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Mars discovery "one for the history books"


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#106    Mr. Bergstrom

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Posted 03 December 2012 - 10:04 AM

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 :)


#107    bison

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Posted 03 December 2012 - 03:30 PM

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.


#108    HawkLord

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Posted 03 December 2012 - 04:17 PM

Lets hope the organic compounds they found is something like yeast so that we can all have Martian Beer. :clap:

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#109    thewonderman

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Posted 03 December 2012 - 06:10 PM

Is there going be news regarding this discovery today ?

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#110    bison

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Posted 03 December 2012 - 07:34 PM

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.


#111    Otto von Pickelhaube

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Posted 03 December 2012 - 07:41 PM

So was that it, then, or haven't they actually said it yet?

Edited by 747400, 03 December 2012 - 07:43 PM.

If, as it seems, we are in the process of becoming a totalitarian society in which the state apparatus is all-powerful, the ethics most important for the survival of the true, free, human individual would be: cheat, lie, evade, fake it, be elsewhere, forge documents, build improved electronic gadgets in your garage that’ll outwit the gadgets used by the authorities.

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#112    Waspie_Dwarf

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Posted 03 December 2012 - 08:25 PM

View Postbison, on 03 December 2012 - 07:34 PM, said:

There was a press briefing from 9 to 10 a.m. Pacific time, 17:00 UT/ GMT, today.

I've posted NASA's article on this press briefing here: Curiosity Fully Analyzes First Soil Samples

"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

Posted Image
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#113    seeder

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Posted 03 December 2012 - 09:48 PM

Are we not on the cusp of finding out...exactly what...this is all about? What it 'really' means etc?

Edited by seeder, 03 December 2012 - 09:49 PM.

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#114    DieChecker

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Posted 03 December 2012 - 10:34 PM

From Waspie Dwarfs link:

Transformer Footprints!!! Small one from the looks of the prints...
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Teasing!!!

Looks like dirt you might dig up in some places in Eastern Oregons high desert.

Quote

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.

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#115    DONTEATUS

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Posted 04 December 2012 - 03:39 AM

So what If you mix that all up with some Good Vodka ? Maybe then We Shall see the Martians come out of the Stone work`s ! :alien: :tu:

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