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Thu Nov 8, 2012, 02:00 PM

Curiosity set to weigh in on Mars methane puzzle

The Curiosity rover has an instrument that could distinguish between biological and non-biological sources of methane on Mars.

Is there methane on Mars? The question has dogged scientists since 1969, when George Pimental at the University of California, Berkeley, an instrument leader on NASA's Mariner 7 programme, held a press conference to announce that methane had been detected near Marsā€™ south polar cap. The revelation came less than 48 hours after his team received the data it was based on; he retracted the finding a month later after realizing that the methane signal was actually coming from carbon dioxide ice.


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