(Photo: ) This 360-degree panorama shows evidence of a successful first test drive for NASA's Curiosity rover. On Aug. 22, 2012, the rover made its first move, going forward about 15 feet (4.5 meters), rotating 120 degrees and then reversing about 8 feet (2.5 meters). Curiosity is about 20 feet (6 meters) from its landing site, now named Bradbury Landing. Visible in the image are the rover's first track marks. A small 3.5-inch (9-centimeter) rock can be seen where the drive began, which engineers say was partially under one of the rear wheels. Scour marks left by the rover's descent stage during landing can be seen to the left and right of the wheel tracks. The lower slopes of Mount Sharp are visible at the top of the picture, near the center. Photo: NASA/JPL-Caltech
NASA scientists may have made an important discovery with Mars rover Curiosity, and it's "one for the history books." Keep the drum rolls coming, those in the know just won't spill until December.
Curiosity's Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM), the rovers lab, has reportedly found on Mars an exciting sample. However, confirmatory tests have to be done on SAM's sample findings. It would take a couple of weeks. For now, the science community is busy on imagining what this Martian sample could reveal to Earthlings.
Joe Palca of NPR reported the Mars exploration update just this Tuesday.
"We're getting data from SAM as we sit here and speak, and the data looks really interesting," John Grotzinger, the principal investigator for the rover mission, told Palca.
Palca was at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California at the time.
"The science team is busily chewing away on it as it comes down," Grotzinger added.
Grotzinger seems certain that once confirmations have been made, the news about the sample could create a great impact on science education.
"This data is gonna be one for the history books. It's looking really good," he said.
Mars Curiosity Rover: Found significant clues within 4 months' time?
The $2.5 billion worth 1-ton Mars Curiosity rover landed in Mars' Gale Crater on Aug. 5. Its mission will last for two years, but it seems the past three and a half months have already yielded startling possibilities.
SAM studies the Martian environment, particularly the red planet's soil, to check for organic compounds or clues of life.
Grotzinger may be struggling to keep the initial findings confidential, but many are already speculating that SAM may have found some organics on the Martian soil. Organic compounds are known as life-sparkers or the building blocks of life.
If SAM has indeed found organic compounds on Mars, could it be remnants of a distant past, or clues to the planet's future?
Everyone awaits the big reveal in December.
Mars Curiosity Rover Findings Video Clip: What announcement will be made in December?