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NASA Mars

NASA Briefing on New Mars Finding This Afternoon 231

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the mulder-found-exploring-face-of-mars dept.
ipsender writes with a NASA announcement: "NASA will host a news briefing on Thursday, Aug. 4, at 11 a.m. PDT (2 p.m. EDT) about a significant new Mars science finding. The briefing will be held at NASA Headquarters in Washington. The new finding is based on observations from NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, which has been orbiting the Red Planet since 2006." You can catch the briefing online at the NASA TV site.
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NASA Briefing on New Mars Finding This Afternoon

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  • Real Time (Score:4, Informative)

    by dylan_- (1661) on Thursday August 04, 2011 @10:55AM (#36985810) Homepage
    That's at 18:00 GMT. I assume everyone on Slashdot knows their GMT offset.
  • Re:My guess - (Score:3, Informative)

    by squidflakes (905524) on Thursday August 04, 2011 @11:00AM (#36985880) Homepage

    Humm... looking at the biographies of the scientists involved, I'm going to guess something about water, ice, and life.

  • Re:My guess - (Score:3, Informative)

    by Darth Snowshoe (1434515) on Thursday August 04, 2011 @11:01AM (#36985890)

    They have certainly found methane on Mars, and so far can't conclusively explain where it's coming from, or its periodic nature;

    http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/mars/news/marsmethane.html [nasa.gov]

    Here's the good bit;

    "Methane is quickly destroyed in the Martian atmosphere in a variety of ways, so our discovery of substantial plumes of methane in the northern hemisphere of Mars in 2003 indicates some ongoing process is releasing the gas," said Dr. Michael Mumma of NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center [...]

    Take a look at Lisa Pratt, among today's panelists - her IU home page is kind of a big clue;

    Lisa M. Pratt, Provost's Professor of Geological Sciences, Biogeochemistry

    Research Interests:

    Geomicrobiology of sulfate-reducing microorganisms
    Biotic and abiotic fractionation of sulfur isotopes in modern and ancient oceans and lakes
    Influence of wildfire on carbon isotopic excursions during the Cretaceous
    Fate of complex organic molecules on the surface of Mars

          Ph.D., 1982, Geology, Princeton University
            M.S., 1978, Geology, University of North Carolina
            M.S., 1974, Botany, University of Illinois
            B.A., 1972, Botany, University of North Carolina

  • Re:My guess - (Score:4, Informative)

    by pz (113803) on Thursday August 04, 2011 @11:30AM (#36986264) Journal

    Lisa Pratt studies sulfur and specifically biological sulfur with respect to the surface of Mars. Check out her lab's web page:

    http://geology.indiana.edu/pratt/ [indiana.edu]

    Here's a list of her research interests from that site:

    Geomicrobiology of sulfate-reducing microorganisms
    Biotic and abiotic fractionation of sulfur isotopes in modern and ancient oceans and lakes
    Influence of wildfire on carbon isotopic excursions during the Cretaceous
    Fate of complex organic molecules on the surface of Mars

    As far as I can tell from that list, Dr. Pratt is the only hard scientist. The others are more involved in managing the program (Meyer) or designing the instruments (Christensen, Dundas, McEwen). Interestingly, there are no post-docs or graduate students listed, and they would have been the lead investigators doing the actual work -- perhaps this is a reaction to the Felisa Wolfe-Simon snafu? I'm not familiar with the field, though, so much of this is speculation from 2 minutes' work with Google. Take it for what it's worth.

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