Life on Mars: Curiosity SAM Might Have Finally Found Life on Mars
Curiosity’s Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM), an onboard chemistry lab capable of collecting, identifying and analyzing organic compounds, may have made a "historic discovery."
However, Curiosity's chief scientist John Grotzinger told NPR that though things are "looking pretty good," an official announcement won't be made for a few weeks as they want to double check the results and make sure they are for real.
NASA's Curiosity rover landed on the red planet on August 5, and it will be there until 2014 in an unprecedented mission to determine if there has ever been life on the planet. Though Curiosity is equipped with over 10 different instruments, SAM is the rover's "heart" (as it's able to collect and analyze both soil and air samples).
The potential breakthrough would be a boost for NASA, as the agency — which for years hasn't been able to directly put humans into space (relying on a Russian agency to do so) — has turned to unmanned missions such as Curiosity, as well as to partnerships with the private sector (SpaceX), to carry its legacy into the 21st century and beyond.