAT to identify major sources of methane emissions and identify opportunities for reduction.
  • Saturn’s moon Enceladus is one of the most promising places to look for life. In a new study, scientists subjected earthly bacteria to the kind of conditions found on Enceladus. They were able to survive and reproduce, adding weight to the idea that the icy moon might just be able to support life.
  • Saturn’s moon Titan is very Earth-like, with lakes and oceans, but instead of water, those seas are composed of liquid methane and ethane. Now, scientists at NASA and WSU have recreated that alien ocean in the lab, to test out designs for submarines that may one day dive into the Titanic depths.
  • Science
    Gemstones might not seem so valuable if they literally rained from the sky, but that's thought to be a common weather pattern on ice giant planets. Now scientists at the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory have seen it in action here on Earth, by making it rain diamonds in the lab.
  • Science
    ​While Earth wasn't exactly the best place to set up home during the Archaean era​, life still​ managed to thrive in its oxygen-free ancient oceans. Though much of this period remains a mystery, the still depths of Canada’s Boreal Shield lakes could offer clues to our early origin story.
  • In the fight to cut greenhouse gas emissions, we tend to think of trees as our allies, but new research suggests they might not be as "green" as we think. Researchers have found that some types of trees emit methane through their trunks, partly countering their role as a greenhouse gas sink.