Has ‘Curiosity’ Sniffed Signs of Life? NASA Prepares to Release a Big Mars Discovery

 

          
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NASA's John Grotzinger, principal investigator for the rover mission, announced in an interview with NPR  the Mars' Curiosity rover has made a discovery that "is gonna be one for the history books. This data is … looking really good," he said. Grotzinger told NPR it would be several weeks before NASA would release its discovery. What we doi know is that the discovery was made by SAM, the Sample Analysis at Mars suite of three instruments. The Curiosity 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.


Scientists have been hoping to detect methane, which would indicate that there were once living things on Mars. And at one point it appeared that SAM had in fact found methane, according to NPR. But an announcement of that news was held up and, in the end, never came out because a second measurement showed no methane.

Over the Thanksgiving holiday, Curiosity's Mast Camera will be used to scout possible routes and targets, the space agency said. Next up: Choose a rock for the first use of the rover's hammering drill, to collect samples of rock powder.

The Daily Galaxy via NASA/JPL and http://m.npr.org/news/front/165513016

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