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News Link • Space Travel and Exploration

Mars Rover Scientists Say They're Sitting On A Discovery For The 'History Books'

•, Dina Spector
 The major discovery involves the biggest instrument on the Mars rover called the Sample Analysis at Mars, or SAM.

The purpose of SAM is to determine what minerals and chemicals are in the sand, rocks and atmosphere of Mars by collecting and processing samples.

SAM ingested its first soil sample from a wind-blown patch of sand known as "Rocknest" on Nov. 9. Apparently, the results are very cool, and we guess, might provide some indication as to whether Mars was ever able to support life, which is the purpose of the entire two-year Curiosity mission.

John Grotzinger, the lead project scientist for the Mars mission, tells Palca, "this data is gonna be one for the history books. It's looking really good."
The reason NASA is staying tight-lipped about the new data is because SAM previously examined samples of the Martian air, sparking rumblings that their might be methane on Mars. But to much dismay, Curiosity turned up no methane, a that gas would have been a sign of life on the Red Planet. Naturally, the space agency wants to make sure their analysis is correct before feeding any misleading news to the media (with the exception of this latest nugget of information).

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