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(io9)   NASA's discoveries on Mars have been downgraded from "earthshaking" to "interesting"   (io9.com) divider line 85
    More: Followup, NASA, Martians, John Grotzinger, reflections, scientific fraud  
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7612 clicks; posted to Geek » on 29 Nov 2012 at 5:59 PM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2012-11-29 02:19:07 PM
Ice water! I want some.
 
2012-11-29 02:25:21 PM
A week from now, it will be downgraded to "meh."
 
2012-11-29 02:35:31 PM

AdolfOliverPanties: A week from now, it will be downgraded to "meh."


I expect "mildly amusing" by this weekend
 
2012-11-29 02:39:27 PM
Sailors fighting in the dance hall
Oh man! Look at those cavemen go
It's the freakiest show
Take a look at the Lawman
Beating up the wrong guy
Oh man! Wonder if he'll ever know
He's in the best selling show
Is there life ice on Mars?
 
2012-11-29 02:49:48 PM
What happened here is that a man was enthusiastic and excited about his job and progress in his field, then some cynical bitter folk decided that wasn't on, so they'll drag him down and beat him and tell him that it is not OK to be publicly enthusiastic.
 
2012-11-29 02:56:23 PM
The excitement has been officially downgraded because everyone realized that if they didn't find a prostitute with three boobs no one cares.
 
2012-11-29 03:49:47 PM
Those in charge of sacking the overzealous researchers have been sacked.

Here are some llamas.
 
2012-11-29 03:50:49 PM
People don't understand nerds. Nerds are enthusiastic about things most people don't find interesting. That's kinda the definition of "nerd", as it's commonly used these days. Like, when gamer nerds crit with a vorpal blade while fighting a tarrasque, they're going to freak the fark out, because that's pretty incredible, right there.

NASA nerds are no different. When they find a rock with a geological composition that isn't in line with what tehy thought they were going to find, they're going to go, "Holy crap! That's farking awesome!" And the rest of the world is going to go, "It's... it's just a rock."
 
2012-11-29 03:52:50 PM

t3knomanser: People don't understand nerds. Nerds are enthusiastic about things most people don't find interesting. That's kinda the definition of "nerd", as it's commonly used these days. Like, when gamer nerds crit with a vorpal blade while fighting a tarrasque, they're going to freak the fark out, because that's pretty incredible, right there.

NASA nerds are no different. When they find a rock with a geological composition that isn't in line with what tehy thought they were going to find, they're going to go, "Holy crap! That's farking awesome!" And the rest of the world is going to go, "It's... it's just a rock."


Yeah, but even in the nerd community, this was played up that it may be something like an organic molecule, which would be EPIC nerdgasm for sure, though the average person would be quite meh about it. Instead, it now sounds as if it's going to be something far less interesting, even for a nerd, like a new kind of mineral not formerly known to exist there. Meh indeed, if that is the case.
 
2012-11-29 03:55:34 PM
Some of the commenters in TFA had it spot on: The typical American is about as scientifically aware as an old boot. When one of the people doing science stuff says "we've found something earthshaking", people assume Martians. Then when it's a fascinating crystal structure that scientists didn't expect to see in the mineral matrix, the typical American is easier to sway that all the NASA wonks are doing is stealing yer tax money. So what needs to be done is really that the people at NASA need to shut their yaps about stuff that gets them hard, because it rarely gives the typical American the same boner. When they're positive that they've got Marvin and his Illudium q-36 explosive space modulator in the Mars rover's specimen box, then they can throw a presser and show the video.
 
2012-11-29 03:57:18 PM
Elon Musk has paid off everyone who knows about the Martians that Curiosity unearthed. Scientists are supposed to be more principled than that, but there you have it. The question now is, what does Elon plan on doing with the Martians, and why does he need to keep them a secret?
 
2012-11-29 03:59:29 PM

nekom: Meh indeed, if that is the case.


I disagree. That's still pretty awesome.
 
2012-11-29 04:52:28 PM
I'm certain the revelation will include the words "might" "could" "may" and "evidence of"
 
2012-11-29 04:56:38 PM

Contrabulous Flabtraption: I'm certain the revelation will include the words "might" "could" "may" and "evidence of"


And "possibly"

/potentially
 
2012-11-29 05:19:58 PM
Had the idiot given a more details at the time, this wouldn't have been a problem but he wanted to be sure. I'm sure he will be looking for a job as NASA budget cuts get deeper.
 
2012-11-29 06:02:00 PM
NOBODY CARES ABOUT GEOLOGY!

NASA only gets their budget cut because it's run by scientists FOR scientists, so their budget keeps getting slashed. The Pentagon dropped several Apollo Mission's worth of bombs on Iraq alone. Why? Because the boring farks don't do anything but study rocks.

ALL WE WANT IS LIFE ON ANOTHER PLANET! That's ALL anyone outside the astrophysics community (read: 6.9999 billion people) cares about.Not building blocks. Not potential for future missions. Not confirmation of findings that were boring when the Viking probes made them in the 70's: but honest to goodness critters that ain't from Earth. Failing that, send some guys up there. Or ladies. No women have been to the moon. Make that your goal and get that sweet, sweet garterbelt money.

You have to feed the public's hunger. Play it up. Make people actually excited. Focus on that kind of research publicly while keeping the REAL science on the DL. Get people excited for that, you'll get a bigger budget. Go poke some more rocks or have a ceremony for the "first quadroon transexual astronaut formermly named Steve to visit the ISS on a leap year" or some other meaningless "milestone" that isn't putting people on the moon or finding aliens and you're not winning any friends in the public sector, even if you do invent useless crap like teflon and dried ice cream from time to time.
 
2012-11-29 06:14:41 PM

dahmers love zombie: Some of the commenters in TFA had it spot on: The typical American is about as scientifically aware as an old boot. When one of the people doing science stuff says "we've found something earthshaking", people assume Martians. Then when it's a fascinating crystal structure that scientists didn't expect to see in the mineral matrix, the typical American is easier to sway that all the NASA wonks are doing is stealing yer tax money. So what needs to be done is really that the people at NASA need to shut their yaps about stuff that gets them hard, because it rarely gives the typical American the same boner. When they're positive that they've got Marvin and his Illudium q-36 explosive space modulator in the Mars rover's specimen box, then they can throw a presser and show the video.


The typical person from any country is about as scientifically aware as...
 
2012-11-29 06:18:56 PM
"Rock, Neil? I don't know whether you looked at the planet before you took off, but it's made of farking rock!" "But it's Moon rock ..." "Oh, farking hell, this is Earth rock, Neil, come on! Have you heard, on the stock market, rock's gone up three points? No, it hasn't, has it? 'Cause it's farking rock!"
 
2012-11-29 06:20:20 PM
The change in the excitement meter has done nothing to have any effect on anyone's lives (who doesn't work for the NASA PR department). I for one am happy that somebody can be excited enough about their job that they can remotely sift tons of dirt on another planet looking for interesting things to share.
 
2012-11-29 06:20:56 PM
gweilo8888 called it

img163.imageshack.us
 
2012-11-29 06:21:53 PM
It is going to be discovery of possible evidence for probable past water again maybe, isn't it. How many times have we had that?
 
2012-11-29 06:23:42 PM
I bet it was whalers they thought they found but they are on the moon!
 
2012-11-29 06:26:04 PM
But now, NASA is backpedaling. The nature of Curiosity's discovery has been downgraded from "earthshaking" to "interesting," and many are crying foul. They feel misled, cheated and deceived, and Grotzinger has been roundly condemned for blowing the discovery out of proportion.

The media plays telephone with a sentence or two and actively builds up as much speculation as they can, then blames NASA when the bubble they created and inflated pops? Real classy guys. Pretty sure you're the ones doing the backpedaling here.
 
2012-11-29 06:32:18 PM

doglover: NOBODY CARES ABOUT GEOLOGY!

NASA only gets their budget cut because it's run by scientists FOR scientists, so their budget keeps getting slashed. The Pentagon dropped several Apollo Mission's worth of bombs on Iraq alone. Why? Because the boring farks don't do anything but study rocks.

ALL WE WANT IS LIFE ON ANOTHER PLANET! That's ALL anyone outside the astrophysics community (read: 6.9999 billion people) cares about.Not building blocks. Not potential for future missions. Not confirmation of findings that were boring when the Viking probes made them in the 70's: but honest to goodness critters that ain't from Earth. Failing that, send some guys up there. Or ladies. No women have been to the moon. Make that your goal and get that sweet, sweet garterbelt money.

You have to feed the public's hunger. Play it up. Make people actually excited. Focus on that kind of research publicly while keeping the REAL science on the DL. Get people excited for that, you'll get a bigger budget. Go poke some more rocks or have a ceremony for the "first quadroon transexual astronaut formermly named Steve to visit the ISS on a leap year" or some other meaningless "milestone" that isn't putting people on the moon or finding aliens and you're not winning any friends in the public sector, even if you do invent useless crap like teflon and dried ice cream from time to time.


This

dahmers love zombie: Some of the commenters in TFA had it spot on: The typical American is about as scientifically aware as an old boot. When one of the people doing science stuff says "we've found something earthshaking", people assume Martians. Then when it's a fascinating crystal structure that scientists didn't expect to see in the mineral matrix, the typical American is easier to sway that all the NASA wonks are doing is stealing yer tax money. So what needs to be done is really that the people at NASA need to shut their yaps about stuff that gets them hard, because it rarely gives the typical American the same boner. When they're positive that they've got Marvin and his Illudium q-36 explosive space modulator in the Mars rover's specimen box, then they can throw a presser and show the video.


And this.
 
2012-11-29 06:43:14 PM

DON.MAC: Had the idiot given a more details at the time, this wouldn't have been a problem but he wanted to be sure. I'm sure he will be looking for a job as NASA budget cuts get deeper.


Exactly. Just release the data or info to the public. Stop trying to keep everything a secret.

Do we really need a news conference to hear you didnt detect methane "at this time?"

I have to say this entire mission is sketchy. The fact that we're only indirectly searching for life, the ignoring of rocks we've never seen, slow release of lack of context (not remotely near ANY of the known methane concentrations), etc...

If i was a conspiracy theorist id say theyre intentionally hiding a lot.
 
2012-11-29 06:52:56 PM
Is NASA conspiring with aliens to cover up the discovery of life on mars?
 
2012-11-29 06:55:08 PM
If there was oil on Mars we would be there.
 
2012-11-29 06:55:34 PM
NASA SCIENTIST RAPES REPORTER
 
2012-11-29 07:03:39 PM
www.nist.gov

Wouldn't that be great? Mining corporations would be falling over themselves to get there, and NASA's budget would explode, that is if history is any indication of what motivates large scale expeditions.

/cynic at best.
 
2012-11-29 07:39:10 PM
It seems that the Curiosity Rover has found PLASTIC on Mars.

To be fair, this might be a bit more than "interesting"
 
2012-11-29 07:39:18 PM

Ego edo infantia cattus: [www.nist.gov image 350x292]

Wouldn't that be great? Mining corporations would be falling over themselves to get there, and NASA's budget would explode, that is if history is any indication of what motivates large scale expeditions.

/cynic at best.


Even if Mars turned out to be a solid lump of gold with a bit of dust on the surface concealing it, it would still be a good hundred+ years before we had the means to actually go there, mine it, and send it back in a remotely cost-effective manner.
 
2012-11-29 07:40:39 PM
Some sort of string of bead-like objects? WTF? That certainly doesn't seem like something that is naturally occurring.
 
2012-11-29 07:41:51 PM

LesserEvil: It seems that the Curiosity Rover has found PLASTIC on Mars.

To be fair, this might be a bit more than "interesting"


Ummm...look a little closer at the picture, and at the site URL.
 
2012-11-29 07:42:57 PM

Ego edo infantia cattus: [www.nist.gov image 350x292]

Wouldn't that be great? Mining corporations would be falling over themselves to get there, and NASA's budget would explode, that is if history is any indication of what motivates large scale expeditions.

/cynic at best.


"Todd forgot the oxygen."
 
2012-11-29 07:44:24 PM

LesserEvil: It seems that the Curiosity Rover has found PLASTIC on Mars.

To be fair, this might be a bit more than "interesting"


I was going to say, this is getting into "Holy Shiat" territory. If this is true, Mars would have had to been teeming with (at least microbial) life at one point.
 
2012-11-29 07:44:26 PM

Prank Call of Cthulhu: LesserEvil: It seems that the Curiosity Rover has found PLASTIC on Mars.

To be fair, this might be a bit more than "interesting"

Ummm...look a little closer at the picture, and at the site URL.


Ah... looks like Slashdot got punked.
 
2012-11-29 07:44:47 PM
To whomever put up that page, golf clap. Even fooled slashdot.
 
2012-11-29 07:45:53 PM

Prank Call of Cthulhu: LesserEvil: It seems that the Curiosity Rover has found PLASTIC on Mars.

To be fair, this might be a bit more than "interesting"

Ummm...look a little closer at the picture, and at the site URL.


Damn, it got me, as well as Slashdot.
 
2012-11-29 07:46:19 PM

Non-evil Monkey: Ego edo infantia cattus: [www.nist.gov image 350x292]

Wouldn't that be great? Mining corporations would be falling over themselves to get there, and NASA's budget would explode, that is if history is any indication of what motivates large scale expeditions.

/cynic at best.

Even if Mars turned out to be a solid lump of gold with a bit of dust on the surface concealing it, it would still be a good hundred+ years before we had the means to actually go there, mine it, and send it back in a remotely cost-effective manner.


Not to mention that even a miniscule fraction of that much gold would totally destroy the world economy if it could be brought here cost effectively. Gold is only valuable because it′s relatively scarce. And yes, kinda pretty for a metal.
 
2012-11-29 07:50:03 PM

jayhawk88: Prank Call of Cthulhu: LesserEvil: It seems that the Curiosity Rover has found PLASTIC on Mars.

To be fair, this might be a bit more than "interesting"

Ummm...look a little closer at the picture, and at the site URL.

Damn, it got me, as well as Slashdot.


Snotnose: To whomever put up that page, golf clap. Even fooled slashdot.



Well, at least it wasn't a candy wrapper for an "Earth Bar".

/Why yes, I did do a GIS for "Topless Martian"
 
2012-11-29 07:53:22 PM

COMALite J: Non-evil Monkey: Ego edo infantia cattus: [www.nist.gov image 350x292]

Wouldn't that be great? Mining corporations would be falling over themselves to get there, and NASA's budget would explode, that is if history is any indication of what motivates large scale expeditions.

/cynic at best.

Even if Mars turned out to be a solid lump of gold with a bit of dust on the surface concealing it, it would still be a good hundred+ years before we had the means to actually go there, mine it, and send it back in a remotely cost-effective manner.

Not to mention that even a miniscule fraction of that much gold would totally destroy the world economy if it could be brought here cost effectively. Gold is only valuable because it′s relatively scarce. And yes, kinda pretty for a metal.


I'm no economy scientist, but would it? I thought the vast majority of the world had moved off of the gold standard by now. I can see it having an effect on certain jewelry makers, and possibly some high tech electronics...

/my Basset Hound would ROCK a 24k dog collar...
 
2012-11-29 07:53:36 PM
marsshaking
 
2012-11-29 07:59:56 PM
i.imgur.com
 
2012-11-29 08:04:38 PM
Where's my kaboom?
 
2012-11-29 08:06:53 PM

COMALite J: Non-evil Monkey: Ego edo infantia cattus: [www.nist.gov image 350x292]

Wouldn't that be great? Mining corporations would be falling over themselves to get there, and NASA's budget would explode, that is if history is any indication of what motivates large scale expeditions.

/cynic at best.

Even if Mars turned out to be a solid lump of gold with a bit of dust on the surface concealing it, it would still be a good hundred+ years before we had the means to actually go there, mine it, and send it back in a remotely cost-effective manner.

Not to mention that even a miniscule fraction of that much gold would totally destroy the world economy if it could be brought here cost effectively. Gold is only valuable because it′s relatively scarce. And yes, kinda pretty for a metal.


I considered these two points, which are good ones, but I think the first (if it was possible) would help to diminish the second. Gold is not only a good basis of curacy because of it's scarcity, but because it requires a lot of work to get a small amount of it. If it was in the least bit cost-effective to get it here, the time and energy required to do so would give it "sweat equity." I doubt that it would be cost-effective or bountiful enough to flood the gold market, and even if it did, someone would still get rich in the process, so it would still a good motivator for colonization . Just look at the last two US gold rushes: people got rich, the market adjusted, and new land was settled.

...and this time we wouldn't even have to commit genocide... Hopefully.
 
2012-11-29 08:16:39 PM
i.imgur.com
 
2012-11-29 08:17:25 PM

justtray: DON.MAC: Had the idiot given a more details at the time, this wouldn't have been a problem but he wanted to be sure. I'm sure he will be looking for a job as NASA budget cuts get deeper.

Exactly. Just release the data or info to the public. Stop trying to keep everything a secret.

Do we really need a news conference to hear you didnt detect methane "at this time?"

I have to say this entire mission is sketchy. The fact that we're only indirectly searching for life, the ignoring of rocks we've never seen, slow release of lack of context (not remotely near ANY of the known methane concentrations), etc...

If i was a conspiracy theorist id say theyre intentionally hiding a lot.


Fortunately you are a conspiracy theorist so don't hold back.
 
2012-11-29 08:23:44 PM
This just in.

Organic molecules discovered in Uranus.
 
2012-11-29 08:40:20 PM

Ego edo infantia cattus: Mining corporations would be falling over themselves to get there


No, they wouldn't, since unlike naive, wide-eyed delusional children who think "sci-fi" just means "physics", mining companies operate in a little thing I call "reality".
 
2012-11-29 08:51:08 PM

Quantum Apostrophe: Ego edo infantia cattus: Mining corporations would be falling over themselves to get there

No, they wouldn't, since unlike naive, wide-eyed delusional children who think "sci-fi" just means "physics", mining companies operate in a little thing I call "reality".


The cost of transporting gold from Mars to Earth would be astronomical!
 
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