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"Big News From Mars? Rover Scientists Mum For Now"


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There is an article in space.com about this. Apparently we are not going to find out for a few weeks. Got to give them time to stir up the conspiracy theorists I hope they have found water, fossils

They found Elvis?

Unless of course the Time Team Geophys guys have plotted the foundations of an ancient Roman Villa?

It would appear that it has found something.

If the announcement is going to be made at the Geophys union I would suggest it's possibly evidence that Mars is active and may have had a magnetic past...if it was about life then I don't think they would release it at this forum and it would be a big NASA announcement..role on the meeting of the Union..

I think i'll go with you on this one J N Franklin... I bet Mars did have a magnetic field and i bet its still as magnetised rock in patches around the surface, but it is very weak, too weak to detect with anything on earth... :smiley:.. After all the planet does have iron on it, isn't that why its so red?. :smiley:

Edited by Vince1963
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Aren't most convinced that Mars had a magnetic field in the past anyway and the current magnetic banding on Mars is likely a remnant of a stronger field when it had a molten core?

Plus I think you have to take into account what the SAM instruments are looking for and that is specifically chemical compounds and even more so organic compounds.

It is likely they may announce they have found organic compounds, which would be cool news indeed even if it's just speculation at the moment.

Still that announcement would not mean that they are biological organic compounds, to find that out we will need to wait on ExoMars.

http://ssed.gsfc.nasa.gov/sam/samiam.html

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As a pretty avid follower of planetary exploration missions (missing geek emoticon), this announcement is obviously a very exciting prospect! But there's a few things you really have to be aware of before getting your hopes up to much...

  • MSL's chemistry lab (CheMin) does NOT have the ability to unambiguously detect life. MSL's mission is to detect whether Mars had (or has) the conditions necessary to support microbial life. Therefore, its instruments are designed around this tasks; looking for clues that Mars used to be warm & wet.
  • Multicellular life did not evolve on Earth until just over 1 billion years ago, a long time after Mars is believed to have lost its stable liquid water. This should tell you something about the likelihood of finding fossilised bones, shells, insects, plants etc: not very!!

My best guess is: They have found more minerals that can only be formed in the presence of standing liquid water, proving that gale crater DID have the conditions necessary to support life. Mission successful! Even more interesting would be evidence of minerals that might have formed more recently than expected, perhaps due to temporary water events.

My best hope is: They have found something suggestive of ancient stromatolites, the likely most advanced lifeform that could have evolved on Mars. Perhaps gale crater was once a biofilm reef! This is very wishful thinking though (evidence of alien life!!) and very difficult to prove beyond reasonable doubt, even in Earth's fossil records!

Edited by Shibby
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My best guess is: They have found more minerals that can only be formed in the presence of standing liquid water, proving that gale crater DID have the conditions necessary to support life. Mission successful! Even more interesting would be evidence of minerals that might have formed more recently than expected, perhaps due to temporary water events.

!

That sounds like a good answer - wonder how long we have to wait ?

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That sounds like a good answer - wonder how long we have to wait ?

Next week, whatever they're going to announce will be on December 3 at the American Geophysical Union meeting.

Edited by Pibbles
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