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Originally posted by Alexjustme
Thats what the NASA web site is currently saying about it.
WASHINGTON -- NASA will hold a news conference at 2 p.m. EST on Thursday, Dec. 2, to discuss an astrobiology finding that will impact the search for evidence of extraterrestrial life. Astrobiology is the study of the origin, evolution, distribution and future of life in the universe.
One more for the limestone theory proposed by elevenaugust - what a cracking theory. That would tie this into the shiny rock and would be a phenomenal find indicating previous abundant life. They may have sampled the shiny rock to get the composition and found the right ratio of carbon, oxygen etc. compounds.
Whatever Curiosity has found, it is not evidence for life on Mars. It can't be. Curiosity is not designed to look for life. Grotzinger has stated this himself. In a Nasa video about the mission, he says, "Curiosity is not a life detection mission. We're not actually looking for life; we don't have the ability to detect life if it was there." Following up the internet speculation, Jeffrey Kluger of Time talked to Nasa's Jet Propulsion Laboratory spokesperson Guy Webster and was told, "It won't be earthshaking, but it will be interesting." So what is the result likely to be? We know that it comes from the analysis of a soil sample using SAM, the on-board mini laboratory for sample analysis. The smart money is on a detection of so-called organic molecules. While scientifically important, organic molecules do not necessarily mean life. "Organic" in this context is a somewhat misleading term used to describe chemical compounds made from carbon bonded to hydrogen. They are essential for life, but not necessarily evidence of life because such molecules can be built from simple chemical reactions.