Researchers from NASA said the Curiosity rover is close to a lot of information that could hint at signs of life on Mars. New Scientist and Space.com note that the researchers found six methane emissions sites, one located a few kilometers southwest of Curiosity. Soon, the rover will investigate these emissions and determine their origin.
Since landing on Mars in 2012, Curiosity has detected methane bursts six times, but scientists have so far been unable to locate their sources. European orbiter Trace Gas Orbiter also failed to detect methane at atmospheric level. The team has now narrowed down the ground-based sources by simulating methane particles and tracing their routes based on historical wind speeds.
The study has not yet been peer-reviewed, but scientists have already suggested that the gas is inorganic in origin. Even so, emissions can be related to geological activity due to liquid water. Early Mars contained huge amounts of water – if these sources lack active water, studying them could help clarify the planet’s history.
Previously, a NASA device on Mars went on an autonomous trip for the first time, which does not require the help of researchers from Earth. For this, engineers have specially developed a new navigation system.