NASA has admitted that it is "struggling to explain" why oxygen is being created, and then consumed on Mars. The US space agency has been left scratching their collective heads since.
The reason behind this is that NASA's own Curiosity rover that is chilling on the Red Planet has returned some rather interesting data back to our Pale Blue Dot, showing that elevated methane levels were recorded, and NASA can't explain why. There have been tests conducted and completed to try and work out why these levels were so high, but NASA doesn't know why.
NASA's Curiosity rover "breathes" in the air on Mars, analyzes it and tells NASA what types of gasses are detected. But something interesting was discovered -- here on Earth the background levels of certain gasses will increase and decrease as the seasons change, and something similar is happening on Mars.
Mars' air is mostly carbon dioxide, with 95% of the gas Curiosity is breathing in during its tests being CO2 while the remaining 5% is blend of argen, carbon monoxide, nitrogen, and oxygen. NASA has plotted these gasses over a 12-month period, with scientists noticing some anomalies with the amount of oxygen when compared to other gasses on Mars.
NASA explained: "Within this environment, scientists found that nitrogen and argon follow a predictable seasonal pattern, waxing and waning in concentration in Gale Crater throughout the year relative to how much CO2 is in the air. They expected oxygen to do the same. But it didn't. Instead, the amount of the gas in the air rose throughout spring and summer by as much as 30%, and then dropped back to levels predicted by known chemistry in fall".
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