NASA to announce new Mars rover discoveries - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

NASA to announce new Mars rover discoveries

Curiosity has been on Mars for 2,072 sols, the Martian day. (Source: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS via AP) Curiosity has been on Mars for 2,072 sols, the Martian day. (Source: NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS via AP)

(RNN) – It’s probably not aliens, but NASA’s Mars rover has apparently found something interesting enough for the agency to make a public announcement about on Thursday.

The Curiosity was launched in November 2011 and landed on Mars in August the following year.

Its main mission, according to a release from that time, was to “investigate whether the region has ever offered conditions favorable for microbial life, including the chemical ingredients for life.”

NASA hinted at new information in a release this week, saying “new science results” from Curiosity would be revealed.

The agency will air the revelations live at 2 p.m. ET on their website as well as through a number of social media streaming platforms.

NASA is promising a “chat” with four officials involved in the project: Paul Mahaffy, a division director at the Goddard Space Flight Center; Jen Eigenbrode, a researcher at the center; Chris Webster, a fellow at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory; and Ashwin Vasavada, a scientist on the Mars Science Laboratory project which oversees Curiosity.

The agency said interested members of the public can submit questions on social media under the hashtag #askNASA.

Some of Curiosity’s most significant discoveries have included evidence that Mars could have once supported microbial life, as well as other insights into its chemistry and environment. It also found what researchers believe is an ancient streambed, where rock patterns suggested a “steady stream of flowing water about knee deep.”

"A fundamental question for this mission is whether Mars could have supported a habitable environment. From what we know now, the answer is yes,” Michael Meyer, lead scientist for NASA's Mars Exploration Program at NASA headquarters, said of Curiosity’s discoveries in 2013.

After landing in the Gale Crater and exploring the area during the course of its two-year prime mission, it has been climbing and exploring the base of Mount Sharp since September 2014. The 18,000-foot mountain is the 12th-tallest known to be on Mars, and roughly as tall as the second-highest mountain in the U.S, Alaska’s Mount Saint Elias.

Curiosity has been on Mars for 2,072 sols, the Martian day. A sol is roughly 40 minutes longer than an Earth day.

NASA has kept a snappy Twitter feed for the car-sized, six-wheeled rover throughout its time on Mars, and it has almost 4 million followers.

Copyright 2018 Raycom News Network. All rights reserved.

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