…and this means WATER! – As we’ve written about before, the big problem with colonizing Mars is finding water on the red planet. Now NASA’s new Martian landing craft the Phoenix has touched down on a large patch of ice!

BBC News reports that the lander’s descent actually blew away a layer of dirt, exposing the ice.

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Art credit: NASA

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Listen to this week’s Dreamland for new insights – An unusual image was taken by the Mars Rover Spirit last November. The fact that it appears to be a figure of some sort is being dismissed by planetologists as an example ofpareidolia, the human tendency to unconsciously constructapparent human images out of random forms that suggest them. It’s quite small, just a few feet from Spirit, but it is apowerful reminder of how littlewe actually know about Mars, and the dismissive reaction inthe scientificblogosphereis a warning that,if we don’t keep an open mind about the red planet’sanomalies, we are never going to understand.read more

The controversy about life on Mars continues, but finding water would provide strong evidence that bacterial life exists there. Now a glacier that is thousands of years old has been spotted on the planet. Mars and Earth have a “close encounter” about every 26 months, and this always coincides with a wave of UFO sightings! Mars was close to Earth on December 18, at 8:45 p.m. Pacific time.
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NASA’s “Spirit” rover may have discovered life on Mars.

Because it has a broken wheel, the rover disturbed a patch of ground on Mars which shows evidence of a climate there in the past that would have been perfect for microbes. But are they still there? On earth, areas that look like this were created when hot, steamy water came into contact with volcanic rocks and are teeming with bacteria.

In BBC News, Jonathan Amos quotes NASA researcher Steve Squyres as saying, “We’re really excited about this.”
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