NASA ImageLaboratory on another world: This schematic shows the range of instruments Curiosity uses on its mission
#Rover team make finding with instrument designed to identity signs of life
#'Earthshaking' discovery will be fully announced early next month
Nasa's Mars Curiosity rover has reportedly made a major discovery on the Red Planet - but scientists are keeping quiet about what it is.
The finding was made by the six-wheeled rover's Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instrument in the Rocknest area of the Gale Crate, close to where the rover touched down. SAM is Curiosity's on-board chemistry lab and is able to take a sample of Martian rock, soil or air and find out what it is made of.
Except scientists are refusing to reveal its latest finding, merely saying that it is earthshaking. 'This data is gonna be one for the history books. It's looking really good,' said John Grotzinger, chief scientist in the Curiosity team, in an interview with NPR.
Mr Grotzinger would not be drawn on what the discovery actually was. He told NPR that his team won't be ready to talk about the discovery for several weeks. Most importantly, it is capable of identifying organic compounds - carbon containing substances that could indicate life.
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Mission scientist for the Mars Science Laboratory, Dr. John Grotzinger, talks to SPACE.com about how the instrumentation on the rover made the find that he calls "one for the history books". Results to be announced early December.