Mars Does Not Have Life

At least, there is no methane evidence to support the idea that there is life on Mars. This depressing little piece of news was reported today by Kenneth Chang in The New York Times science section:

In findings that are as scientifically significant as they are crushing to the popular imagination, NASA reported Thursday that its Mars rover, Curiosity, which has been trundling across the red planet for a little over a year, has deflated hopes that life could be thriving on Mars today.

The conclusion, published in the journal Science, comes from the fact that Curiosity has been looking for methane, a gas that is considered a possible calling card of microbes, and has so far found none of it. While the absence of methane does not entirely preclude the possibility of present-day life on Mars, it does return the idea to the realm of pure speculation without any hopeful data to back it up.

Bummer.

About Santi Tafarella

I teach writing and literature at Antelope Valley College in California.
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One Response to Mars Does Not Have Life

  1. I thought the idea was to find signs of life dormant or dead. Methane would only indicate active life. The microbes capable of panspermia would survive on Mars yet be dormant. If you think of it, there should be some on the dark side of the Moon as well. But they’re tiny, so finding them won’t be easy… time for more robots!

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