Scientists speculate on top-secret Mars Rover discovery

November 28, 2012

NASA’s Mars rover Curiosity used its Mars Hand Lens Imager (MAHLI) to snap a set of 55 high-resolution images on Oct. 31, 2012. Researchers stitched the pictures together to create this full-color self-portrait. (Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Malin Space Science Systems)

NASA’s Curiosity rover’s Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instrument has likely relayed some provocative findings, reports.

John Grotzinger, lead mission investigator for the Curiosity rover, set the rumors in motion during an interview with NPR last week, saying, “We’re getting data from SAM … this data is gonna be one for the history books. It’s looking really good.”

Most scientists contacted by believe that Curiosity’s SAM has detected organic chemical compounds.

Curiosity scientists are expected reveal details at this year’s American Geophysical Union (AGU) meeting in San Francisco, to be held from Dec. 3 to Dec. 7.

On the AGU agenda is a discussion of Curiosity’s search for organic molecules on Mars with its Gas Chromatograph-Mass Spectrometer — a key instrument to help explore the surface and subsurface of Mars, seeking traces of prebiotic or biological activity.