Holy $#@!—did Curiosity just find evidence of life on Mars?

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Jan 14, 2013, 1:38 PM EST

It's the news that every sci-fi nerd longs to hear—extraterrestrial life has been discovered. It may not guarantee spaceships, transporters or adventures in a galaxy far, far away, but confirmation that there's some kind of life out there makes it all appear possible. And now, it seems, we may stand on the precipice of that great discovery.

John Grotzinger, lead scientist for the Mars rover mission, has exciting news that he can't tell anyone about just yet. Is it a government cover-up for little green men? No. Nothing so nefarious. The problem is that compulsory need to confirm and repeat results before making any huge, earth-shattering declarations ... almost like some kind of scientific method, you might say.

During an interview with NPR, Grotzinger hinted at his discovery. Apparently, while the Mars rover Curiosity was taking soil samples on the Red Planet, it discovered something interesting.

How interesting? According to Grotzinger, "This data is going to be one for the history books. It's looking really good."

Curiosity has a kind of onboard chemistry lab, called SAM, that tests those soil samples. Could it be that what SAM discovered is proof of life on Mars? Possibly. Caution is justifiable in this case since in another case, where methane was discovered in the air (which would also suggest life), evidence disappeared, suggesting that the methane came from air that could have been brought from Florida.

For now, all we can do is cross our fingers and wait for confirmation.

(via NPR)