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Lassonde Professor edges closer to solving methane mystery

New calculations may help explain why NASA’s Curiosity rover detects peaks of methane gas in the Martian atmosphere during the planet’s northern summer.

As winter gives way to spring, the idea goes, the Sun’s heat begins to warm the soil — allowing methane to percolate up from the ground and into the atmosphere, says John Moores, associate professor for the Department of Earth & Space Science and Engineering. He presented the work at a planetary-sciences meeting on October 24.

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