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Fourth echelon

Is the Curiosity rover polluting Mars with methane?

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PASADENA, Calif., May 26 (UPI) -- Methane readings on Mars are once again sparking scientific controversy back on Earth. Recently, sensors on NASA's Mars rover, Curiosity, registered a sizable spike in methane gas, leading researchers to believe microbial life might not be far away.

On Earth, most methane gas is produced by living organisms, so large concentrations of the gas have long been considered a sign of life. But not long after the Curiosity readings set the scientific community abuzz, one scientist began second-guessing the source.


"I am convinced that they really are seeing methane," Kevin Zahnle, a researcher at NASA Ames Research Center who wasn't involved in the recent Curiosity research, told Astrobiology Magazine. "But I'm thinking that it has to be coming from the rover."



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