News From Mars: No Surprises After Rover Completes 1st Soil Test

LOS ANGELES (December 3, 2012)--The Mars rover Curiosity has completed its first chemical test of soil from the red planet, and scientists say there are no surprises so far.

The spacecraft is on a mission to look for ingredients in Martian soil and rocks that could support life, but in the first scoop of soil it analyzed, there were no definitive signs of the chemical building blocks of life.

Instead, the six-wheel rover detected water and a mix of other chemicals.

The findings were reported Monday at a meeting of the American Geophysical Union meeting in San Francisco.

A comment by mission's chief scientist two weeks ago led to speculation that Curiosity might have dug up carbon-based organics, considered an essential ingredient for life.


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