Today NASA and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory announced the findings collected by the Mars Curiosity Rover after it analyzed a sample it drilled from a Martian rock, and the news is some of the most exciting yet to come out of the Curiosity mission. The data shows that Mars once had conditions capable of supporting microbial life.
The press conference NASA held today about what the Curiosity Rover found on the surface of Mars is over, and although NASA scientists explained that they have not yet found organic compounds, they admit that they have seen organic compounds. Wait, what? This paradoxical discovery comes along with others, including the presence of chlorine and sulfur, but we're more interested in the these organic compounds. Are they there or not?
The Mars Curiosity Rover Has Discovered Something “Earthshaking,” But Scientists Can’t Tell Us What It Is Yet
It Came From Outer SpaceScientists 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.
The next Mars rover will touch down in Gale crater, and explore a 5km high mountain of sediment located inside. The rover, named Curiosity, will launch sometime between November 25th and December 18th of this year. Curiosity will be looking for traces of chemical signs of life in addition to studying the past climates of Mars. The decision to land in the Gale Crater comes after months of debate about where to send the rover.There were four locations on the short list for exploration by Curiosity. In addition to the Gale Crater, that list included Mawrth Vallis, Eberswalde Crater, and Holden Crater. All the proposed sites are believed to have once featured liquid water. But, it was Gale Crater that won out because its unique sediment mountain contains clays, which are a sure sign of liquid water and perhaps signs of life.