Mars discovery 'for the history books'

00:02, Nov 22 2012
Curiosity on Mars
SEARCHING: Nasa Mars rover Curiosity is travelling across the red planet in search of the ingredients that make life possible.

Mars watchers are in a ferment after hints from Nasa that it has found something significant on the red planet, but its keeping the discovery secret for now.

"This data is gonna be one for the history books. It's looking really good," John Grotzinger, the principal investigator for the Mars rover mission said.

But he is keeping mum on the details for now until researchers have been able to make sure the finding is not some fluke or error.

The exciting results have come from the Curiosity rover's SAM, the Sample Analysis at Mars suite of three instruments, which analyse soil and gases.

"We're getting data from SAM as we sit here and speak, and the data looks really interesting," Grotzinger said last week in his office at Nasa's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, where data from SAM first arrive on Earth.

Grotzinger said a soil sample recently analysed in SAM showed something earthshaking, NPR reported.

It would be several weeks before he and his team would be ready to talk about it.