A Methane Spike Indicates Active Processes On Mars

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. » 12/17/14 1:01am 12/17/14 1:01am

Watch Researchers Set Fire to Methane-Filled Ice Bubbles

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. » 11/10/14 11:51am 11/10/14 11:51am

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. » 10/30/14 6:50am 10/30/14 6:50am

This Part Of The US Is Spewing Methane Into The Air At An Alarming Rate

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? » 10/10/14 7:20am 10/10/14 7:20am

A New Mantra, 'Follow the Methane,' May Advance Search For Alien Life

Astronomers have developed a powerful new tool that could boost the search for extraterrestrial life. » 6/22/14 9:04am 6/22/14 9:04am

Here's why everybody is freaking out about methane on Mars

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. » 9/20/13 10:04am 9/20/13 10:04am

Was Earth's most devastating mass extinction caused by a single microbe?

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. » 12/16/12 1:30pm 12/16/12 1:30pm

Set your hands on fire and make floating balloons of death

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! » 12/07/12 9:20am 12/07/12 9:20am

What really caused the Oracle at Delphi to utter mad prophesies?

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… » 12/05/12 11:00am 12/05/12 11:00am

Curiosity finds no sign of methane on Mars — but does that mean there's…

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. » 11/02/12 12:58pm 11/02/12 12:58pm

The Arctic is farting ancient methane into the atmosphere

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. » 5/20/12 2:30pm 5/20/12 2:30pm

No, Fox News, dinosaurs did not fart their way to extinction

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. » 5/07/12 4:00pm 5/07/12 4:00pm

Earth's atmosphere has repeatedly been choked in a thick methane haze

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. » 3/19/12 3:04pm 3/19/12 3:04pm

Earth's simplest organisms are part of the food chain after all

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. » 3/13/12 9:45am 3/13/12 9:45am

Most important scientific study ever: What about farting astronauts?

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? » 1/15/12 5:00pm 1/15/12 5:00pm

The Arctic could be a tropical rainforest by the 23rd century

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. » 11/17/11 11:00am 11/17/11 11:00am

The Only Way to Save Ourselves From Global Warming: Cowaroos

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. » 6/30/11 3:30pm 6/30/11 3:30pm

Titan's weird orbit reveals a giant ocean hidden beneath the moon's…

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. » 4/18/11 11:14am 4/18/11 11:14am

Hydrocarbons could form deep in the Earth from methane, not animal…

A new study demonstrates how high hydrocarbons could be formed from methane deep within the Earth, aside from the compression and heating of ancient animal remains over the eons. » 4/16/11 8:00am 4/16/11 8:00am

Bacteria ate up all the methane that spilled from the Deepwater Horizon…

All the methane that erupted in the Deepwater Horizon disaster has disappeared. What happened to it? One theory says it was eaten. » 1/10/11 2:38pm 1/10/11 2:38pm