Credit to: Mars Curiosity Rover Found Something New on the Red Planet, Says NASA By: Peter Hess
ASA’s Curiosity Rover has been prodding and poking around on Mars for well over 2,000 days now, and so far it’s revealed some truly dope stuff about our planetary neighbor. On Thursday, NASA officials will announce even more new findings from the red planet and will answer questions from the public and the media.
Curiosity, which left Earth back in November 2011 and landed on Mars in August 2012, carries instruments that enable it to analyze Martian geology, search for signs of water, and generally investigate whether the planet could have ever hosted any forms of life. And those abilities have paid off in spades. It’s sent back pictures of crystals suggesting water, analyzed rocks to find that Mars once had free oxygen in its atmosphere, and even fixed its own dang drill. NASA announced May 23 that the rover’s new drilling technique is working as hoped, so some have speculated that Thursday’s announcement could have something to do with that.
Unfortunately, you’ll need to wait until Thursday to get the full announcement. The scientific papers that contain the new information, which will be published Thursday in the journal Science, are under embargo until then. This means that the information is there and it’s all been peer-reviewed by other scientists, it’s just not available to the public yet. There are some small clues we can look to, though, including the scientists who will be on the panel:
- Paul Mahaffy, director of the Solar System Exploration Division at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center
- Jen Eigenbrode, research scientist at Goddard
- Chris Webster, senior research fellow, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California
- Ashwin Vasavada, Mars Science Laboratory project scientist, JPL
Among these scientists, the presence of Eigenbrode, a biogeochemist, offers a clue. She’s previously been involved in research analyzing the chemical components of rocks on Mars, including the search for organic matter — possible signs of life.
But if you want to know exactly what Curiosity has shown Earth-based scientists about Mars, you’ll need to tune in at 2:00 p.m. Eastern on Thursday to find out. Or check back to read the full story on Inverse dot com!