'Curiosity's middle name is Patience'
December 3rd, 2012
03:48 PM ET

'Curiosity's middle name is Patience'

Here's the short version of today's Mars news: Curiosity has, in fact, detected simple organics in Martian soil, but that detection is not definitive evidence of Mars-native organic compounds. Scientists first need to make sure that the compounds detected by the Mars Science Laboratory aren't actually stowaways from Earth.

At the American Geophysical Union's Fall Meeting, a panel of Curiosity scientists shed some light on all the recent hype about a Big Deal Discovery on Mars. According to Paul Mahaffy, the principal investigator for the SAM instrument aboard Curiosity, "SAM has no definitive detection to report of organic compounds," which actually isn't unexpected. Part of the reason Curiosity was sampling the soil at Rock Nest, a pit stop on the way to Mount Sharp, is that it was expected to be very ordinary, which is helpful for cleaning out the rover's instruments of Earth contaminants.

This declaration may seem to conflict with a statement made later in the conference, where Mahaffy stated that SAM detected "very simple chlorinated hydrocarbons" - organic compounds. The panelists qualified this statement by saying that they're proceeding methodically and scientifically, to ensure that the hydrocarbons they've found didn't hitch a ride aboard Curiosity from Earth. Even if it turns out that they didn't, there's another step before declaring the organics to be of Martian origin: The science team has ensure that the compounds didn't arrive on Mars from space.

If that sounds like bad news or no news to you, think again. Curiosity's team is very satisfied with the rover, which is four months in to a planned two-year mission. "We landed on an ancient riverbed,"  said Dr. Michael Meyer, one of the lead scientists for NASA's Mars Exploration Program. "I think that's just spectacular."

John Grotzinger, the project scientist for Curiosity, said that the rover's in great shape do to more good science on top of the reams of data it's already collected, noting that all of Curiosity's instruments have checked out healthy. He compared the rover to a car getting ready for a long road trip; the "CSI lab on wheels" will begin its drive to its main target, Mount Sharp, early in 2013.

As to whether Curiosity will find evidence of life on Mars or not, Grotzinger said that such a discovery is at least months away. Right now, the team is excited about rich data that helps form a picture of what the environment on Mars might have been like in the past.

Grotzinger added, "What I've learned from this is you have to be careful about what you say and even more careful about how you say it. We're doing science at the speed of science; we live in a world that's at the pace of Instagrams."

"Curiosity's middle name is Patience, and we all have to have a healthy dose of that."

Post by:
Filed under: In Space • Mars • Robots • Science Education
soundoff (141 Responses)
  1. Tory Glotzbecker

    Laptops are common now; everyone's these to decide on school or when they travel for work. They're useful and to maneuver with. What on earth is also common should be to see someone scrambling to discover a place to charge a laptop battery. That report due tomorrow may suddenly be lost if you don't find an outlet within thirty seconds... Or that slideshow you could have created (but carelessly forgot just to save) may disappear should your laptop battery is just not recharged.,,^;

    http://www.caramoanpackage.comMost recently released post produced by our personal blog

    May 24, 2013 at 1:52 pm |
  2. Bruce of the Fisher Family

    That area – crater Gale -is like a pig stye full of ancient artifacts, Why the secrecy? How can they maintain the coverup????

    December 29, 2012 at 12:55 pm |
  3. karlstalin

    Since a government program found them I'm sure that they are all voting democrat ....

    December 22, 2012 at 8:00 pm |
  4. Network

    Life on Mars??? Now where did I put my tin foil hat????

    December 21, 2012 at 8:44 am |
    • zlop

      I am hungry to eat little Green Martian Zombies,
      Where did I put my Ray Gun ?

      December 26, 2012 at 6:02 am |
  5. josh rogen

    if we could create a pair or more of self-replicating, intelligent robots, we could have them colonize the red planet. We should probably make them in our own image, and have them build houses we could live in. Until we get there they could gather in these houses and tell us their concerns and misdeeds, and we could have one or more robots in each group relay our instructions to they others insuring they behave as we intend, and prepare for our arrival. when we get there we could pass judgement upon them based on their adherence to our teaching which we had probably but into one or more books.

    December 21, 2012 at 5:37 am |
    • David

      yes and we could make them to suffer and not do anything about it.

      December 22, 2012 at 9:53 am |
  6. Lies

    Am I the only one who thinks they animated all this crap? I mean computers can do anything now a days, don't movies have fake buildings or mountains?

    December 20, 2012 at 9:35 am |
    • zlop

      U$ flag blowing on the Moon, in the Solar Wind, was amusing.
      Are Little green LBGT Martians, being filmed in Hollywood ?

      December 20, 2012 at 11:37 am |
      • situationalawareness

        How cute, a dollar sign in place of the S.

        The flag did not move from solar wind. The motion was during the craft leaving the ground (not before), which is perfectly visible in the older films. It was simply a prop, anyway. It wasn't designed to last forever, just until after the craft left. More than likely the remains of it was caught in the propellant.

        January 2, 2013 at 4:02 am |
    • Kevin Anderson

      Yes, you are the only one who thinks the Mars Curiosity lander is a lie.

      December 28, 2012 at 10:04 pm |
  7. Garrett

    I think this is pretty cool.

    Also did anyone see that in the quote "What I've learned from this is you have to be careful about what you say and even more careful about how you say it. We're doing science at the speed of science; we live win a world that's at the pace of Instagrams."

    it says "we live win a world"

    win?

    December 18, 2012 at 9:31 am |
  8. USAUSA

    umm....I betcha curiosity got lost drivin around lookin for its patience or somethin. tsss tssss

    December 17, 2012 at 12:43 pm |
  9. zlop

    Mars with only 3/8 Earth Gravity would need ~8/3 times massive atmosphere/area

    Flat Mars Dwellers ?
    Interesting idea is to flatten a large circular area, atmosphere would tend towards the center.
    Pressure Equation "The adiabatic atmosphere (336)"
    Temperature Equation "The adiabatic atmosphere (334)

    December 16, 2012 at 4:22 pm |
  10. Sanchez

    Don't forget Planet Angel with actual forests in Andromeda.

    December 10, 2012 at 11:36 pm |
    • sandy

      Well i think Mars is a joke just like the moon. We need the money here for us right now not to spend millions on a dum ass space trip.

      December 13, 2012 at 1:26 pm |
      • Ken

        100% correct. By the time we have the technology to go there we will be battling global warming.

        December 14, 2012 at 12:46 pm |
      • robertkohn1

        @KEN

        You do understand that if we have the technology to send a human being all the way to mars, the technology to cure global warming will be a thing of the past don't you?

        December 14, 2012 at 1:42 pm |
      • Ultraquark

        Sandy, clearly you're not smart enough to design anything to go to Mars or the Moon, or likely anything useful on Earth. Those of us who know the benefit of space eploration will continue to advance society. All the money spent on space missions is spent on Earth, largely for people's salaries to do various jobs. Get a real education. Better yet stay in your cave.

        December 15, 2012 at 10:20 pm |
      • The Truth

        Lets see, if we didn't waste our money on space programs we would not have: cell phones, desk top let alone laptop computers, many different types of medical monitoring/diagnostic systems, strong light weight materials that go in just about every product we have, velcro, and all the communication, tv, weather monitoring, maritime distress systems, GPS navigation, resource location and other functions made possible by satellites. And that is just off the top of my head.

        Many of todays objects, many of which I bet you could not live without were either invented for the space program or was an offshoot of something made for space exploration. If you don't like the money spent on space then set the example and live with only materials and objects that are strictly 1950s or earlier tech.

        December 18, 2012 at 7:49 pm |
      • Gadflie

        Sandy, let me give you a clue since you seem to not have one. Do you think that this money was actually sent to Mars? Was it in bills or did they just send a debit card? It was spent HERE ON EARTH. Providing quite a few jobs AND useful new technologies at the same time. So, what have you done for us?

        December 25, 2012 at 2:42 pm |
  11. DowChuck

    Hard to see the need to actually colonize Mars. Terraforming seem a foolish undertaking. Unless Mars has some kind of natural resource that can be exploited I don't see much of an advantage to being there, except for bragging rights. I do hope they find proof of independent life creation on Mars, but if there was never life on Mars, as I suspect, then missions to Mars will sadly stop. Its all been about the search for life that seems to keep the financial wheels alive for Mars expeditions. We do need to be there and also expand humanity into the entire solar system/galaxy, but necessity will be the driver not the search for life.

    December 10, 2012 at 6:39 pm |
    • what1ever

      The need to be there stems from there being 7 billion of us crowded onto a much too small planet

      December 11, 2012 at 3:42 pm |
      • zlop

        Earth needs more people to pay Carbon taxes.
        A small fraction of the 80 Trillion Carbon Disclosure
        could be diverted to Colonize Mars.

        December 12, 2012 at 10:24 am |
      • Muffin

        IF.....Mars were to be found exactly like Earth, it would not solve anything. We cannot get people there fast enough to solve ANY problem we may have here.

        December 14, 2012 at 8:19 am |
      • 1n1

        Do you realize that the entire population of the earth could all fit into the State of Rhode Island (standing up)?

        December 14, 2012 at 5:58 pm |
    • Harmbringer

      the idea is to get the human race on more than one planet..

      As it stands for all our cool tech toys and such.. we're just one Dino-killer rock away from being wiped out.. by spreading humanity to another world we greatly incress humanities chance of survival

      December 13, 2012 at 11:09 am |
    • Kevin Anderson

      Can't see the reason to be there, huh? No real reason to put your eggs in more than one basket? How'd the one planet concept work for the dinosaurs?

      Either humans expand in this universe or we're dead. There's simply no argument.

      December 28, 2012 at 10:08 pm |
  12. zlop

    Despite the hype,
    Another poke around rover to bore Earth Dwellers.

    December 9, 2012 at 11:45 pm |
  13. Allen

    It's PRINCIPAL investigator, not "principle investigator"....geezuz CNN.

    December 9, 2012 at 1:09 pm |
    • Sophia Dengo

      You're right, thanks so much for catching that.

      Take care,
      Sophia Dengo, CNN.com

      December 9, 2012 at 8:15 pm |
  14. zlop

    Mars is easiest to colonize - Send in robots to scout the surface.
    prepare the way for Humans, dig or use existing caves.

    December 8, 2012 at 3:03 am |
    • Michael

      Unless you're planning on spending all of your time (including living quarters) underground, Mars might not be the best candidate. There's no magnetic field (Mars' core stopped rotating probably 3 – 3.25 million years ago) so there's nothing to deflect the solar radiation. I'd head stright to Europa ...

      December 11, 2012 at 4:02 pm |
      • zlop

        Dig a deep valley – bottom, at 1 Earth atmosphere pressure, will be very hot
        Power the settlement by lapse exploitation power generation
        Percolating rain clouds will protect against radiation

        December 12, 2012 at 9:42 am |
  15. EaglesQuestions

    "...detected simple organics..."
    I mis-read that as "simple organisms,"
    re-read it, and was disappointed.

    December 7, 2012 at 8:46 pm |
  16. Harold

    This is great news for Terraform researchers as well as a unique look into the possibility of life surviving on other worlds. This reminds me of the theory of asteroids seeding life, the only difference is we delivered life by space craftl.

    December 6, 2012 at 8:44 pm |
    • zlop

      To warm Mars, a gas that does not freeze out is needed.
      Import Nitrogen by crashing NH3 comets,
      or dig deep valleys - at the warm bottom, plants will make O2, increasing the atmosphere.

      December 6, 2012 at 9:44 pm |
      • David

        Or you could just melt the polar icecaps. As much methane, CO and water as their is on that rock, you could have a thick atmosphere and summer temps of 40F+ inside a century. Plants and CO scrubbers to strip the carbon from the oxygen could have the atmosphere breathable (with genetic engineering or breathing masks) inside 2 centuries. This is assuming we started Terraforming Mars now.

        December 8, 2012 at 12:11 pm |
      • zlop

        "David
        "Or you could just melt the polar icecaps"

        Mars is cold, not because the lack of CO2 or H2O.
        To incease heat capacity of the atmosphere - A gas that does mot freeze out is needed.

        Digging a deep valley - at 1 Earth atmosphere pressure, the bottom would be very Warm
        Run a lapse exploitation heat engine to cool and generate power.
        Plants would produce O2, thickening the atmosphere.
        For N2 – need to crash NH3 comets
        Magnetic field from a coil, slightly offset from the equator, excited by the Sun's magnetic field
        Surface would become warm - complete cloud cover - Venus Analogy.

        December 8, 2012 at 11:42 pm |
      • Harmbringer

        one of the more intresting idea i heard some time back.. Basicly involved putting a large magnifing glass in Orbit between Mars and the sun.

        Not something we could do anytime soon, but would be very effective at raiseing Mars over all temp. (the idea also mentioned useing something like that to deflect sunlight from Venus to force the planet to cool down, freeze and allow us to begin slowly re-warming it up to filter out the bad gasses..

        Again – not something we can do now, but something I think we should look into a 100 or so years from now if our tech would allow it.

        December 13, 2012 at 11:07 am |
  17. Prophet from Framingham

    God Spoke t me saying: Pray, USA, I will send EARTHQUAKE, in USA.(Part 2)

    December 6, 2012 at 12:48 pm |
    • zlop

      Dig a very deep valley - bottom will be very hot - exploit the lapse to run a heat engine.
      There would be complete cloud cover, but warm (Venus analogy)
      Problem is the amount of energy needed ro break rock and dig.

      December 6, 2012 at 9:39 pm |
  18. Prophet from Framingham

    God Spoke t me saying: Pray, USA, I will send EARTHQUAKE, in USA.(Part 1)

    December 6, 2012 at 12:47 pm |
  19. Prophet from Framingham

    God Spoke t me saying: Pray, USA, I will send EARTHQUAKE, in USA.

    December 6, 2012 at 12:47 pm |
  20. Sliver

    Come on Google when we going to see Google Mars

    December 6, 2012 at 9:31 am |
    • zlop

      Was there for several years - resolution not so good.
      "With Mars in Google Earth, you can:
      View images downloaded by NASA just hours ago, in the Live from Mars layer'"

      December 6, 2012 at 11:11 pm |
  21. yadayadayada

    So I am curious, why is so light outside? And what is the picture so cropped? And who cares if their is something in the soil? Wouldn't our money be more well spent reducing the deficit, giving to the millions of children who do not have food or clothing, putting Americans through school to higher our education, paying hard working individuals more (service workers such as teachers)? Just curious.

    December 6, 2012 at 8:21 am |
    • Think

      That kind of short sighted thinking is exactly what would have kept our civilization in the dark ages. Science moves the world forward. It is the fuel for economy. It is the creator of industries.

      December 6, 2012 at 2:43 pm |
    • tj

      yep

      December 7, 2012 at 2:07 pm |
    • Sailr

      Where do you think all that money goes thats spent on space research. Do you think it flies to Mars or the moon and is never seen again. The money stays here on Earth paid out to workers who research, plan and build all the items that we now have to keep us happy and stupid.

      December 21, 2012 at 5:44 pm |
  22. jvance

    Kind of disappointing, this sounds like the kind of stuff you find in carbonaceous meterorites, I wish it was something more interesting. Oh well, keep digging around, hope springs eternal.

    December 5, 2012 at 11:59 pm |
  23. man what

    U got to get to the moon first n who so what if somthing lived on mars r is living on mars. what help will it b to us here on earth wast of money I thnk. n is somthing is living on mars its going to die from contamintion study the ocean more to learn just my thoughts who cares about um me that's who

    December 5, 2012 at 8:23 pm |
    • Answer

      They decontaminate the rovers, you know. Life on Mars might help us understand more about ourselves in life, life itself, and if we wonder what's on Mars we will know. And when Earth's population grows out of control, we could conquer Mars. And if Mars is contaminated and the microorganisms survive, at least we know that Mars is inhabitable.
      Whatcha know 'bout Science?

      December 5, 2012 at 10:54 pm |
  24. RQ

    Who's taking the picture of the rover???

    December 5, 2012 at 7:30 pm |
    • Shrike

      See those foot prints on the left side of the picture. There ya go....

      December 5, 2012 at 7:43 pm |
    • agntornge6

      1 gurl? 6 guys! hoo taks da jpg??

      December 5, 2012 at 8:23 pm |
    • mwcollins

      This is one of those Art Cars I saw at Burning Man, right?

      December 5, 2012 at 8:25 pm |
    • RF Burns

      Marvin the Martian. He's been under contract to NASA for the last 8 years.

      December 6, 2012 at 8:23 am |
    • situationalawareness

      The same person that takes the pictures of you from our orbit.

      January 2, 2013 at 3:16 am |
  25. d

    It would take 50000 years terraform Mars. We better start soon!

    December 5, 2012 at 6:08 pm |
    • zlop

      Need a magnetic field to protect the atmosphere.
      Superconducting ring, slightly offset from the Equator, excited by Sun's magnetic field ?

      Did a deep valley - warm at the bottom, plants will produce O2 from CO2
      Nitrogen is the Problem - Crash comets with NH3 ?

      December 6, 2012 at 11:19 pm |
    • situationalawareness

      It would take that long to *naturally" terraform the planet.
      We're pretty good at doing things unnaturally, though. Give things another century and we'll have knowledge that could accelerate terraforming to a couple years, more than likely.

      January 2, 2013 at 4:35 am |
  26. AlabamaCrimsonTide

    It is hard to believe what us as humans have came to. Who knows what we might achieve in the next 100 years from now, we may be even living on mars, you never know.

    December 5, 2012 at 4:50 pm |
    • bill

      Alabama Sucks, go LSU and I agree with you about your coment

      December 5, 2012 at 7:47 pm |
    • agntornge6

      yoo hoo, buba; it did not 100 yeaRS TO GIT THERE TODAY?!MEMBER 1961,SPUTNIK AN WE WER DA 2ND NATION TO PUT A MAN INTO SPACE. wil we be her to see it alls??

      December 5, 2012 at 8:26 pm |
  27. Ana Zdilar

    It is really great success to reach Mars surface and see how it looks like.

    December 5, 2012 at 2:50 pm |
    • Josef Bleaux

      Um... that's been done numerous times by many different spacecraft over the years.

      December 5, 2012 at 4:26 pm |
  28. Isabel Hermanson

    Curiosity will probably make new discoveries on Mars. Humans might have a chance of living on another planet.

    December 5, 2012 at 1:37 pm |
  29. Patrick

    I can't wait to see humans on Mars. This will give us a great opportunity to destroy another planet!

    December 5, 2012 at 12:42 pm |
    • cmorcat

      Don't worry, unless you are about 2 yrs old you won't be seeing humans on earth.

      December 5, 2012 at 1:19 pm |
      • situationalawareness

        I'm pretty sure humans are on earth right now...

        January 2, 2013 at 4:37 am |
    • cmorcat

      Mars, duh!

      December 5, 2012 at 1:21 pm |
    • nick

      heck yeah

      December 5, 2012 at 2:28 pm |
    • Matt

      I'm of the view that if there's no ecosystem on a planet, then there's not a whole lot to destroy. A suppose geologists who REALLY like rock formations might think differently, but not me.

      December 5, 2012 at 5:04 pm |
      • situationalawareness

        The thing is, we don't really know what's on the planet. It's why we've been sending probes to the planet over the last 5-10 years or so. If we do anything rash, we could eradicate existing conditions & lifeforms on that planet. It's not a matter of worrying about war or anything, it's more a matter of destroying something that could possibly be unique to Mars. (and might be helpful to us, as well)

        January 2, 2013 at 3:23 am |
    • dhall

      Mars is already destroyed, right? Maybe we've already been there.

      December 8, 2012 at 2:13 pm |
  30. USAUSA

    For me, the images are the payoff. Totally worth the money. I'm less excited about organic compounds, water, etc.

    December 5, 2012 at 12:39 pm |
  31. Andre

    I hear that Curiosity will serve as the basis for the design of an unnamed rover launching to Mars in 2020

    December 5, 2012 at 9:53 am |
  32. orion7x

    Another Elmo moment for Nasa... As much as I love space stuff, these guys are just goofy. THey freak out over the same thing ever few days. "Maybe organics!" What does it take to not pee in your pants and wait till you find a fossil or license plate? Lets bring it up from the goofy level...

    December 5, 2012 at 9:31 am |
    • The Truth

      By reading the article and the transcript of the actual report from NASA the only one overreacting is you. They stated what they found and informed us what steps they are taking to verify it. Finding possible life on another planet is a massive historical event. But I guess you have more important historical events to track like what Honey Boo Boo did or what Kate is wearing.

      December 5, 2012 at 12:25 pm |
    • chris

      Every step towards evidence of life on Mars, no matter how small, is a big step in the eyes of science. The difference in yesterday's news and today's is that the probability of life may have increased by a few percentage points.

      December 5, 2012 at 3:20 pm |
    • Chris Arabian

      though I do think the work being done on Mars by the rover is extremely valuable science, I do think the scientists get worked up about things a bit too much. They have to remember their work is not being done in a vacuum, well, I mean their excitement and announcements that they found something big. Something big for THEM may be potential organic molecules, but for the rest of us, not so much. Of course, most of these guys would also get that excited if a real live woman gave them a warm hug and kiss on the cheek.

      December 10, 2012 at 3:22 pm |
  33. John

    So what craft is hovering over Curiousity and taking those pictures - just being curious?!!!

    December 5, 2012 at 6:37 am |
    • MrFrosty

      Its a composite image consisting of many pictures , the arm camera , isnt visible to itself , so you dont see it.

      December 5, 2012 at 7:31 am |
      • lasermetrologist

        But wouldn't at least a portion the appendage holding the camera be visible?

        December 5, 2012 at 7:35 am |
    • Greenbug

      The image looks flat, that's not how it was taken. You would have to turn it into a cone... Yet its a collage of pictures. With multiple camera's you can take a picture of the whole rover even the both cameras taking the pictures to include the whole rover.

      December 5, 2012 at 8:27 am |
    • agntornge6

      dude; go to da site an watch da movies. da rover taks it owns jpg wil it is lokin at u?! duhhh, butt stay wid it, der it life out der sumwer.

      December 5, 2012 at 8:32 pm |
      • situationalawareness

        Please, lay off the butchering of speech. I actually had to *TRY* to read that... ack...

        January 2, 2013 at 3:29 am |
  34. monkeythunder21

    This is very interesting how Curiosity is doing right now in Mars. If we can find oxygen, then maybe we could live Mars. I heard that Curiosity had found something very interesting. I'm not sure what it was, but if anyone knows, can you please fill me up with some info. Thanks. :)

    December 5, 2012 at 4:38 am |
    • WhereIsYourCommonSense

      Are you serious? This IS the interesting news, and interesting it is. I heard that they found something, two weeks ago maybe on the news, and this is what comes out now. Has to be what they were talking about...............right? What else were you expecting?

      December 5, 2012 at 4:34 pm |
    • Toejam McGee

      The article you're reading is the news!

      December 5, 2012 at 9:42 pm |
    • zlop

      "If we can find oxygen"

      Chemical species - mole fraction
      Carbon dioxide 95.32% - Nitrogen 2.7% - Argon 0.6% - Oxygen 0.13%
      Carbon monoxide 0.07% - Water vapor 0.03% - Separate by fractional freezing out ?

      December 6, 2012 at 11:32 pm |
    • Scoobee Best

      I believe with the smart brains we have today, we can accomplish to live on mars.

      December 8, 2012 at 3:41 am |
  35. monkeythunder21

    All the work that takes to get Curiostiy to Mars and Curiosity finding amazing things is very cool. I'm interested into this and I honestly believe that we would be able to live on Mars.

    December 5, 2012 at 4:35 am |
    • lasermetrologist

      Mars would make a very hostile evnironment for human life. It would be easier to survive in Antarctica.

      December 5, 2012 at 7:38 am |
      • monkeythunder21

        True but still I think it's still possible but it will take a long time.

        December 5, 2012 at 2:14 pm |
      • agntornge6

        wen u 2 guys go, tak bottles of oxegin/water, cuz der aint nun on da moon or mars. butt ifin u go to da antarchteistic, u wil ned a warm coat, an a passport. u r on da waiten iliss now. it is 4 years l;ong. go look it up!

        December 5, 2012 at 8:37 pm |
  36. jush

    Since the ancient times and the times of galileo galilei, astronomy has been studied. However, I have not seen how knowing whether life exists or existed on another planet will help humanity. We should take care of what we have first!

    December 4, 2012 at 11:44 pm |
    • Chris

      Well for starters, if we found out that there is life on other planets (which, yeah, we probably won't find out in this lifetime), it will put religion even further under the microscope. Did Jesus go get crucified on their planet too?

      December 5, 2012 at 12:32 am |
      • Epidi

        Not MY reilgion. I'm Pagan & worship the wonder of Nature in all it's forms. Thinking our planet has the only life in the universe (sentient or not) is both arrogant & absurd in my opinion. But I can also understand Jush's view too – we have so much more to learn about our own world. The oceans for example. They find new forms of life every day. There is still so much here yet to explore and learn from.

        December 5, 2012 at 1:50 am |
      • pw1121

        Well everyone knows that the earth is the center of the universe and the sun evolves around it. I know this to be true as the earth is flat because that is the way God made it. This Mars thing is just a Hollywood sound stage farce because everyone knows that the planets are just small orbs a few miles up in the sky. By the way, electricity is the work of an evil magitian.

        December 5, 2012 at 2:22 am |
      • gquarles7

        Perhaps, but given the statistical impossibility (practically speaking, not numerically) that life exists on our planet as it does, to find life on the planet next door should be evidence enough to do away with atheism altogether, even if you avoid any confession of religion or scripture.

        December 5, 2012 at 12:55 pm |
      • situationalawareness

        @gquarles7 – Practically speaking, there is a "goldilocks zone" in nearly every solar system in every galaxy, in which a planet can have life. It's not anywhere near impossible, it's the exact opposite. Venus, Earth, & Mars are within the Goldilocks zone in our solar system. We've located at least 3 other planets in other nearby solar systems that are also within the said zone. We are in our infancy when it comes to learning about this stuff still!
        There's not much to say about what you said about atheism, it made no sense.

        January 2, 2013 at 3:40 am |
  37. krehator

    in other news I got one number correct on the $500 million lottery. Woaaaaaaah!

    December 4, 2012 at 6:31 pm |
    • PaEMTP2

      Yeah, but did you buy a power-ball lottery ticket on that day that number was picked?

      December 4, 2012 at 10:08 pm |
  38. Johnnybe good2

    Pictures paint a thousand words? Let us see pictures dammit. Get the drones flying at close range on Mars and give us close up shots real time instead of too close and too distant.

    December 4, 2012 at 6:09 pm |
  39. Have to know

    Wouldn't it be weird if we found out we had lived on Mars BEFORE we had lived on Earth...that we had escaped the devistation on Mars by coming to Earth and now we are rediscovering....Mars?

    December 4, 2012 at 4:58 pm |
    • Johnnybe good2

      I felt the same way also. I believe humans decimated the climate on Mars by cutting and destroying all the trees which made oxygen. Look at our deserts now.

      December 4, 2012 at 6:11 pm |
      • situationalawareness

        Yeah, it'd have nothing to do with the thin atmosphere, and almost egg-like spherical shape thats thought perhaps caused by an early-age projectile impact... or any of the other more sensible reasons.

        January 2, 2013 at 3:47 am |
    • eville11

      Ben Bova , Return to mars, 1999

      December 5, 2012 at 1:18 am |
  40. athensguy

    it is PRINCIPAL investigator not "principle investigator"

    December 4, 2012 at 4:14 pm |
  41. dougaussie

    will you tell the technicians to not leave their footprints in the 'martian' soil when they do repairs to rover.

    December 4, 2012 at 3:45 pm |
  42. Freedom

    'Merica.

    December 4, 2012 at 3:14 pm |
    • genegene63

      you're right... how'd that happen?

      December 4, 2012 at 5:39 pm |
  43. Shredfestival

    Anyone else find it strange how this picture was taken? There is no arm coming from the rover to the location of the photo.

    December 4, 2012 at 3:10 pm |
    • hoser

      Les Stroud is there with the rover...survivorman lives

      December 4, 2012 at 3:48 pm |
    • ColoradoDad

      I thought the same thing. This image is actually 55 high resolution images combined. Which allows NASA to magically make the camera arm disappear for this self portrait.

      December 4, 2012 at 4:01 pm |
  44. Vic

    Romans 1:20

    "20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse."

    New American Standard Bible (NASB)

    Now, when you think about God, keep an open mind to that God Himself (Who Is Metaphysical) is not subject to this physical world and its science (physical laws) that He created all. Therefore, science CAN NOT prove or disprove God! In scientific terms God is imponderable! However, this entire creation & life are "EVIDENCE" to a "CREATOR" == "GOD" !!!

    Also, keep an open mind to that God made all elements that make up this universe finite, even though we are incapable of seeing its limits, for we are also finite, yet He Himself is infinite!

    December 4, 2012 at 2:40 pm |
    • abc123

      Thinking about something that is neither provable nor disprobable is really a waste of your brain.

      December 4, 2012 at 3:12 pm |
    • durundal

      Did you ever stop and think that you are not providing a public service announcement with your proselytizing, but are in fact nothing more than an annoying intrusion on intelligent thought? Faith is individual centric, and is not meant to be an obnoxious marketing campaign.

      December 4, 2012 at 5:42 pm |
      • redragon

        Amen!

        December 11, 2012 at 3:53 pm |
  45. -Hephaestus59

    stange to think that there is water on a differnt planet but in stead of searching we should try and live there ovbisly we can put percous meachinery on a planet but can put percous living beings on it?

    December 4, 2012 at 2:16 pm |
    • Johnnybe good2

      First, we need to know about the terrain, how the weather acts, where are the elements to manufacture any possible life sustaining instruments or tools. We could ship large containers there with all of our needed supplies we have here on Earth. Get that there first and then have it set up ready to walk into and work and live there. Always have a back up ready and then no problems for coming back home in case a problem occurs that cannot be handled on Mars. I say go and go now and get all the livable buildings set up for us to live there where we can physically go out and explore the planet first hand.

      December 4, 2012 at 6:17 pm |
  46. Ricardo.Serrano

    Honestly, this is one one of humanity's proudest moments to be able to detect possible life on a planet one astronomical unit away is fascinating and i believe one day that we will be able to examine this planet up close the day we land on MARS.

    December 4, 2012 at 1:57 pm |
  47. Jude Brummett

    I don't understand how they can tell the difference between all of these different types of particles and organics seeing that things from outer space and our solar system have been crashing into both Earth and Mars since forever. Things from Mars could have easily crashed into Earth and just as easily vise versa. I also think that it is great that we are sending rovers to Mars and learning so much, but I think the only way we are going to get any further into exploration of Mars is if we send a manned ship over.

    December 4, 2012 at 1:40 pm |
  48. ethan.peterman

    this is one of the most amazing space rovers i ever seen a plus its on mars thats crazy someday i believe we will live there

    December 4, 2012 at 11:10 am |
  49. EThAn HEJL

    this is sick. a tap of a button and DONE

    December 4, 2012 at 10:15 am |
  50. JZG

    Hope this isn't contamination from Earth and is in fact initial (but not definitive) evidence that Mars does or once did support life.

    December 4, 2012 at 9:58 am |
    • JEB

      ...or a hitchhiker from another galaxy.

      December 4, 2012 at 7:43 pm |
    • situationalawareness

      Well, the plus side is it'll be easy to tell if it's earth-based with a simple scan if it's characteristics. I agree though, it does add a chicken-and-egg scenario to the whole mix.

      January 2, 2013 at 3:53 am |
  51. Mary Sheline

    i think that this is so cool that such an item can detect things by just a click of some buttons.

    December 4, 2012 at 9:30 am |
  52. Mary Sheline

    I have to say myself, that this is just very interesting. You would have never guessed that there would be things on Mars some day.

    December 4, 2012 at 9:27 am |
  53. Darshan Dhesi

    They failed to find methane but they found carbon and it seems the Martian were like us. oil diggers and once its finished its also the end. lol

    December 4, 2012 at 5:58 am |
  54. Mark 5

    I was somewhat puzzled at why NASA chose to send a rover to a meteor crate. Would not the meteor contiminate the soil and therefore not be representative of Mars true composition? I would have thought some plains area where there is evidence of water flow would have been better.

    December 3, 2012 at 10:33 pm |
    • Tad Pole

      I'm not entirely sure either. I would think perhaps they can *easily* discern meteor particles from the other ones and then gain more knowledge about both? And since the meteor would blow away, and *into*, the surface of the planet you might gain a different perspective about soil composition as opposed to something on the surface. I am also guessing that water would most likely collect at the bottom of a large pit like this. Again, these are all only speculative thoughts on my part.

      December 4, 2012 at 1:40 am |
    • mathiscool

      I think they said they saw evidence of past water from the satellite photos and decided it would be a good place.

      December 4, 2012 at 5:13 pm |
  55. Uncle Stumpy

    "Religion Pie Fight" in 3...2...

    December 3, 2012 at 4:13 pm |
  56. 3Davideo

    So why did this make the Light Years page, but not the discovery of water ice and organics on Mercury?

    December 3, 2012 at 4:04 pm |

Contributors

  • Elizabeth LandauElizabeth Landau
    Writer/Producer
  • Sophia DengoSophia Dengo
    Senior Designer