. Mars Exploration News .

Life on Mars? Maybe not. NASA rows back on findings
by Staff Writers
Washington (AFP) Nov 21, 2012

NASA downplayed Wednesday talk of a major discovery by its Martian rover after remarks by the mission chief raised hopes it may have unearthed evidence life once existed on the Red Planet.

Excitement is building over soon-to-be-released results from NASA's Curiosity rover, which is three months into a two-year mission to determine if Mars has ever been capable of supporting microbial life.

Its Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instruments have been sending back information as it hunts for compounds such as methane, as well as hydrogen, oxygen and nitrogen, that would mean life could once have existed there.

In an interview with US broadcaster National Public Radio, aired Tuesday, lead mission investigator John Grotzinger hinted at something major but said there would be no announcement for several weeks.

"We're getting data from SAM," he said. "This data is gonna be one for the history books. It's looking really good."

A spokesman for NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, which is managing the project, appeared to pour cold water Wednesday on the hopes of space enthusiasts looking forward to an earth-shattering discovery.

"John was delighted about the quality and range of information coming in from SAM during the day a reporter happened to be sitting in John's office last week. He has been similarly delighted by results at other points during the mission so far," spokesman Guy Webster told AFP.

"The scientists want to gain confidence in the findings before taking them outside of the science team. As for history books, the whole mission is for the history books," Webster said.

Scientists do not expect Curiosity to find aliens or living creatures but they hope to use it to analyze soil and rocks for signs the building blocks of life are present and may have supported life in the past.

The $2.5 billion Curiosity rover -- which landed in Gale Crater on the Red Planet on August 6 -- also aims to study the Martian environment to prepare for a possible human mission there in the coming years.

US President Barack Obama has vowed to send humans to the planet by 2030.


Related Links
Mars News and Information at MarsDaily.com
Lunar Dreams and more

Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Memory Foam Mattress Review

Newsletters :: SpaceDaily Express :: SpaceWar Express :: TerraDaily Express :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

Get Our Free Newsletters
Space - Defense - Environment - Energy - Solar - Nuclear


What Arctic Rocks Say About Mars: An Interview with Hans Amundsen
Moffett Field CA (SPX) Nov 13, 2012
In 1996, a research group led by Dave McKay of NASA's Johnson Space Center claimed to have found evidence of fossilized life in a Mars meteorite. Not only did the shapes look like bacteria, but a form of magnetite (iron oxide) was found in the meteorite that, on Earth, is produced within the bodies of certain bacteria. The study also found tiny carbonate globules in the meteorite, which the scie ... read more

China's Chang'e-3 to land on moon next year

Moon crater yields impact clues

Study: Moon basin formed by giant impact

NASA's LADEE Spacecraft Gets Final Science Instrument Installed

Mr Xi in Space

China plans manned space launch in 2013: state media

China to launch manned spacecraft

Tiangong 1 Parked And Waiting As Shenzhou 10 Mission Prep Continues

It's a bird, it's a plane, it's... the Space Station

Three ISS crew return to Earth in Russian capsule

Station Crew Off Duty After Undocking

Space station command changes

Dwarf planet Makemake lacks atmosphere

Keck Observations Bring Weather Of Uranus Into Sharp Focus

At Pluto, Moons and Debris May Be Hazardous to New Horizons Spacecraft During Flyby

Sharpest-ever Ground-based Images of Pluto and Charon: Proves a Powerful Tool for Exoplanet Discoveries

Cassini Finds a Video Gamers' Paradise at Saturn

Cassini Halloween Treat: Titan Glows in the Dark

Saturn's giant storm reveals the planet's churning atmosphere

Giant impact scenario may explain the unusual moons of Saturn

China successfully launches remote sensing satellite

TerraSAR-X image of the month - the Santorini volcano expands

What lies beneath? New survey technique offers detailed picture of our changing landscape

How many Russian Earth observation satellites will be in orbit by 2015?

UK Secures Billion Pound Package For Space Investment

Who's Killing the Space Program?

Fly me to the universe

At Helsinki's Slush, start-ups 'speed date' for financing

Magnesium oxide: From Earth to super-Earth

Rare image of Super-Jupiter sheds light on planet formation

Astronomers Directly Image Massive Star's 'Super-Jupiter'

NASA's Kepler Wraps Prime Mission, Begins Extension

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2012 - Space Media Network. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement