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Old 11-22-2012, 10:49 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Big News From Mars? Rover Scientists Mum For Now

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Scientists working on NASA's six-wheeled rover on Mars have a problem. But it's a good problem.

They have some exciting new results from one of the rover's instruments. On the one hand, they'd like to tell everybody what they found, but on the other, they have to wait because they want to make sure their results are not just some fluke or error in their instrument.

It's a bind scientists frequently find themselves in, because by their nature, scientists like to share their results. At the same time, they're cautious because no one likes to make a big announcement and then have to say "never mind."

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.

Grotzinger says they recently put a soil sample in SAM, and the analysis shows something earthshaking. "This data is gonna be one for the history books. It's looking really good," he says.

Grotzinger can see the pained look on my face as I wait, hoping he'll tell me what the heck he's found, but he's not providing any more information.

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.

"We knew from the very beginning that we had this risk of having brought air from Florida. And we needed to diminish it and then make the measurement again," he says. And when they made the measurement again, the signs of methane disappeared.

Grotzinger says it will take several weeks before he and his team are ready to talk about their latest finding. In the meantime he'll fend off requests from pesky reporters, and probably from NASA brass as well. Like any big institution, NASA would love to trumpet a major finding, especially at a time when budget decisions are being made. Nothing succeeds like success, as the saying goes.
http://www.npr.org/2012/11/20/165513...sc=tw&cc=share
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Old 11-22-2012, 11:41 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Re: Big News From Mars? Rover Scientists Mum For Now

tell me! tell me! tell me!
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Old 11-22-2012, 01:17 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Re: Big News From Mars? Rover Scientists Mum For Now

Probably a rogue copy of NBA Live 13, nothing to get excited about.
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Old 11-22-2012, 01:35 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Re: Big News From Mars? Rover Scientists Mum For Now

Had to laugh when I saw this comment on the article:

Quote:
Evangelicals rejoice — SAM found a note from an anonymous author, saying that Earth suddenly appeared in the Martian sky 6000 years ago.
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Old 11-22-2012, 01:53 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Re: Big News From Mars? Rover Scientists Mum For Now

Well, there we have it! Nothing to see here. Everything's all figured out.

Now we can all hold hands and sing Kumbaya.
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Old 11-23-2012, 10:36 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Re: Big News From Mars? Rover Scientists Mum For Now

A McDonald's cheeseburger wrapper.
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Old 11-23-2012, 11:07 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Re: Big News From Mars? Rover Scientists Mum For Now

Water would be cool
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Old 11-23-2012, 11:15 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Re: Big News From Mars? Rover Scientists Mum For Now

Nasa was built with a single goal of reaching Mars , the moon was just a step before Mars... I wonder what they found.
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Old 11-27-2012, 03:12 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Re: Big News From Mars? Rover Scientists Mum For Now

Alien poo

Or maybe a legit methane tracing.
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Old 11-27-2012, 04:37 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Re: Big News From Mars? Rover Scientists Mum For Now

meanwhile... boo

http://www.slate.com/blogs/the_slate...ut_entire.html
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Old 11-27-2012, 05:08 PM   #11 (permalink)
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Re: Big News From Mars? Rover Scientists Mum For Now

In other words, a scientist too valuable to kill off let loose about some info they do not want the public to know about.
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Old 11-27-2012, 07:10 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Re: Big News From Mars? Rover Scientists Mum For Now

No one is too valuable to kill. Just ask JFK.
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Old 11-27-2012, 08:18 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Re: Big News From Mars? Rover Scientists Mum For Now

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A McDonald's cheeseburger wrapper.
It's actually a 6,000 year old Twinkie. The exciting part is that when the scientists took a bite they couldn't tell the difference.
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Old 11-27-2012, 08:48 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Re: Big News From Mars? Rover Scientists Mum For Now

Unions ruined Mars too you say?

EDIT: You really should have gone with the original Mars Bar....
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Old 11-27-2012, 10:18 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Re: Big News From Mars? Rover Scientists Mum For Now

Mars bars don't last 6000 years. And it's clear that Mars has been mismanaged.
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