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12 December 2013 1:00 pm ,
Vol. 342 ,
The iconic 125-year-old Lick Observatory on Mount Hamilton near San Jose, California, is facing the threat of closure...
Recent results from the Curiosity Mars rover have helped scientists formulate a plan for the next phase of its mission...
A new, remarkably powerful drug that cripples the hepatitis C virus (HCV) came to market last week, but it sells for $...
In pretoothbrush populations, gumlines would often be marred by a thick, visible crust of calcium phosphate, food...
Evolutionary biologists have long studied how the Mexican tetra, a drab fish that lives in rivers and creeks but has...
Victorian astronomers spent countless hours laboriously charting the positions of stars in the sky. Such sky mapping,...
In an ambitious project to study 1000 years of sickness and health, researchers are excavating the graveyard of the now...
Stefan Behnisch has won awards for designing science labs and other buildings that are smart, sustainable, and...
- 12 December 2013 1:00 pm , Vol. 342 , #6164
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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.