- Oct 30, 2009
- Reaction score
It appears the Curiosity rover on Mars has had some exciting news, but NASA controllers have said that they're keeping quiet about it until the facts have been checked.
"This data is gonna be one for the history books. It's looking really good," John Grotzinger, principal investigator for Curiosity told NPR.
According to Grotzinger, the data comes from the rover's Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instrument, which consists of a six-column gas chromatograph, a quadrupole mass spectrometer, and a tunable laser spectrometer. This gives SAM the ability to find organic life, if it exists.
So far Curiosity has done a sample scoop of soil for SAM earlier this month, and NASA announced more samples were going to be taken last week from an area the team have dubbed Rocknest. It appears they have found something very special, but Grotzinger says his lips are sealed.
"We're getting data from SAM as we sit here and speak, and the data looks really interesting," he teased. "The science team is busily chewing away on it as it comes down,"
Part of the caution comes from nearly getting burned in the past, Grotzinger explained. Earlier in the mission, SAM took a sample of the Martian atmosphere and found methane present, which is a good indicator that there was life on Mars, at least at one point.
When it's for the history books then I can only imagine microbes or H2O, I mean we already discovered methane on Mars and it would not be for the history books I think, just ask your family/friends what they think about methane on Mars, even if we have discovered small amounts, nobody cares...
I care, and I'm sure that most Orbinauts care as well.
Phil Plait said:I’m seeing tons of speculation, though, and I will happily be the party pooper: don’t let your imagination run away from you. If you immediately jump to the conclusion that this is really something amazing, then when you find out what it's actually about, as exciting as it may be, it may not live up to what you think.
Curiosity's mass is 900 kg. On Mars, her weight is around 3300 N, which makes for around 550 N per each wheel, or equivalent to about 55 kg mass on Earth. That's like having 55 kg pressing down on her wheels with a rock that touches the wheels with the surface area of a pencil...
It's tough to get the scale of the rover from the images, but this thing ain't no "cute lil rover" like the ones before.
I think you will be very, very disappionted. Something "earthshaking" for sciencist is completely difference than "earthshaking" for a layman.Theories? Appropriate thread or is there another I'm not aware of? My bet is either on evidence of past life, or evidence of (or direct detection of) current life. Third on my list is evidence of copiuos amounts of (recent) water.