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"Historical" huge find Curiosity Just Made on Mars

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#51 InterStellarGuy

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Posted 26 November 2012 - 07:38 PM

More water throwing:
"This is going to be a disappointment," said Chris McKay, a NASA space scientist at Ames Research Center at Moffett Field, Calif. "The press description of the

SAM results as 'earthshaking' is, in my view, an unfortunate exaggeration. We have not (yet) found anything in SAM that was not already known from previous missions: Phoenix and Viking."


http://www.space.com...peculation.html

#52 Jason H.

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Posted 26 November 2012 - 08:42 PM

One may recall
"Experiments prompted by a 2008 surprise from NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander suggest that soil examined by NASA's Viking Mars landers in 1976 may have contained carbon-based chemical building blocks of life"

http://www.nasa.gov/...hx20100803.html

So I guess it comes down to what folks think "organic" means. Organic compound, water, peroxide, whatever, it's not alive or dancing-with-the-gangnam-bieber-minecraft, so most people won't give a _________ (except the few ;) .)

Jason W. Higley


More water throwing:
"This is going to be a disappointment," said Chris McKay, a NASA space scientist at Ames Research Center at Moffett Field, Calif. "The press description of the

SAM results as 'earthshaking' is, in my view, an unfortunate exaggeration. We have not (yet) found anything in SAM that was not already known from previous missions: Phoenix and Viking."


http://www.space.com...peculation.html



#53 Rick Woods

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Posted 26 November 2012 - 11:39 PM

One may recall
"Experiments prompted by a 2008 surprise from NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander suggest that soil examined by NASA's Viking Mars landers in 1976 may have contained carbon-based chemical building blocks of life"

http://www.nasa.gov/...hx20100803.html

So I guess it comes down to what folks think "organic" means. Organic compound, water, peroxide, whatever, it's not alive or dancing-with-the-gangnam-bieber-minecraft, so most people won't give a _________ (except the few ;) .)


That announcement was prefaced by a big mysterious teaser, just like this. And, when the actual finding was released, it was an absolute nuclear explosion; a real game changer.
It's strange, how few people took notice then, and how few remember it now. 30 years of cynical dogma cast into ruins, and almost no one paid attention.

#54 Qwickdraw

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Posted 27 November 2012 - 06:58 AM

OK. Pure speculation here, so take it FWIW...
The experiment was with the SAM, so best case scenario, they discovered a microbe. More realistically, it is either basic organic molecules or methane. I'm thinking it is methane, and here's why... The SAM did it's first test and kept the partial sample for further testing. But it's now on the move.

I remember reading that in the past when they got potential methane in a sample, they decided to let the sample air out in the atmosphere and the methane disappeared. I'm thinking this is what they are doing right now. Seeing if the methane dissipates.

If it doesn't dissipate, then I believe they will announce the discovery of methane.

Had they discovered an organinc molecule, they wouldn't have moved the rover. They probably would've wanted to test the soil around the original sample.


Trace methane at the level of several parts per billion have already been known to exist in the Martian atmosphere. At this point, I would assume finding trace in the soil would be expected and no surprise. It is currently unknown whether the Methane is from a geological source by an abiotic processes or the result of methanogenesis by Living micro organisms. In either case, Curiosity is able to make measurements that distinguish between different isotopologues of methane and determine more precisely which process or combination of processes is the source.

#55 simpleisbetter

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Posted 27 November 2012 - 08:03 AM

One may recall
"Experiments prompted by a 2008 surprise from NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander suggest that soil examined by NASA's Viking Mars landers in 1976 may have contained carbon-based chemical building blocks of life"

http://www.nasa.gov/...hx20100803.html

So I guess it comes down to what folks think "organic" means. Organic compound, water, peroxide, whatever, it's not alive or dancing-with-the-gangnam-bieber-minecraft, so most people won't give a _________ (except the few ;) .)


That announcement was prefaced by a big mysterious teaser, just like this. And, when the actual finding was released, it was an absolute nuclear explosion; a real game changer.
It's strange, how few people took notice then, and how few remember it now. 30 years of cynical dogma cast into ruins, and almost no one paid attention.


Meh... A nuclear explosion and real game changer for what? That those compounds and materials exist there? It doesn't prove anything concrete, other than they're there. Just like this announcement, the press, and to a lesser extent NASA are doing nothing more than sensationalizing.

#56 Rick Woods

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Posted 27 November 2012 - 12:10 PM

One may recall
"Experiments prompted by a 2008 surprise from NASA's Phoenix Mars Lander suggest that soil examined by NASA's Viking Mars landers in 1976 may have contained carbon-based chemical building blocks of life"

http://www.nasa.gov/...hx20100803.html

So I guess it comes down to what folks think "organic" means. Organic compound, water, peroxide, whatever, it's not alive or dancing-with-the-gangnam-bieber-minecraft, so most people won't give a _________ (except the few ;) .)


That announcement was prefaced by a big mysterious teaser, just like this. And, when the actual finding was released, it was an absolute nuclear explosion; a real game changer.
It's strange, how few people took notice then, and how few remember it now. 30 years of cynical dogma cast into ruins, and almost no one paid attention.


Meh... A nuclear explosion and real game changer for what? That those compounds and materials exist there? It doesn't prove anything concrete, other than they're there. Just like this announcement, the press, and to a lesser extent NASA are doing nothing more than sensationalizing.


I think you're talking about something else.
I'm referring to the discovery of perchlorates in the Martian soil by Phoenix. These have the property of destroying organic materials when heated to temperatures far less than those used by the Viking experiments to prepare their samples. For over 36 years, the failure of the GCMS experiment to detect organics (after such heating of the samples) has been used to shut the book on the Viking discovery of biologic activity. No organics, no life, right? Whoops!... They destroyed the organics before they tested for them.

I call that a game-changing discovery. I wish the science from the Phoenix probe would be published in one place.

#57 simpleisbetter

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Posted 27 November 2012 - 12:37 PM

Actually no Rick, I was talking about that. It is a discovery of the realization that those tests couldn't be conducted, but it didn't conclusively prove or lead to proving anything beyond that observation, one way or the other. That's why I find it as anti-climatic as all the other announcements. Sorry for the tone of my reply, but wasn't feeling too good when I got up this morning, and as stated, I'm way beyond tired of the scientific community creating these sensational announcements that come off in the end as nothing more than Geraldo Rivera and Al Capone's vault...

#58 dickbill

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Posted 27 November 2012 - 02:18 PM

But there must be some organics on Mars, from comets or asteroids at least.
Also, meteorit ALH 84001 contained organics:
"...Several tests for organic material have been performed on the meteorite and amino acids and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAH) have been found. The debate over whether the organic molecules in the meteorite are in fact of exobiologic origin or are due to abiotic processes on Mars or contamination from the contact with Antarctic ice on Earth is still ongoing..."

Any asteroid containing organics falling straight into the polar cap would be burry deep and in ideal conditions to preserve the organics in dry ice (low temperature, no oxydizers and no radiations or UV). Since Mars had ice at every latitute in its past, that could have happened a lot.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ALH84001

#59 D_talley

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Posted 28 November 2012 - 08:32 AM

Well here it is:

A week ago NASA came out with an announcement that they may have discovered something on Mars:



John Grotzinger, the principal investigator for the Curiosity mission, spoke with NPR and caused a serious commotion because of this quote:



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



He also cautioned that it would take a few weeks for them to examine everything and be sure the big discovery was real.





Today NASA came out with a statement that said:



NASA Social Media Manager Veronica McGregor to explain that the whole thing was really just a really big misunderstanding. "What Grotzinger was actually trying to convey is that Curiosity’s data over her entire two-year mission will further our knowledge of Mars more than ever before, making it a historical mission,"





Do you smell something!!!



Sounds like they are trying to cover up what they found, made a mistake of talking about it before the Feds took control of it.



I guess we will never know what they found.

#60 simpleisbetter

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Posted 28 November 2012 - 09:19 AM

Yep, I hear Geraldo's looking for an assistant...

#61 star drop

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Posted 28 November 2012 - 10:56 AM

Do you smell something!!!



Sounds like they are trying to cover up what they found, made a mistake of talking about it before the Feds took control of it.



I guess we will never know what they found.

Martian dogs don't cover their droppings.

#62 epee

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Posted 28 November 2012 - 12:29 PM

"...a false alarm caused by Earthly contamination from Bigfoot droppings...."

#63 InterStellarGuy

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Posted 28 November 2012 - 12:32 PM

There is no X-Files style conspiracy or coverup at play here if that is what you are implying. All this results from some journalist overhyping a quote into something that wasn't.

#64 D_talley

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Posted 28 November 2012 - 12:51 PM

There is no X-Files style conspiracy or coverup at play here if that is what you are implying. All this results from some journalist overhyping a quote into something that wasn't.


Grotzinger is the principal investigator for the mission. As a professional, for him to come out with the first quote means he used the years of experience he has, the knowledge of the mission and the tests being conducted to make the statement. His quote is very specific about a result from a specific test in the mission. He also said that he was waiting for another test to confirm the results. Very clear and no media hype there. Yes the media loved it and everyone was spun up but Grotzinger was very clear about what he was talking about.

The quote by the media manager is something you hear them say as the spacecraft launches, not anything to do with what Grotzinger is working on or spoke about. Clearly a bad coverup. No retraction from Grotzinger yet..

#65 InterStellarGuy

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Posted 28 November 2012 - 01:01 PM

HE didn't come out with the quote. NPR did. There is no conspiracy.
NPR interviewed him and they came out with the quote. He himself came out with NOTHING.

#66 moynihan

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Posted 28 November 2012 - 01:07 PM

The original NPR Interview that aired on 11/20/2012

#67 Joad

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Posted 28 November 2012 - 01:41 PM

I've read the Slatest version of the "retraction," and I'm afraid that one thing only is clear: scientists shouldn't chat informally with reporters. Doesn't matter what the truth of the situation is now: Grotzinger has created a situation that is most unfortunate and cannot be fixed. Personally, I'm not one for conspiracy theories, but given the current atmosphere I also think it would be much better if NASA folks would just be more careful in what they say.

#68 D_talley

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Posted 28 November 2012 - 01:42 PM

HE didn't come out with the quote. NPR did. There is no conspiracy.
NPR interviewed him and they came out with the quote. He himself came out with NOTHING.


So are you saying that NPR made up the entire exchange and quotes with the lead investigator for this mission?

If so then we need to take NPR to task for implying that there was an anouncement to be made at a later date about a discovery.

#69 simpleisbetter

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Posted 28 November 2012 - 01:51 PM

Well I for one have never put anymore into what NPR says than ANY other news source, and often actually put less in NPR than even AP. The implication/accusation here is that the reporter "embellished" the information to make it sound like he had more of a story than he had. The great majority of the press are no better than the National Enquirer, spinning articles to make a "better" story and throwing the truth out the door, just spend some time reading CNN's website.

Add to that the NASA rep who if I'm reading correctly is not assigned to the Public Affairs office, so technically isn't in a position to release authorized public statements. And he was speaking on something he knew(knows) nothing about because all the data isn't yet in, let alone the interpretation of that data. Talk about getting the cart before the horse, or in this case the horse's behind in front of it's brain.

#70 D_talley

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Posted 28 November 2012 - 02:01 PM

Well I for one have never put anymore into what NPR says than ANY other news source, and often actually put less in NPR than even AP. The implication/accusation here is that the reporter "embellished" the information to make it sound like he had more of a story than he had. The great majority of the mainstream press these days are no better than the Natl Enquirer, spinning articles to make a "better" story and throwing the truth out the door, just spend some time reading CNN's website.

Add to that the NASA rep who if I'm reading correctly not assigned to the Public Affairs office so not in a position to release public statements or info. And he was speaking on something he knew(knows) nothing about because all the data isn't yet in, let alone the interpretation of that data. Talk about getting the cart before the horse, or in this case the horse's behind in front of it's brain.


I agree that the news media's main goal is to increase their readership, causing all twisting of the news and facts.

But with NASA's history of bad press, you would think NASA would have in place a requirement for the news media to contact their public relations office before they interview any staff and staff needs to clear with the public relations office any announcements.

#71 moynihan

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Posted 28 November 2012 - 02:33 PM

HE didn't come out with the quote. NPR did. There is no conspiracy.
NPR interviewed him and they came out with the quote. He himself came out with NOTHING.


So are you saying that NPR made up the entire exchange and quotes with the lead investigator for this mission?

If so then we need to take NPR to task for implying that there was an anouncement to be made at a later date about a discovery.


You can listen to/read the NPR story via the link in my post above (#5543865).

The scientist did say "...one for the history books". The NPR reporter story did no embellishment. But anything heard on NPR Morning Edition/All things Considered (the NPR am/pm news shows) is often fodder for the spin/speculation of others, given the their reputation in journalism. As was stated somewhere above the one for the history books...was an unfortunate choice of words for the lay audience and the commercial newstainment sector.
My take:
I have no guess on the refered "event". But, the NPR reporter has guest hosted the Friday Talk of The Nation Science Friday (TON/SYFRI) show. It is possible that the NASA guy actually knows the reporter. And, on TON/SYFRI a new, highest resolution scan by some new probe giving a new unprecdented detailed data dump might be referred to as one for the etc. without anyone freaking out.

#72 InterStellarGuy

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Posted 28 November 2012 - 02:38 PM

HE didn't come out with the quote. NPR did. There is no conspiracy.
NPR interviewed him and they came out with the quote. He himself came out with NOTHING.


So are you saying that NPR made up the entire exchange and quotes with the lead investigator for this mission?

If so then we need to take NPR to task for implying that there was an anouncement to be made at a later date about a discovery.



No, I am saying they quote mined him.

You, on the other hand, seem to be implying that the federal govt is trying to coverup information about Mars. Occams Razor would do well here.

#73 7331Peg

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Posted 28 November 2012 - 02:39 PM

"We're getting data from SAM as we sit here and speak, and the data looks really interesting," -- that's all John Grotzinger said. If you heard him during the first press conferences after Curiosity landed, you know he's very careful about choosing his words. You'll notice he didn't say earth-shaking or revolutionary, which were phrases I saw in some of the media articles about this.

Although he did say: "This data is gonna be one for the history books. It's looking really good," -- which may have been a poor choice of words because of its vagueness, but it's hardly a promise of a major discovery.

Way too much hype from a lot of people who are understandably hungry for some sensational news from Mars.

This ain't it. Time to go onto something else.

I hear Walmart is about to open a store on lake front property on Titan.

Wonder if they offer free shipping. :grin:


John :refractor:

#74 moynihan

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Posted 28 November 2012 - 02:46 PM

I hear Walmart is about to open a store on lake front property on Titan. Wonder if they offer free shipping. :grin:


You really will have to obey the no smoking rules in that store, well, and outside it for that matter... ;)

#75 Rick Woods

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Posted 28 November 2012 - 10:46 PM

Actually no Rick, I was talking about that. It is a discovery of the realization that those tests couldn't be conducted, but it didn't conclusively prove or lead to proving anything beyond that observation, one way or the other. That's why I find it as anti-climatic as all the other announcements. Sorry for the tone of my reply, but wasn't feeling too good when I got up this morning, and as stated, I'm way beyond tired of the scientific community creating these sensational announcements that come off in the end as nothing more than Geraldo Rivera and Al Capone's vault...


Well, I hear you there. It's the boy who cried "Wolf". When they actually find those ancient ruins or whatever, nobody will pay attention.

And I agree, the perchlorate discovery doesn't prove anything. But, what it does do is invalidate the negative Viking GCMS results which were used as the primary argument to refute the consistantly positive biological results of Gil Levin's Labeled Release experiment. Dr. Levin has been fighting an uphill battle, pretty much alone, on this issue for over 36 years.

NASA and the scientific community at large can no longer issue the blanket statement that "Viking did not discover any evidence of life". In fact, it did. (That's "evidence", not "proof".) The whole question is open again.






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