Is a Major Mars Discovery About to be Announced?

Note: this story has been updated with a new story reflecting NASA's planned press conference on 22 June 2000

MarsNote: the following contains a substantial rumor component - but our sources are rather solid. Word is circling around NASA and the planetary science community that NASA recently briefed the White House regarding a potential major discovery on Mars. An announcement of some sort is rumored to be planned for next week. A "Space Science Update" by NASA's Office of Space Science is in the planning stages at NASA HQ and set for 29 June 2000 at 2:00 PM EDT.

Rumors were also circulating about a pending announcement of some importance at a recent workshop on Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) results held in Boulder, Colorado. Apparently, a paper is under preparation and review by members of the MGS Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) team for submission to Science magazine. Informed sources within NASA suggest that the article may be concerned with water ice and the Valles Marineris region of Mars.

The timing of a Space Science Update at NASA on Thursday, 29 June at 2:00 PM EDT would coincide roughly with the time (usually 5:00 PM) when Science magazine's website would normally be updated to show contents of the next day's (30 June) issue. Also the specific time of 2 PM ET on every Thursday just happens to be the precise time every week that the Science magazine's press embargo on stories is lifted for the issue dated the next day.

  • Update: 11:00 PM 20 June: Based upon conversations with NASA space scientists, it seems almost certain that Dr. Michael H. Carr, a USGS scientist at Menlo Park, California and Dr. Baerbel K. Lucchita, a USGS scientist at Flagstaff, Arizona, are among members of the team preparing and reviewing the paper for publication in Science. Dr. Carr is an expert on Martian volitiles and water. Dr. Lucchitta has done extensive work on ice flows in Antarctica and on the mapping on Mars - especially Valles Marineris.

    Background Information

    Science Magazine
    Malin Space Science Systems
    The Whole Mars Catalog
    Mars Missions, SpaceRef Directory
    The Planet Mars, SpaceRef Directory

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