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Mars Space News

Surprising Further Evidence for a Wet Mars 192

Riding with Robots writes "When the robotic geologist Spirit found the latest evidence for a wet Mars, 'You could hear people gasp in astonishment,' said Steve Squyres, the lead scientist for the Mars rovers. 'This is a remarkable discovery. And the fact that we found something this new and different after nearly 1,200 days on Mars makes it even more remarkable. It makes you wonder what else is still out there.' The latest discovery, announced today, adds compelling new evidence for ancient conditions that might have been favorable for life, according to the rover team."
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Surprising Further Evidence for a Wet Mars

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  • Looks like ... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by WrongSizeGlass ( 838941 ) on Monday May 21, 2007 @06:29PM (#19214393)
    ... that gimpy wheel was a blessing in disguise. I think those little robots have been remarkable ... especially lasting years past their estimated '90 day' lives. If only the produce in my fridge could last that long past its estimated use date.
  • Ok great... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by lamegovie ( 1055366 ) on Monday May 21, 2007 @06:32PM (#19214415)
    Now how about looking in places that will show us the existence of LIFE on say in the polar ice caps or subterranean caverns? I dont think even MORE evidence that there was water on Mars would be that shocking...
  • by jmtpi ( 17834 ) on Monday May 21, 2007 @06:42PM (#19214533) Homepage
    ...that robot/space telescope exploration gets you a lot more bang for the buck than trying to put a man back on the moon. Hopefully the next President will kill off this return to the moon business and start putting money into stuff like this again.
  • Re:Solvents (Score:3, Insightful)

    by gardyloo ( 512791 ) on Monday May 21, 2007 @06:55PM (#19214679)
    Perhaps "ought to". But that doesn't bode well for glass bottles holding ammonia solutions.
  • Not necessarily. (Score:0, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 21, 2007 @07:12PM (#19214853)
    Until you hear what the guy actually says, would you back the fuck up? Don't assume something's sexist based only on the interpretations of it that come to your mind. That's not feminism, it's closed-mindedness.
  • Re:Looks like ... (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 21, 2007 @07:22PM (#19214947)
    Teachers should make note of this and use it with the old adage "every failure is an opportunity to learn". Students maybe bored with the old penicillin discovery or similar stories, but today's kids should find robots interesting.
  • by Bad D.N.A. ( 753582 ) <baddna@gma i l .com> on Monday May 21, 2007 @07:29PM (#19214999)
    A man on mars would do more science in 2 days than the rovers have done in 3 years.

    After we dusted the surface with the first few manned missions where insertion didn't quite work as planned (like many of the robotic missions have done), then perhaps. Just start with the cost of the rovers and start multiplying by tens, lots of tens. I doubt your "science" advancements as well. I think we would be looking at golf balls being hit off the Valles Marineris, numerous flag-postings, and speak-with-a-scientist-live-on-Mars photoshoots before one stitch of science was even contemplated.

    You don't send men until you know for sure that there is something there, and know for sure exactly where it is. Then and only then can you justify the (powers of ten) cost.
  • by QuantumG ( 50515 ) <> on Monday May 21, 2007 @07:56PM (#19215255) Homepage Journal
    Yep. I definitely didn't mean to suggest that sending humans to mars to do "good science" was the point of sending humans to mars. Nor should it be. I'd be terribly happy if no-one ever mentioned science the same sentence as the manned space program ever again.

    Hopefully the costs of manned space flight are coming down. is that crusade. Then all these heady justifications for why we need to spend so much tax payer money will go away too. If we're lucky, NASA's role in manned space flight will be completely transformed and science will finally be recognised as the secondary motivation that it always been.

    The purpose of manned space flight is not science. It's not spin-offs. It's not pork projects. It's not "national pride". It's not communications. It's not even about the limits to growth on our tiny planet.

    All that stuff is just reasons we make up to keep the population paying for it. We need these justifications to explain why someone who barely has enough money to make rent should be paying for a space station.

    The purpose of manned space flight is human unity. It's the global selfless dedication to a goal greater than all of humanity. It's what we learn science and build surplus economies to achieve. It's the purpose of being alive now. We need to get off this rock right now. We need to be more than just one planet. We need this so that we can look up at night and know there are people up there. Not just a scientist or two.. but an entire civilization.

  • by dreamchaser ( 49529 ) on Monday May 21, 2007 @08:26PM (#19215577) Homepage Journal
    We still find new and interesting things here on Earth after a couple of million years of hominids running around. I fail to see how *anything* short of walking talking Martians would really be a shocker on Mars given how little we've covered of it.
  • by hoggoth ( 414195 ) on Monday May 21, 2007 @09:50PM (#19216129) Journal
    > may have already passed through all of them.

    Well, since we don't have any self-sustaining colonies off of the Earth, I'd say there is at least ONE difficult step we haven't passed yet.

  • Why so surprised (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TekPolitik ( 147802 ) on Monday May 21, 2007 @10:10PM (#19216289) Journal
    I don't get why people keep being surprised that there's water on other planets. I would be surprised if there wasn't. With hydrogen and oxygen being two of the three most common elements in the universe with only helium in the middle, you have a simple compound made up of the two most abundant reactive elements in the universe. Given that hydrogen is so abundant, oxygen stands a good chance of finding hydrogen to bond with, and if it finds hydrogen it doesn't take much to get them to bond. Earth really isn't as special as people seem to want to make it out to be.
  • by Ranger ( 1783 ) on Monday May 21, 2007 @10:34PM (#19216471) Homepage
    There's still this pesky little thing called olivine [], a volcanic rock. It's an interesting mineral in that it decomposes rapidly in water, and Mars is covered with thousands and thousands of square miles of it. There is water on Mars, perhaps, not as much as news stories in the press would imply, but the olivine puts an upper limit [] on the amount of water Mars has had in it's past. I want to know how the scientists can square the evidence of water and the olivine []. There have been different epochs in Mars' past. I suppose it's possible that after Mars' wet period ended where most water either froze or evaporated and disassociated with the hydrogen escaping into space then there was a period of volcanism that covered large areas of Mars with olivine. Sadly, I'm not familiar with the sequence of what was formed when. It is hard to date the surface of Mars except in general terms.

    There may have been life on Mars. There may be significant amounts of water in the form of ice on Mars. It's exciting and it will take a long time to sort the geologic or areology of Mars []. We should be going to explore Mars because it is an interesting world, not because it might have water or harbored life. Those discoveries are the icing on the cake. Because if those are the reasons we go an don't find anything, that will tell us something, but we will be disappointed and may not be able to get public support nor the tax dollars for future missions. We should look for evidence of life and water, but that shouldn't be our sole focus nor should we expect to find either.
  • by r00t ( 33219 ) on Monday May 21, 2007 @11:17PM (#19216735) Journal
    Before they even landed, it was obvious that they'd find water and "possible evidence of life". This will need more study! That means continuing careers and bigger management empires.

    It's easy:

    1. get observation

    2. concoct a theory INVOLVING WATER OR LIFE which explains the observation

    3. report observation as evidence for water or life

    The scientest who says "nah, it's just a reaction involving volcanic stuff and light, etc." is due for a bad employee review. He's not a team player.

  • by Dragonslicer ( 991472 ) on Tuesday May 22, 2007 @07:44AM (#19219175)
    Maybe I'm not reading that the right way, but if I remember my college math classes correctly, the outcome of other random events does not affect the probability of any given random event. If you roll a six-sided die (kinda sad I have to specifically say six-sided), and you roll a six four times in a row, the probability of rolling a six again is still the same. No matter how many other species advance enough to reach interstellar travel, the probability that humans do so is still the same.

    Unless you're talking about a species being advanced enough to see humans as a threat and nuking us from orbit, of course.

The best defense against logic is ignorance.