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We found something amazing on Mars


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The exciting results are coming from an instrument in the rover called SAM. "We're getting data from SAM as we sit here and speak, and the data looks really interesting," John Grotzinger, the principal investigator for the rover mission, says during my visit last week to his office at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif. That's where data from SAM first arrive on Earth. "The science team is busily chewing away on it as it comes down," says Grotzinger.


SAM is a kind of miniature chemistry lab. Put a sample of Martian soil or rock or even air inside SAM, and it will tell you what the sample is made of.




i'm guessing they found traces of past microbial life on mars. if that's not it, it better be the next boc album under some soil. what do you think they found?

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I'm a bit of a rockhound so I'm interested to see what this is. One of the last two rovers found a spot of relatively pure silica a few years ago, and it would be exciting for me if it's something of the like - a hydrothermal deposit or something.


However, Curiosity's mission is primarily focused on sedimentary deposits. A big find would be a biosignature of some kind.

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"So why doesn't Grotzinger want to share his exciting news? The main reason is caution. Grotzinger and his team were almost stung once before. When SAM analyzed an air sample, it looked like there was methane in it, and at least here on Earth, some methane comes from living organisms.

But Grotzinger says they held up announcing the finding because they wanted to be sure they were measuring Martian air, and not air brought along from the rover's launchpad at Cape Canaveral."


So last time this happened someone played a prank on old man Grotzinger and he thought he'd found martian farts?


This time he wants to be sure that the the pungent stuff he's hoarding for himself is infact, martian poo.

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