I just received this email from AAS press office Dr. Rick Feinberg on the findings of Mars Curiosity. The gist of it is speculations of a major find on Mars are incorrect. Full email below:
“The next news conference about the NASA Mars rover Curiosity will be held at 9 a.m. Monday, Dec. 3, in San Francisco at the Fall Meeting of the American Geophysical Union (AGU).
Rumors and speculation that there are major new findings from the mission at this early stage are incorrect. The news conference will be an update about first use of the rover’s full array of analytical instruments to investigate a drift of sandy soil. One class of substances Curiosity is checking for is organic compounds — carbon-containing chemicals that can be ingredients for life. At this point in the mission, the instruments on the rover have not detected any definitive evidence of Martian organics.
The Mars Science Laboratory Project and its Curiosity rover are less than four months into a two-year prime mission to investigate whether conditions in Mars’ Gale Crater may have been favorable for microbial life. Curiosity is exceeding all expectations for a new mission with all of the instruments and measurement systems performing well. This is spectacular for such a complex system, and one that is operated so far away on Mars by people here on planet Earth. The mission already has found an ancient riverbed on the Red Planet, and there is every expectation for remarkable discoveries still to come.
Monday’s news conference will be in Rooms 134 and 135 of Hall E of Moscone Center North, located in the 700 block of Howard Street between Third and Fourth streets. Information about news media registration with AGU is available at http://fallmeeting.agu.org/2012/media-center/
Audio and visuals from the briefing also will be streamed online at http://www.ustream.tv/nasajpl”