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NASA Leads The World In Astrobiology. Wow, Who Knew?

By Keith Cowing
June 24, 2019
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NASA Leads The World In Astrobiology. Wow, Who Knew?

Curiosity Detects Unusually High Methane Levels On Mars
“This week, NASA’s Curiosity Mars rover found a surprising result: the largest amount of methane ever measured during the mission — about 21 parts per billion units by volume (ppbv). One ppbv means that if you take a volume of air on Mars, one billionth of the volume of air is methane. The finding came from the rover’s Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) tunable laser spectrometer. It’s exciting because microbial life is an important source of methane on Earth, but methane can also be created through interactions between rocks and water.”
Keith’s note: This story on detection of Methane on Mars – a possible biosignature – has been featured on thousands of websites. By coincidence NASA is hosting the largest meeting of Astrobiologists on Earth. I’m attending it. You’d think that NASA PAO would want to link – and then promote – the visibility and synergy of these two events. Guess again. No mention at or NASA’s Main Science page.
Look at the official NASA online feature about detection of Methane on Mars – a potentially significant biosignature – the sort of thing NASA Astrobiology program worries about. But does it mention/link to NASA’s Astrobiology Program? Of course not.

NASA Can’t Figure Out What Astrobiology Is – Or Who Does It, earlier post
“If you go to the main NASA science page (which makes no mention of “Astrobiology”) and use the search function to search for “astrobiology” you get a search results page that says “no results found” but has some old Astrobiology press releases from 2008.”

NASA Watch founder, Explorers Club Fellow, ex-NASA, Away Teams, Journalist, Space & Astrobiology, Lapsed climber.