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Curiosity fails to detect methane on Mars
Posted: Fri, Sep 20, 2013, 8:15 AM ET (1215 GMT)
MSL self-portrait, November 2012 (NASA/JPL) NASA's Curiosity rover has failed to detect methane in the Martian atmosphere, a finding that deals a setback for the prospects of life there. A laser spectrometer on Curiosity failed to detect any methane in the Martian atmosphere in six tests performed since last October, setting an upper limit on any methane in the atmosphere at 1.3 parts per billion. The finding stands in contrast to previous observations, which detected evidence of methane in the atmosphere that could be produced by geological or biological means. However, scientists emphasized the lack of methane detected by Curiosity does not mean the planet is currently devoid of life, since many terrestrial microbes do not produce methane.
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