A NASA photo of the Curiosity rover on the surface of Mars.

If you’re NASA, you should really be more careful about throwing around phrases like “one for the history books.” That’s the terminology John Grotzinger, head of the Curiosity rover mission to Mars, used in a recent interview. But he was light on other details, so, since wild speculation is human nature, people are trying to figure out what Curiosity could have dug out of the Martian dirt that can be called “historic.”

The specifics of this discovery are remaining secret until (most likely) a conference in early December, to give the scientists time to triple-check the results. But since one of the primary objectives of Curiosity is to see if the Red Planet has ever been capable of supporting simple organisms, it stands to reason that a discovery along those lines would be the sort of thing NASA was looking for.

So what could they have found in the analyzed soil samples? Large amounts of methane, an organic compound that’s usually produced by lifeforms?

Sure, that’s a reasonable assumption, but who wants to hear that? I prefer the unreasonable, thank you very much:

  • a human skeleton
  • the Holy Grail
  • the Ark of the Covenant
  • whatever those magic stones were in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom
  • Amelia Earhart
  • a dinosaur in a space suit (proving they didn’t  go extinct, they just got tired of Earth)
  • this photo:

Marvin the Martian looks at the Earth through his telescope.