NASA Downplays "Earthshaking" Discovery on Mars

NASA Downplays "Earthshaking" Discovery on Mars

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The space agency says that Curiosity Rover lead scientist John Grotzninger was perhaps a tad overexcited when he claimed that a recent discovery on the red planet will be "one for the history books."

John Grotzninger caused a bit of a stir last week with comments about a recent analysis of the Martian soil conducted by the Curiosity rover. NASA hasn't yet announced the results of the analysis, but Grotzninger implied that whatever the rover had found, it was big. "This data is gonna be one for the history books," he told NPR. "It's looking really good."

That led very naturally to all sorts of speculation about what might be happening on, or under, the surface of Mars. The presence of alien life, perhaps? Evidence of life at some point in the past? A buried Shadow ship? Alas, Grotzninger refused to spill the beans.

But now NASA is moving to downplay the cryptic tease and dial back the excitement. "It won't be earthshaking but it will be interesting. As for history books, the whole mission is for the history books," spokesman Guy Webster told Time. "John was excited about the quality and range of information coming in from SAM [Curiosity's Sample Analysis at Mars] during the day a reporter happened to be sitting in John's office last week. He has been similarly excited by results at other points during the mission so far."

The agency's concern may be stoked by an earlier Curiosity analysis of the Martian atmosphere that appeared to contain methane, which could suggest the presence of life, but that was later found to be a false positive. NASA has also been burned by similar over-excitement in the past: In 1996 it had to step back from an announcement of the presence of organic compounds in a Martian meteorite that suggested the possibility of life on the planet at one point in its history.

NASA will unveil Curiosity's findings, whatever they may be, on December 3.

Sources: TechRadar, Time

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No shit.

Sure I'm excited about Curiosity (or any other space mission or similar scientific endeavor).

But anything "groundbreaking" always has to be taken with a grain of salt. Just like the "Superluminar" particle at CERN that supposedly flew faster than the speed of light. At CERN it was shown to be a timing error and with this Curiosity discovery it'll likely be something interesting for people who know what they're doing but at the same time a huge let-down for all the armchair-scientists out there.

I've got my tinfoil hat on. Conspiracies ho!

In all seriousness, scientists who are passionate about their work tend to see things differently than us, so I wouldn't be surprised if it ended up being some thing rather acute.

Well if its not alien life, alien artifcts or a message from beyond the stars, then its bound to be something thoroughly dissapointing, assuming that was what you were looking for.

THEY FOUND THE PROTHEAN RUINS!!!11!ELEVEN!!

But seriously, I guess that they could have found traces or evidence that suggest that there used to be life on mars. But nothing definitive.

So it's just Earthstirring then?

Called it! Scientists are often very compassionate about their field of study, and something that seems amazing to them might be a little more mundane for the average Joe. So when I read how excited he was about the data, I had to laugh a little at all the alien life theories :P
Nothing to see here folks, just an overly excited scientists that happened to be in the vicinity of a journalist.

THEY'RE HERE

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"As for history books, the whole mission is for the history books"

perhaps im just be a paranoid conspiracy freak, but this sounds suspiciously like bs political doublespeak no?

But more importantly:

WHO IS TAKING THAT PICTURE?!

He's like NASA's very own Peter Molyneaux.

Andy Chalk:
THEY'RE HERE

i knew the Glaucus atlanticus were just babies that just couldnt reach adulthood without their parents.
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who is the crazy one now!

Notsomuch:
He's like NASA's very own Peter Molyneaux.

damn, i wanted to say that Peter Molyneux has taken over NASAs marketing department.
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ninja scum!

Carrots_macduff:
"As for history books, the whole mission is for the history books"

perhaps im just be a paranoid conspiracy freak, but this sounds suspiciously like bs political doublespeak no?

Well, lowering what is essentially a tank with a laser turret via a rocket boosted skycrane is already pretty historic.

I'm not saying that it's aliens....but it's probably aliens.

They finally found the Prothian archive.

Notsomuch:
He's like NASA's very own Peter Molyneaux.

i hope you mean he is the opposite of Molyneux, because an ambiguous statement like "we've made an exciting discovery" is definitely not what Molyneux is so infamous for

Curiosity found a cat. Successfully disposed of. That's another one for the history books.

(alternate version: Curiosity found remains... of itself! Mind: blown.)

Results not earthshaking? ...but I was betting that it had studied a martian earthquake...

Zakarath:
Results not earthshaking? ...but I was betting that it had studied a martian earthquake...

Well as Marsquake wouldn't shake earth, now would it?

PLEASE be the Mars Archives! Tell me Bioware are psychic about this stuff and that Mass Effect was a premonition of the future!

Carrots_macduff:
"As for history books, the whole mission is for the history books"

perhaps im just be a paranoid conspiracy freak, but this sounds suspiciously like bs political doublespeak no?

No, just plain PR talk.

Anywho, this reads as 'scientist get excited over something majority important to him, but mandate to 'average joe', and then NASA begin the damage containment'.

Like with the 'microbes' from the Mars rock they found. That said, I like science-type stuff, so I am curious as to what it could be. Sadly, I don't think it'll be 'ancient Mars microbes found', more likely 'water was here a week ago' or something.

Andy Chalk:
THEY'RE HERE

^^ That made my day.

Anyway, I've still got my fingers crossed for martian fossils.

Carrots_macduff:

Notsomuch:
He's like NASA's very own Peter Molyneaux.

i hope you mean he is the opposite of Molyneux, because an ambiguous statement like "we've made an exciting discovery" is definitely not what Molyneux is so infamous for

I hope when you said opposite you meant analogous, because even barring the incorrectness of the statement about him being an opposite, it was a joke so obvious I wont bother explaining. Hand in your badge and your keyboard Macduff, you're off the case.

Haha, what else could it be but a buries Shadow ship! Nice shout out to one of the best scifi shows ever made (IMO).

OT: We all get over zealous at times. This could be something huge but NASA and the government could be down playing it (or so says my inner conspiracy theorist).

So this is NASA's version of "Cool story bro?"

I am hoping for dinosaurs in space personally.

Carrots_macduff:
"As for history books, the whole mission is for the history books"

perhaps im just be a paranoid conspiracy freak, but this sounds suspiciously like bs political doublespeak no?

Well yeah, of course it is. What does that have to do with conspiracies?

Personally, I'm betting they discovered that Mars' brown-to-red dirt ratio is 48.2% higher then expected.

So, they have found something big, and it turns out it is so big that they cant tell us. smells like the UFO thing all over again.

Hear me! Sooner or later that curiosity will find a portal into hell, but unlike Doom we don't have space marines to take care of the problem. We're so fucked! not

What, finding something really, really exciting but not telling anyone what it is turns out to be a bullshit PR stunt because people think NASA is a bit off a joke nowdays?

Pardon me while I don't faint with surprise.

Also, really not helping with the "we're not a joke" thing.

At first I was thinking it was going to be something huge, like an underground lake or significant traces of microbial life. Now I'm thinking it's probably just a type of geological formation that only occurs under certain atmospheric conditions, thus showing that Mars once had a similar atmospheric makeup to Earth. Which is still pretty exciting, just not as earth-shattering as first implied. Either way, science!

Lets face it; this is NASA we're talking about. If they found rocks made of compressed solidified methane this would be a BIG thing. Well, I guess that it would indeed be a big thing if they found that, but it's certainly not something your average Joe would find amazing.

What's "One for the history books" for NASA may not be of any major interest to the majority of people.
I bet the discovery is a rock.

Giant angry squid robots, that's what I'm going to go with.

Good to see then dial it down a little bit. Honestly, its the last thing Nasa needs is a huge hype letdown.

Damn. Probably isn't my spare car keys then.

and while everyone is concentrating on mars. the probe orbiting mecury found water ice and organic compounds in some of the deep craters that never see sunlight

 

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