Mars orbiter sniffs out strange chemical signatures that can solve the Red Planet’s methane puzzle

A Mars The orbiter led by the European Space Agency (ESA) has sniffed out two never-before-seen chemical signatures in the red planet’s atmosphere. This discovery could solve an ancient mystery of Martian methane.

Both detections come from ESA’s Trace Gas Orbiter, which was launched in 2016 as part of the first installment of ExoMars, a European-Russian association of two launches to the Red Planet. What is particularly strange about the detections, the scientists say, is that they align with where the scientists would search for methane, a key component in the seek life on Mars. That unlikely alignment means that these compounds can interfere with scientists’ attempts to search for methane.