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Methane Viewer

Spotlight on GCA Video

Congratulations to Dr. Michael Mumma who receives the 2010 NASA Exceptional Scientific Achievement Award:
"In recognition of the first definitive detection of methane in the atmosphere of Mars, revealing an active and dynamic planet and a
possible abode for life beyond Earth."


What's New

News 2013

Hubble Traces Subtle Signals of Water on Hazy Worlds (12.3.2013)

Two teams led by GCA scientists Avi M. Mandell and Drake Deming have found faint signatures of water in the atmospheres of five distant planets using NASA's Hubble Space Telescope. The presence of atmospheric water vapor was reported previously for several exoplanets orbiting stars beyond our solar system, but this is the first study to conclusively measure and compare the profiles and intensities of these signatures on multiple worlds. The two teams used Hubble's Wide Field Camera 3 to explore the absorption of light through the atmosphere of each planet in a range of infrared wavelengths where the water signature, if present, would appear. The teams compared the shapes and intensities of the absorption profiles for all five planets, and the consistency of the signatures gave them confidence they saw water.

Article in the Astrophysical Journal

The Astrobiology Walk Revitalizes Goddard Rocket Garden (10.31.2013)

The new Goddard Center for Astrobiology (GCA) exhibit - The Astrobiology Walk - was officially opened on Tuesday, October 29th, with a ribbon cutting ceremony by the Goddard Center Director, Christopher Scolese, and the NASA HQ Astrobiology Program Scientist, Mary Voytek. More than 75 guests attended the event, including HQ and Goddard managers and laboratory chiefs. Images of the opening event can be viewed on the Goddard Flickr Gallery.

Ribbon Cutting of New Astrobiology Exhibit (10.23.2013)

This event has been rescheduled to October 29th, 2013.

The new GCA exhibit - The Astrobiology Walk - describes the search for the origins of life here on Earth, elsewhere in the solar system and throughout the universe. A ribbon-cutting event for NASA officials, special guests and media begins at 2 p.m. EDT on October 29th, 2013 at the Goddard Visitor Center, with scientists who participated in creating the exhibit on hand. The Astrobiology Walk comprises 10 stations arranged in an arc in the Visitor Center's outdoor Rocket Garden. Panels at each station explain scientific principles and describe Goddard's contribution to that science. Each station is also crowned with a three-dimensional tactile iconic object – a visual representation of the science concepts being presented, such as the high-definition topographical globe of Mars and the peanut-shaped nucleus of comet Hartley 2. The exhibit also features stromatolite rocks, formed by blue-green algae, and a banded ironstone formation. These rocks hail from the time of oxygen's first appearance in Earth's atmosphere around 2.4 billion years ago.

Exhibit Brochure Download Exhibit Brochure
Organic Chemistry on Cosmic Ice (3.4.2013)

GCA scientists, Reggie Hudson and Perry Gerakines, have been studying the ultracool chemistry of cosmic ice in GSFC's Cosmic Ice Laboratory. Cosmic ice in deep space is amorphous (unstructured), unlike the ice crystals on Earth. It is so widespread in interstellar space that it could be the most common form of water in the Universe. Often particles and organic compounds are trapped in this ice that could provide clues to life in the Universe. The scientists created ices spiked with an amorphous form of an amino acid (either glycine, alanine or phenylalanine) that is found in proteins, then bombarded the samples with a high-energy proton beam. They found that the amino acids were shielded from the destructive effects of high energy radiation by the ice and could survive tens to hundreds of millions of years if buried at least one centimeter deep in comets, icy moons, or planets.

Article in Icarus, Volume 220, Issue 2, Pages 647-659



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  Other Things
Dr. M. Mumma Audio Interview from Science Friday - Mysterious Gas on Mars - 01.16.09
Dr. M. Mumma Audio Interview - Gas Plume on Mars Signals Potential Life - 01.16.09
Interview on Left Handed Acid from Space - Dr. Danny Glavin
Podcast of Dr. Drake Deming's - There is No Place Like Home - 03.03.09
Comet Wild 2 Podcast
Media / Articles
Review Article on Emerging Classification of Comets based on Chemical Composition
GSFC Press Release on Hartlet-2 - A New Breed of Comet?
Animation on the Stardust path through Wild 2 Jets
Dr. Mumma's Keck Lecture on Comets - 2004
Published Paper in Science - Methane on Mars - 2003
Baking the Rover is Not An Option - 11/20/08
Volcanoes May Have Provided Sparks and Chemistry for First Life - 10.16.08
Mars - An Active Planet (1 of 2)
Mars - An Active Planet (2 of 2) - 1.15.09
Dr. Danny Glavin's Article in "Quirks & Quarks" - 3.21.09
Conceptual Animation Demonstrating Spectroscopy to Find Methane on
Mars - 1.15.09
Visualization of Methane Plume Found on Mars During Northern Summer Season - 1.15.09
Methane on Mars - How Geochemical Processes and How Biological Organisms Under Mars Surface May Have Produced Methane - 1.15.09
Press on Astrobio 2010 Santiago

More Media / Articles...

Key Publications
Absolute Measurements of Methane on Mars
Methane and Water
on Mars: Maps of Active Regions and Their Seasonal Variability
Measurement of the
Isotopic Signatures of Water on Mars; Implications for Studying Methane

Measurements with the Sample Analysis at Mars Instrument
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