Curiosity rover’s “interesting” find on Mars – update 11/21/2012

The rover’s principal investigator has told Wired that NASA is going to hold a press conference about the results during the AGU meeting in San Francisco, December 3-7.

The quote, “This data is gonna be one for the history books. It’s looking really good,” sure doesn’t sound like the scientists have any problems. Gosh . . . usually I have a hard time waiting for December 25th. This should be easier, but it’s going to be a long 17 days (assuming that the press conference will be held on the last day so that any dramatic news won’t blow away the rest of the meeting).

Here’s a bit of background information on microbes and Mars, posted last year, from Britain’s Open University:

Let’s not forget an additional possibility – endoliths. (By the way, I learned about these fascinating critters from Cracked – it’s a multifaceted place, that website.)

The Open University speakers above make a good point, that the discovery there is no life on Mars would be just as important as one that found life.

Also, Adam Mann, in his Wired article (linked above), makes good points about the risks of both unfounded speculation and total secrecy:

Smith cautioned against speculating too much, since rumors have a way of spreading rapidly when it comes to any discussion of potential life on Mars. During his tenure on the Phoenix mission, his team was evaluating the interesting perchlorate results, which they kept secret during analysis. Rumors got out and then became worse when some unsubstantiated report claimed a member of his team meeting was meeting with the White House.

“When you keep things secret, people start thinking all kinds of crazy things,” he said.

I am SO looking forward to that NASA press conference!

Categories: Space

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