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10 April 2014 11:44 am ,
Vol. 344 ,
The Pyrenean ibex, an impressive mountain goat that lived in the central Pyrenees in Spain, went extinct in 2000. But a...
Tight budgets are forcing NASA to consider turning off one or more planetary science projects that have completed their...
Ebola is not a stranger to West Africa—an outbreak in the 1990s killed chimpanzees and sickened one researcher. But the...
In an as-yet-unpublished report, an international panel of geoscientists has concluded that a pair of deadly...
Tropical disease experts tried and failed before to eradicate yaws, a rare disfiguring disease of poor countries. Now,...
Since 2002, researchers have reported that agricultural communities in the hot and humid Pacific Coast of Central...
Balkan endemic kidney disease surfaced in the 1950s and for decades defied attempts to finger the cause. It occurred...
- 10 April 2014 11:44 am , Vol. 344 , #6180
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Could a Whiff of Methane Revive The Exploration of Mars?
21 June 2012 2:10 pm
In 2003, three independent groups reported detecting methane in the atmosphere of Mars. Whether the reported methane is from microbes eking out a living beneath the surface or from deep stirrings of the geologically moribund planet, no one can say. Either prospect would excite scientists, but only martian biology could rejuvenate a troubled NASA Mars program. The first group reported that they had detected a few tens of parts per billion by volume of martian methane. They found it by reading the squiggly lines of infrared spectra recorded by ground-based telescopes. Two other independent groups backed up that work with their own reported spectroscopic detections. But some planetary scientists now see no credible signs that there ever was any methane on Mars.