Mars Curiosity news tomorrow … NOW STREAMING


First a researcher on the Mars Curiosity mission lit up the science blogosphere when he said the rover had found something ‘earth shaking’ for the ‘history books’ during Thanksgiving Week. Then NASA back peddled and clammed up leading to all sorts of speculation. Finally, news made the rounds last week that Curiosity hadn’t found much of interest and it was just an excited researcher happy that the soil sampling and analytical tools were operating as designed. NOW — there are reports the rover may have found some carbon compounds, but they’re not gonna say what they are tomorrow:

NPR — “It’s a substance that’s consistent with biological materials,” says John Grotzinger of the California Institute of Technology, the chief scientist on the rover team.

Now don’t start thinking that because some carbon-containing compounds are associated with biological materials he’s talking about life on Mars. Grotzinger says it doesn’t have to be biological materials; there are plenty of carbon-containing compounds that have nothing to do with life. But finding certain of these carbon molecules would be exciting because of what it might say about the Martian environment where the rover is sitting at the bottom of Gale crater. If one kind of carbon can survive there, it might just be a place where carbon molecules that are related to living organisms could also survive as a kind of chemical fossil.

“There wouldn’t be a field of paleontology unless you found the hot spots where things get preserved,” Grotzinger says.

OK, guys: you need to shut the fuck up at this point. If for some incomprehensible reason you still feel an uncontrollable urge to make veiled hints to the media about Curiosity for any reason, I want you to imagine you are a conservative politician sitting on Meet the Press asked your view on rape, and Shut. The. Fuck. UP. Capiche?


  1. StevoR says

    Tantalising people with “you’ll never guess what we’ve found!” type hints and promised big announcements to come, getting speculation running rampant whipped up in the media and blogosphere for days then, BAM, big anti-climaxes and general disappointment and sense of being let down.

    NASA’s starting to get a really bad pattern going for this.

    Please NASA, stop it now. If there’s big news tell us what it is straightaway with major caveats and straight out – “we don’t know and need to confirm it but here’s what might be..” disclaimers. If there isn’t big news then don’t try to fool us into thinking there is.

  2. anubisprime says

    They have got themselves into one almighty tangle on this nonsense, they really have!

    We get it dudes…one carbon atom does not a thriving ray gun totin’civilization make. but one carbon atom does open up previously closed doors!
    And as such deserves a little more grubbing around the dirt in that area!
    It would be an intriguing find at worst, at best we get into Organics!

    “There wouldn’t be a field of paleontology unless you found the hot spots where things get preserved,” Grotzinger says

    So they find a presumed ‘hotspot’ then they move on!
    Seems they had moved on from ‘Rocknest’ looking to practice their drill technique!
    So they have presumably come across a sample that has a Carbon signature…and then skedaddled elswhere’s!

    This is not a coherent strategy which ever way it is sliced!

  3. Crudely Wrott says

    I had to wait years after the announcement of the MSR for the launch.
    I had to wait months after the launch for the landing.
    I had to wait weeks after the landing for the first science reports.

    I don’t mind waiting for this; it is a pittance of time relative to the whole waiting.

    That said, I agree that NASA scientists should curb their enthusiasm until confirmatory, repeatedly confirmatory, information is in hand before public proclamation. I don’t feel like I’ve been misled but I do feel like today’s announcements could be a let down.

    That isn’t going to foster support for the outstanding accomplishments that is crucial to continued funding for planetary exploration. A dampening effect is more probable if the evidence thus gleaned is only a hint about the “big question”. Though even a hint is exciting to this science buff, anything less than a revelation will be lost on most of the general public.

  4. grumpyoldfart says

    Same stunt NASA pulled a couple of years ago with the arsenic based bacteria.

    I’ve moved my NASA bookmark right alongside Pat Robertsons’.

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