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Mars Rover Turns Up Evidence Of Water

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the i-bet-sax-put-it-there dept.

Mars 95

New submitter horselight writes "Recent data obtained from Mars indicates the environment is not as hostile to life as once thought. 'An examination of data gathered by NASA's Mars Exploration Rover Opportunity reveals deposits that, on Earth, are only created by water moving through the rock.' The study's lead author, Steve Squyres, said, 'From landing until just before reaching the Endeavour rim, Opportunity was driving over sandstone made of sulfate grains that had been deposited by water and later blown around by the wind. These gypsum veins tell us about water that flowed through the rocks at this exact spot. It's the strongest evidence for water that we've ever seen with Opportunity.' Gypsum veins and other features indicating water movement on the surface of Mars have been observed to be much more common than previously thought."

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So... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39889465)

Howard managed to get if off the ditch?

Re:So... (0, Redundant)

Shirogitsune (1810950) | more than 2 years ago | (#39889549)

My kingdom for mod points! XD

Re:So... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39889885)

Yeah, right after he got ditcht by the bitch.

Re:So... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39890387)

awesome reference !!!!!!!!!!!

Re:So... (1)

FatdogHaiku (978357) | more than 2 years ago | (#39890709)

Sadly, in my head I actual heard your reply in Raj Koothrappali's voice...
That being said, I agree with you.
I should probably take my pills now.

Haven't we seen this before? (2, Insightful)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 2 years ago | (#39889519)

Mars probes typically return this kind of water on Mars data every few years or so. The problem is, it's nowhere close to the water level found on Earth and therefore it's ability to support any form of life is quite low. I'm not sure how newsworthy this is. It doesn't make much sense to me.

Re:Haven't we seen this before? (2, Insightful)

phayes (202222) | more than 2 years ago | (#39889651)

Nothing has changed, they just delivered a more detailed report of what we already know. :s/the environment is not/the environment was not/

The presence of water is millenna old.

Re:Haven't we seen this before? (4, Insightful)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 2 years ago | (#39889869)

s/the environment is not/the environment was not/

That struck me, too. Mars IS very unhospitable to life, but may have once not been.

The presence of water is millenna old.

No, the absense of water is millenna old. There seems to be little or none left today.

Re:Haven't we seen this before? (1, Informative)

phayes (202222) | more than 2 years ago | (#39890533)

You're mistaken/misinformed/ignorant. That's not necessarily a bad thing (we were all that way once) but you shouldn't try to correct those who know more about the subject than you do. We've known for decades that the Martian icecaps are in part water, The Phoenix lander confirmed the presence of highly brinated water ice at it's site in 2008 & the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter discovered signs of flowing water in 2011.

The presence of water on Mars in a geologic sense (as in what is needed to produce gypsum) is indeed millennia old as I said. The near total absence of signs of running water on the surface of mars today (look to the MRO reports) does not contradict what I said.

Re:Haven't we seen this before? (4, Funny)

Concerned Onlooker (473481) | more than 2 years ago | (#39891497)

"The presence of water on Mars in a geologic sense (as in what is needed to produce gypsum)..."

It would be terribly significant. Then if we found gypsum we would have a pretty good idea that drywall once existed, and of course finding the buildings would only be only a matter of time.

Re:Haven't we seen this before? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39892757)

Well, Elon Musk is gonna need plenty of drywall for his retirement home on Mars. After all, his condo will need to keep him warm, supplied with oxygen and keep out the radiation.

Re:Haven't we seen this before? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39895571)

No, no, it would prove they had coal-fired power plants, and we'd just have to look for the flue-gas desulfurization equipment nearby!

Re:Haven't we seen this before? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39897863)

and if you learned to write properly you wouldn't have to get all indignant when people misunderstand what you think you were trying to say, badly.

Re:Haven't we seen this before? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39891439)

Little or no left?? They believe it has enough ice underneath if melted.

Re:Haven't we seen this before? (5, Insightful)

Amouth (879122) | more than 2 years ago | (#39889673)

the thing is, based on what we see water had to be quite common on Mars at some point. at that point the ability to support life would have been extremely high.. something has happened to the planet which has caused the water to not be on the surface, question is where did it go and why, and if there is still water under the surface does it still harbor life?

Re:Haven't we seen this before? (5, Informative)

Tirian (166224) | more than 2 years ago | (#39889745)

The working theory is that the lack of a strong magentosphere on Mars has allowed the solar wind to cause much of the water that was once present to be lost to space.

--Michael

Re:Haven't we seen this before? (3, Insightful)

Sperbels (1008585) | more than 2 years ago | (#39889889)

The working theory is that the lack of a strong magentosphere on Mars has allowed the solar wind to cause much of the water that was once present to be lost to space

And the atmosphere itself. Can't have liquid water if the air pressure is too low.

Re:Haven't we seen this before? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39894641)

Venus is wondering what you are talking about with the solar wind blowing away the atmosphere.

Re:Haven't we seen this before? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39895731)

Venus is wondering what you are talking about with the solar wind blowing away the atmosphere.

Give Her my regards, will you?

Re:Haven't we seen this before? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39890055)

Yup... these are Megamaid's colors... SUCK! SUCK! SUCK!

Re:Haven't we seen this before? (2)

Reed Solomon (897367) | more than 2 years ago | (#39892749)

Indeed, the colour magenta is scientifically proven to stop solar winds.

Re:Haven't we seen this before? (1)

bigrockpeltr (1752472) | more than 2 years ago | (#39893977)

Ask Rango, he'll bring the water back!

Re:Haven't we seen this before? (1)

sl4shd0rk (755837) | more than 2 years ago | (#39889729)

it's nowhere close to the water level found on Earth

The evidence for larger quantities of water may lie well below the surface. Far out of reach of the current rovers. Hence the reason for Curiosity [nasa.gov] . Stay tuned...

Re:Haven't we seen this before? (1)

hideouspenguinboy (1342659) | more than 2 years ago | (#39889759)

"it's nowhere close to the water level found on Earth and therefore it's ability to support any form of life is quite low"

Conjecture much?

Re:Haven't we seen this before? (1)

Gilmoure (18428) | more than 2 years ago | (#39889961)

They're on the internets and they "know" stuff.

Re:Haven't we seen this before? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39889883)

We've already explored millions of other planets with various water levels and can thus say so with rather high degree of certainty, meanwhile there is life on earth that can exist with absolutely minuscule water levels.

Re:Haven't we seen this before? (4, Interesting)

AngryDeuce (2205124) | more than 2 years ago | (#39890679)

Such as the Tardigrade ("Water Bear") [wikipedia.org] ...

Tardigrades are able to survive in extreme environments that would kill almost any other animal. Some can survive temperatures of close to absolute zero (273 C (459 F)), temperatures as high as 151 C (304 F), 1,000 times more radiation than other animals, and almost a decade without water. Since 2007, tardigrades have also returned alive from studies in which they have been exposed to the vacuum of outer space for a few days in low earth orbit.

It seems to me that organisms like this would be able to survive on Mars, even in it's current conditions, so it seems to me that we're going to discover some form of elementary life on Mars eventually, it's just a matter of time (and looking in the right places, which could be miles below the surface for all we know).

Still, as a layperson that reads stuff like this as a hobby, I think we'd discover life on Europa [wikipedia.org] first...if we ever manage to figure out a way to get a probe under the ice (and of course keep it completely sterile, which given the hardiness of those water bears would seem to be damn hard to do beyond any shred of doubt for an earth-originating probe).

Re:Haven't we seen this before? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39897979)

Interesting to be sure, I would point out taking a long time to die and surviving are not the same thing.

Attempt no landings there. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39899301)

All these worlds are yours - except Europa.

Attempt no landings there.

Re:Haven't we seen this before? (4, Interesting)

Kelbear (870538) | more than 2 years ago | (#39890165)

This is news for nerds, who are fascinated by the prospect of life on Mars in the past. Any additional, or supportive information is another opportunity to ruminate over the possibilities. Finding evidence of life on Mars also breathes life into our most cherished nerd dreams of what might be out there. Everything I know so far just tells me space is essentially empty and forever beyond mankind's reach. But if we can find evidence of past life on Mars, it would be an anecdotal data point saying that the universe might be brimming with life such that 2 planets within a single solar system could have life on them. It'd be nice to know that we're not the only ones out there, even if we can never know any of them.

Right now in the grand scheme of things, it seems that we live short brutish lives, and even the lifespan of our civilization will be incredibly brief, before the universe as we know it returns to being just...empty. When we die it's comforting to know that we are survived by our friends and family(at least for a while). When humanity goes extinct, it would be nice to know that there's probably life somewhere in the universe will continue (for a while).

Re:Haven't we seen this before? (2)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 2 years ago | (#39890995)

speak for your own nerd dreams. i'm mining Martian algae as an elixir that will give me eternal life, and I will destroy all stocks and mines I don't control to maintain a monopoly. And I will use this eternal life to destroy every civilization I find, including Earth, out of a personal vendetta against the girl who didn't talk to me in High School. that's my nerd dream

Re:Haven't we seen this before? (1)

Immerman (2627577) | more than 2 years ago | (#39900221)

There's actually a pretty good chance that life anywhere in the solar system would be related to us. The Earth has had enough major asteroid impacts blowing bits of our crust off that some hardier bacteria, virii, molds, etc have almost certainly managed to reach most every corner of our solar system, though whether they managed to and set up housekeeping is a completely separate question.

One of the implication of this is that if we find life on Mars it doesn't actually tell us all that much about how common life might be in the galaxy unless it's *not* related to us. Panspermia is likely much easier when the cold, vast reaches of interstellar space aren't involved. Still, it might only take a single RNA fragment reaching the surface to start the whole process rolling on a new planet, and IIRC the Earth has had time to "infect" something like a 100 light-year radius at this point.

Re:Haven't we seen this before? (1)

savuporo (658486) | more than 2 years ago | (#39903877)

Right, except i think its premature to assume that Earth was/would be the origin of panspermia within our solar system.

Re:Haven't we seen this before? (1)

Immerman (2627577) | more than 2 years ago | (#39904251)

Quite right, but since we're only certain that life has ever existed on one planet it makes it a natural "first guess". If we accept the premise of panspermia though then it becomes much more likely that the ultimate origin of life wasn't even in this solar system, after all sunlike stars existed for billions of years before our own sun formed, seems much more likely that life hitchiked to this solar system from elsewhere. Especially given the existence of things like the Tardigrade which can survive vacuum, radiation, and temperatures near absolute zero. Seems like such a creature might have a fair chance of surviving an interstellar journey. After all absolute zero is about as perfect a form of stasis as you could want. As long as it was was buried deep enough in an asteroid or comet to be shielded enough that millenia of cumulative radiation exposure didn't exceed it's ability to repair the damage it might reanimate with no ill effects. I could even imagine such lifeforms being specifically engineered by a race that found itself alone in the galaxy so that those who followed would have a better chance of encountering peers. Have we sequenced this sucker's genome and looked for an embedded "We were here" message?

Personally I'm hoping life did originate elsewhere in the galaxy and spread here - it's the only scenario that gives us any real chance of ever finding chemically compatible alien life, and Mos Eisly loses a lot of it's appeal if everything on the menu is toxic, or at best almost completely non-nutritious.

Re:Haven't we seen this before? (1)

wiedzmin (1269816) | more than 2 years ago | (#39892081)

So far it sounds to me like the evidence that there was water on Mars, not that there is water on it. I'm sure that there was water over the Sahara desert at some point too... Agreed, not really newsworthy.

Does it have to be water, not some other liquid? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39889551)

We're so determined to find water on Mars... but it's entirely possible it could be some other liquid like ammonia, isn't it? (And no, I don't mean cleaning fluid ammonia I mean at the temps present on Mars it could have been in liquified state instead of gaseous.)

Re:Does it have to be water, not some other liquid (2)

LostCluster (625375) | more than 2 years ago | (#39889639)

We need to find water on Mars in order to support manned missions, bringing it from Earth makes the cargo weight that much heavier.

Re:Does it have to be water, not some other liquid (3, Insightful)

Sperbels (1008585) | more than 2 years ago | (#39889919)

We need to find water on Mars in order to support manned missions, bringing it from Earth makes the cargo weight that much heavier.

Um...there's plenty of it...at the poles.

Re:Does it have to be water, not some other liquid (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39890927)

But nobody likes poles.

Re:Does it have to be water, not some other liquid (1, Troll)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 2 years ago | (#39891035)

I forget.... are 'yo mama' jokes modded up or down around here?

Re:Does it have to be water, not some other liquid (3, Interesting)

camg188 (932324) | more than 2 years ago | (#39889859)

The mineral deposits described are formed in water here on Earth. They would have a different chemical composition if they were deposited in something other than water.
What would be interesting to know would be the age of the rocks.

Re:Does it have to be water, not some other liquid (4, Interesting)

ZeroSumHappiness (1710320) | more than 2 years ago | (#39890289)

I wonder how you would go about dating the rocks on Mars. On Earth we have good estimates of initial U-235/U-238 ratios (and other radioactive materials) and the carbon cycle allows us to C-14 date things. But on another planet with so many differences from Earth what good assumptions do we have to key off of?

Re:Does it have to be water, not some other liquid (4, Funny)

RenderSeven (938535) | more than 2 years ago | (#39890721)

I wonder how you would go about dating the rocks on Mars.

Oh, same as here. Treat it with respect, bring some flowers, take it to see a movie, compliment it on its geological features, and dont try to bang two rocks together right away.

Re:Does it have to be water, not some other liquid (1)

Jeng (926980) | more than 2 years ago | (#39892925)

Also, don't stare at the cleavage, it makes them uncomfortable.

Re:Does it have to be water, not some other liquid (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39892059)

I wonder how you would go about dating the rocks on Mars. On Earth we have good estimates of initial U-235/U-238 ratios (and other radioactive materials) and the carbon cycle allows us to C-14 date things. But on another planet with so many differences from Earth what good assumptions do we have to key off of?

Isochron dating [wikipedia.org] would probably be a good approach. You don't need to know the initial ratio.

Longevity? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39889607)

I wonder if this discovery (major or minor...) was made due to the extensions in the mission plan? How much discovery has been made because of both the mission extensions and the skills of the team operating it?

Water appearing on the surface is not the same... (4, Insightful)

Viol8 (599362) | more than 2 years ago | (#39889629)

... as it remaining there for any length of time.

With mars's current enviroment water on the surface in the summer at the equator would explosively boil away in seconds and even highly concetrated brine wouldn't last much longer. In the winter or at the poles its a toss up as to whether it would boil or freeze first. Either way liquid water cannot currently exist on the surface of mars.

Re:Water appearing on the surface is not the same. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39890041)

... as it remaining there for any length of time.

With mars's current enviroment water on the surface in the summer at the equator would explosively boil away in seconds and even highly concetrated brine wouldn't last much longer. In the winter or at the poles its a toss up as to whether it would boil or freeze first. Either way liquid water cannot currently exist on the surface of mars.

At the poles it is not much of a toss. It is pretty safe to say that if there is water at the poles it is frozen and not very likely to turn liquid at any given time.

Re:Water appearing on the surface is not the same. (5, Informative)

bgarcia (33222) | more than 2 years ago | (#39890265)

At the poles it is not much of a toss. It is pretty safe to say that if there is water at the poles it is frozen and not very likely to turn liquid at any given time.

In Mars' low-pressure atmosphere, water will behave much like dry ice does on Earth - it converts straight between a solid and a gas without entering a liquid phase.

Phase Diagram of Water [wikipedia.org]

Note that the air pressure averages around 600 pascals. That's below the solid-liquid-gas triple-point in the diagram. And temperatures on Mars tend to be well below the freezing point as well.

Re:Water appearing on the surface is not the same. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39891139)

That's the average pressure, in the canyons and other deep places, this pressure gets much higher, up to 1150 pascal in Hellas Planitia. So at this pressure, water is liquid from about 0 to 7 degrees celsius. Not a big range, but definitly not impossible.

Re:Water appearing on the surface is not the same. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39890219)

Why don't we just take some water there, deposit it, and watch what happens?

Not much water is needed. (4, Insightful)

Covalent (1001277) | more than 2 years ago | (#39889661)

Simple life lives here on Earth in the driest of dry places. Now Mars is dryer still, but that does not preclude the possibility of life still existing there.

Furthermore, this is valuable information for any future manned Mars mission. Any such mission will need a native supply of water. And if there was water on Mars at one point, then there must still be at least a small amount left, though it's probably locked up in hydrates and under the surface.

Finally, information like this is valuable as it shows that water on planets is very common (we've found it on Earth, Venus, Mars, and the moons of Jupiter and Saturn). This lends credence to the idea that water is common on extrasolar planets.

Re:Not much water is needed. (3, Insightful)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 2 years ago | (#39891351)

Simple life lives here on Earth in the driest of dry places.

All we know for sure is that life can adapt to environments with minimal water. What's unclear is how much water is needed for life to arise and gain enough of a foothold that it would be able to spread to the variety of environments we find life in on earth. Earth had the advantage of gigantic oceans, so there's a lot of space for different specific environmental conditions that might be suitable for abiogenesis.

I just don't think we know about the subject to say how likely it is. If, however, life did arise (or arrive) then it surely would have been able to adapt to low water environments.

Water is abundant in space (1)

na1led (1030470) | more than 2 years ago | (#39889665)

There is plenty of evidence of water in space, problem is whether it harbors life or can support life. As soon as we find life elsewhere, it will change everything we believe about life on earth. I can't wait for that day to come.

Mars Rover TURNED Up Evidence Of Water (1)

tunapez (1161697) | more than 2 years ago | (#39889761)

Was listening to this in the audio book just yesterday. Yeah, the book published seven years ago that already has a Disney cartoon made of it...With the recent awakening of the rover 'Opportunity' from it's winter slumber I am looking forward to new reports containing new info.
 
Now if we can only get a squeegee to mars to clean them panels.

Roving Mars [google.com] A good read.

Pathetic (-1, Flamebait)

Sqreater (895148) | more than 2 years ago | (#39889793)

And shows how desperate they are to find SOME, ANY, reason to believe there is enough water on Mars to justify multi-trillion dollar funding of completely useless trips to Mars.

Re:Pathetic (2)

Sperbels (1008585) | more than 2 years ago | (#39889969)

I know. Just look at all that money we waste on science.

Re:Pathetic (1)

Gilmoure (18428) | more than 2 years ago | (#39890005)

Exactly! Unless you're already there, it's totally pointless to go somewhere. Better off to just stay in your cave near the savannah. The rains are certain to return this year and no doubt the fruit trees and vegetables will return as well. Those others that moved off and started hunting animals? FOOLS!

Re:Pathetic (-1, Troll)

Sqreater (895148) | more than 2 years ago | (#39890425)

Exactly! Unless you're already there, it's totally pointless to go somewhere. Better off to just stay in your cave near the savannah. The rains are certain to return this year and no doubt the fruit trees and vegetables will return as well. Those others that moved off and started hunting animals? FOOLS!

Mars is not the Earth. You just don't understand that what you just wrote does not apply to Mars. This is the response I get constantly. Apparently, people just do not yet get that Mars is not an extension of the Earth and the ways we are used to expressing ourselves about the Earth do not apply to Mars. What savannahs? What animals? What anything?

Re:Pathetic (2)

Sperbels (1008585) | more than 2 years ago | (#39890859)

No. The analogy is perfect. It is about adapting to live in another environment. In the grand scheme of things, the earth will be a dead end eventually...just like the first of our ancestors who wouldn't follow their family members out of the trees and into the savannahs to scavenge. Colonizing the universe is inevitable. You're just one of the animals that won't leave the trees because wandering across the savannah is risky and uses too much energy.

Re:Pathetic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39891183)

You are very clever.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Terraforming

Re:Pathetic (2)

Sperbels (1008585) | more than 2 years ago | (#39891245)

Mars is not the Earth. You just don't understand that what you just wrote does not apply to Mars. This is the response I get constantly. Apparently, people just do not yet get that Mars is not an extension of the Earth and the ways we are used to expressing ourselves about the Earth do not apply to Mars. What savannahs? What animals? What anything?

It's about learning to live in environments that we're not already biologically suited to. Wearing animal skins enabled us to live in colder climates. Agriculture and hunting animals with spears allowed us to live in environments that didn't have enough gatherable food to sustain us. Mars is no different. Off planet, we will have to figure out new ways to survive. It's the endeavor of moving into new territory and figuring our how to survive that keeps us learning and figuring out new ways to survive. Moving into the savannahs forced us to walk on two legs. It forced us to develop tools to cutting up dead animals and transporting the food we found. It forced us to develop fire. It forced us to develop all of the knowledge that we have today. It's that knowledge which makes us what we are. The most adaptable animal on the planet. It's what makes us the ultimate winners in the game of evolution and there's absolutely no reason we should limit it to our own planet.

Re:Pathetic (2)

Jeng (926980) | more than 2 years ago | (#39893093)

Before we get to the point of colonizing Mars we would do well to learn to live in all environments on Earth first. It will give us necessary experience.

There is a not a section of land on Earth that would be harder to colonize than the easiest section of Mars.

The Atacama desert is a rather Mars like, try perfecting living there first, then decide if you want to go someplace even more inhospitable as that.

Space exploration in general may give us more places to live, but it won't give us better places to live.

Re:Pathetic (1)

Sperbels (1008585) | more than 2 years ago | (#39896825)

You are so missing the point.

Re:Pathetic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39898107)

and there's absolutely no reason we should limit it to our own planet.

I think he got your point.

Just because he called bullshit on your point in a well formulated and polite way you decided to shift the argument and accuse him of being too dim-witted to understand what you meant.

Upon carefully considering both posts, I conclude his reasoning is more sound.
Philosophers and dreamers truly have good ideas that should be explored. - Mostly by engineers that have a clue about how to do it.

Nothing we have learned since becoming space-faring has taught us how to live in space. Only how to barely keep from dying every time. Let's walk before we run. At the very least it'll save several trillion dollars and a few hundred of our best lives.

Re:Pathetic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39890141)

What happened to you, that you're so warped as to call what would be man's greatest achievement pathetic. You seem to be a terribly small-minded person.

You have to be kidding (0, Troll)

Sqreater (895148) | more than 2 years ago | (#39890487)

What happened to you, that you're so warped as to call what would be man's greatest achievement pathetic. You seem to be a terribly small-minded person.

Robbing the mass of people scrambling to make a living in a declining economy to plant a flag on a desert orb borders on psychopathy. We had a like "achievement" planting a flag on the moon. Have we followed up with anything? No. Because it was an expensive, useless endeavor justified only by the cold war and nothing else.

Re:You have to be kidding (1)

Sperbels (1008585) | more than 2 years ago | (#39891713)

Robbing the mass of people scrambling to make a living

That's not NASA doing that. That's our corporate owned government handing out your tax money to banks who carelessly spent your retirement money.

Re:You have to be kidding (2)

AngryDeuce (2205124) | more than 2 years ago | (#39893325)

Robbing the mass of people scrambling to make a living in a declining economy to plant a flag on a desert orb borders on psychopathy.

Tell you what, how about we all get to pick and choose what our tax dollars support? I'll go ahead and make sure no fucking oil company, multibillion dollar corporation, or other collection of ridiculously wealthy assholes get my tax dollars for no other reason than the fact that they bribe our government officials, and you can go ahead and scratch NASA off your list.

I'm willing to bet most Americans would rather put their tax dollars into research that benefits all mankind, such as that driven by NASA, then subsidizing the profit margin of an already profitable organization. Which is precisely why we'll never get the chance.

How many childless couples do you think subsidized your fucking education? Do people stop paying property taxes for schools when their kids graduate? Can you imagine how quickly our education system would fall apart if it wasn't a cost borne by all of society? Or are you one of those people that doesn't give much of a shit unless you benefit directly from a given program?

I bet if we cut every subsidy to an already profitable business in this country we could fund NASA ten times over. The problem is, NASA doesn't throw billions of dollars at lobbyists and public relations campaigns like certain "clean energy through natural gas fracking" commercials I see every 3 fucking minutes on CNN...so they don't have shills like you to advocate for them, just us losers that see the benefit in pure research.

you have it wrong (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39904553)

Those large companies are the ones pushing for expensive trips to Mars. NASA is just a front organization. Wake up.

Re:Pathetic (1)

Gilmoure (18428) | more than 2 years ago | (#39893083)

Probably just needs a cup of hot cocoa and a blanket.

Re:Pathetic (2)

AngryDeuce (2205124) | more than 2 years ago | (#39890853)

Boy, how awesome would society be if we limited scientific research to what was deemed "useful"?

As we're projected to top 9 billion people by 2050, I think finding new places to live and new sources of resources is incredibly useful, especially now, before the mass starvation and death. Perhaps you think it would be best to wait until after the fact? Or do you just not give a shit because you'll probably be dead by then?

Re:Pathetic (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 2 years ago | (#39891431)

What's pathetic is your anti-science, anti-curiosity, money-worshiping comment. Going to Mars is far from useless. In fact, there is no such thing as useless science. As far as anyone knows (no matter how unlikely) we could find unobtainium or some other incredibly useful substance on Mars that simply doesn't exist on Earth. And whether or not evidence of Martian life is found, it has answered a question and if you don't think knowledge is worth paying for, you're on the wrong website. Why did you even bother registering an ID? To troll?

Enough with the fake surprise (3, Interesting)

goodmanj (234846) | more than 2 years ago | (#39889929)

NASA, you know I love you, but it's time for an intervention.

It's time to stop pretending to be surprised every time you find evidence for water on Mars. The evidence for a persistently wet -- or at least damp -- ancient Mars has been indisputable for a decade. Move your press releases beyond that, to the same questions you're asking in the scientific literature: just how much water, when, and for how long?

Re:Enough with the fake surprise (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39895909)

Yes, agreed. There were Mariner and Viking, but yet we are still surprised that there is water on Mars. It is getting silly.

Re:Enough with the fake surprise (1)

MtViewGuy (197597) | more than 2 years ago | (#39899589)

More like since 1971, when the Mariner 9 orbiter found ancient dried up river beds. As such, Mars probably had life well beyond the simple single-cell lifeform stage in ancient times, but as the atmosphere got thinner, the surface life went away, but it's possible the simple-celled life still exists beneath the surface now.

As soon as NASA can find evidence of oil (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39889965)

They'll have all the budget they'll ever need.

Titan may be 50% petroleum & natural gas (2)

peter303 (12292) | more than 2 years ago | (#39891163)

Huygens probe found almost every basic hydrocarbon there. Liquid methane flows shape Titan's continents and oceans. Super cold ice behaves like bedrock there.

And any new probe to Titan before 2030 has been shelved.

Obligatory... (1)

gstrickler (920733) | more than 2 years ago | (#39890085)

Rover, start the reactor.

BFD (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39890093)

So there might be water there...we can't even get back to the moon let alone establish a base there yet we waste tones of money on 'pie in the sky' dreaming. It's so sad the Chinese will probably beat us to the moon and if there is a chance to turn it into a commercial venture do you really think they will use it for the benefit of earth-kind?
All the money spent designing and testing mars habitats and human rovers would probably have paid for us to be back on the moon. And I somehow think that if we accomplish that it makes the next step...Mars, that much easier and cheaper.

Re:BFD (1)

doston (2372830) | more than 2 years ago | (#39890315)

So there might be water there...we can't even get back to the moon let alone establish a base there yet we waste tones of money on 'pie in the sky' dreaming. It's so sad the Chinese will probably beat us to the moon and if there is a chance to turn it into a commercial venture do you really think they will use it for the benefit of earth-kind? All the money spent designing and testing mars habitats and human rovers would probably have paid for us to be back on the moon. And I somehow think that if we accomplish that it makes the next step...Mars, that much easier and cheaper.

And who were you thinking would be most likely to use it "for the benefit of earth-kind? The US? LOL!!

SHOCKING NEWS! (2, Informative)

bertok (226922) | more than 2 years ago | (#39890193)

The previous 500 articles about evidence of water on Mars just weren't sufficient to drive the point home. Anyone could have missed these articles that are posted. Every. Bloody. Month.

Mounting Evidence for Water on Mars [slashdot.org]
Surprising Further Evidence for a Wet Mars [slashdot.org]
Mars Images Reveal Evidence of Ancient Lakes [slashdot.org]
Strange Globs Could Signal Water On Mars [slashdot.org]
New Images Reveal Pure Water Ice On Mars [slashdot.org]
"Puddles" of Water Sighted on Mars [slashdot.org]
Positive Proof of Water on Mars [slashdot.org]
A Third of Mars Could Have Been Underwater [slashdot.org]
NASA Says Mars Once "Drenched With Water" [slashdot.org]
Recent Evidence Of Water On Mars Near Equator [slashdot.org]
NASA Announces Water Found On Mars [slashdot.org]

I suspect NASA has a PR department dedicated to nothing else other than churning out press releases about discoveries of water on Mars, and for some strange reason, every one of them must be reposted on Slashdot by some OCD person.

You think I'm exaggerating? Check this out [google.com] ! A search for "water" and "mars" restricted to the "nasa.gov" site yields over 842,000 hits. That PR department has been busy!

I can't wait for the MSL rover to arrive this August so that we can read even more fascinating press releases about hints of water on Mars.

Re:SHOCKING NEWS! (2)

jbssm (961115) | more than 2 years ago | (#39890675)

Oh, NASA does this everytime their budget is on a stake. It's been a slow decade is space you know, so, they either invent new earth-like planets in the habitable zone of other starts - that in the end, after scientific peer review, seem like fake data - or, they say something really true... they found water on Mars... again.

Mars funding cut 30% in Obama budget (2)

peter303 (12292) | more than 2 years ago | (#39891193)

And thats even before the Tea Party wields its knife in a possible Romney victory later this year.
These researchers are fighting for their careers!

Re:SHOCKING NEWS! (1)

zoso1132 (1303697) | more than 2 years ago | (#39891453)

I think you're all missing the point. No shit there's water there, we all know that. It's not a PR attention hunting stunt. Squyres is trying to tell a global story about the history of water. Water in and of itself doesn't excite them very much.

Water water? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39890325)

There is a push by JPL to find evidence of water and life on mars for propogandisitic purposes tied to obtaining taxpayer funding and this drives public interest, and hence funding.

There are great excercises in semantics practiced by disingenuous scientists as in science a water may simply be a fluid state of, say, 02 and not HO2.

Is it that time of the year already? (1)

jbssm (961115) | more than 2 years ago | (#39890561)

Oh, is it next month that NASA has to renegotiate its budget with the US Congress?

Because they always give a big news stating the found evidence of water in Mars by that time. It's what, 10th year in a row we ear the same news? Those congressman should be a bit senile if they have to be remembered the same fantastically awesomely legendary big news about water in Mars every year.

DIY magnetosphere? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39890833)

If we believe that the water and atmosphere were lost because Mars lacks a magnetosphere, the question comes to mind: could we create a magnetosphere? Put rings of electrically charged satellites in orbits, using solar panels or small nuclear reactors maintain their charge. If that's not enough fast motion, make the satellites into electron guns, each satellite aimed at where the next satellite will be able to collect the particles???

Re:DIY magnetosphere? (1)

Jeng (926980) | more than 2 years ago | (#39893213)

You would only need satellites between the Sun and Mars so you don't need a complete ring of them, what you would need though is more power than what is currently generated by mankind on Earth.

Old News (1)

s.petry (762400) | more than 2 years ago | (#39891207)

Not to be a bummer, but there have been other similar stories regarding evidence of water on the surface of mars. Nothing new here, we still can not prove it and there is no water there now.

Don't take my word for it. Water on Mars Wiki [wikipedia.org]

bizna7cBh (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39891467)

Overpriced space roomba was right (1)

tokul (682258) | more than 2 years ago | (#39891527)

Opportunity did find water and waited to keep glory for itself.

Squyres (1)

ThatsNotPudding (1045640) | more than 2 years ago | (#39892293)

If a Martian TV camera is ever found, I'm sure it will be found by Steven Squyres.

Mom, I'm Thirsty! (1)

OhSoLaMeow (2536022) | more than 2 years ago | (#39897173)

Quiet. We're not even to the asteroid belt yet!
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