Mars Methane: Life at Last?

Mars Methane: Life at Last? –

Methane is ubiquitous.

Around 20% of the universe’s carbon is thought to be tied up in polycyclic hydrocarbons, of which methane is the simplest, one carbon with four hydrogen, and the most common.

Even the moon seeps methane.

Methane is “organic” in a literal sense, it is a hydrocarbon. 

But the vast majority of hydrocarbon organic compounds have no association with life at all and never will.

Mercury seeps methane, the moon seeps methane, Venus has significant methane in the atmosphere, and many of the planets and moons beyond Mars, as well as comets, have methane.

It’s one of the most common compounds in the universe. 

Nature tends to go to it again and again by either biological or non-biological means, because it’s a chemically easy to achieve state as the simplest organic compound.

Again, the moon and mercury both seep methane too, so no significance at all should be attached to Mars seeping methane. 

Methane is present in most stars too, that doesn’t mean there’s life in the sun.

Carbon is the fourth most common element in the universe but only fifteenth most common in earth’s crust. 

So we have only one planet known to produce life and the carbon on it is maybe lower than average. 

Those facts in combination suggest that the presence of carbon or organics on a planet are singularly useless as a predictor of life.


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