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June 8, 2018

Has the Mars Curiosity rover found something? NASA shares news today

by John_A

It’s been six years since the Mars rover Curiosity landed on the Red Planet, and now it seems that the space vehicle has some news to share. NASA has called a press conference to share the latest findings by its rover, which will begin later today (June 7) at 2 p.m. ET. It’s unclear exactly what we’ll learn from the conference, as the space agency has only revealed that it has new “science results” to share with its eager public. You can watch the entire stream right here, or head over to NASA’s Facebook page and its other social media channels.

To make things as interactive as possible, NASA is offering folks the opportunity to join in on the discussion via Facebook and Twitter. If you’re interested in being part of the conversation, or have a burning question that you’d like NASA to answer, you can submit inquiries using the hashtag #askNASA up until 1  p.m. this afternoon.

As it stands, conference participants include Paul Mahaffy, director of the Solar System Exploration Division at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland; Jen Eigenbrode, a research scientist at Goddard; Chris Webster, a senior research fellow at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California; and Ashwin Vasavada, Mars Science Laboratory project scientist at JPL.

It’s been quite some time since we heard from Curiosity, which first landed on Mars in August of 2012.  Its initial mission was to determine whether our closest  planetary neighbor had ever supported life, or might be suitable for life in the future. While the rover hasn’t exactly found solid evidence of life-like activity on Mars, it did make quite a major discovery a year after landing. In 2013, the rover found that liquid water and the chemical components behind life had once existed on Mars.

More recently, at the beginning of 2018, the Curiosity was thought to have found evidence of bioturbation, which is what occurs when organisms living in sediments leave an imprint on their structure. Not much has come of  that initial report since then, so it may not have been quite as exciting as initially thought.

In any case, we’ll soon learn what the latest discovery is in a few hours. We’ll keep you posted.

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