Mars Express collects geological and atmospheric data on red planet

Europe’s Mars Express is gathering data regarding the geological and atmospheric processes on the red planet - information that might shore up the case that present-day life is percolating subsurface.

Recent analyses of data gleaned by the Planetary Fourier Spectrometer (PFS) carried by the spacecraft reveal that concentrations of water vapor and methane in &to=' target=_blank>the atmosphere of Mars significantly overlap.

New in-depth looks at the PFS data also bears out that methane is not uniform in the atmosphere, but thick in some areas. The PFS team observed that the areas of highest concentration of methane overlap with the areas where water vapor and underground water ice are also concentrated, reports the

The European Space Agency(ESA) says it has found concentrations of water vapour and the gas methane in the &to=' target=_blank>same places on Mars, which strengthen speculation that the Red Planet could be a haven for microbial life.

The agency says data obtained by the ESA probe Mars Express and the US spacecraft Mars Odyssey show that in some equatorial locations, low-atmosphere levels of water vapour and methane significantly overlap, China Radio International reported Tuesday.

The concentrations also coincide with an ice layer a few tens of centimeters below the surface.

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