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NASA's Mars rover Curiosity has apparently made a discovery "for the history books," but we'll have to wait a few weeks to learn what the new Red Planet find may be, media reports suggest.
The discovery was made by Curiosity's Sample Analysis at Mars instrument, NPR reported today (Nov. 20). SAM is the rover's onboard chemistry lab, and it's capable of identifying organic compounds — the carbon-containing building blocks of life as we know it.
SAM apparently spotted something interesting in a soil sample Curiosity's huge robotic arm delivered to the instrument recently.
The rover team won't be ready to announce just what SAM found for several weeks, NPR reported, as scientists want to check and double-check the results. Indeed, Grotzinger confirmed to SPACE.com that the news will come out at the fall meeting of the American Geophysical Union, which takes place Dec. 3-7 in San Francisco.
The exciting results are coming from an instrument in the rover called SAM. "We're getting data from SAM as we sit here and speak, and the data looks really interesting," John Grotzinger, the principal investigator for the rover mission, says during my visit last week to his office at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. That's where data from SAM first arrive on Earth. "The science team is busily chewing away on it as it comes down," says Grotzinger.
SAM is a kind of miniature chemistry lab. Put a sample of Martian soil or rock or even air inside SAM, and it will tell you what the sample is made of.
Grotzinger says they recently put a soil sample in SAM, and the analysis shows something earthshaking. "This data is gonna be one for the history books. It's looking really good," he says.
Grotzinger can see the pained look on my face as I wait, hoping he'll tell me what the heck he's found, but he's not providing any more information.
Originally posted by CaptainBeno
I think we all tend to "expect" an exciting result nowadays. However, I think a simple "yes, organic life exists on mars" on some level would suffice for me...........at least it's a start hey? Where we go from here who knows?
I have also heard on the Beeb this moring that ESA are ramping up for an expedition to Mars 2016-2018, not sure if that is literally true but that is what was said.
After US space agency NASA, which has been at the forefront of exploring Mars, with a number of rovers crisscrossing the planet, including their newest, Curiosity, having spent a couple of months there, the European Space Agency (ESA) is going to launch missions to the Red Planet. The ESA has announced that it will be launching its own missions in a joint effort with Russia.
Member states of the ESA on Monday ratified an agreement that would see the space agency work alongside that of Russia for missions that are expected to take place in 2016 and 2018. The joint venture, dubbed ExoMars, was all but dead in the water, as a previous agreement between the ESA and America fell through, but now with the Russian involvement approved, it seems that it is all set to go.
Speaking about ExoMars, Frederic Nordlund, the head of international relations at ESA, said that if successful, the relationship between ESA and Russia could expand, with possible mission to Jupiter.............