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What Has NASA Found On Mars?

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.

NASA's Curiosity Rover Captures Remnants Of Ancient Streambed On Mars
IN SPACE - SEPTEMBER 2: In this handout image provided by NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS, and captured by NASA's Curiosity rover, a rock outcrop called Link pops out from a Martian surface that is elsewhere blanketed by reddish-brown dust, showing evidence for an ancient, flowing stream, September 2, 2012. The fractured Link outcrop has blocks of exposed, clean surfaces. Rounded gravel fragments, or clasts, up to a couple inches (few centimeters) in size are in a matrix of white material. Many gravel-sized rocks have eroded out of the outcrop onto the surface, particularly in the left portion of the frame. The outcrop characteristics are consistent with a sedimentary conglomerate, or a rock that was formed by the deposition of water and is composed of many smaller rounded rocks cemented together. Water transport is the only process capable of producing the rounded shape of clasts of this size. (Photo by NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS via Getty Images)

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.

Curiosity Self-Portrait at 'Mojave' on Mount Sharp
MOUNT SHARP, MARS - JANUARY 2015: In this handout provided by NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS This self-portrait of NASA's Curiosity Mars rover shows the vehicle at the "Mojave" site, where its drill collected the mission's second taste of Mount Sharp. The scene combines dozens of images taken during January 2015 by the MAHLI camera at the end of the rover's robotic arm. (Photo by NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS via Getty Images)

The rover has been working its way up Mount Sharp, a 3.4-mile-high Martian mountain, since September 2014.

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