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With a Poof, Mars Methane Is Gone

Scientists grew excited when NASA’s Mars Curiosity rover, while testing the air of Gale Crater, detected high levels of methane, which on Earth can be produced by microbes or other living things. Curiosity’s keepers at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, in Pasadena, canceled the rover’s weekend plans to repeat the experiment, hoping for clues that might point to the existence of life on the planet. But the second reading indicated that the methane had fallen to its normal level in the Martian air — less than one part per billion, all but nonexistent.

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