NASA to reveal Mars rover findings

(CBS News) NASA scientists are set to reveal the first round of findings from the Curiosity rover, a space probe placed on Mars over the summer. Ahead of Monday's announcement, NASA tried to manage expectations of many who are hoping to see evidence that there was once life on Mars.

Curiosity has been sending a steady stream of high-definition images to NASA as it has traveled across Mars. Its onboard laboratory has been analyzing soil, searching for traces of carbon, an essential building block of life. Lead Curiosity scientists John Grotzinger says they have not found evidence of life on Mars yet.

"In the end, we don't have something that we believe is organic material that comes from Mars," Grotzinger said.

Still, a November interview with Grotizinger had many Mars-watchers buzzing. "The data is going to be one for the history books. It's looking really good," he said on NPR.

Watch John Blackstone's full report on the Mars rover findings in the video above.

"There's a big difference between data and a discovery," Grotzinger told CBS News' John Blackstone defending the hype. "And what we were excited about was the fact that we were getting really great data."

Grotzinger added that it will take time to parse that data.

"I think, Curiosity's middle name is patience," he joked.

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Neil deGrasse Tyson, an astrophysicist and the director of the Hayden Planetarium in New York City, touched on the possibilities the announcement could bring Monday on "CBS This Morning."

Tyson explained that it is unlikely that they found evidence for water, "because we have already accumulated evidence for water,"and added that "what we're really looking for here is organic modules."

For deGrasse Tyson's full interview on "CTM," watch the video below.

The placement of the Curiosity rover "at the base of a stream," is advantageous for finding these modules if they exist, because as Tyson said "anything that accumulated ... would be deposited down there."

Tyson said that "Mars has been tantalizing us for centuries," because of the potential indicated to scientists by the presence of polar ice caps, its 24-hour day, and signs of water.

Looking ahead to NASA's announcement, Tyson said if he were to bet, he would bet the findings would reveal "complex organic molecules."

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