At noon today, Nov. 3, officials from NASA will give a conference about the NASA Mars rover Curiosity. According to the NASA website, this will take place from San Francisco at the Fall Meeting of the American Geophysical Union (AGU).
They are, however, downplaying reports of a "significant find." In a press release on the website, the following was reported.
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.
This update comes less than four months into a two-year mission with a primary focus on finding whether conditions in the Gale Crater on Mars may have been favorable for microbial life. Officials report that the rover Curiosity is "exceeding all expectations" in its ability to be operated by people here on the planet Earth while it is so far away on Mars. Officials report that the mission has already found an ancient riverbed on Mars and they expect more "remarkable discoveries" to come.
Audio and visuals from the briefing can be viewed via a live stream online at: http://www.ustream.tv/nasajpl .