PASADENA (CBSLA) — A mysterious announcement by NASA promises a new scientific discovery about the Red Planet to be revealed in a Thursday news conference.
The space agency says “new science results” from the Mars Curiosity rover will be announced during the live discussion, which begins at 11 a.m. Pacific time. The results are embargoed until then, although NASA has revealed a list of the scientists involved in the discussion, including two JPL scientists:
- Chris Webster, senior research fellow, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, California
- Ashwin Vasavada, Mars Science Laboratory project scientist, JPL
- Paul Mahaffy, director of the Solar System Exploration Division at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland
- Jen Eigenbrode, research scientist at Goddard
NASA is also encouraging the public to ask questions on social media using the hashtag #askNASA.
Past significant discoveries by the Curiosity rover include evidence of ancient lake beds which once held water before drying up about 3.5 billion years ago.
The Curiosity rover has been exploring Mars since August 2012, but only recently began drilling into the Martian surface again after an 18-month break to fix an issue with the robot’s drill bit.
The rover has been working its way up Mount Sharp, a 3.4-mile-high Martian mountain, since September 2014.