'One for the history books' discovery by Curiosity rover on Mars


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Michael Watson
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Message 1308198 - Posted: 21 Nov 2012, 0:25:24 UTC

Hints revealed today that the Curiosity rover on Mars has turned up something important. When a NASA scientist is willing to use a phrase like 'one for the history books', one naturally sits up and takes notice. It will apparently take a few weeks to repeatedly verify this discovery, before an official announcement. Speculation so far centers around the possibility that organic compounds have been found on the red planet. Discovery of these would strengthen the case for life on Mars, either currently, or in the past. http://www.npr.org/2012/11/20/165513016/big-news-from-mars-rover-scientists-mum-for-now

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Message 1308367 - Posted: 21 Nov 2012, 14:55:41 UTC

If organic compounds were detected by Curiosity, we have an interesting situation here. Finding these compounds so early in the mission seems to indicate that they are widespread on Mars. The two Viking probes in 1976 seemed to detect life on Mars. This was denied when no organic material could be found in the soil samples. These compounds should exist in the presence of life. If it is probable that organic material exists at the Viking sites, the most serious objection to Viking having found life on Mars, 36 years ago, will be removed. A remarkable story, if true: Life found on Mars a generation ago, and not realized until now.

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Message 1308416 - Posted: 21 Nov 2012, 18:07:58 UTC

That's some great news!
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Michael Watson
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Message 1308959 - Posted: 22 Nov 2012, 20:06:32 UTC

Just a note to minimize the wait for further news of the new discovery on Mars. Dr. Grotzinger, head of the Curiosity science team has reported that he will hold a press briefing on this, on Dec. 3rd, at the meeting of the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco. 20,000 or more scientists are expected to attend the meeting as a whole, which runs from Dec. 3rd to the 7th. Dr. Grotzinger's presentation was earlier set for Dec. 5th. I wonder if it was moved up, due to its perceived importance. As it stands, only 11 days to wait.

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Message 1310588 - Posted: 26 Nov 2012, 21:20:25 UTC
Last modified: 26 Nov 2012, 21:39:17 UTC

A new article, today, from space.com. Affirms, with expert opinion, what was said before about the meaning of finding organic compounds on Mars, vis a vis the Viking probes' apparent detection of life on Mars a generation ago. Also mentions the apparent scientific consensus that organic compounds in the soil are likeliest to be what Curiosity has found, given it capabilities and current activity. Assuming that the earliest date given for disclosure of what has been found (Dec. 3rd) is correct, we have only one week to wait. link to new article: http://www.space.com/18626-nasa-mars-rover-secret-discovery-speculation.html

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Message 1310711 - Posted: 27 Nov 2012, 6:38:58 UTC - in response to Message 1310588.

Thanks for all the updates!

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Message 1310720 - Posted: 27 Nov 2012, 7:52:53 UTC

+1!
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Message 1310892 - Posted: 28 Nov 2012, 2:22:54 UTC

Ah Hah! Now I wonder about "The Face" and "The Pyramid" that was so casually debunked. Have these guys been telling us the truth. I know, I know,it's just a co-incidence that there happens to be a formation on Mars that looks like a face. And oh, by the way, that there is another formation that looks like a PERFECT PYRAMID!Duh, nature does that all the time here on Earth. Right? Let's see! How many out there can show me an example of a perfect pyramid here on earth? And I do mean PERFECT! Excuse me, made by nature! The ONLY ones I know of are all man-made.You know, all sides exactly the same length, the same height, and even, apparently, the same stepped faces. Happens all the time! Right? Yeah right! Some of these guys have been reading too much Terry Pratchett.[/i]
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Message 1310981 - Posted: 28 Nov 2012, 11:06:24 UTC





The face is a trick of the light, and the rock is about 1 feet tall. It all keeps the newspapers in business.

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Message 1311073 - Posted: 28 Nov 2012, 17:02:55 UTC
Last modified: 28 Nov 2012, 17:05:56 UTC

An interesting article in this morning's New York Times on Curiosity's recent discovery. Among the salient points is the admission of Mr. Guy Webster, a press operative at NASA's Jet Propulsion laboratory ( JPL ) that he does not know what Curiosity has found on Mars. This seems to contradict his much quoted remarks minimizing the discovery. It also confirms what was said before about the unlikelihood of someone not on the Curiosity science team being privy to the new data, which is being held so closely. Link to article http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/28/science/space/undisclosed-finding-by-mars-rover-fuels-intrigue.html

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Message 1311093 - Posted: 28 Nov 2012, 18:12:55 UTC

Fostering Curiosity: Mars Express relays rocky images
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Message 1311353 - Posted: 29 Nov 2012, 16:21:45 UTC
Last modified: 29 Nov 2012, 16:25:12 UTC

Last night's NBC Television news had a short feature about the new Curiosity discovery, including a very short session with Dr. Grotzinger. He made a remark about the science team being in the process of learning how to work with organic substances. he didn't actually say they had found organic compounds on Mars, but this seemed to be implied. We'll have to wait another four days to get something more definite.
He also said that he did not have proof of life on Mars. That is not unexpected. As a responsible scientist, he knows that a single soil sample, and chemical results that have, so far, been examined by only his own team can not be conclusive, no matter what they appear to show. Many more samples, chemical tests, and peer review of the results lie between this potential discovery, and scientific proof. A video of the television piece is available here: http://video.msnbc.msn.com/nightly-news/50002282/#50002282

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Message 1311437 - Posted: 5 Dec 2012, 19:57:10 UTC

Well, the December 3rd press briefing has come and gone. I wanted to put up a link ahead of time to a site giving live online coverage of the presentation, but couldn't, with the S@H site being down.
If anyone hasn't heard elsewhere by now, they seem to have discovered simple organic compounds, chloromethanes, but aren't sure yet if Curiosity brought these with it, or if they're native to Mars, and if they're from Mars, if they're related to living things. Some organisms on Earth emit chloromethane. There is a good deal known about the metabolism of perchlorates by microorganisms on Earth. These obtain energy by reducing perchlorates and emitting chlorides.
The Curiosity team has a several step process planned to rule out contamination from Earth, and to decide if any organic compounds found are due to living things. It will apparently take some time to make these determinations.
Dr. Grotzinger seems to have been rather overoptimistic in his estimation of what most people would consider 'one for the history books'. He reports that his remark was prompted by the fact that the science laboratory aboard Curiosity was working consistently, as it was intended to. It *is* a kind of miracle that science can be done by radio remote control at a distance of well over 100 million miles. It is entirely possible the Curiosity will, eventually, make a discovery that everyone will agree is historic.

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Message 1311663 - Posted: 6 Dec 2012, 7:55:05 UTC

I've followed the NASA press conference. They played down any news scoop. It seems again, as in the case of the superluminal neutrinos, that scientists must be more careful in their speaking to the press, which is always looking for news. A dog biting a man is not news, a man biting a dog is news.
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Message 1311722 - Posted: 6 Dec 2012, 12:59:18 UTC

Yep a Shakespearean affair, as in "Much ado about nothing"

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Message 1317376 - Posted: 19 Dec 2012, 23:05:37 UTC

could be trace amounts of water
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Message 1318623 - Posted: 22 Dec 2012, 4:04:58 UTC - in response to Message 1310892.

These pictures were taken on old spacecraft that dont have the less than a meter resoltion. Any of the 3 orbiters are much better and have found no such face, no such buildings. If building werer there they would be prestine as the day they were made becuse of no water erosion. Mars sur\face is made up of sulfric types of salts.

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Message 1345889 - Posted: 12 Mar 2013, 21:33:30 UTC - in response to Message 1308198.
Last modified: 12 Mar 2013, 21:33:51 UTC

Hints revealed today that the Curiosity rover on Mars has turned up something important. ...

This one is for real, hot news just released:


Rover: Conditions Once Suited for Life on Mars

March 12, 2013: An analysis of a rock sample recently collected by NASA's Curiosity rover shows ancient Mars could have supported living microbes.

"A fundamental question for this mission is whether Mars could have supported a habitable environment," said Michael Meyer, lead scientist for NASA's Mars Exploration Program at the agency's headquarters in Washington. "From what we know now, the answer is yes." ...



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Message 1345947 - Posted: 12 Mar 2013, 22:53:03 UTC

Most interesting .....

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Message 1345988 - Posted: 13 Mar 2013, 3:04:10 UTC - in response to Message 1345947.

I would think that the preferred discovery would not be coulda, woulda, shouda but rather "We found evidence of life on Mars) Especially exciting if they find it where there are living organisms now on the Red Planet.

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Message boards : SETI@home Science : 'One for the history books' discovery by Curiosity rover on Mars

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