While hints of water on our neighboring planet have been discovered by the Curiosity Rover, there has been no sign of potential life—until now. Curiosity captured fleeting “burps” of methane on the Red Planet, which is typically emitted as waste gas by living organisms, such as bacteria. “At the moment we can’t really tell anything, but these burps are intriguing,” NASA’s Paul Mahaffy said. “We don’t want to eliminate anything, and potentially it could indicate life or evidence of ancient methane trapped, which could show ancient life.” A low level of methane can be attributed to the degrading of organic matter by the sun’s rays, NASA said. However, a survey contained within a 300-square-meter area saw a tenfold spike in methane in only 60 Martian days. A final answer may come in 2019, when the European Space Agency’s ExoMars mission lands to look for life.
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