bison, for me your take on things was very interesting. Just got a couple of questions,
" It tells us nothing but the obvious; that tests on any single sample, scrutinized by one scientific team can not be definitive; that many more samples, tests, and peer review will be needed before something scientifically definitive is established."
How long would this take do you think? I know that's like asking how long a piece of string is, but how long do you think that would take if it was the case of such a finding?
I can't for the press conference later today! Leaving work early to watch it About two weeks before Curiosity's landing I read an article on the BBC website, I've been fascinated by space in general since then. I had a passing interest in space before, but now I've become obsessed by its possibilities! I guess I've joined in at quite a promising time
You're right about that piece of string, and I've never been very good at predicting the future. There are a lot of variables that could affect the pace of discovery. How clear is the evidence? Dr. Grotzinger's quick 'one for the history books' reaction seems to suggest something really striking, while the subsequent disclaimers by others in NASA make it seem rather less so. Did Dr. Grotzinger get carried away by his enthusiasm, or are the other NASA people being more cautious than necessary? We won't even to begin to have a sense of this for a couple of hours, yet.
I do have a sense that if life on Mars, past or present, seems a solid possibility, the process of examining, and if possible, confirming this will be expedited as much as possible within the limits of scientific procedures. I hope that this will be a matter of a few months, but there is no real certainty of this.
On an immediate, practical note, I'm concerned about the availability of today's press briefing. I think it very likely that interest will be extraordinarily high. Will the website carrying it become congested, and begin to refuse new connections? Other sites will be carrying the presentation, too. I recall reading that the Huffington Post will do so. Other news sites would probably be worth checking, too, if either of the above become unavailable.
There was a press briefing from 9 to 10 a.m. Pacific time, 17:00 UT/ GMT, today. Dr. John Grotzinger and several of his colleagues spoke about ongoing operation of the Curiosity rover on Mars.
Dr. Grotzinger maintains that his 'one for the history books' remark refers to his relief, and satisfaction when the rover first successfully completed several tests with consistent results, showing that it was working as intended. I question his use of the expression 'one for the history books', without further explanation, and in a context intended for a lay audience.
It seems that simple organic compounds were detected, but it is not yet clear if these were brought along from Earth, or carried to Mars by meteorites, or if native to the planet, that they are connected with life processes. One of these, chloromethane, is sometimes produced by living organisms on Earth.
The Curiosity science team seems optimistic about future possibilities of finding a wider variety of organic compounds. They believe that other sites on Curiosity's itinerary are more promising in this regard. They discussed a series of steps that would be used to determine if any such compounds were connected to living things. Prominent among these was the examination of carbon isotope ratios, as was discussed in previous posts on this thread.
"Space is big. Really big. You just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mind-boggingly big it is. I mean, you may think it's a long way down the street to the chemist, but that's just peanuts to space." - The Hitch-Hikers Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams 1952 - 2001
Hey, I'm not wrong. I'm just not completely right.
Posted 03 December 2012 - 10:34 PM
From Waspie Dwarfs link:
Transformer Footprints!!! Small one from the looks of the prints...
Looks like dirt you might dig up in some places in Eastern Oregons high desert.
CheMin's examination of Rocknest samples found the composition is about half common volcanic minerals and half non-crystalline materials such as glass. SAM added information about ingredients present in much lower concentrations and about ratios of isotopes. Isotopes are different forms of the same element and can provide clues about environmental changes. The water seen by SAM does not mean the drift was wet. Water molecules bound to grains of sand or dust are not unusual, but the quantity seen was higher than anticipated.
SAM tentatively identified the oxygen and chlorine compound perchlorate. This is a reactive chemical previously found in arctic Martian soil by NASA's Phoenix Lander. Reactions with other chemicals heated in SAM formed chlorinated methane compounds -- one-carbon organics that were detected by the instrument. The chlorine is of Martian origin, but it is possible the carbon may be of Earth origin, carried by Curiosity and detected by SAM's high sensitivity design.
So, water, amorphous glass and carbon were all found, just as people speculated. But none of them is a smoking gun of anything in particular.
Here at Intel we make processors on 12 inch wafers. And, the individual processors on the wafers are called die. And, I am employed to check these die. That is why I am the DieChecker.
At times one remains faithful to a cause only because its opponents do not cease to be insipid. - Friedrich Nietzsche
Qualifications? This is cryptozoology, dammit! All that is required is the spirit of adventure. - Night Walker