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It Came From Outer Space

The Mars Curiosity Rover Has Discovered Something “Earthshaking,” But Scientists Can’t Tell Us What It Is Yet

Scientists think they’ve discovered something quite interesting in the results of a soil sample test conducted by the Curiosity Rover… but they’re keeping mum on what that discovery is until they’ve had a chance to verify the data. Still, that hasn’t stopped Mars Science Laboratory’s Principal Investigator John Grotzinger from calling those findings “earthshaking” in an interview with NPR, saying “This data is gonna be one for the history books. It’s looking really good.”

Grotzinger, you big tease.

We may not know what the results are, but we know what the test, conducted by the Rover’s SAM (Sample Analysis at Mars) instrument, was meant to look for: Organic molecules. So it’s a good guess that “earthshaking” means “We found them, guys!,” at least assuming the data holds up.

There being organic molecules on Mars doesn’t necessarily indicate the presence of life, past or present. But while organic molecules =/= life, life (as we know it, anyway) does require organic molecules. According to Universe Today‘s Nancy Atkinson,

As many scientists have said, both the presence and the absence of organic molecules would be important science results, as both would provide important information about the environmental conditions of Gale Crater on Mars.

But something ‘Earthshaking’ or “really good” probably wouldn’t be a nil result.

Says NPR’s Joe Palca, the MSL team has “some exciting new results from one of the rover’s instruments. On the one hand, they’d like to tell everybody what they found, but on the other, they have to wait because they want to make sure their results are not just some fluke or error in their instrument.”

It should be a few weeks before these “earthshaking” results are verified and announced. Just a tip, MSL, for when it’s time for the big reveal? Stay away from Comic Sans.

(via: io9)

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  • Edward Nigma

    Most likely it is fake,the activity of the Mars rover is being filmed at the Disney studios where the fake moon landings were filmed.(the moon room)as Stanley Kubrick called it.

  • thomas w

    What ever it is.. it’s not worth the money they spent. Considering people are starving to death on this planet.

  • GS

    Get over the starving to death crap already – what was spent on the rover, as well as NASA as a whole is a pittance compared to what it could and would do in the world. Are people starving? – yes, can that little money do anything about the governments not letting their own people get food sources that have been sent and sit in warehouses> No! You want real change – change everything by simply respecting each other and supporting each other as a community, not by asking the goverment to do it!

  • Anonymous

    Yes, because the space program is directly linked to people not donating to world hunger. I’d put wars a bit higher on the list I think

  • bearblooded

    Whatever it is I wish all these news agencies would stfu until there is actual news.

  • Donald

    Faked Lunar landings.. So the images of the Apollo landing sites taken by LRO are faked; the same images publicly made available and scrutinized by photography professionals around the world. These professionals have yet to find any evidence of altercations of these images. I’m not saying there’s no ‘Moon Room’ it’s common knowledge that any vehicle made to land on a celestial body needs to be tested. What better way to test it then on a set in Disney studios where they have all the materials readily available? Read some facts and do some research instead of believing everything you hear on the TV.

  • Burnz

    Ignorance must be bliss.

  • Anonymous

    We come in PEACE!

  • Burnz

    So meteors carry organic molecules. That’s how life on earth got here?

  • Donald

    It’s theorized, not proven.

  • Burnz

    Maybe the “earth shattering” is a hint that they possibly have proof? Just a thought. :)

  • Stanley James

    just think = the whole BS about the earth only being 6000 years old will be tossed in the trashpile of superstion and ingorance that currently buttresses right wing extremist xtianity – for whom also Obama is their nightmare come true – a black president

  • Rod Miller

    I am thinking they found an anthill like society of miniature humans … of course, I could be wrong.

  • Rod Miller

    I think Ednigma is funning us.

  • Rod Miller

    Faked moon landings is as unbelievable as voting machines delivering 100% of Obama’s vote in precinct after precinct.

  • Rod Miller

    I think Queen Isabella’s staff said the same thing about backing the Christopher Columbus trip. Hey, Queen, we have people here who can use a little extra money … Columbus sailed & found some goodies which the people wanted a cut of even though they had no skin in the deal. LOL

  • Rod Miller


  • tapthedancer

    zzzzzzzzzzzzz enough already this expensive little piece of toy is getting VERY boring
    it probable came from earth a chunk of the old globe…aliens it soundslike paytonplace stop it already

  • Anonymous

    Zanta. They found Zanta’z boot printz on Marz! They thought it waz Elviz’z, but it waz Zanta’z. Now I’m going to be.d

  • tapthedancer

    we do ?

  • Eric Schiavone

    “Think of how stupid the average person is, and realize half of them are stupider than that.” George Carlin. If it wasnt for people like Ed, this would not be true.

  • Anonymous

    Thats what we want them to think…wink wink

  • Anonymous

    It is, however, worth it for the many technologies which have been improved our lives immeasurably: the development of microprocessors which led to home computers, lenses that aid in the early detection of cancer, not to mention communication satellites which have aided immeasurably to world aid efforts.

    So no, I’d say it’s absolutely worth the effort given the precedence for past performance.

  • Bob Lawbla

    The reporter from the linked article said earth shaking, not the scientist.

  • Anonymous

    The entire cost of the Curiosity rover program was, if I recall correctly, around $2.5bn. Not all of which came from US funds, either; Germany paid a couple million in, and I believe a few other European countries contributed as well. Also, that’s the cost across 8 years, so we’re talking roughly $312m per year; that money went to parts, research, employing scientists and engineers…

    To put things in perspective, if I remember right the job-creation stimulus package cost around $800bn. That’s enough for about *320* separate 8-year-long Mars Science Laboratory missions.

  • Laura Truxillo

    Do you have oil?


    We come in peace!

  • strife

    Money isn’t going to cure people from starving. Technology will because it has to make it easier enough so the people in power have no excuses left. This actually benefits all humanity. How much do you think it’s worth knowing the world isn’t flat? I’m not sure you realize how much a single piece of knowledge can change civilization. Complaining about taxes on this is petty considering there are far greater wastes that don’t even benefit anyone except a handful of people who already have enough. Choose your battles more wisely.

  • Jerilyn Nighy

    They found a gigantic cache of missing socks.

  • George Curtiss

    I will put money on it being a Roman pot proving once and for all Romans did actually live in space

  • Steve Kruckheimmer

    Articles like this are DESIGNED to bring out the SARCASM. Which is why I love them so much. So here goes:
    “Earth Shaking” but only in the pocket universe occupied by these overeducated NERDS who think they’re something because they work for NASA or one of it’s cousins.
    This is just the “god particle” all over again, in which something that’s been suspected for MANY DECADES is confirmed – as if it could have been any other way. And we all know how much the god particle has changed our lives.
    So, what did they discover, that the average year-round temp is 70 degrees F? That would be earthshaking. That they invented a technology that allows astronauts on Mars to communicate with Earth in real time? Yes, that would be earthshaking.
    Please, stop announcing as “earthshaking” the detection or confirmation of something that is already known, or which any science minded grade schooler would reasonably suspsect, which science writers do all the time.

  • Anonymous

    Let’s paint people we disagree with in as broad strokes as possible, ‘kay? And make sure not to spell words right while insulting others’ intelligence– oh, you’re already done, good job!

  • Anonymous

    Sounds legit.

  • Conna Stevenson

    …Don’t you mean “marsshaking?”