Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Mars discovery: one for the history books

NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity has apparently made a discovery “for the history books,” but we'll have to wait a few weeks to find out what the new Red Planet find may be, media reports suggest. The discovery was made by Curiosity's Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instrument. SAM is the rover's onboard chemistry lab, and it's capable of identifying organic compounds—the carbon-containing building blocks of life as we know it. SAM apparently spotted something interesting in a soil sample Curiosity's huge robotic arm delivered to the instrument recently.

“This data is gonna be one for the history books,” Curiosity chief scientist John Grotzinger said. “It's looking really good.” Grotzinger said the rover team won't be ready to announce just what SAM found for several weeks. The scientists want to check and double-check the results, to make sure they're for real.

Do you think there was ever life on Mars? And, what do you think this discovery is?

Learn about Discovery travel