Will NASA release Earth- ... er, Mars-shaking news?
November 21st, 2012
11:17 AM ET

Will NASA release Earth- ... er, Mars-shaking news?

By Elizabeth Landau, CNN

A big "OMG" moment for space enthusiasts may be coming!

We were certainly excited to read on NPR's website that the Curiosity rover may have discovered something "really interesting." John Grotzinger, principal investigator for the Curiosity rover mission, revealed to NPR that "This data is gonna be one for the history books. It's looking really good."

The data in question come from soil that was analyzed by an instrument suite on the rover called SAM, the Sample Analysis at Mars. This chemistry set is equipped to look for compounds of carbon, such as methane, as well as hydrogen, oxygen and nitrogen. These would suggest at least the possibility that life could have once existed there.

But Grotzinger would not tell NPR exactly what about the latest results could be so "earthshaking" (should we say "Mars-shaking"?). And it will be several weeks before the public may know anything further about the matter, NPR reported. The scientists don't want to say anything prematurely, before they're sure they know what they're seeing.

NASA-Jet Propulsion Laboratory spokesman Guy Webster told CNN that the science team is not ready to discuss the soil inspection from SAM and that the same policy applied to past results from the Curiosity mission.

"The scientists want to gain confidence in the findings before taking them outside of the science team. As for history books, the whole mission is for the history books," he wrote in an e-mail. "John was excited about the quality and range of information coming in from SAM during the day a reporter happened to be sitting in John's office last week. He has been similarly excited by results at other points during the mission so far."

Curiosity has been roaming Mars since its spectacular landing August 6, which involved a supersonic parachute and a sky crane. It weighs nearly 2,000 pounds and has 17 cameras on board. With the rover's sophisticated instruments, the $2.5 billion mission is exploring Mars in ways that no manmade probe has ever been able to before.

The rover landed in a place called Gale Crater, which may have once contained water. In fact, during its first couple of months of exploration, Curiosity found evidence of ancient water, based on rock formations that appeared to have formed in the presence of water.

For several weeks, Curiosity was parked at a place called Rocknest, where it scooped up soil samples and discovered shiny objects.

On November 16, the rover started driving again, NASA said. Currently it's on its way to a location called Point Lake. It moved 83 feet eastward Sunday.

Meanwhile, space fans have taken to Twitter to post humorous speculations about the rover's discoveries using the hashtag #CuriosityFindings. @treelobsters writes, "That red dust? Actually paprika." @jkfecke adds, "Face on Mars is huge statue of Justin Bieber." And particularly groundbreaking would be, as @TechyDad writes, "A giant pile of unmatched socks that disappeared from the Earth's washing machines."

Post by:
Filed under: In Space • Mars
soundoff (869 Responses)
  1. steve

    Methane...guess its one big fart waiting to happen

    November 22, 2012 at 4:49 pm |
  2. Poster #1973

    NASA posted the following on the Curiosity Facebook page: Q. What did I learn on Mars? A. That rumors spread fast on the internet.

    While I personally consider every discovery to be quite exciting, the reality is that an excited remark was blown way out of proportion by the hype machine.

    November 22, 2012 at 4:39 pm |
  3. axel Segura

    then comes my next question. if they found nothing, does it belong to atreyum or sebastian?

    November 22, 2012 at 4:38 pm |
  4. Edwin Segura

    They found that "the never ending story" is true. they can tell by the huge amount of nothing they found.

    November 22, 2012 at 4:36 pm |
  5. BrightStar

    Amelia Earheart?

    November 22, 2012 at 4:12 pm |
  6. mariana t

    Curiosity has discoverd a Stargate on Mars, and now they have to make a big reveal-the-secret thingy here on good ol' First World.
    What do you mean, no?
    Oh. Chemical composition? Sorry, wrong show.
    (Indeed.)

    November 22, 2012 at 3:52 pm |
  7. Tom Patten

    Um, PLEASE don't tell anyone, but the big news is that Jimmy Hoffa has finally been located.

    November 22, 2012 at 3:30 pm |
  8. OJ Simpson

    Ahh... that's where the real killers went. NOW can I have my hat and gloves back?

    November 22, 2012 at 3:12 pm |
  9. billy jester

    I think that the rover is going to bump into ABDULLAH THE BUTCHER up there pretty soon/

    November 22, 2012 at 2:19 pm |
  10. Batman

    They're gonna find out that Mars is where we came from!

    November 22, 2012 at 1:49 pm |
  11. Jim D

    Nasa reports that Segways have been found on Mars, but unfortunately no one seems to care on Mars either

    November 22, 2012 at 1:20 pm |
  12. MajorTomAKATheFury

    We're using buzzwords and Internet lexicon such as "OMG" to describe serious, momentous occasions? Sign me up for the first ship to Mars because I'm done with this planet.

    November 22, 2012 at 1:06 pm |
  13. Steve

    What? they found Marvin the Martian?

    November 22, 2012 at 12:54 pm |
    • billy jester

      or Kloyd and Gidney from crusader rabbit.

      November 22, 2012 at 2:21 pm |
  14. GayAtheist

    I suppose smokers will be second- class citizens on Mars, too?

    November 22, 2012 at 12:42 pm |
  15. Jeff

    Until I see NASA conduct a REAL investigation of "Cydonia" on Mars, they will have NO CREDIBILITY with me.

    November 22, 2012 at 12:36 pm |
  16. Ron

    In reply to a person identified as SixIDegrees. Actually, I applaud science, SixDegrees. Fortunately, I'm fairly certain they won't find any trolls on Mars, if you get my drift. For some time, they've told us that Mars soil is likely self sterilizing. They've told us that with no magnetic field to speak of, that the planet would be exposed to a great deal of radiation, therefore it would be unsafe for humans to explore. They've told us that we would lose too much bone density. But the astronauts at the space station, have stayed there longer than the trip to Mars, many times. And Mars has about 1/3rd the gravity of Earth. While they are there, stick a few rocks in your pockets to make up the difference! But NO! They keep sending our pilotless craft to Mars. Most of these billion dollar plus computer controlled craft have crashed. I do not believe the same would happen with a MANned craft, instead of using flawed, 2 dimentionally thinking computer directives. The few that do make it to the surface are little more than toy cars, in this case a remote control dune buggy. It goes a few feet here, a few feet there, and it and its kin conduct science at a glacial pace. On earth, we've had MEN go to the most inhositable of places. The crushing depths of the oceans, the height of the Alps, both poles, the deserts, dense jungles etc... ALL of which can kill a man in a heartbeat. Some you can't even beath in, or have radiation, or chemical composition that will kill a man. Over many caenturies man has explored exceedingly hostile areas of our own planet. Yes, many intrepid explorers have died, along the way, but the quest is still ongoing, but look at all we've learned! Without using many ROV's except (mainly) the oceans. And the best we can do on Mars is preprogram remote vehicles bearing half a dozen expirements. It certainly does keep the space agency guys employed at this snails pace of study. If we had the same level of efficiency on earth, we'd still be an agrarian society. Computers, toys cars, and basic science can only go so far. The real science will come only when a human has direct knowledge and contact with the objects they wish to study. In that vein, I think we would get more out of an upcoming sample return mission, or preferably, a manned mission. But then this is the whole conundrum, isn't it? Those that want to stay home with their joystick in their hand, vs. those that want to explore.

    November 22, 2012 at 12:24 pm |
    • billy jester

      hee gaylord- you're pretty impressed with yourself, but none of the rest of us care about your extended drivel.

      November 22, 2012 at 2:20 pm |
  17. huh

    When they gonna post a 6×9 pic of Raquel Welch on a Martian Rock.

    November 22, 2012 at 12:17 pm |
  18. hrpufnstuf

    Wake me up when the ACTUALLY have something to say!

    November 22, 2012 at 12:16 pm |
    • huh

      Nothing going on here!! Can we leave yet!

      November 22, 2012 at 12:18 pm |
  19. Huh

    I'd be more impressed if they would spell something in the dirt with the control arm. Like "MARS" or "I WAS HERE" or "NO TRESPASSING" or "LAND FOR SALE" or "1 MILLION MILES TO EARTH" or just draw something in the dirt.

    November 22, 2012 at 11:55 am |
    • hrpufnstuf

      Well, they did. They wheels of the rover have holes in them, and the pattern of the holes spells "JPL" in Morse Code. So everywhere it rolls, it leaves their name.

      November 22, 2012 at 12:17 pm |
      • huh

        Cool, kinda like graffitti

        November 22, 2012 at 12:19 pm |
    • mariana t

      Mars doodles?

      November 22, 2012 at 3:55 pm |
  20. Me 1st!

    Its Gold! They found gold, water and an exotic metal of somekind... Or maybe dead Mircrobial life of somekind... Can't wait for the news! Or maybe the found Elivs! Yesssss!!! But it must be an exotic metal of somekind... I bet that they found a lot of Gold. We'll see....................................Stay tune ppl!

    November 22, 2012 at 11:36 am |
  21. Robert

    Something tells me that life has been found! Not the remnants of life, but life that is existing now!

    November 22, 2012 at 11:33 am |
  22. Tony Spamboni

    Oh yawn. NASA has a long-running history of building up to "exciting news OMG IT'S AMAZING" and it invariably ends up being nothing even remotely interesting to anyone in the real world. And they wonder why their budget is what it is...

    Huge eye-roll at this supposed earth-shaking news. I guarantee that when they announce it, you'll yawn in response.

    November 22, 2012 at 11:33 am |
  23. Pluto

    Perhaps a gigantic bag filled with human baby teeth right next to a gigantic bag of quarters.

    November 22, 2012 at 11:16 am |
  24. Pluto

    Microscopic fossils...

    November 22, 2012 at 11:09 am |
  25. the word

    they found a steamer

    November 22, 2012 at 11:05 am |
  26. Andrew

    NASA must have something big.. bigger than just some chemical proving life may have or still exists on a cellular level on the red planet. I'm hoping for something greater. It's possible they have found evidence of metal fragments only common to construction or tooling. By finding evidence of life or even past civilization .. most theologies will be unable to provide such answers. It's 2012 .. and maybe it's time to move into the future and not look to the past for the answers.

    November 22, 2012 at 11:05 am |
  27. Zipwizard

    If it's an artifact, it could be a seashell of some sort. Or it could be they found some gems such as diamonds ejected from volcanoes. Or they found it was not just a lake, but a hot spring. I do not know why they would wait so long to tell...unless it's evidence of ancient life.

    November 22, 2012 at 10:47 am |
  28. Tom

    They found Jimmy Hoffa!

    November 22, 2012 at 10:39 am |
  29. CS Madison

    They found that the Curiosity rover is really just a hole on another planet that NASA has thrown a bunch of money into.

    November 22, 2012 at 10:36 am |
  30. macintrance

    My guesses (from more probable to less)
    1. H2O
    2. Small organic compounds (beyond methane)
    3. Amino Acids
    4. Nucleotides or ATP
    5. Lipids
    6. Small polypeptide chains

    November 22, 2012 at 10:23 am |
  31. MalcomR

    I sure hope that most of the comments here are more representative of the population of a home for the mentally challenged than the US at large. It's a small, unlikely hope...

    November 22, 2012 at 10:12 am |
    • stout7735

      All the comments come from the US Congress....

      November 22, 2012 at 10:28 am |
  32. americaninfidel

    Finally it was Jimmy Hoffas body

    November 22, 2012 at 9:49 am |
  33. saying1

    what about this theory, a long long long time ago, human inhabited Mars, after destroying the planet and it become inhabitable, few managed to Escape to Earth, now we are busy destroying it, doing the same things.

    November 22, 2012 at 9:38 am |
  34. Kenoscope

    Maybe they found coal?

    November 22, 2012 at 9:36 am |
  35. Thatsthat

    They don't want to talk about it......so why are they talking about it? Why do we even know? Hey, I found something really really REALLLLLYYYYYY interesting..............but I shouldn't say anything. Holy crap, people.

    November 22, 2012 at 9:31 am |
  36. Jt_flyer

    Come on.... What's the news? Is it what I think it is? I sure hope so.

    November 22, 2012 at 9:28 am |
  37. dax

    so that whole story just said one thing,"sorry but we cant tell u anything until Government approves this '...

    November 22, 2012 at 9:26 am |
  38. bfd007

    Holy Crap...............it's still a dead planet ! How much did it cost??

    November 22, 2012 at 8:58 am |
    • Illusive Man

      Nowhere near the amount we've blown on a decade of war.

      November 22, 2012 at 9:02 am |
      • stout7735

        I derive more pleasure in giving Muslims some shock and awe....

        November 22, 2012 at 9:16 am |
      • Canada

        lol stout.... secretly me too. does that make me a bad Liberal?

        November 22, 2012 at 9:58 am |
    • Jt_flyer

      2.5 billion of the 3.8 trillion (with a 'T") Total US budget.

      November 22, 2012 at 9:32 am |
  39. Ron

    These are scientists, and this is just 'geek speak'. I know how this will play. The "HUGE" news will be that they found one rock that is slightly different than every other rock. For them, it's the equivalent of finding Waldo in a picture. For most of humanity it will be, we waited in breathless anticipation, several weeks, for this?

    November 22, 2012 at 8:45 am |
    • SixDegrees

      What is it like, living with such a tiny mind? I'd imagine it makes it hard to do simple things, like turn around, but let's hear it firsthand.

      November 22, 2012 at 9:29 am |
      • Ron

        Actually, I applaud science, SixDegrees. Fortunately, I'm fairly certain they won't find any trolls on Mars, if you get my drift. For some time, they've told us that Mars soil is likely self sterilizing. They've told us that with no magnetic field to speak of, that the planet would be exposed to a great deal of radiation, therefore it would be unsafe for humans to explore. They've told us that we would lose too much bone density. But the astronauts at the space station, have stayed there longer than the trip to Mars, many times. And Mars has about 1/3rd the gravity of Earth. While they are there, stick a few rocks in your pockets to make up the difference! But NO! They keep sending our pilotless craft to Mars. Most of these billion dollar plus computer controlled craft have crashed. I do not believe the same would happen with a MANned craft, instead of using flawed, 2 dimentionally thinking computer directives. The few that do make it to the surface are little more than toy cars, in this case a remote control dune buggy. It goes a few feet here, a few feet there, and it and its kin conduct science at a glacial pace. On earth, we've had MEN go to the most inhositable of places. The crushing depths of the oceans, the height of the Alps, both poles, the deserts, dense jungles etc... ALL of which can kill a man in a heartbeat. Some you can't even beath in, or have radiation, or chemical composition that will kill a man. Over many caenturies man has explored exceedingly hostile areas of our own planet. Yes, many intrepid explorers have died, along the way, but the quest is still ongoing, but look at all we've learned! Without using many ROV's except (mainly) the oceans. And the best we can do on Mars is preprogram remote vehicles bearing half a dozen expirements. It certainly does keep the space agency guys employed at this snails pace of study. If we had the same level of efficiency on earth, we'd still be an agrarian society. Computers, toys cars, and basic science can only go so far. The real science will come only when a human has direct knowledge and contact with the objects they wish to study. In that vein, I think we would get more out of an upcoming sample return mission, or preferably, a manned mission.

        November 22, 2012 at 12:20 pm |
    • Canada

      nah, I slightly agree with him. just like computer nerds waiting for a new improved version of Vista.

      November 22, 2012 at 9:59 am |
  40. Alan

    Here we go with the Cover up again. By the way do you know that UFOs are recognized official by many countries such as UK (go to the National Archive and type UFO files), France, Russia, Brazil, China, Chile.... American Government and American Media please stop this silly cover up.

    November 22, 2012 at 8:42 am |
    • stout7735

      Shut up earthling....

      November 22, 2012 at 9:20 am |
      • Alan Page

        Why should I shut up Dude ? Are you in the CIA payroll to misguide the American public as loads of journalists here ? The time to be quiet is over Pal.

        November 22, 2012 at 12:30 pm |
    • SixDegrees

      I think it's nice that your group home lets you use the Internet on holidays.

      November 22, 2012 at 9:30 am |
  41. Tom Corbett

    There are little green men on Mars. Now go eat your turkey and have a nice day, dingleberry.

    November 22, 2012 at 8:29 am |
  42. Thomas

    They found a rock shaped like a piece of toast with a shap burned into it which kinda looks like the Virgin Mary.

    November 22, 2012 at 8:06 am |
  43. Jt_flyer

    We all waiting to hear. NASA's the only government agency I support 100%. You make us proud. Happy Thanksgiving.

    November 22, 2012 at 7:59 am |
    • stout7735

      Are you Another unemployed rocket scientist ????

      November 22, 2012 at 8:09 am |
      • Jt_flyer

        No I just believe the return on our NASA investment is enormous. Although I do understand US taxpayers could have purchased about 9 million more Obama-Phones for the cost of is mission. Although service cost would be extra.

        November 22, 2012 at 9:53 am |
      • Thomas

        I expect our chances of finding weapons of mass destruction are about as good on Mars as they were in Iraq.

        November 22, 2012 at 1:21 pm |
  44. Tom

    I hope it is more interesting than the product announcement for the Segway, which also started with several weeks of build up about earth shattering announcements to come :-).

    November 22, 2012 at 7:21 am |
  45. Nathan P.

    I bet I know what it is. They've found aliens, Bigfoot, the Loch Ness Monster, a chupacabra, the Jersey Devil, and Elvis.

    November 22, 2012 at 7:19 am |
  46. Nick

    Guys, it's just not that tough to see where this is going. All they found was the next Kansas City Chiefs win... Unlikely as it has seemed all season.

    November 22, 2012 at 7:07 am |
  47. Illusive Man

    So they finally found the Prothean ruins....

    November 22, 2012 at 6:38 am |
  48. Hmmmmmm

    Smurfs. No, wait! Gnomes. Maybe Smurf gnomes?

    November 22, 2012 at 6:18 am |
  49. Roadrunner14

    This is just the start of a whole series of announcements to follow....

    November 22, 2012 at 6:08 am |
  50. CDC

    NASA will never release any "Earth-Shaking" news. Methane, microbes, water, etc, nothing "Earth-Shaking" only hype for NASA to justify future funding. NASA is the BIGGEST waste of time...a bunch of secretive anti-Americans. Yes Anti-American...why else would they withhold "Earth-Shaking" news from Americans even if it is just speculation or theory till proven fact? NASA tell us what you believe you have found then confirm your findings after, or keep your secrets like the Anti-Americans you are

    November 22, 2012 at 5:45 am |
    • stout7735

      Martians have modified our rover into a low rider !!!!

      November 22, 2012 at 6:23 am |
      • Canada

        yea! ghost flames paint job, taco bell dog bobblehead. cruise the dunes in style hombre.

        November 22, 2012 at 10:03 am |
  51. fedupwithla

    Tommy's Burgers found on Mars?

    November 22, 2012 at 5:12 am |
  52. Waldo

    Where's Waldo
    I was there all along

    November 22, 2012 at 4:22 am |
  53. BenBreeg

    Maybe they have found my keys – I've been looking for it everywhere, but not on Mars....

    November 22, 2012 at 4:17 am |
  54. Ron Bennett

    Announcement soon is 'Life on Mars" see here: http://youtu.be/LUHZ-aMbZHw

    November 22, 2012 at 4:03 am |
  55. Jacob

    For all of you talking about religion in these comments – PLEASE SHUT THE **** UP! This article is NOT about religion, Jesus Christ, God, or whatever religious or irreligious nonsense you believe. This article is about the fact the Curiosity rover may have discovered something interesting and scientifically significant. Either talk about that in a meaningful, polite way, stay focused on the story at hand, or get the hell out of here and try to do something constructive with your life instead of engaging in petty arguments via CNN's comment section.

    You seriously need to get a life. Gain some ****ing perspective. You should be ashamed of yourselves.

    November 22, 2012 at 3:58 am |
    • GO_GOP

      Jacob: It is my tax payer $$ that is being wasted on this nonsense when we all know the answer lies in the Bible (word of our Lord in heaven). And yes it is my $$ since probably you do not pay any taxes. I do not want my money wasted like this. Period.

      November 22, 2012 at 5:24 am |
      • disappointed in my fellow citizens

        Before making foolish statements you should spend a small amount of time calculating how much NASA has contributed to the economy. Many of the daily technological tools you take for granted have their roots in the basic science done by NASA and others.

        November 22, 2012 at 8:10 pm |
  56. Paco

    I just took a steaming dump on the neighbor's driveway. I hope he can't ID me by my pooh.

    November 22, 2012 at 3:52 am |
  57. mrdeepblue

    They finally found HOFFA !

    November 22, 2012 at 3:43 am |
  58. merlemorrigan

    At last, after two thousand years of research, the illudium Q-36 explosive space modulator. At last.

    November 22, 2012 at 3:40 am |
  59. "Q"

    Diamonds.

    November 22, 2012 at 3:22 am |
  60. dougaussie

    the shiny objects it found were coins from the moon landing 'rides' [which were fake].

    November 22, 2012 at 2:27 am |
  61. dougaussie

    the 17 cameras on board have 'discovered' one another and now spend all day staring at one another believing they have found life.

    November 22, 2012 at 2:25 am |
  62. dougaussie

    its been stuck at a stop sign for two weeks

    November 22, 2012 at 2:23 am |
  63. dougaussie

    the rover is bogged in mud and needed martians to pull it out.

    November 22, 2012 at 2:21 am |
  64. James

    I am really sick of all the hatred put into the religious debates on this site, it seems like most of these people have nothing better to do but call people's history fairy tales, and "scheme" against religion.
    Please stay on topic. This argument had been around for thousands of years, no one will win, it has tipped back and forth between religion and atheism for the last several centuries, get lives, people are people no matter their belief and will still make the best choices, don't strip them of their values if they disagree with you.

    November 22, 2012 at 1:14 am |
    • mrdeepblue

      You missing the point. Religious NUTS want to incorporate BELIEFS into Science.
      Religion has NO place in Science or Government or even the school system.

      They should not only be ridiculed for claiming the Earth is 6 or 9000 years old but be denounced as the NUT-CASES they are.

      I wonder how a Creationist explains the workings of an atomic watch. THAT has to be worth listening to.

      November 22, 2012 at 3:54 am |
  65. marduke

    this is all fake.. they already know that other's are visiting us/influencing our society. Some are based on the moon and Mars. The truth will inevitibly be revealed..and it's not going to be pretty.

    November 22, 2012 at 1:08 am |
    • Waldo

      Actually they've found WAL-MARTIANS
      see them everyday and they are unbelievably SCARRY

      November 22, 2012 at 4:27 am |
  66. GO_GOP

    hmmm....so that's where my tax dollars are going.. either handing gifts to guys who are too lazy to get work or finding useless things in obscure planets. No wonder our country is going down the drain..

    November 22, 2012 at 1:04 am |
    • mrdeepblue

      haaaamm "OUR" country is not going dawn the drain, we are STOPPING YOU GUYS COLD. next we will freeze dry "you" and pulverize your insignificance to the darkest corners of the footnotes of history.
      YOU represent one of our darkest moments, the moment we almost left you NUT-CASES take us back to the Middle Ages.
      Heed my words.

      November 22, 2012 at 4:09 am |
  67. 4spdstick

    if nasa found artifacts up there, they are not going to tell us. remember how they claimed THE FACE was just a trick of shadows? or was it swamp gas.....ball lightening.....weather balloons?

    November 22, 2012 at 12:50 am |
  68. ConfucianScholar

    They probably found fossilized microorganisms. This will show evidence of life in other planets permanently debunking the rather childish story of creation. Without Adam and Eve there is no original sin and therefore no need for Jesus to come and save us all. Of course Christian apologists will generate some feverish and logically unfalsifiable excuse and press it forward with hysterical zeal.

    November 22, 2012 at 12:44 am |
    • mrdeepblue

      wow you have no "religious" replies YET..how ...exquisite.

      November 22, 2012 at 4:11 am |
      • Canada

        Blasphemies! all of it! happy ?

        November 22, 2012 at 10:06 am |
  69. John Cleary

    $10 says most of us don't find it that interesting. And that's coming from someone with two science degrees.

    November 22, 2012 at 12:41 am |
  70. The_Mick

    Maybe they found "Weird Willie." Here's a story I told my gifted physics students when we discussed multiple dimensions, string theory, etc. When I moved into the grad school dorm at IIT in the 70's there was one guy, a Physics Ph.D student, who walked around pointing his fingers in various directions in front of his face, stumbling into walls, etc. One of the dorm residents dubbed him "Weird Willie" and the nickname permanently stuck. Finally, I got the nerve to ask him why he did that with his fingers. He replied, "I'm trying to see four dimensions." Each physical dimension is 90 degrees away from each other dimension and apparently we live in a three dimensional world (up-down, left-right, back-forth). But is that really true or are we simply physically and mentally "wired" to see three? Note that we are not "wired" to see microbes or radio waves but they're there and the invention of the microscope and oscilloscope allowed us to see them. Willie was trying to see if he could train his mind to get past three dimensions or give himself a clue as to what machine he needed to build to do so. Imagine creatures who could only identify two dimensions (no up and down) – and one can argue there are creatures that behave that way. For them to get from the middle of a floor to the middle of the ceiling in a crawl space that's 50 ft x 50 ft x 4 ft high, they'd have to go 25 ft across the floor and 4 ft up the wall and 25 ft across the ceiling. That's a 54 ft trip. But we people, knowing about up and down, only have to reach up 4 ft to get to the center of the ceiling. So if there are more than three dimensions, perhaps it's possible to go from the East Coast to the West Coast by going, say, 10 miles instead of 3000 by utilizing a 4th physical dimension we're not mentally wired to see. When I graduated from IIT, I saw Willie for the last time and asked, "How's the 4th dimension going?" He smiled and said, "I think I've almost got it." Not long after, I heard through the grapevine that Willie had disappeared! I told my students that maybe he found the way to the 4th dimension, ended up on some place like Mars and couldn't get back. Some day astronauts may find a contorted mummified body with it's fingers pointing in different directions in front of it's face.
    So maybe Curiosity found Willie!

    November 22, 2012 at 12:33 am |
    • 4spdstick

      humans can hear sounds spanning a certain range of frequencies. we can see light in a certain spectrum. sound exists that we cannot hear, light exists that we cannot see. so it's no great stretch to imagine that there are dimensions beyond out capacity to register with our five senses.

      November 22, 2012 at 1:17 am |
    • Canada

      The most interesting thing I've read (including the actual article)

      November 22, 2012 at 10:07 am |
  71. nepawoods

    This whole story reeks of walking the line between presenting real facts and staying interesting. Just makes me wonder how often they actually pull this off.

    November 22, 2012 at 12:20 am |
  72. lightbright

    Muslim believe that all deceased people from Adam to today's dead people reside in a place called barzakh and will be locked there until the doomsday. However, during the monumental spiritual journey to heaven, Muhammad (pbuh) said, he passed the hell of fire and depicted the life of people in it. I believe some other prophets might have a similar narration or experience. As Allah says in Al-Ma'arij (70:41), it is easy for Allah to replace ones with the better ones and one day for angels and spirits equal to 50k years for human beings.So, there were possibilities some human's life in Mars long long long time ago. Also, Allah gives permission to human beings and jinns to travel into the space (Al-Rahman, 55:33). Allah knows the best.

    November 22, 2012 at 12:14 am |
    • mrdeepblue

      dude..THIS is a Science article. Allah or is NOT here..trust me on this one.
      it's not enough we have Christian religious nuts commenting on Science matters now we also have the OTHER loonies following, whats next ?? Mother Earth cults and people dancing naked on this boards?
      Or maybe the Giant Turtle ...

      oh dear...

      November 22, 2012 at 4:02 am |
  73. klaark

    I'd rather see a billion spent on this than a dime spent on a soldier or a welfare check.

    November 22, 2012 at 12:14 am |
    • mrdeepblue

      spoken like a TRUE REPUBLICAN.

      we'll talk further in 2016 (bye bye in anticipation)

      November 22, 2012 at 4:13 am |
    • Thomas

      Every penny the government spends is welfare because it gives a person who would otherwise be unemployed a job.

      November 22, 2012 at 8:11 am |
      • stout7735

        I would rather have a free Obamaphone than a space probe...

        November 22, 2012 at 8:18 am |
  74. zlop

    CO2 breathing Little Green Reptilian Leprechauns.

    November 21, 2012 at 11:42 pm |
  75. lasereye

    OBSERVATION: Ok – 1st off it's not nice to keep secrets – they could at least give us preliminary assessment of what they think they have found. Second – it sounds like they’re going to announce there has been – or is – life on Mars – or or possibly another civilization that went extinct. After all these years of build-up for this moment – I think we can handle the truth in reference to all the knowledge we have presently. Hopefully it might cause a paradigm shift in religious wars where those who take sides claiming – my God is better than your God – enough already! Exploration and discovery is where it is at when it comes to tracing our origins from the beginning of time as we know it. What a great adventure we are on as human beings in this day and age. Kind of life affirming when you think about it!

    November 21, 2012 at 11:41 pm |
    • zlop

      Forbidden Knowledge ousted Humans From Paradise.

      November 21, 2012 at 11:45 pm |
  76. jvance

    I follow a lot of the NASA stuff because I'm a hopeless geek, but announcements like this can be counter-productive from a PR standpoint.
    If you've got something to say, say it or can it, otherwise you'll look like an old hen sitting on a bad egg if it turns out to be a big zero.

    November 21, 2012 at 11:30 pm |
    • zlop

      The sub-Human Serfs are Ruled by Mysteries.
      Because God knows all - He is bored.

      November 21, 2012 at 11:48 pm |
  77. streetheat

    If they say this Bot found Juimmy Hoffa's remains I'll puke.

    November 21, 2012 at 11:02 pm |
    • zlop

      Mafia blended his remains into Halloween candy.

      November 21, 2012 at 11:51 pm |
  78. Huzefa Chithiwala

    They finally found proof that President Obama was born on Mars and NASA is ready to hand over the picture of the birth certificate that Curiosity took on Mars to Donald Trump.

    November 21, 2012 at 10:55 pm |
    • zlop

      Not a Chance.
      Ubama is a Reptilian, Hatched by the CIA.

      November 21, 2012 at 11:54 pm |
  79. Buddy Holly

    They found Uncle Martin!

    November 21, 2012 at 10:55 pm |
    • zlop

      Was uncle Martin eaten by Giant Green Martian Spiders ?

      November 21, 2012 at 11:56 pm |
  80. me

    maybe they found my car keys... cuz i can be really good at losing stuff

    November 21, 2012 at 10:51 pm |
    • Thomas

      LOL. LOL!

      November 22, 2012 at 1:18 pm |
  81. jamie

    How the hell is the space program still justified?
    With a national debt through the roof and the complete decay of public schools at least keep the money on this planet.
    As far as progress goes, what if we do find orgins of life? Now what?! I still have to get up in the morning for work and pay my rent

    November 21, 2012 at 10:47 pm |
    • The_Mick

      The space program is still justified because the industries and jobs it has created have VASTLY surpassed it's cost. The fact that you have high-speed computer chips making it possible to see this page is due to NASA. Same day cataract surgery is due to NASA. Specialized plastics used in everything from seatbelts to bottles are due to NASA. I could go on and on.

      November 22, 2012 at 12:36 am |
    • SixDegrees

      Uh – the money is all spent on this planet. What do you think happens to it? Do you believe they box it up in crates and launch it into space?

      NASA's budget amounts to less than one-half of one percent of the Federal budget. Social programs like Health and Human Services spend the same amount as NASA receives in a year every couple of days; Social Security spends that much every few hours.

      The remainder of your post is meaningless gibberish that isn't even pertinent. Please rummage around in your trailer, see if you have a bootleg copy of "Hooked on Phonics" and embark on the adventure of reading. Something. Anything.

      November 22, 2012 at 6:57 am |
  82. Carbon Copy 1

    Well The Earths Chemistry Consists Of Every Thing That's Out There Since The Start Of Reality. I.E The Earth Is A Carbon Copy Of The Reflections Of Reality And The Same Applies To Mars.

    November 21, 2012 at 10:46 pm |
  83. Keith in Canada

    Perhaps they found out at last where Jimmy Hoffa was dumped?

    November 21, 2012 at 10:40 pm |
  84. Bob

    small pieces of what appears to be a plastic shopping bag. I'm pretty sure.

    November 21, 2012 at 10:36 pm |
  85. Culpepper

    I just hope they release the news before the world ends on December 21st

    November 21, 2012 at 10:29 pm |
  86. Jerry

    They discovered a glass Coke bottle, three rusty old steel Budweiser cans, a few empty potato chip bags, a partially-eaten Twinkie, and a Martian looking down a hill at it all with a tear running down his face........

    November 21, 2012 at 10:08 pm |
  87. erin andrews perky breasts

    THEY FOUND A MOUSE

    November 21, 2012 at 9:54 pm |
  88. philip dung

    this is serious,but where is this thing taking us to,i mean compare to the money invested in this project.

    November 21, 2012 at 9:54 pm |
  89. AL

    The "giant pile of lost left socks" idea is taken by the Ren & Stimpy show!

    November 21, 2012 at 9:40 pm |
  90. Melissa

    I sense a "there was life on Mars" announcement coming. That kind of announcement would cause almost all the religions on the planet to completely freak out, and fear mongers to lose their minds.

    November 21, 2012 at 9:27 pm |
    • SixDegrees

      Why? I'm not aware of any religious doctrine that precludes life on other planets. I would actually hope that not just religious folks but EVERYONE would "freak out" over news of life elsewhere, but I don't see how religion has any trouble accommodating such a reality, or how they would be the only groups affected by an announcement that would certainly affect all.

      November 22, 2012 at 7:00 am |
      • stout7735

        It would provide Evangelicals another opportunity to spread the Good News to Martians...

        November 22, 2012 at 8:04 am |
  91. sonicpalette

    If one truly studies the vastness and structure of the universe the probabilities dictate that life in some form should exist elsewhere. In fact, life should exist in many places throughout the universe. Mars would be very close, but with the Solar System position there's a chance life once existed there.

    What is more disturbing is how people, the substance of society, enter discussions on these comment sections and their discussions of any topic eventually decay into personal attacks and derogatory remarks against one another.

    November 21, 2012 at 9:25 pm |
    • SixDegrees

      Well, no. Because the probabilities are currently completely nonexistent. You can't base any sort of statistics on a sample size of one – which is all we have at the moment. You can't derive probabilities from it, you can't extrapolate or interpolate from it. And at the moment, we don't know enough about how life first arose here to speculate on whether the process is common or unique.

      What news of life elsewhere would do is begin to lay the foundations for such probabilities. If life, or sure signs of life, are found on Mars, then we can start talking real statistics and probabilities. If not, then we're right back where we are at the moment, with a single data point.

      November 22, 2012 at 7:05 am |
  92. mrglobal

    The found a living Annuraki with a fat belly sipping Martian beer with Sumerian heirogrlyphs tatooed on his biceps stranded on his saucer shaped craft with busted windshield.

    November 21, 2012 at 9:24 pm |
  93. 2/8

    Lemme guess, the rover found different colored dirt!!!!! Or wait, there used to be a certain type of rock on the surface billions of years ago. Phew, talk about all that money going towards something which helps out OUR planet. Can't wait for this news!!!

    November 21, 2012 at 9:13 pm |
  94. Disanitnodicos

    Yall mofos need Jesus.

    November 21, 2012 at 9:10 pm |
  95. Bill the Cat

    They found the Illidium Pew-36 Explosive Space Modulator!!!!

    November 21, 2012 at 9:09 pm |
  96. bigbendjc

    Discovery: Sand from New Jersey? That storm Sandy must have been one hell of a storm!

    November 21, 2012 at 9:06 pm |
  97. Science

    I have the news...............a fossil was found hence NO GOD!

    November 21, 2012 at 8:58 pm |
    • SixDegrees

      I'm not following your argument here. Why would this present any sort of problem for religion? How does the discovery of life elsewhere preclude the existence of God?

      November 22, 2012 at 7:07 am |
      • stout7735

        They found the dead body of Christ which puts the resurrection in grave doubt...

        November 22, 2012 at 7:57 am |
  98. Jim

    "Big Mars" news...and I thought they were talking about the candy bar!!!

    November 21, 2012 at 8:57 pm |
  99. don keller

    don't know why this is news - 46% of americans think the entire universe is only 10,000 years old, which is why most comments here seem to be written by third graders

    November 21, 2012 at 8:56 pm |
  100. Ron

    They found chemicals that support the theory that water existed at one time, Big WhOOOPEE, Find a skeleton or a part of a spacesuit, or a footprint! What the hell do we care if water existed thousands of years ago, ITS NOT THERE NOW!!! Move on to something else. Can we live in a bio-dome? Can we survive the storms? ETC ETC.?

    November 21, 2012 at 8:56 pm |
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