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Aliens on Mars? NASA's Curiosity Discovers Potential Life Outside Earth

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An artist's creative visualization of Mars with life. (Photo : Moyan Brenn/Flickr)
Talks about the possibility of extraterrestrial life on Mars resurfaced after NASA detected methane pulses on the planet's surface.
According to the CS Monitor, unusually high measurements of methane have been recorded by the space agency and have caught its attention because such phenomenon could be of biological origin.
The news revealed that the levels of methane in the planet was found by NASA's Mars Curiosity rover during its first year of exploring the red planet's Crater as well as the slopes of Mt. Sharp.
"It is a very, very puzzling result. Either Mars is geologically alive, which would be surprising, or Mars is biologically alive, which would have profound implications," Williamsburg, Virginia's College of William and Mary planetary scientist Joel Levine told the National Geographic.
Christopher Webster, the lead author of a paper reporting the results and researcher at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory describes the find as an "oh, my gosh" moment, according to the National Geographic.
The methane pulses, however, lasted for only six weeks and were spotted along a small area located at about 2,625 feet or 800 meters in the rover's route.
Furthermore, scientist Sushil Atreya from the University of Michigan, who also works with the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), explained that the finding implied a localized source of the gas.
"There are many possible sources, biological or non-biological, such as interaction of water and rock," added Curiosity rover science team member Ann Arbor.
According to the JPL, the researchers utilized the team's Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) laboratory over the 20-month period to determine whether there is indeed methane in the planet's atmosphere.
During that period, the team was able to record only four methane measurements that averaged to seven parts per billion. Aside from that, the usual recorded average remained at about ten percent of that level.
NASA's scientists are suddenly so excited about Mars' "burp" incident because it indicates a favorable condition for life to be able to thrive in Mars despite the fact that methane gas pulses are not rock-solid evidence that the planet is actually harboring living organisms, noted the JPL.
John Grotzinger, a Curiosity project scientist from the California Institute of Technology vowed that the team would continue studying whether there indeed is life on the red planet.

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