IYA 2009 – Cows on Mars

Posted in IYA2009 at 15:47 by Kathleen

The other day on the news the ticker at the bottom of the TV screen mentioned something about methane on Mars indicating that the planet was more active than previously thought. I rarely pay attention to astronomy on the news. Maybe I should but just like the rest of news, the astronomy that makes it on the news is just the flashy stuff, not necessarily the really interesting stuff.

But that news, I paid some attention to. Not because I was interested in it, but rather because my dad was. I quickly explained that it probably just means that there are still some volcanism going on, no big deal really. I could not quite understand why it made the news.

Just now I searched the news sites to find the story again and read it. It turns out that my answer was just half of it. The other possibility for the methane is life. The most likely candidates are microbes under the surface. But my vote goes to cows though.

Now I know why it made the news. Any astronomy news related to life, exo-planets, and black holes make the news. According to the article I found we will not know which process is the cause of the methane replenishment until the Nasa’s Mars Science Laboratory, due to launch in 2011, reaches the Mars and the data is analyzed. Oh! well. I will pay attention again then.

Here is the link to the news article:

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