Mars rover Curiosity: No surprise in 1st soil test

JPL on Monday, Aug. 27, 2012, showed off new, spectacular enhanced images from the surface of Mars captured by the Curiosity rover.

December 3, 2012 12:00:00 AM PST
The Mars rover Curiosity has completed its first chemical test of soil from the red planet, and scientists say there are no surprises so far.

The spacecraft is on a mission to look for ingredients in Martian soil and rocks that could support life. But in the first scoop of soil analyzed, there were no definitive signs of the chemical building blocks of life.

Instead, the six-wheel rover detected water and a mix of other chemicals.

The findings were reported Monday at a meeting of the American Geophysical Union meeting in San Francisco.

A comment by mission's chief scientist two weeks ago led to speculation that Curiosity had dug up carbon-based organics, considered an essential ingredient for life.