Curiosity Rover Announcement Expected Monday; NASA To Give Mars Mission Update

Members of NASA's Curiosity team are expected to give an update on its mission to Mars on Monday, Dec. 3, at noon.

The announcement will be delivered at the annual fall meeting of the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco. The Huffington Post will have live streaming video of the announcement and provide live updates.

Rumors about a big discovery circulated after chief Curiosity scientist John Grotzinger was quoted by NPR as saying that a rover instrument responsible for detecting organic compounds had recently gathered data "for the history books."

However, NASA downplayed any wishful thinking in a statement Friday.

"Rumors and speculation that there are major new findings from the mission at this early stage are incorrect," officials at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory wrote. "At this point in the mission, the instruments on the rover have not detected any definitive evidence of Martian organics."

JPL officials added that the announcement would "be an update about first use of the rover's full array of analytical instruments to investigate a drift of sandy soil."

On Thursday, NASA's Mercury Messenger team revealed that it had found compelling evidence that water ice is present in permanently shadowed regions of the planet's poles.

CBS News reported that the discovery of water on Mercury, the planet closest to the sun, suggests that the raw materials necessary for life may be more abundant throughout the solar system than previously thought.

A NASA teleconference about the status of the Voyager mission is also planned for Dec. 3, at 2 p.m. Eastern time.



Curiosity: Mars Science Laboratory's Rover