No detection of methane on Mars from early ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter observations

Oleg Korablev 1 Ann Carine Vandaele 2 Franck Montmessin 3 Anna A. Fedorova 1 Alexander Trokhimovskiy 1 François Forget 4 Franck Lefèvre 3 Frank Daerden 2 Ian R. Thomas 2 Loic Trompet 2 Justin T. Erwin 2 Shohei Aoki 2 Séverine Robert 2 Lori Neary 2 Sébastien Viscardy 2 Alexey V. Grigoriev 1 Nikolay I. Ignatiev 1 Alexey Shakun 1 Andrey Patrakeev 1 Denis A. Belyaev 1 Jean-Loup Bertaux 3, 1 Kevin S. Olsen 3 Lucio Baggio 3 Juan Alday 5 Yuriy S. Ivanov 6 Bojan Ristic 2 Jon Mason 7 Yannick Willame 2 Cédric Depiesse 2 Laszlo Hetey 2 Sophie Berkenbosch 2 Roland Clairquin 2 Claudio Queirolo 2 Bram Beeckman 2 Eddy Neefs 2 Manish R. Patel 7 Giancarlo Bellucci 8 José-Juan López-Moreno 9 Colin F. Wilson 5 Giuseppe Etiope 10, 8, 11 Lev Zelenyi 1 Håkan Svedhem 12 Jorge L. Vago 12 Gustavo Alonso-Rodrigo 13 Francesca Altieri 8 Konstantin Anufreychik 1 Gabriele E. Arnold 14 Sophie Bauduin 15 David Bolsée 2 Giacomo Carrozzo 8 R. Todd Clancy 16 Edward A. Cloutis 17 Matteo Crismani 18 Fabiana da Pieve 2 Emiliano d'Aversa 8 Natalia Duxbury 19 Thérèse Encrenaz 20 Thierry Fouchet 20 Bernd Funke 9 Didier Fussen 2 Maia Garcia-Comas 9 Jean-Claude Gérard 21 Marco Giuranna 8 Leo Gkouvelis 21 Francisco Gonzalez-Galindo 9 Davide Grassi 8 Sandrine Guerlet 4 Paul Hartogh 22 James A. Holmes 7 Benoît Hubert 21 Jacek W. Kaminski 23 Özgür Karatekin 24 Yasumasa Kasaba 25 David Kass 26 Igor Khatuntsev 1 Armin Kleinböhl 26 Nikita Kokonkov 1 Vladimir Krasnopolsky 27 Ruslan Kuzmin 1 Gaetan Lacombe 3 Orietta Lanciano 28 Emmanuel Lellouch 20 Stephen Lewis 7 Mikhail Luginin 1 Giuliano Liuzzi 18 Manuel López-Puertas 9 Miguel Lopez-Valverde 9 Anni Määttänen 3 Arnaud Mahieux 2 Emmanuel Marcq 3 Javier Martin-Torres 29 Igor Maslov 1 Alexander Medvedev 22 Ehouarn Millour 4 Boris Moshkin 1 Michael J. Mumma 18 Hiromu Nakagawa 25 Robert E. Novak 18 Fabrizio Oliva 8 Dmitry Patsaev 1 Arianna Piccialli 2 Cathy Quantin-Nataf 30 Etienne Renotte 31 Birgit Ritter 21 Alexander Rodin 32 Frédéric Schmidt 33 Nick Schneider 34 Valery Shematovich 35 Michael D. Smith 18 Nicholas A. Teanby 36 Ed Thiemann 34 Nicolas Thomas 37 Jean Vander Auwera 38 Luis Vázquez 39 Geronimo Villanueva 18 Matthieu Vincendon 40 James Whiteway 41 Valérie Wilquet 2 Michael J. Wolff 16 Paulina Wolkenberg 8 Roger Yelle 42 Roland Young 4 Ludmila Zasova 1 Maria Paz Zorzano 43
3 IMPEC - LATMOS
LATMOS - Laboratoire Atmosphères, Milieux, Observations Spatiales
Abstract : The detection of methane on Mars has been interpreted as indicating that geochemical or biotic activities could persist on Mars today1. A number of different measurements of methane show evidence of transient, locally elevated methane concentrations and seasonal variations in background methane concentrations2,3,4,5. These measurements, however, are difficult to reconcile with our current understanding of the chemistry and physics of the Martian atmosphere6,7, which—given methane’s lifetime of several centuries—predicts an even, well mixed distribution of methane1,6,8. Here we report highly sensitive measurements of the atmosphere of Mars in an attempt to detect methane, using the ACS and NOMAD instruments onboard the ESA-Roscosmos ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter from April to August 2018. We did not detect any methane over a range of latitudes in both hemispheres, obtaining an upper limit for methane of about 0.05 parts per billion by volume, which is 10 to 100 times lower than previously reported positive detections2,4. We suggest that reconciliation between the present findings and the background methane concentrations found in the Gale crater4 would require an unknown process that can rapidly remove or sequester methane from the lower atmosphere before it spreads globally.
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Submitted on : Monday, April 15, 2019 - 11:31:59 AM
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Oleg Korablev, Ann Carine Vandaele, Franck Montmessin, Anna A. Fedorova, Alexander Trokhimovskiy, et al.. No detection of methane on Mars from early ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter observations. Nature, Nature Publishing Group, 2019, 568, pp.517-520. ⟨10.1038/s41586-019-1096-4⟩. ⟨insu-02099757⟩

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