Skip to comments.NASA Not Sharing a "Historic" Find On Mars.... yet
Posted on 11/24/2012 5:03:29 PM PST by lbryce
Data that NASA's discovery wee a sample of Martian dirt could be earth-shattering, but the space agency is taking time to check its work.
NASA's not sharing a 'historic' find on Mars... yet
Data from a sample of Martian dirt could be earth-shattering, but the space agency is taking time to check its work.
SAM, a mobile sample analysis lab, is currently mounted on Curiosity and finding interesting stuff in Martian soil.
It seems NASA and the Curiosity rover have found something exciting and nerd-tastic on Mars, but the space agency's scientists are holding back for now, despite how painful it appears to be for them.
NPR science correspondent Joe Palca happened to be in the room recently when John Grotzinger, lead scientist for the Curiosity mission at NASA, started receiving data on his computer from the rover's on-board chemistry lab, also known as SAM (sample analysis at Mars). SAM and NASA scientists on Earth have been busy analyzing a sample of Martian soil of late, and apparently the dirt from the Red Planet has a secret to tell.
"This data is going to be one for the history books, it's looking really good," Grotzinger said in the story that aired yesterday.
And that's about all he said.
Grotzinger and NASA have remained mum on what exactly Curiosity may have found in the Martian soil, saying it could be several more weeks until they're able to verify the data. The scientists need to make sure whatever earth-shattering find they have isn't an error or perhaps some kind of stowaway molecule or whatever it may be that hitched one really long ride from Earth.
So I contacted another space smarty-pants type not associated with NASA to see if he might have a guess.
Lewis Dartnell is a leading astrobiologist at The Centre For Planetary Sciences at UCL/Birkbeck in London. He makes it clear that with so little to go on, no one outside of NASA can know what the agency thinks it has, but, he says, "the SAM instrument is designed to detect organic molecules on Mars, so the smart money is on an announcement along those lines."
That's right, the smart money is on what we all were already thinking -- LIFE ON MARS.
The seas may be rising and more superstorms may continue to threaten humanity's most important megalopolises, but there could soon be an emerging market for condominiums on Mars to take our minds off of such challenges.
What do you think NASA's found on the fourth rock from the sun? Let us know in the comments. Or just tell us you know what it is, but then don't really tell us until next month.
The fact is that NASA had screwed it up once before when the Viking landers in 1976 sent back indications of life but chose to ignore the analysis by the scientist at the time who claimed it was a life form reacting in the sample, but a re-test proved non-conclusive and left it as that but years later in their reassessment they over-ruled their decision indicating a life form on Mars had in fact been discovered.
So, now, when another opportunity comes along, they're not going to make a determination until they're absolutely positive, But from the article it seems the possibility of some form of primitive life form has indeed been discovered. Stay tuned.
I’m guessing that its water in the soil.
Sounds like NASA is desperate to keep its funding, now that Russia is the leader in space. They could tell us they found little green men on Mars. That ought to get them back in the news and keep the cash flowing to this useless agency in these troubled financial times.
More showmanship than science.
They may have found 3 more witnesses up there to O’s birthing...
I myself was pretty impressed with that railroad tie they found in ‘04.
They’d be stupid to disclose, if it were water, gold, silver, or anything valuable that other countries would accelerate their exploitation of. Keep them guessing.
Im guessing that its water in the soil.
Or several German coins from the Nazi era? Just to keep the Sci-Fi nuts excited.
possibly a green centurion helmet?
Lost Romney ballots?
Great. Awesome stuff. Oooh and Ah.
Now let`s re-direct funding to a REAL national need, like a border wall.
Didn’t they already say they found Methane so they think they found life. The tricky part is the evidence to prove that it was destroyed by Rush Limbaugh’s SUV.
I am betting it will turn out like Geraldo finding Capones secret treasure.
Perhaps SAM found the burned remnants of owebama’s BC and college transcipts.
Sounds like a science news writer needs to keep the story going.
Do you think this would make good copy:
NASA find Dirt on Mars! Iron, basalt and silica abundant on the Red Planet. Read more here!
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