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IPFS News Link • Space Travel and Exploration

Curiosity Rover’s Secret Historic Breakthrough? Speculation Centers on Organic Molecules

•, By Adam Mann
 The report comes by way of the rover’s principal investigator, geologist John Grotzinger of Caltech, who said that Curiosity has uncovered exciting new results from a sample of Martian soil recently scooped up and placed in the Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instrument.

“This data is gonna be one for the history books. It’s looking really good,” Grotzinger told NPR in an segment published Nov. 20. Curiosity’s SAM instrument contains a vast array of tools that can vaporize soil and rocks to analyze them and measure the abundances of certain light elements such as carbon, oxygen, and nitrogen – chemicals typically associated with life.

The mystery will be revealed shortly, though. Grotzinger told Wired through e-mail that NASA would hold a press conference about the results during the 2012 American Geophysical Union meeting in San Francisco from Dec. 3 to 7. Because it’s so potentially earth-shaking, Grotzinger said the team remains cautious and is checking and double-checking their results. But while NASA is refusing to discuss the findings with anyone outside the team, especially reporters, other scientists are free to speculate.

1 Comments in Response to

Comment by Ed Price (10621)
Entered on:

I'm just guessing, of course, but if they find any evidence of complex life, it will probably be something that can be identified as having come from earth... or at least extremely similar to past life on earth. The similarities will be so great that all they will prove is that there was at one time a near collision of Mars and the earth that sucked a bunch of Earth's material off Earth and deposited it on Mars.

The only other thing that might have happened is that somebody from Earth's ancient past had space travel, and dropped off some "life" on Mars.