back to article NASA SECRET DISCOVERY ON MARS: Meteor offers possible clue

All the boffinry world is alive with speculation as to just what the as yet unnannounced "one for the history books" discovered by NASA's Mars rover Curiosity might be. But a recently-published study may offer a clue. In the investigation, researchers from NASA's Johnson Space Center, the Carnegie Institution and the Lunar and …

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  1. rahul
    Joke

    Could Mars have been hosting life at one time?...

    GET TO THE PROTHEAN RUINS ALREADY! (ME3 players only)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Paris Hilton

      Re: Could Mars have been hosting life at one time?...

      But where's the eezo?

      or the asari dancers?

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    After digging for weeks ...

    ...we conclude that, yes, this is definitely Mars!

    1. Petrea Mitchell
      Thumb Up

      Re: After digging for weeks ...

      I guarantee you'll be a lot closer to correct than a lot of the guesses I've already seen will be.

      My guess: Something about the chemical distribution which suggests that there could be something more going on than just dirt sitting around at equilibrium, but which needs a lot more investigation with additional instruments on a subsequent mission before anyone starts throwing the L word around. There is NO way a collection of spectrometers is going to offer definitive proof of ongoing or former life.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Alternative stories

    Did Mars look like Earth?

    or

    Will Earth look like Mars?

  4. envmod

    They found...

    The Mayan Calendar 2012 - 6014

  5. Andrew_b65

    They've found...

    ... a flattened Panda Pop bottle!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Go

      Re: They've found...

      "... a flattened Panda Pop bottle!"

      Now there's one for the Reg SPB. JODi P, or Junk On DIstant Planets.

      The objective being the first gratuitous discarding of human refuse on a new world. Apollo doesn't count, because they had a reason to go there. In this programme, the SPB need to achieve escape velocity with a payload of one piece of regular earth litter plus the kit to track the progress of the litter to its destination.

      I'm sure it would be difficult, but rewarding in terms of the bleating that would be likely.

  6. Armando 123

    Water on Mars?

    You mean the evidence of flowing liquid due to river-like features on the surface isn't a good clue? I know that "flowing liquid" doesn't mean water, but given the possible pressures and temperatures and chemistry, what else, pray tell, might it be?

    1. Lee Dowling

      Re: Water on Mars?

      Fluids all follow pretty much the same physics. And fluids, scientifically speaking, include gases. A hostile atmosphere on a remote planet can, after enough time, grow features that look exactly like a river, etc. has run through. As can any number of natural phenomena.

      Hell, it's like seeing that photograph of "desert sand struck by lightning" and saying that it can "only" be caused by the sand coming alive and trying to grow into a tree. From a scientific perspective, without any evidence, we can't say what those features are caused by.

      1. Tom 7 Silver badge

        Re: Water on Mars?

        and with martian gravity only 38% of earth's dry sand will flow like water very easily once agitated on a slope. And big rocks will too with a bit more of a slope.

        And you cant easily tell the difference in the erosion they cause.

        Finding water on Mars would be a lot more fun than finding physics or some 'new' geology but my bet is with the latter.

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    1. Tom 7 Silver badge

      Re: Uh oh - potential PR disaster

      The trouble is the people involved in researching this will be inclined to wet themselves with excitement at slightly hydrated minerals.

      And those in the press will be inclined to think an excited martian scientist means that there are 7 legged man eating monsters up there.

      And keeping quiet only feeds the conspiracy theorists.

      If there are martians they would be well advised to hide in as inaccessible place as possible.

      1. perlcat
        Facepalm

        Re: Uh oh - potential PR disaster

        Yeah, I think that the way they've built this up, the public wouldn't settle for anything less than Deja Thoris.

      2. Luther Blissett

        Re: Uh oh - potential PR disaster

        >> The trouble is the people involved in researching this will be inclined to wet themselves with excitement at slightly hydrated minerals.

        I see a great career ahead of you at El Reg.

  8. mrweekender
    Mushroom

    It's life, we're not that special...

    ...get over it.... and you religious types, yes you, you can finally throw your bibles away and stop fighting over the blue and the red hats - or whatever bullshit it is this week that causes you to kill and maim hundreds of innocent bystanders, in the name of *insert name of your god here*.

    1. pig

      Re: It's life, we're not that special...

      If you think finding life on mars would stop the religious types then you have a lot to learn.

      To those people both finding and not finding life will prove the existance of whatever deity they want it to.

    2. Derk
      Mushroom

      Re: It's life, we're not that special...

      Don't blame religion for the worlds ills. Man will kill and maim his fellow man for resources, greed, power, influence and anything else thats suit his purposes. Religion is just a convenient vehicle for them to use. Most religions teach peace and understanding. The message just gets cast aside. If the money spent on "Defence" was spent on solving the worlds resource problems, and exploration, we'd have had bases on Mars ages ago.

    3. J 3
      Alien

      Re: It's life, we're not that special...

      Funnily enough, this reminds me of a "talk" I saw in 2003 or 2004, which was supposed to be about life on Mars. It was at around a table at a restaurant during quiet hours, with this engineering (as he described himself, although I doubt) guy speaking and some 6 or 7 people there to watch, and discuss afterwards. The title, which I don't remember, was intriguing. So I went.

      Getting there, I found out it was arranged by some ministry. OK, that does not mean it will be bad. The guy started, and it soon became clear it was a creationist propaganda event, and all kinds of (the same old and discredited) attacks on the feasibility of evolution. The Mars thing? Well, the speaker's conclusion was that there could not be life, specially intelligent life, on Mars (or elsewhere) because such life would have to be "saved" (in the Christian way). And to be saved, there would have to be sacrifice of Christ over and over again. And apparently god "can't afford" (I remember those were his words) to do that. How about that, this guy knows god personally! Who'd have thought.

      Of course this happened in America. The capital of Virginia, to be precise.

    4. Dr. Mouse

      Re: It's life, we're not that special...

      "stop fighting over the blue and the red hats"

      Yeah, they were supposed to be green!

  9. Carl
    Mushroom

    Dear Reg

    NO I DONT WANT TO DO YOUR F* POPUP SURVEY

    1. Surreal
      Devil

      Re: Dear Reg

      I, on the other hand, LOVE IT! It's much better than _CATS!_ and I want to take it again and again! Ok, only twice so far, and the 2nd time I suggested at the end that they may want to track who has completed it already.

      That, and they need more stories with an attractive-buxom-redhead angle.

      1. Redundent Asset
        WTF?

        Re: Dear Reg

        What it comes back? I done it just to get rid of it.

        Also the options where a bit meh I work for a fairly large hosting provider so oddly we are investing a lot into IT with our large IT budget.

        I suggested getting rid of the big adverts at the sides of articles that's regain focus clicking space.

        (I guess im the only one bothered by this)

  10. HildyJ Silver badge

    Water is not Earth shaking

    It's probably organic compounds since the soil analyzer is geared for detecting such things.

    Still, the soil analysis equipment does have a camera with a resolution in micrometers so a mini fossil is a possibility (which would confirm another, disputed, finding in a Mars meteorite).

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Devil

    Poor NASA is hard up for money these days.....

    So maybe in return for some corporate money, they have had Curiousity discover low, low prices at Wal-Mart's Black Friday blowout event!!

    1. Fink-Nottle
      Coat

      Re: Poor NASA is hard up for money these days.....

      ... they've discovered they could save on their mars rover insurance with Gocompare!

  12. Captain DaFt

    Prediction

    I'll stick my neck out and speculate that the big news is that the sparkley bits that Curiosity found in its soil samples are ice crystals.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Prediction

      I reckon they're diamonds. This time next year: manned mission to Mars.

  13. DanceMan
    Alien

    Martians in hiding

    "If there are martians they would be well advised to hide in as inaccessible place as possible."

    Are you suggesting that Flash Gordon was right and we should look for the Rock People in those caves?

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    YeeeHaaa

    We've found oil!

  15. NobbyNobbs
    Happy

    Nah its faked

    Its all a load of cobblers, after all, the chances of anything coming from Mars are a million to one they said.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Nah its faked

      But it's well known that million-to-one chances crop up nine times out of ten, right?

  16. AlexH
    Alien

    Strengthen the case for boots on Mars

    Whilst I'm fairly sure (but can't stop myself from hoping/speculating!) it won't be anything considered Earth-shattering from the point of view of your average lay person, I think it will be something that strengthens the case for current/past life on Mars.

    Anything that strengthens the case for getting people out there is a massive bonus in my opinion. Just wish I didn't know about this announcement ahead of time - it's killing me!

    1. Archibald Trumpetbeetle
      Happy

      Re: Strengthen the case for boots on Mars

      Well in time it won't just be boots on mars... i imagine there'll be a superdrug, and smiths, and a robert dyas

  17. -tim
    Meh

    Which history books?

    So a boffin reported this but wants to make sure before releasing the full details. Why do I expect the result is something like "this type of crystal is more reddish when it forms on Mars than on Earth"

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Which history books?

      Perhaps they'll report that Mars isn't red, it's umber.

  18. His Glennogginess
    Coat

    Wouldn't it be cool if...

    It's an Earthly meteorite

    Mine's the one with the methane pump in the pocket

  19. Ian Johnston Silver badge
    Mushroom

    Amazing, top secret, this changes everything?

    We've been here before. They've found a Segway.

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