In my blog on 11-23-12 I told you about one of the Curiosity scientists had told NPR that there was some "earth shaking" and "one for the history books" announcement that would be forthcoming from NASA about a find by Curiosity.
Well, the hub-bub has been officially squashed by none other than Curiosity herself in a tweet on Friday:
Everybody, chill. After careful analysis, there are no Martian organics in recent samples. Update Dec 3 http://go.nasa.gov/114tJs9
And from JPL, here is part of their news release:
Rumors and speculation that there are major new findings from the mission at this early stage are incorrect. The news conference will be an update about first use of the rover's full array of analytical instruments to investigate a drift of sandy soil. One class of substances Curiosity is checking for is organic compounds -- carbon-containing chemicals that can be ingredients for life. At this point in the mission, the instruments on the rover have not detected any definitive evidence of Martian organics.
The full release is here: http://mars.jpl.nasa.gov/msl/news/whatsnew/index.cfm?FuseAction=ShowNews&NewsID=1398
There will still be an update on December 3, but I am sure it will be a "routine" update on Curiosity's ongoing mission of discovery.
We may someday know what REALLY happened in this episode. But it does highlight the perils that face scientists in dealing with the 24/7/365 news cycle - especially with social media outlets like Twitter where the word goes out almost instantaneously to possible the whole connected world.
We may still have an earth shaking, one for the history books announcement from Curiosity someday, but I am quite happy with all of the "routine" (NOT) findings being made by Curiosity, Opportunity and Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter.
Sky Guy in VA