Mars Rover Curiosity Update: December confirmation anticipated, ‘one for the history books’

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By Arlene Paredes | November 23, 2012 4:55 PM EST

NASA scientists may have made an important discovery with Mars rover Curiosity, and it's "one for the history books." Keep the drum rolls coming, those in the know just won't spill until December.

Curiosity's Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM), the rovers lab, has reportedly found on Mars an exciting sample. However, confirmatory tests have to be done on SAM's sample findings. It would take a couple of weeks. For now, the science community is busy on imagining what this Martian sample could reveal to Earthlings.

Joe Palca of NPR reported the Mars exploration update just this Tuesday.

"We're getting data from SAM as we sit here and speak, and the data looks really interesting," John Grotzinger, the principal investigator for the rover mission, told Palca.

Palca was at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California at the time.

"The science team is busily chewing away on it as it comes down," Grotzinger added.

Grotzinger seems certain that once confirmations have been made, the news about the sample could create a great impact on science education.

"This data is gonna be one for the history books. It's looking really good," he said.

Mars Curiosity Rover: Found significant clues within 4 months' time?

The $2.5 billion worth 1-ton Mars Curiosity rover landed in Mars' Gale Crater on Aug. 5. Its mission will last for two years, but it seems the past three and a half months have already yielded startling possibilities.

SAM studies the Martian environment, particularly the red planet's soil, to check for organic compounds or clues of life.

Grotzinger may be struggling to keep the initial findings confidential, but many are already speculating that SAM may have found some organics on the Martian soil. Organic compounds are known as life-sparkers or the building blocks of life.

If SAM has indeed found organic compounds on Mars, could it be remnants of a distant past, or clues to the planet's future?

Everyone awaits the big reveal in December.

Mars Curiosity Rover Findings Video Clip: What announcement will be made in December?

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