Editor's note: NASA PAO has had absolutely nothing to say about the article in Aviation Week regarding additional discoveries made by Mars Phoenix.
However, of all things, the MarsPhoenix Twitter feed commented on this issue overnight: "Heard about the recent news reports implying I may have found Martian life. Those reports are incorrect" and "Reports claiming there was a White House briefing are also untrue and incorrect."
Why is PAO letting a robot take the flack on this? Oh yes, the Av Week article did not claim that Martian life had been found. I guess robots do not read all that well. There is a vast difference between "potential" for life and "discovery of life". Aviation Week is very clear on what it is reporting. Why can't NASA PAO be equally as precise - officially - in what it is denying?
White House Briefed On Potential For Mars Life, Aviation Week
"Sources say the new data do not indicate the discovery of existing or past life on Mars."
"The reason that all this seems so hush-hush is due to a future paper and press release that appears likely to pop out of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and its Science magazine," Leonard [David] writes. "Whatever the poop is from the scoop that's been studied by Phoenix, that information is purportedly going through peer-review."
"FTA: It would appear that the US President has been briefed by Phoenix scientists about the discovery of something more 'provocative' than the discovery of water existing on the Martian surface. This news comes just as the Thermal and Evolved Gas Analyzer (TEGA) confirmed experimental evidence for the existence of water in the Mars regolith on Thursday."
"But the Twittering voice of the Phoenix, NASA news services manager Veronica McGregor, told tweeters they shouldn't get too excited ... And the Mars Phoenix wouldn't lie to us, would she?"
"However NASA, through its Twitter account, denied any such claims."
Apparently there's something more exciting yet to be announced by Phoenix, Planetary Society
"According to Craig Couvalt of Aviation week, it was interesting enough to brief the President's Science Advisor; however, the Phoenix mission's Twitter feed denies this."
NASA's next small step may be into Martian manure, Sydney Morning Herald
"NASA has said little about the claims, although it has used the social networking site Twitter to downplay the reports..."