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September 20 2013

Life on Mars? Well, Maybe Not


In findings that are as scientifically significant as they are crushing to the popular imagination, NASA reported Thursday that its Mars rover, Curiosity, has deflated hopes that life could be thriving on Mars today.

The conclusion, published in the journal Science, comes from the fact that Curiosity has been looking for methane, a gas that is considered a possible calling card of microbes, and has so far found none of it. While the absence of methane does not rule out the possibility of present-day life on Mars there are plenty of microbes, on Earth at least, that do not produce methane it does return the idea to the realm of pure speculation without any hopeful data to back it up.

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