I’m sorry there is no update. Just lots of speculation. Because of the way it was initially presented to the media and subsequent backtracking by NASA it’s impossible to know if we should be hopeful or cynical:
MarsDaily – The news follows on the heels of what scientists earlier thought was the discovery of methane – typically a sign of living organisms – on Mars, Grotzinger said, only to determine later that the air likely accompanied the spacecraft from its Florida Launchpad. He added that NASA would convene a press conference in early December to reveal the results of Curiosity’s research.
Scientists, meanwhile, have let their imaginations run wild as to what Curiosity might beam back to earth. “If it’s going in the history books, organic material is what I expect,” Peter Smith, a University of Arizona researcher who served on a 2008 Mars mission for the Phoenix Lander, told online tech website Wired on Tuesday.
Maybe it’s methane. But if it’s just a whiff of methane, I would hope there’s more to it. Some solid reason[s] to suspect a biochemical origin or something like that. My guess is the researchers who so excitedly told the press it was earth shaking, may have been suffering from scientific tunnel vision; it was exciting to them, it might not be as exciting to a non-Curiosity non-astrobiologist non-planetery biochemist. There are of course conspiracy Area 51 stories popping up, the Face-on-Mars people are excited at the prospect of fleecing more dough out of their victims, some of the anti-science Big Gubmint haters are convinced it’s all a ploy to drain more money out of hard-working trust fund kids for NASA to dribble away on moonbat projects.
That being said, while I understand the need to be careful, it’s not as clear why the raw data wouldn’t be available in real time just like the images and readings Curiosity sends back and NASA posts online every day. Conspiracy nuts will always be with us, withholding data does nothing to stop them. Quite the contrary, it’s like trying to put out a fire with napalm. Sober, careful scientists and reputable science writers, who could crowd source the findings and accurately convey the discussion to a wider audience, are stonewalled by silence. We’re held hostage by our respect for hard data and expert analysis while our less grounded counterparts are dreaming and scheming their little hearts out. The course NASA has chosen, which is to wait until Dec 3, seems counter productive in that light. Unless the announcement really is historic.