12/03/2012 11:47 am ET Updated Dec 03, 2012

NASA Announcement: Mars Curiosity Rover News Conference Streaming VIDEO (LIVE UPDATES)

NASA held a press conference Monday, Dec. 3 to give updates about the Mars Curiosity rover.

The conference began at noon, Eastern Time, at the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco as part of the association's fall meeting.


The news conference was an update about the first use of the Mars Curiosity rover's "full array of analytical instruments to investigate a drift of sandy soil," according to a written statement from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

NASA officials announced during the conference that the Curiosity rover had found evidence of organic compounds on Mars.

They added that it must now be determined whether the compounds, which contained "water and sulfur and chlorine-containing substances," according to a NASA press release, are indigenous to Mars. There is a possibility that the organics could have come to Mars from Earth aboard the rover. There is also a chance that they could be materials that had fallen to Mars from space.

The rover's Sample Analysis at Mars (SAM) instrument is capable of detecting organic compounds in soil. Curiosity chief scientist John Grotzinger's recent comments in an NPR interview that the instrument had collected data "for the history books" sparked speculation that organics had been found on Mars, but NASA downplayed the findings in a mission update on Nov. 29.

"Rumors and speculation that there are major new findings from the mission at this early stage are incorrect," officials at NASA's JPL wrote.

At Monday's conference, Grotzinger stressed that the public must have patience where findings are concerned, noting the challenge that NASA faces "...doing science at the speed of science in a world that goes at the speed of Instagrams."

Story continues below.

NASA Mars Announcement Photos

12/03/2012 1:12 PM EST

Formal Q&A Over

Thanks for joining us!

12/03/2012 1:09 PM EST

"Martian Life? Not. Learning From A False Alarm"

Time's take:

12/03/2012 1:00 PM EST

Grotzinger On Mercury

Discovery of water and organics on Mercury showed that "essential building blocks" more prevalent in solar system than previously thought.

12/03/2012 12:57 PM EST

@SarcasticRover Weighs In

12/03/2012 12:57 PM EST


Slate (11/28) in defense of Grotzinger's "historic" comment to NPR:

"What Grotzinger was actually trying to convey is that Curiosity’s data over her entire two-year mission will further our knowledge of Mars more than ever before, making it a historical mission."

12/03/2012 12:53 PM EST

Grotzinger on Mars Hype

"We're doing science at the speed of science in a world that goes at the speed of Instagrams."

12/03/2012 12:52 PM EST

Grotzinger on Team's Biggest Finding

"We have a globally representative material that we have analyzed..with all the instruments...these comprehensive investigations are going to be the basis on which we make major discoveries...but we're going to have to be patient."

12/03/2012 12:51 PM EST

Grotzinger on Grotzinger

"You have to be careful about what you say and even more careful about how you say it." I was "Misunderstood."

12/03/2012 12:50 PM EST

Rocknest Photo From Press Release

mars curiosity rocknest

12/03/2012 12:50 PM EST