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Is there life on Mars? January 15, 2009

Posted by neoavatara in Science.
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http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/mars/news/marsmethane.html

NASA has recently discovered plumes of methane being emitted from the surface of Mars.  Why is methane important?  First, because methane can be emitted from one of two sources:  biological or geological.  Additionally, methane quickly deteriorates in the Martian atmosphere…meaning that new methane is being produced or released.  Geologically, Mars doesn’t have active volcanoes, and thus it is less likely to be from a volcanic source.  Though theoretically, ancient stores of methane could be ‘locked’ underground and be slowly releasing.

Could the source be biological?  It is possible.  Methane producing microbes were one of the first organisms found on Earth.  Why would we not have discovered them yet?  Because these microbes may have to live slightly underground, to stay away from the harsh extreme of Martian weather.  It will take future missions to elucidate the findings.  An intriguing scientific discovery none the less.

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