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Gas on Mars Silent But Not Deadly

Scientists weigh the possibility that methane gas on Mars comes from microorganisms in the soil.

Scientists have ruled out the possibility that the presence of methane gas on Mars is due to meteorites or volcanic activity.

Recent research in the journal Earth and Planetary Science Letters highlights the hope that the consistent levels of methane on the Red Planet could be the result of microorganisms in the Martian soil that are producing the gas as a "by-product of their metabolic processes."

"As Sherlock Holmes said, 'Eliminate all other factors and the one that remains must be the truth,'" said professor Mark Sephton of the department of earth science and engineering at Imperial College London in a press release, stepping delicately around the subject. "The list of possible sources of methane gas is getting smaller and excitingly, extraterrestrial life still remains an option. Ultimately the final test may have to be on Mars."


In other words, the search for extraterrestrial life has been reduced to ... drum-roll please ... alien farts.

The Cocktail Napkin appears at the back page of each issue of Miller-McCune magazine, highlighting current research that merits a raised eyebrow or a painful grin.

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