Is Curiosity responsible for Mars methane readings?

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Written by Chuck Bednar (@BednarChuck)
May 28, 2015 –

Is this little guy just detecting his own methane gas? (Credit: NASA)

(Chuck Bednar for – @BednarChuck) One of the reasons the Curiosity rover was sent to Mars was to determine once and for all if the Red Planet was emitting methane, but could it have actually further muddled matters instead by giving off the chemical compound itself?

That’s the issue investigated by Johnny Bontemps of Astrobiology Magazine in a story published earlier this week by Discovery News. The gist of it is this: nearly five decades ago, Mariner 7 first purportedly detected methane near the south pole. While that turned out to be a false signal, orbiting spacecraft and Earth-based telescopes again detected methane in 2003 and 2004.

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