Busy finishing a chapter of something, so not much time, but for those of you who have asked me what I think about the reports of possible liquid water on Mars: Naturally I think that’s very cool. I was chatting with a friend about it yesterday prior to the press conference, and he said that he’d heard that they were going to say they’d found recent evidence of liquid water on Mars. My response was to note that “recent” means something different to scientists than to the rest of the world, particularly if the scientist is a geologist by training. But in this case “recent” is well within normal understanding of the term: Five years or so.
If it all checks out, it is deeply exciting news, and it also makes me glad i’m still in the process of revising the second edition of The Rough Guide to the Universe, so I can slip in this little exciting tidbit. I have to say that Mars was the bane of my existence when I wrote the first edition of the book, because every time I finished the chapter, they’d find something new and I would have to do a rewrite. It doesn’t look like NASA is going to make it any easier for me this time, either. I am both annoyed and terribly happy about this.
There are more pictures and NASA commentary here, for all the rest of you astronomy geeks.