Is the Mars Rover Farting?

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Methane Readings Causing Stink Among Scientist

Is their methane on Mars?  This debate is challenging scientists, who have embarked on a decades-long quest to determine whether the planet can support life. Now, NASA’s Curiosity Rover has detected a spike in methane gas on the red planet — but could the source be the rover itself? Is the Mars Rover Farting?

mars rover methane gas

 The methane controversy on Mars has been almost 50 years in the making. In 1969, NASA’s Mariner 7 detected methane on Mars, then retracted its finding after the methane turned out to be from the planet’s icy carbon dioxide polar caps.

But some scientists are expressing skepticism. NASA’s Kevin Zahnle, who was not involved with the study, believes that the methane “has to be coming from the rover” instead of Mars itself. He theorizes that trace amounts of methane found in Curiosity’s antechamber could be skewing the results and making it appear as if there is methane on the planet instead of inside the rover itself.

However the curiosity’s team, is more optimistic. They contend that they’ve detected more methane gas in excess of what  could be found inside the rover. They believe that the methane gas could be created by seasonal changes on the planet or even off-gassing from an as yet undiscovered meteorite.

So the question still open to debate is there really methane on Mars? The cautious answer is “yes” until there’s more concrete evidence.

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