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Methane surge on Mars:Possibility of life?

The methane spike was first reported by the Curiosity rover in 2013 and it could be evidence that there is life on the red planet. The methane spike was first measured by Nasa's Curiosity rover on the surface; now it has been confirmed by the Mars Express orbiter.

The gas is of interest because terrestrial methane can be made by life forms, as well as geological processes. Methane is only supposed to have a very short lifetime in the Martian atmosphere, so detecting it there means it must have been released very recently. Findings from the Mars Express spacecraft show that the methane gas burst out of ice cracks near the Gale Crater, which is thought to be where an ancient lake used to be.

There are a variety of ways methane might be produced on Mars. If microbes still exist, they are one possible source. But there are geological processes that can produce methane, and don't require biology. Methane can be made as a downstream product of serpentinisation- a process of mineral alteration in the crust involving heat and water.

Scientists inspected the region around Gale for features where gas seepage is expected. This process is well known on Earth to occur along tectonic faults and from natural gas fields.

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