NASA Unveiling New Mars Discoveries by Curiosity Rover Tuesday

Mars Rover Curiosity Portrait: John Klein Site
This self-portrait of NASA's Mars rover Curiosity combines dozens of images taken by the rover's Mars Hand Lens Imager on Feb. 3, 2013. The portrait was taken at the rock target "John Klein," where the rover collected the first ever bedrock sample of Mars using its drill on Feb. 8. (Image credit: ASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS)

NASA will reveal new discoveries about Mars gleaned from the Curiosity rover's first rock powder sample in a high-profile press conference on Tuesday (March 12).

The Mars rover press conference, which will be held at the agency's headquarters in Washington, will begin at 1 p.m. EDT (1700 GMT). It will be broadcast live on NASA's TV and webcast channels, a departure from recent teleconferences that have been a staple of Curiosity rover mission updates.

You can watch the Mars rover press conference on here.

NASA officials said the Tuesday press conference will "discuss the Curiosity rover's analysis of the first sample of rock powder ever collected on Mars."

Curiosity drilled into a Mars rock for the first time on Feb. 8 using a percussive drill tool mounted to its robotic arm. The rover drilled a 2.5-inch (6.4 centimeters) hole into a flat Mars rock called "John Klein," named after a NASA Curiosity rover project manager who died in 2011.

The first sample drilling on Mars revealed an odd, gray interior of Martian rock that stood out in stark contrast to the ubiquitous orange-red of the Red Planet's surface. Curiosity scooped up a sample of the gray rock powder and placed it inside two onboard laboratories, called the Chemistry and Mineralogy instrument and Sample Analysis at Mars, to determine its chemical makeup. [1st Mars Drilling on Mars by Curiosity (Photos)]

NASA is expected to discuss the results from those tests in Tuesday's press conference, which will include presentations by the following scientists:

  • Michael Meyer, lead scientist, Mars Exploration Program, NASA Headquarters, Washington
  • John Grotzinger, Curiosity project scientist, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, Calif.
  • David Blake, principal investigator for Curiosity's Chemistry and Mineralogy investigation, NASA's Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif.
  • Paul Mahaffy, principal investigator for Curiosity's Sample Analysis at Mars investigation, NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.

NASA's Mars rover Curiosity landed on the Red Planet on Aug. 5 to begin a two-year primary mission aimed at determining if the planet is now, or could ever have been, capable of supporting primitive life. The $2.5 billion Curiosity is about the size of a car, making it the largest rover ever to explore Mars. It carries 10 different science instruments to study the Red Planet in unprecedented detail.

Curiosity landed inside the huge Gale Crater on Mars and is currently at a site called Yellowknife Bay, which is home to the John Klein rock. The rover is ultimately destined to a region dubbed Glenelg, which is near the base of a 3-mile-high (5 kilometers) mountain rising from the center of Gale Crater.

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Tariq Malik

Tariq is the Editor-in-Chief of and joined the team in 2001, first as an intern and staff writer, and later as an editor. He covers human spaceflight, exploration and space science, as well as skywatching and entertainment. He became's Managing Editor in 2009 and Editor-in-Chief in 2019. Before joining, Tariq was a staff reporter for The Los Angeles Times covering education and city beats in La Habra, Fullerton and Huntington Beach. In October 2022, Tariq received the Harry Kolcum Award for excellence in space reporting from the National Space Club Florida Committee. He is also an Eagle Scout (yes, he has the Space Exploration merit badge) and went to Space Camp four times as a kid and a fifth time as an adult. He has journalism degrees from the University of Southern California and New York University. You can find Tariq at and as the co-host to the This Week In Space podcast with space historian Rod Pyle on the TWiT network. To see his latest project, you can follow Tariq on Twitter @tariqjmalik.