With less than two weeks to go before its historic flyby, the Ralph instrument aboard the New Horizons spacecraft has confirmed the presence of frozen methane on Pluto—something scientists first detected as far back as 1976.
There's a patch of desert in the American southwest where something odd is happening. What is it — and what's causing it?
The more we learn about Mars, the more we learn it's a deceptively active planet. Most recently, the Curiosity rover sniffed out a sharp spike in methane levels that dropped back down just as quickly, suggesting some yet-to-be-determined process is currently happening to trigger the aberration.
Lake Abraham, in Canada, is filled with beautiful bubbles that, if they pop, will ruin your day on the ice at least two different ways. First, they'll displace oxygen. Second, if they pop anywhere near sparks or fire, they'll explode.
Reservoirs and hydropower are often thought of as climate friendly, but new research suggests that we may have underestimated the amount of methane they produce. The methane—which is 35 times as potent a greenhouse gas as CO2 over the span of a century—is produced by bacteria eating nutrient-rich agricultural runoff.
See that small "hot spot" in the U.S. Southwest near the Four Corners region? It shows an extraordinarily dense concentration of the greenhouse gas methane. At triple the standard ground-based estimate, it's the largest concentration ever seen over the United States. So what's causing it?
Astronomers have developed a powerful new tool that could boost the search for extraterrestrial life.
After almost a year of searching, NASA's Curiosity rover has turned up no traces of the four-pronged hydrocarbon known as methane. This special molecule is regarded by many as a chemical signature of past or present life on the red planet. That means there's no life on Mars, right? Wrong.
That's the intriguing new hypothesis put forward to explain the Permian mass extinction, which wiped out more than 90% of all Earth's species 251 million years ago. And we even know which microbe is responsible for this omnicidal annihilation.
You know a science demonstration is going to be good when it contains the line, "Ask an assistant to light your hands for you." I can't tell you how much I wish I had access to a classroom chemistry lab right now. And chemistry students? Ask your teachers to do this for you to test their mettle!
The Oracle at Delphi is referenced throughout Greek myths and history. Supposedly she was rendered psychic by Apollo. Practically, she was off her skull on gas that seeped out of the fissures of the temple in which she lived. Here is the scientific explanation for what caused this woman to utter her confused…
NASA's Curiosity rover has been sniffing out Mars' atmosphere in search of methane. Methane is a precursor chemical for life. It's also thought that 95% of the methane in Earth's atmosphere is organismal in origin. Methane on the Red Planet would therefore be suggestive of past or present life.
OK, OK, "farting" might not be the technical term. But as long frozen ice in Arctic regions starts to melt, trapped pockets of methane gas are escaping after millennia. This could be seriously bad news for our already warming planet.
Did dinosaur flatulence on the part of sauropods like Apatosaurus warm the Earth? Possibly. At least, that's the main takeaway from a paper published in the latest issue of Current Biology.
2.5 billion years ago, the Sun was basically invisible from the Earth's surface. Microbes in the oceans pumped methane into the atmosphere, creating a giant cloud of smog that covered the entire planet. Yes, the whole world turned into LA.
Archaea are some of the most abundant and least understood, organisms on the planet. These single-celled creatures weren't even properly discovered until the 1970s, and big questions about them remain unanswered, such as whether other organisms ever eat them.
Humans produce two flammable gases: hydrogen and methane. Flammable gases accumulate in an enclosed space and can ignite. Astronauts are humans who spend lots of time in enclosed space. The logic is irrefutable. So, what's the risk to farting astronauts?
Most climate change predictions have only examined the next hundred years. But now a new, even more long-term model suggests that temperatures could rise as much as ten degrees Celsius by 2300 — creating conditions not seen for 34 million years.
Cows give off massive amounts of methane as a by-product of their grassy diet. Kangaroos do not, despite having the same diet. Scientists are looking at that difference and hoping to find a way to combine a cool earth with hamburgers.
We know that Saturn's moon Titan is home to everything from ice volcanoes to methane lakes to possibly even very simple forms of life. But its biggest secret is still hidden from sight: a giant subterranean ocean, possibly of water.