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."

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Filed under: In Space • Mars
soundoff (869 Responses)
  1. Cisco Modules

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    December 12, 2012 at 2:05 pm |
  2. cnyc

    Well, here is an apparently interesting true story that could be relate to the above. A guy named Osvaldo Navarrete back in 2000 predicted something like this.
    ----------
    As it turns out, a similar time traveler emerged in South America in the year 2000.

    According to the Crónica newspaper of Concepción (Chile) a man named Osvaldo Navarrete had arrived from our near future – the year 2012, to be exact. According to Navarrete’s testimony, he had been one of several subjects of a military experiment in time travel designed to return to the year 2000. Interviewed by journalist Richard Sierra, Navarrete made some predictions about the coming ten years, stating that a disaster would sweep the planet and have “terrible consequences for mankind.”

    The time traveler informed the journalist that in the year 2012, the United States was governed by a black president, and that this head of state would inform the people of the discovery of vestiges of ancient intelligent life on Mars following the arrival of a space probe. Writing in mid-October 2012, we can say that the time traveler was on the money. President Obama, however, has made no such disclosure yet). The result of this announcement, stated Navarrete, would be worldwide unrest. Discovery of the Marian ur-civilization would prompt the great powers to work jointly against “an alleged alien attack”, adding to the worldwide social and political crises.

    Chrononaut Navarrete was not forthcoming about the way in which he crossed the unsoundable gulf of time from 2012 to 2000. Did he appear in a baroque time machine like Rod Taylor in George Pal’s legendary The Time Traveler, or naked and disoriented in an alleyway like Michael Biehn in The Terminator? The question remains unanswered, and his whereabouts unknown. The last available information on this intriguing person is that he claimed to be “eluding pursuit”, vanishing after making a statement to a radio station.

    [From Inexplicata Blog Spot]

    November 28, 2012 at 10:39 pm |
  3. Buck

    Hey, wait just a darn minute here.... that desert looks jut like Mojave.... is NASA faking Mars just like they faked the moon landing back in '69 inside their tin-foil and paper-mache lunar 'lander'??

    http://www.fountainsofthegreatdeep.com/Mars.htm

    November 26, 2012 at 4:49 pm |
  4. Jude Brummett

    I read about half of the comments before my eyes started hurting. I noticed it went from a lot of intense debate to people making silly comments. I think some people have forgotten that science is about asking questions and keeping an open mind, believing that anything is possible. As for people stuck on their religious beliefs, stop telling people to prove that a god does not exist. Nothing is considered absolutely true until proven absolutely true. We don't try to prove things untrue, we try to prove things true to better understand the universe.

    November 26, 2012 at 1:45 pm |
  5. JA

    If it's "one for the history books" it better be a DNA sequence of some sort.

    November 26, 2012 at 10:39 am |
  6. Daniela

    SCOOP! This image is the proof of what was discovered on mars : http://t.co/s3rmcKrt SPREAD THE WORD!

    November 25, 2012 at 4:35 am |
  7. mike

    it will be edited if its important

    November 24, 2012 at 10:22 pm |
  8. check Shirtindex

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    November 23, 2012 at 10:07 pm |
  9. Douglas Adams

    42: The answer to life, the universe and everything.

    November 23, 2012 at 6:44 pm |
  10. joe zahn

    Gee I hope they found my keys,It had my rewards card attached and the new fob & key cost $112

    November 23, 2012 at 2:42 pm |
  11. Lardeau

    I'm certainly not against space exploration but this shows me that the money in our current world-wide banking system based on debt and borrowing is redundant !!!!!!!!!! JUST PRINT IT for goodness sakes and put it into circulation without an annual interest charge on it. Interest payable TO WHO ??????

    November 23, 2012 at 2:12 pm |
  12. HelloSociety

    They found the Prothean archives

    November 23, 2012 at 11:41 am |
  13. MFranklin

    This is NASA's version of a Black Friday ad. It goes like this:
    The public is teased to show up at the doors at the proper time and place. The line goes around the block as arguments and fights break out. Finally, the doors swing open and the mob rushes in to find that the secret deal was never in stock to begin with. It was all about getting media attention and having you in the store.

    November 23, 2012 at 9:42 am |
  14. rudix

    all in the book THE DIMENSION MACHINE

    November 23, 2012 at 8:08 am |
  15. richunix

    I realy doubt they are going to reinterate that life could exist on Mars, we already know this to be true. I believe it has more to do with finding life does or did exist on Mars. Which would prove that life does exist outside the earth else where in the universe.

    November 23, 2012 at 7:44 am |
  16. Jt_flyer

    This is getting rediculas. Tell us already! Is it what I think it is?

    November 23, 2012 at 7:40 am |
  17. A street hobo

    Megatron!!!

    November 23, 2012 at 7:17 am |
  18. justmeanddog

    What would be ironic is if they found a fragment of a 15 million year old plaque with writing on it that translates as follows:

    “We dedicate this launch platform to all of those who have given their lives in the struggle to reach our nearest neighbor, the 3rd planet in our system. It is our hope that someday our kind will walk upon the surface of that world; which has for so long sparked the imaginations of the peoples of this world and given us the hope that we are not alone in this Solar System. It is our hope that the discovery of life on that planet will unite our fractured populations and put an end to our petty perceived differences that have given rise to the global conflagrations which threaten our very surv……………….

    November 23, 2012 at 7:00 am |
  19. worldcares

    an old volkswagon bug that sttill runs...

    November 23, 2012 at 6:28 am |
  20. AlienShark

    I think people should talk more about the structures at Cydonia, Mars. When they released the photograph years ago, people said that they saw the image if a face and pyramid structures with 4 and 5 sides. NASA has dismissed these claims and said that the structures are naturally occurring phenomenon, however, closer scrutinization of the triangular structures shows geometric symmetry and provable mathematics on the triangular sides of the structures indicating that they are intelligently designed and very similar to the pyramids on Earth. Closer examination reveals that the way they are laid out on the terrain perfectly aligns with the Pleiades constellation, which is similar to the Giza pyramids that align perfectly to the Orion constellation. Peace and Blessings.

    November 23, 2012 at 6:22 am |
  21. ConfucianScholar

    They probably found fossilized microorganisms. This would 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 to reinforce their own denial of reality and to use as a new weapon in their war against civilization.

    November 23, 2012 at 4:14 am |
    • justmeanddog

      I am sorry to be the one to tell you this but this has already been taken care of by Genesis 1.1

      November 23, 2012 at 7:23 am |
  22. Case Closed

    Man is imperfect.
    The bible is written by man.
    Therefor the bible is imperfect.

    November 23, 2012 at 3:55 am |
  23. Tada

    They found petrified dog dung

    November 23, 2012 at 2:53 am |
  24. Silverglass

    Uh, Visara, do you think you could expand on that a little? For example, explain who told you that bases have existed on the moon "for decades"? No point in telling people to "open their minds" when you haven't given us any new stuff to put in there except a baseless (pun intended) statement...

    November 23, 2012 at 2:11 am |
  25. zlop

    Onlyt a Cover Story Distraction.
    To bring in Carbon Tax Enslavement - NASA is cloaking Climate Fraud.

    November 23, 2012 at 2:01 am |
    • zlop

      Attention moderator - slow to update
      Please delete my duplicate posts - thanks

      November 23, 2012 at 2:04 am |
  26. zlop

    Just a Cover Story Distraction.
    To bring in Carbon Tax Enslavement - NASA is cloaking Climate Fraud.

    November 23, 2012 at 1:59 am |
  27. zlop

    Distracting from the Climate fraud of NASA James Hansen,
    A Mars Mystery is Manufactured.

    November 23, 2012 at 1:32 am |
  28. aprimitivemind

    They found Obama's birth certificate, he's not American, he's a Martian. Quick, someone tell Donald so he can spread the word.

    November 23, 2012 at 1:31 am |
    • zlop

      Rason why the Birth Certificate will Newer be Found.
      Übama, the Reptilian, was hatched by the CIA.

      November 23, 2012 at 1:39 am |
  29. Satanluv

    d j jazzy j e ff

    November 23, 2012 at 1:16 am |
  30. Satanluv

    The lost episode of the Waltons where grandpa molests John Boy

    November 23, 2012 at 1:14 am |
  31. Satanluv

    Curley's gold next to Billy Crystal's Oscar

    November 23, 2012 at 1:08 am |
  32. Satanluv

    DB Cooper

    November 23, 2012 at 1:07 am |
  33. Satanluv

    I gotta go to bed ...this is rediculous

    November 23, 2012 at 1:04 am |
  34. Satanluv

    Ozzy's ninety-nine billion nine hundred ninety-nine million nine hundred ninety-nine thousand nine hundred ninety-nine brain cells

    November 23, 2012 at 1:01 am |
  35. Lion Tamer

    did they find the $50 Billion that Madoff 'lost' in his ponzi scheme?

    November 23, 2012 at 12:59 am |
  36. Satanluv

    Nicolas Cage's talent, right next to his hair

    November 23, 2012 at 12:54 am |
  37. Satanluv

    an Oliver Stone film that isn't complete c r a p

    November 23, 2012 at 12:52 am |
  38. Satanluv

    Big P u s s y

    November 23, 2012 at 12:47 am |
  39. Satanluv

    Peter O'Toole sleeping one off

    November 23, 2012 at 12:46 am |
  40. Satanluv

    Flight 19

    November 23, 2012 at 12:43 am |
  41. Satanluv

    arnold schwarzenegger's a s s ...he finallly got it to Mars

    November 23, 2012 at 12:36 am |
  42. Satanluv

    Jerry Garcia's 10th digit

    November 23, 2012 at 12:32 am |
  43. Satanluv

    Rush Limbaugh dead...I wish

    November 23, 2012 at 12:31 am |
  44. Satanluv

    The US Postal service's profits for the past decade

    November 23, 2012 at 12:29 am |
  45. TNT

    OMG! a dust

    November 23, 2012 at 12:27 am |
  46. Satanluv

    Wilson

    November 23, 2012 at 12:27 am |
  47. Satanluv

    Radar's other hand

    November 23, 2012 at 12:26 am |
  48. Satanluv

    The Heart of the Ocean that old woman threw off the stern of that boat

    November 23, 2012 at 12:25 am |
  49. Satanluv

    the erctions I had everyday until I turned 40..I've really been missing those

    November 23, 2012 at 12:22 am |
  50. Satanluv

    casper van dien's career

    November 23, 2012 at 12:20 am |
  51. Satanluv

    Jennifer Greys' original nose

    November 23, 2012 at 12:05 am |
  52. Satanluv

    Indisputable proof that going to Mars is a complete waste of time

    November 23, 2012 at 12:04 am |
  53. Satanluv

    Dick Cheney's heart

    November 22, 2012 at 11:59 pm |
  54. Satanluv

    James Chaney, Andrew Goodman, and Michael Schwerner

    November 22, 2012 at 11:56 pm |
  55. Satanluv

    The guy who played opposite Tom Hanks in Bosom Buddies

    November 22, 2012 at 11:54 pm |
  56. Johnny

    It's probably just a discarded soda can pulltab that they found – no big deal.

    November 22, 2012 at 11:50 pm |
  57. Richard Allen

    I swear if 7 weeks goes by and all they tell us is they found material that might have supported life was found, I am gonna smash my head with a hammer. I think it's sort of accepted that we know there are probably materials there that could have supported life at some point. That material is found all over the galaxy.

    November 22, 2012 at 11:50 pm |
  58. Satanluv

    Tupac's killer

    November 22, 2012 at 11:47 pm |
  59. Satanluv

    Waldo's bones next to his striped hat

    November 22, 2012 at 11:47 pm |
  60. Satanluv

    Al Capone's gold...where was Geraldo Rivera?

    November 22, 2012 at 11:46 pm |
  61. Satanluv

    The hair from the top of Donald Trump's head

    November 22, 2012 at 11:43 pm |
  62. Satanluv

    proof that Michael Jackson had normal relationships with women

    November 22, 2012 at 11:39 pm |
  63. Steve

    My guess is that they found what may be evidence of DNA with the SAM analyzer. Too bad there isn't a thermal cycler aboard!

    November 22, 2012 at 11:36 pm |
  64. Satanluv

    Michael Jackson's other white glove

    November 22, 2012 at 11:36 pm |
  65. Satanluv

    the gerbil they pulled out of Richard Gere's fanny

    November 22, 2012 at 11:34 pm |
  66. Satanluv

    James Camerons' humility

    November 22, 2012 at 11:32 pm |
  67. Satanluv

    evidence that global warming is "just a cycle"

    November 22, 2012 at 11:32 pm |
  68. Riquin

    Finally!!! They found my wife's car keys

    November 22, 2012 at 11:30 pm |
  69. Satanluv

    A version of the bible that isn't contradictory nonsense...oh no...they didn't find that...doesn't exist

    November 22, 2012 at 11:30 pm |
  70. Satanluv

    that bag of coke I lost at Jimmy' Seaside Bar and Grille in 1986

    November 22, 2012 at 11:28 pm |
  71. Satanluv

    A Star Wars trilogy prequel tha doesn't s u c k

    November 22, 2012 at 11:27 pm |
  72. Satanluv

    evidence that exonerates OJ Simpson

    November 22, 2012 at 11:22 pm |
  73. Satanluv

    Howard Stern"s p e n i s

    November 22, 2012 at 11:20 pm |
  74. Satanluv

    Iraq's weapons of mass destruction

    November 22, 2012 at 11:18 pm |
  75. Riquin

    They just found out they still on time for the Martian Black Friday Specials.

    November 22, 2012 at 11:17 pm |
  76. Satanluv

    Fox News' integrity

    November 22, 2012 at 11:16 pm |
  77. Satanluv

    Glenn Beck's brain

    November 22, 2012 at 11:15 pm |
  78. Satanluv

    When this turns out to be fossil remains of ancient life, will the god believers finally go away...sort of like the Republicans after Romney got pounded? please

    November 22, 2012 at 11:13 pm |
  79. Riquin

    Darn!! They just found out that they did not land in Mars but in Easter Island.

    November 22, 2012 at 11:07 pm |
  80. Darlene Buckingham

    They found twinkies.

    November 22, 2012 at 11:05 pm |
  81. Riquin

    They just found a martian parking ticket on top of the camera.

    November 22, 2012 at 11:03 pm |
  82. Riquin

    OH ..OH !!! They found a bag with thousands of Mitt Romney ballots

    November 22, 2012 at 10:52 pm |
  83. falamangaa

    Beginning to sound like Donald Trump, you have found something very very interesting!!! Obamas Birth Cert?

    November 22, 2012 at 10:39 pm |
  84. ALAN FISCHER

    The United States never landed on the moon–what a big joke played on the United states tax payer.

    November 22, 2012 at 10:37 pm |
  85. moribundman

    They found oil.

    November 22, 2012 at 10:29 pm |
  86. Charles

    II wish I had read this article earlier because I know I'm not the first person to say "Jimmy Hoffa"....

    November 22, 2012 at 10:11 pm |
  87. Mike

    Did they find Elvis?

    November 22, 2012 at 9:46 pm |
  88. Steve Lyons

    Unobtanium. That's it !

    November 22, 2012 at 9:38 pm |
  89. merlemorrigan

    they have found fossil remains that indicate water at one time on the planet. If they had found water, they promised Mr. Obama to call them, maybe

    November 22, 2012 at 9:38 pm |
  90. Waldo

    Whatever they found ,somewhere,someone,somehow is figuring out how to sell it to some unsuspecting SUCKER

    November 22, 2012 at 9:11 pm |
  91. CLWPilot

    They found a McDonalds hamburger bag.

    November 22, 2012 at 9:01 pm |
  92. Gumballs2001

    Wonder what they found? I bet it was a Starbucks coffee shop.

    November 22, 2012 at 8:34 pm |
  93. Bob

    They found the body of Jimmy Hoffa !

    November 22, 2012 at 8:06 pm |
  94. Phreddy57

    They found Richard Nixon's missing tapes? David Bowie's business card? The ABC copy of the second showing of "Turn On?"

    I really think they found evidence of carbon-based life – and this time there is no hiding it from us. I wonder if they will tell us before December 21 or (if we are still here) after December 21.

    November 22, 2012 at 7:56 pm |
  95. zlop

    Earth Hour Campaign – Burson-Marsteller
    has discovered that Mars is also Cooling ?

    November 22, 2012 at 7:32 pm |
  96. Fiona

    Maybe they found Laika.

    November 22, 2012 at 7:27 pm |
  97. Noah

    Prothean beacon? Prothean beacon.

    November 22, 2012 at 6:51 pm |
  98. DouginVan

    They found a McDonald's!

    November 22, 2012 at 6:20 pm |
  99. Greg

    Found all the ingredients for life? Not quite. But they did find in abundance all the ingredients to make Twinkies.

    November 22, 2012 at 5:50 pm |
  100. Mars needs women

    "Mars has dirt and we can analyze it!" is probably all it is.
    Unless they tell us they found life for sure, found a fossil for sure, or found Elvis doing shows 3 nights a week in the corner of the crater, then it's not news and not earthshaking to be sure.

    November 22, 2012 at 5:04 pm |
    • MalcomR

      I agree. We already know that water is present. We find amino acids in meteorites. We know there are basic organic compounds forming in interstellar dust clouds. Any truly BIG news can only be that we have found unequivocal evidence for life, either past or present. Micro-fossils, DNA or RNA signatures, etc.

      November 22, 2012 at 5:20 pm |
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