Nasa prepares for big announcement about search for alien life on Mars
Jun 08 2018 by Michele Stevens
The Curiosity rover has found something major on Mars and NASA is holding a press conference on June 7 to unveil the discovery.
Mars rover is trending after one year: The National Aeronautics and Space Administration's (Nasa)'s Curiosity rover is up to some folks. It studies the climate, searches for ice and water, and looks for organisms alive, or fossilized.
At 2 pm EDT (6 pm UTC) this Thursday, NASA will have a big Mars announcement to make.
Curiosity has been exploring Mars since touching down in August 2012 with the goal of finding out if the red planet was ever able to support microbial life.
Although the agency is staying tight-lipped about the Curiosity rover's latest discovery, a separate news release issued by NASA on the same day announced that the Curiosity team has made progress with transferring the newly-retrieved Martian rock sample into the robot's mineralogy laboratory.
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However, NASA disclosed a short list with the scientists who will participate and among them, there are Paul Mahaffy (Solar System Exploration Division at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center), Chris Webster (NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory), and Ashwin Vasavada (head of the JPL's NASA Mars Science Laboratory). You can tune in to NASA's website at that time to watch the conversation live, or find livestreams on Facebook Live, Twitch TV, Ustream, YouTube, and Twitter/Periscope. As a result, the engineers had to use images sent back by Curiosity to estimate how to get the proper amount of sample, which is in the milligram range, into the laboratory so that it's enough to work with, but not enough to clog the mechanism. After two years, the team made the rover use one of its robotic arms to drill into a hole.
The sample transfer technique enables Curiosity to place its drill over two small inlets in addition to the rover's deck. On May 20, the rover took the first rock sample since October 2016.
"We're cautiously optimistic that MarCO-B can follow MarCO-A", said Joel Krajewski of JPL, MarCO's project manager.
So far, results have been promising and mission control has even ordered Curiosity to return to old sites that it visited while the drill was unserviceable. Surprisingly, we had the opportunity after five years of the mission.