A visual visit to Mars
August 4th, 2011
02:34 PM ET

Mars may have flowing saltwater, study says

Scientists have found new evidence for possible saltwater flows on Mars. The discovery was announced at a NASA news conference Thursday at the space agency's headquarters in Washington.

Alfred McEwen, lead author of the Science journal study showing these observations, and his team observed Mars using the HiRISE camera aboard NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. His team identified features on some planet slopes that appear to fade in the winter and come back in the spring.

These flows occur near Mars' equator in its southern hemisphere, where temperatures would be suitable for liquid water. Since Mars is about 50 million miles farther from the sun than Earth is from the sun, temperatures rarely break the freezing mark. Before the new findings, water was thought to exist in the form of ice in Mars' polar regions, and has also been detected at mid-latitudes. This is the first time there's good evidence for liquid water existing on the planet.

At the equator, summer highs can reach 70 degrees Fahrenheit (about 20 Celsius). But in the middle latitudes, where the observations disclosed Thursday were taken, temperatures range from about 32 degrees F at summer noon to overnight lows of -75 F (-60 C).

The water implicated in the new study is expected to be briny because previous study of Mars has shown that its surface is salty. The flows are finger-like and small; nowhere near the size of major rivers on Earth. They are also very narrow: 0.5 to 5 yards, or meters, wide.

Seven sites with these possible liquid flows have been confirmed on the planet, with 20 to 30 more possible, scientists said. In some locations, there are more than 1,000 individual flows.

“What makes these new observations so interesting is they occur at much lower latitudes [closer to the equator], where temperatures are much warmer and where it’s actually possible for liquid water to exist,” said Arizona State University geophysicist Phil Christensen, one of the scientists who studied the images beamed back from the orbiter.

The study does not prove water exists, but identifies it as the best explanation. It's worthwhile to think about alternative reasons for these observations, but none seems to fit as well as briny water, McEwen said.

"I think it’s going to be laboratory experiments on Earth that give us the best confirmation or refutation," he said.

The water may be more dense and viscous than what we're used to on Earth, to the point that it may appear syrup-like.

So what does this mean for life on Mars? If organisms live on the planet, they might go into a resting state during winter, if Mars does have water that flows as a liquid in warmer times and freezes at others, said Lisa Pratt, professor of geological sciences at Indiana University, Bloomington.

"It is our first chance to see an environment on Mars that might allow for the expression of an active biological process, if there is presently life on Mars,"  Pratt said.

CNN's Matt Smith contributed to this report.

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Filed under: In Space
soundoff (977 Responses)
  1. Melissa

    Wow. Whoever wrote this article should have been checked by the editor before it was posted.

    That being said, this is very cool.

    August 4, 2011 at 3:32 pm |
    • Hi

      Wow! This discovery might bring the same level of utility as my new Y2k iPad app.

      August 4, 2011 at 4:40 pm |
  2. fromage

    Yay, NASA!

    August 4, 2011 at 3:30 pm |
  3. mavrick

    Its a teabagging party where is ole sarah and michelle they are hot milf's I bet I can educate them on the milky way

    August 4, 2011 at 3:29 pm |
    • XRAY.DL

      Wow. What's scarier is in the United States you have the right to reproduce...................

      August 4, 2011 at 9:24 pm |
    • scranton

      What a pathetic troll.

      August 4, 2011 at 10:34 pm |
  4. Michael

    Reading these comments shows me how near-sighted, selfish and uneducated the majority of the human race really is. How does ending the low earth orbit shuttle program have anything to do with unmanned exploration in our solar system?

    August 4, 2011 at 3:29 pm |
    • Piter De Vries

      The spice must flow!

      August 4, 2011 at 3:36 pm |
      • tinhorn

        no matter how frightening and sad it would be if it truely happened, but a giant sand worm devouring the first ever human space flight to mars would be epic.

        August 4, 2011 at 7:49 pm |
    • steven harnack

      I haven't gotten that far yet but I'll bet that they are also blaming President Obama for the shuttle stoppage when it was already a done deal by Bush in 2005. Par for the blamers.

      August 4, 2011 at 3:56 pm |
      • StarHunter7

        Obutt-tama, shut down the 'Constellation' program that was to supersede the shuttle program. Obutt-tama should be strapped to the outside of the next launch vehicle and go where no man has gone before.

        August 4, 2011 at 4:10 pm |
    • stymie

      Sadly, Americans are bringing the human race down. We're fat, lazy, and uneducated.

      August 5, 2011 at 12:29 am |
  5. KUNTSMASHER

    Debt has been personified and given value but in reality it doesn't exist as u or I as living entity. Everything people of fear and lack spout off comes from a place of frustration and general lack of knowledge as to why they exist themselves so you've been taught to state your opionions from an emotional place of allegiance to wherever group u identify with, without having spent anytime exploring ur own potentiality

    August 4, 2011 at 3:29 pm |
    • Matt

      wow, with a viewing name like yours I knew you would have something very insightful to say...

      August 4, 2011 at 4:01 pm |
      • teepee

        you know...over-compensating...for that little problem of his.

        August 4, 2011 at 7:32 pm |
    • Slam2260

      LoL !

      August 4, 2011 at 4:14 pm |
    • rufud

      potentiality?

      August 4, 2011 at 7:17 pm |
    • XRAY.DL

      Words come out of mouth not good in pesudo-philisophical psychobabble.

      August 4, 2011 at 9:27 pm |
  6. Sam

    NASA is preparing people for a slow dosage of what they have found so far through space exploration. There are or were civilizations in Mars, Moon, other other planets. We are NEVER alone. A cycle of catastrophe is common in planet earth. The funny thing is NASA supposed to be a civilian agency operating on tax payer money. Yep! give me a break.....What we have gotten so far are half truths, denial of truths or flat out lies....

    August 4, 2011 at 3:28 pm |
    • Really!

      So, you were included in the lay-off?

      August 4, 2011 at 3:30 pm |
    • Dave

      If I were you. I would seek professional halp. Pronto.

      August 4, 2011 at 3:36 pm |
    • Neeneko

      And your basis for this is what exactly?

      August 4, 2011 at 3:44 pm |
    • I'm with Sam

      Sam, I hear ya my intergalactic friend. And I must say, IT IS SOOOOOO COOOOOOOOOLD ON THIS PLANET

      August 4, 2011 at 4:04 pm |
    • Alex4life

      Well gee I'll take your word for it since you have such overwhelming evidence. How do you sleep at night man!?

      August 4, 2011 at 7:23 pm |
    • Fools laugh at their own ignorance

      Sam is right. There has been all kinds of evidence if u just pay attention to what you see and not what u hear. But it's easier for the mentally lazy to do nothing but laugh.🙂

      August 4, 2011 at 7:30 pm |
    • samiam

      Hang in there Sam! Don't let these simpletons let you down. We'll put on our tin foil hats and show them!

      August 4, 2011 at 7:37 pm |
    • tinhorn

      10,000 year old gold mines, giza batteries, egyptian blue and chinese purple, levitation and sonic healing. We lost it all after the last ice age😦 we are devo!

      August 4, 2011 at 7:54 pm |
    • BlameUS

      agreed but so many Americans don't understand and trust the little box they have grown into

      August 4, 2011 at 10:14 pm |
  7. blathermonger

    So.. the water flows down the slopes in the springtime, fades during the winter, then resumes flowing the next springtime. OK – so what replenishes the water that flows NEXT spring? Rain? Snow? Condensation? Underground rivers? Just sayin..

    August 4, 2011 at 3:27 pm |
    • Scott

      There is growing scientific evidence for underground water on Mars, definitely layers of permafrost that might thaw out seasonally in certain locations, but also possibly underground reservoirs of liquid water under pressure.

      August 4, 2011 at 3:34 pm |
    • Matt

      Don't forget how warm the inside of our planet is... Mars isn't too far off

      August 4, 2011 at 4:06 pm |
      • tinhorn

        yup, it's said that mars' core cooled quicker than ours did, reducing it's electromagnetic field making it unable to keep the rich atmosphere we have. It's still there however, and i feel it heats up in relationship to the orbits of it's two moons. Closer they orbit, more core movement, stronger electromagnetic protection for any atmosphere that hangs around. of course, i'm a lay person, and that's my unprofessional opinion.

        August 4, 2011 at 8:04 pm |
  8. buzzard crap

    When reading the other comments, I realize what a bunch of jerks that exist who were responders. I am one who is eager to explore space way more than we have due to my astronomical and geologic interests. No doubt, we will find so many things of interest it will boggle the mind. Who knows....if past explorations are any indication, what will be gained from our findings? I do agree that if there is life, we will screw it up somehow since man seems to be good at it based upon our history. As to our monetary costs, all are recovered many times over when one considers the things that have been developed and then cascaded down to us in our everyday lives.

    August 4, 2011 at 3:26 pm |
    • ohwell

      I nominate Buzzard Crap to be the first to fly to Mars (or wherever).

      August 4, 2011 at 3:28 pm |
      • Really!

        I second that! Can we get a show of hands?

        August 4, 2011 at 3:33 pm |
      • Mike

        I nominate ohwell for the chief of the CNN comment board! Folks, please try to keep your discussions adult and rational. ohwell pefers it that way and I think he's right. I'm just aghast at all the child-like and irrational comments on this board! Thank you ohwell for bringing this matter to our attention, I think that should take care of it!

        August 4, 2011 at 3:45 pm |
  9. L Dobbs

    Well, I guess we won't be able to grow weed on mars. Bummer.

    August 4, 2011 at 3:25 pm |
    • Really!

      Yes we will! They will have huge Brita water filtration systems, built by NASA, in place before we even get there.

      August 4, 2011 at 3:37 pm |
    • tinhorn

      i'm thinkin we could figure out a strain that would love the red sunlight, and thinner atmosphere. We just spread the seeds in wind protected gullies that will have regular water contact like johnny appleseed did, and come back in a few years. Sour diesel forests that we could build tree houses in.

      August 4, 2011 at 8:08 pm |
      • tommy chong

        ooohhh yeah

        August 4, 2011 at 8:44 pm |
  10. postoasty

    Saltwater tafy! That's whats flowing there.

    August 4, 2011 at 3:25 pm |
  11. Really!

    I think Hillary would make a wonderful ambassador to Mars. Pack your bags baby!

    August 4, 2011 at 3:25 pm |
  12. ohwell

    I remember as a kid watching the rockets take off from Cape Canaveral – they even had closed circuit TV in the school to watch them. it was inspiring because collectively, we all stood on solid ground – that we truly are a great Nation that can provide and defend for all. Today – it's an abortion of society, an anomoly of Democracy. Though I agree with you – I now fend against the ugliness of Government officials and the corporates (because you have to include them now with any governmental discussion) that pretend "it's like it was". Nothing could be further fom the truth.

    August 4, 2011 at 3:25 pm |
    • Mike

      Dude, seriously, who gives a sh!t about your trip down memory lane.

      August 4, 2011 at 3:48 pm |
      • NorthernDG

        @ Mike No matter what happens in this world... you'll still always be a major a$$hole.

        August 4, 2011 at 5:06 pm |
      • ekul

        And therein lies the problem with neo-conservatives.
        They can't see past yesterday. worst, they dream of a yesterday that only existed on TV.

        August 4, 2011 at 5:13 pm |
      • Mike

        @NorthernDG. Wouldn't have it any other way! bwa ha ha ha!

        August 4, 2011 at 6:21 pm |
  13. Wade

    What is the value of letting any idiot (myself included) comment on stories? Really, what is it? If I'm reading a story about Mars or unrest in Syria, must I also have access to some dude's thoughts on God or taxes or how Obama is the Muslim communist antichrist. Everyone has opinions; they're not all equal and they don't all matter.

    August 4, 2011 at 3:24 pm |
    • Really!

      It's what makes us the superior species, opinion!

      August 4, 2011 at 3:28 pm |
    • Scott

      Wade, the reason is simple. It's not b/c CNN cares about your opinion any more than I do. It's about keeping you on an article and keeping you engaged (even if it's about relgion, politics, or something entirely different than the article), it keeps you on CNN and keeps their ratings higher. If you can get into an argument with some bozo about politics when discussing water on Mars, then it keeps their traffic artificially higher and keeps them employed.

      August 4, 2011 at 3:40 pm |
      • Really!

        God bless employment!

        August 4, 2011 at 3:46 pm |
      • Neeneko

        Not only that, but if people see a piece on a site where they can comment, and on a site where they can not, they will generally go to the one where they can and then go back again and back again and back again. Sites that do not have some kind of comment/forum system are getting less and less traffic as this type of feature increasingly becomes accepted as a default.

        August 4, 2011 at 3:46 pm |
      • AndyAtlanta

        Yup, I agree. It's like watching a train wreck in slow motion. You know it's going to end badly but you just have to watch.

        August 4, 2011 at 4:19 pm |
    • Yeehaw

      IMHO 90% of the opinions are just smack anyway (mine included). For me its a way to laugh in a time of crises (military unrest and conflict, tsunamis, heat wave, high unemployment, economic woes, gas prices, etc.). I always believed that if you can find humor you're less likely to go insane. Just saying...

      August 4, 2011 at 4:11 pm |
    • superior

      superior to what? you think you're speparate from the rest of the universe?

      August 4, 2011 at 9:15 pm |
  14. James

    Didn't we send like some probes and little crawly robot thingies to Mars already? So why is the existence of salt water on Mars inconclusive? Wouldn't that have been the 1st place we would have checked out? Somebody slap the guy who chose the landing spots for our crawly robot thingies in the face.

    August 4, 2011 at 3:24 pm |
    • D

      They didn't crawl, they rolled. And the thing we're taking the pictures from that discovered this possible water was used initially to communicate with the Rovers. Plus, it's a whole big planet ya know. Kind of hard to find exact locations going in blind.

      August 4, 2011 at 3:28 pm |
    • SuffolkGuy

      You do raise a good question. I guess they didnt know of these spots years ago when planning landing sites. Also the sites have to be plausible for a successful landing. Example, boulder strewn areas would likely damage or tip over a lander.

      August 4, 2011 at 3:29 pm |
    • suportivemom

      remember when mobile phones came out we were carrying bricks, now we have itty-bitty things. Technology evolves through communication and questioning. not all answers are correct the first time, and we will not learn if we are afraid of what we don't know and through fear pull the bag down over our heads. "why do we fall down? so we can learn to get up" Batman

      August 4, 2011 at 4:01 pm |
  15. Ian

    lets get our a** to Mars.

    August 4, 2011 at 3:22 pm |
  16. Skolo

    Maybe there are still Transformers on Mars......hmmmm.....

    August 4, 2011 at 3:22 pm |
  17. PullPinThrow

    I say, give Mars to the Tea-Party........ They can have the whole dang think🙂

    August 4, 2011 at 3:20 pm |
    • Mortamus

      So we are going to spend millions to see salt water on Mars ummm we have plenty here in Callyfornya !!! idiots

      August 4, 2011 at 3:27 pm |
    • josh rogen

      do you even know what the tea party is or are you just repeating what your propaganda outlets tell you?

      August 4, 2011 at 3:28 pm |
    • ABetterSpeller

      thing*

      August 4, 2011 at 3:28 pm |
    • Scott

      Waste of a perfectly good planet.

      August 4, 2011 at 3:36 pm |
  18. Dork

    NASA needs more funding and support than it already has. Anyone who disagrees for reasons of a bad global economy is, well, brainless.

    As for the economy, just legalize marijuana – creates more jobs and more money for the government. One small step for man, one giant leap for getting out of debt.

    August 4, 2011 at 3:18 pm |
    • not a pothead

      Do you really think selling pot will yield 14 trillion dollars of tax revenue?

      August 4, 2011 at 3:23 pm |
      • SuffolkGuy

        No, but when they are high they will think it erases the debt.🙂

        August 4, 2011 at 3:32 pm |
      • JoJoHiggins

        Not trillions, but 10s of billions, if not 100's of billions. Did you know that marijuana is the BIGGEST cash crop in the US bringing in around 35 billion a year? Not only will you have tons of job creation and the tax revenue from the legalization, think of all the money SAVED by stopping the war on drugs, or significantly reducing it, along with saving OUR tax dollars that are wasted on all all the non-violent marijuana "criminals" that are incarcerated. And that's only including marijuana for smoking. Add hemp to the picture and the money made rises even higher (no pun intended). Paper, clothing, food.

        And if you drink, you have no room to talk if you're against marijuana unles you're fine with being a hypocrite. Alcohol has been proven to be FAR more hazardous to yourself and the people around you than marijuana. Do yourself a favor and get educated on the issue.

        August 4, 2011 at 3:49 pm |
      • Narf

        Who knows, the retiring baby boomers who've been playing the role of stiff executive for the past 20-something years may indeed have quite a pent up demand for consuming massive amounts of pot once it is legal. Humboldt will be the new "wine" country.

        August 4, 2011 at 3:51 pm |
    • ZooLife

      People need to work smarter and harder. Not get dumber and lazier.

      August 4, 2011 at 3:23 pm |
      • JoJoHiggins

        Typical uneducated response. Marijuana does NOT make you lazier or dumber. Do some research rather than believing all the propaganda you've readily accepted.

        August 4, 2011 at 3:26 pm |
      • Mortamus

        Thats funny because I have been self medicating since 1964 raised two children and retired from two large company's and still in perfect health and still smoke everyday and I get done more every day then yesterday.....so your theory is all wrong and very far from the truth so quit telling lies ok?

        August 4, 2011 at 3:29 pm |
      • Todd G

        Unfortunately people have been very busy at that for decades now.

        August 4, 2011 at 3:42 pm |
    • JoJoHiggins

      Agreed and AGREED!

      August 4, 2011 at 3:24 pm |
    • Alfredo Fla.

      I agree.......

      August 4, 2011 at 3:27 pm |
    • Ric

      Don't forget hemp. It has many uses and grows well in our climate.

      August 4, 2011 at 3:31 pm |
    • NorthernDG

      I've know of four friends and family members who've been smoking marijuana daily for years and I can say, without a doubt, that their brains have been damaged from marijuana. They are incredibly slow to respond to questions, have very limited interests (who needs interests when your sitting on your sofa "baked" out of your mind), and exhibit strange, erradic behaviour from time to time.

      Bottom line is... given the choice of doing or not doing drugs, obviously not doing drugs is the healthier choice.

      August 4, 2011 at 5:04 pm |
  19. Total Recall

    And I was hoping this Mars discovery would be the existence of a three-titted woman. Just salt water? Damn.

    August 4, 2011 at 3:18 pm |
  20. justacomment

    Salt water huh? Now where did I put my beach towel....

    August 4, 2011 at 3:16 pm |
  21. JustThinkinOutloud

    Now...I'm no expert, but where there is salt water....there can be sharks...so....Mars is covered...with sharks.

    August 4, 2011 at 3:14 pm |
    • Cedar Rapids

      Unless its really really salty, in which case its not sharks but floating jewish holiday makers.

      August 4, 2011 at 3:16 pm |
      • Tallulah

        I wish you could hear me laughing at your comment! thumbs up^

        August 4, 2011 at 3:39 pm |
    • Amber R

      Holy hell.......

      August 4, 2011 at 3:30 pm |
    • Ric

      Watch out for the brine shrimp and sea monkeys.
      Imagine the mutations from the harsh solar radiation!

      August 4, 2011 at 3:33 pm |
      • Laslow

        Alien brine shrimp.... holy awesome, batman.

        August 4, 2011 at 3:58 pm |
    • JustThinkinOutloud

      IMAGINE WHAT IT DID TO THE FRIGGIN SHARKS! SHARKTOPUUUUUS!!!!! HOLYYYYYY SH******T!

      August 4, 2011 at 4:19 pm |
  22. steel

    Wow, it is real News, It is a shame

    August 4, 2011 at 3:14 pm |
  23. Kishore

    A whole lot of nonsensical replies touting progress and how small minded those people are who question this crap. None of these frickin' studies are ever conclusive, always have disclaimers like "may support life", "probability that there is life elsewhere", "groundbreaking research reveals tha life could sustain", yada yada yada. You have achieved nothing so far with this Mars exploration so any news now seems like you are desperately trying to get new funding going. And all those people assuming that I am a backward, small minded, douche who is against Science, you have no frickin' idea who I am so shut it. Just by supporting the Mars exploration, doesn't make you a scientist and not supporting doesn't make me a douche. Get the f in touch with reality, would ya?!

    August 4, 2011 at 3:14 pm |
    • Rj

      you have a right to your opinion but get your panties in a twist when others express theirs ? .Irony is the fact that you are calling others small minded....

      August 4, 2011 at 3:19 pm |
    • Cedar Rapids

      It wasn't that long ago that these studies were simply talking about the possibility of water on Mars, it was an unknown. Its further study from that that come up with results like these. Sorry that science and discovery are not happening at a pace that suits your attention span.

      August 4, 2011 at 3:19 pm |
    • Anonymous

      I guess that reality is that the earth is flat, the sun revolves around us, the universe is 6000 years old, Noah's flood was real, and god did everything right? There a'int no aleeins in the byebul ya'll!

      August 4, 2011 at 3:20 pm |
      • Kishore

        Deductive fallacy!

        August 4, 2011 at 3:33 pm |
      • Anonymous

        Okay, professor. Could you articulate exactly why life is exclusive to earth in a universe of billions of galaxies, planets and solar systems just like our own? Would you scoop up a cup of water on the beach and conclude there are no whales in the ocean?

        August 4, 2011 at 3:41 pm |
      • diz

        Deductive phallusy..!..

        August 4, 2011 at 9:35 pm |
    • Jdad

      You are absolutely right - You are a backward, small minded, douche.

      August 4, 2011 at 3:20 pm |
    • kardiac

      OK, you are a scientific douche.

      August 4, 2011 at 3:21 pm |
    • Aubrie

      do you have high blood pressure?

      August 4, 2011 at 3:22 pm |
    • Cliff

      Just to clarify: so are you saying that you don't support studies about Mars, or just that you don't necessarily agree with their conclusions?

      August 4, 2011 at 3:22 pm |
      • Kishore

        I don't support those people who "pour over photographs, identify a few patches and blobs here and there, grandiosely announce to the whole world that this is breaking news, pepper their reports with sufficiently vague terminology about how life is possible outside of planet earth, collect their paychecks and go home".

        August 4, 2011 at 3:30 pm |
      • Cedar Rapids

        'Kishore – I don't support those people who "pour over photographs, identify a few patches and blobs here and there, grandiosely announce to the whole world that this is breaking news, pepper their reports with sufficiently vague terminology about how life is possible outside of planet earth, collect their paychecks and go home".

        Then its a good job that isnt what these guys did then isnt it?

        August 4, 2011 at 3:34 pm |
    • Ric

      Rather than expand our knowledge of our universe, we can build more temples & churches.
      We can save a hell of a lot of money by just adhering to some religious book for "FACTS".

      Yah...lets get stagnant and crawl about the place like brainless bible-thump'n troglodytes.

      Do I hear an A-men???

      August 4, 2011 at 3:37 pm |
    • ya NASA

      You sound very angry

      August 4, 2011 at 5:56 pm |
  24. WhatWhatWhat?

    Every now and then I have a salt water discharge. At least that's what my girlfriend says it tastes like.

    August 4, 2011 at 3:14 pm |
    • breeze6839

      LOL🙂

      August 4, 2011 at 3:19 pm |
  25. GSR

    Why no news on Nebraska or Obama's court date in Hawaii? Seriously this is "BREAKING NEWS". Ummmm, didn't they rovers actually find LIQUID WATER STREAMS comming from the side of a basin on Mars????????? Yes they did!!!!!!

    August 4, 2011 at 3:13 pm |
    • The Loon

      umm, no they didn't...they found evidence that water once flowed at some point in Martian history...they never found actual liquid water that still exists

      August 4, 2011 at 3:27 pm |
    • WhatWhatWhat?

      The water flows on Mars have been imaged since we have started receiving hi-res pictures of the entire planet. The supposition is that they have been flowing all along, we just couldn't see them. They are still flowing, intermittently, as we speak. Not the ancient past, the present.

      August 4, 2011 at 3:39 pm |
    • MyTake

      Really? You think a bunch of idiots that won't give up on a outlandish conspiracy idea is news? Go take a nap in your trailer.

      August 4, 2011 at 3:48 pm |
  26. Kristina in Canada

    @ Dave. there is no God you darn sheep! also how arogant to think Earth is the only inhabited planet in the infinite universe. Get over yourselves, Earthlings

    August 4, 2011 at 3:13 pm |
    • Dork

      Who are you to say there is no God?

      August 4, 2011 at 3:21 pm |
      • Kilcannon

        Who are you to say there is?

        August 4, 2011 at 3:25 pm |
    • FenceSitter

      Some say there is no god and others say there is a god. You are all in the same book as far as I am concerned because you all COULD NOT ACTUALLY KNOW.

      August 4, 2011 at 3:24 pm |
      • Dork

        You are right. You can't actually know. Evidence exists both ways. That's why they call it FAITH. Either way, no need to be condescending to another's beliefs if they don't correspond to your own. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. Can't we all just get along?

        August 4, 2011 at 3:28 pm |
      • D

        That's why everyone should worship the Flying Spaghetti Monster🙂

        August 4, 2011 at 3:31 pm |
      • WhatWhatWhat?

        Dork, we won't get along while people like yourself think that faith is not "hurting" anyone. You'll say, "Don't ridicule my faith, it's not hurting you". I hear it all the time. But the fallacy is, that your faith is driving political change that the rest of us non-delusional people don't like and are not going to stand for. When there is no discussion in the public arena about faith, that's when we'll get along.

        August 4, 2011 at 3:51 pm |
      • The Guy

        @Dork – There actually isn't any evidence to suggest there is a god. Just books full of man-made statements claiming there is. You show me one conclusive piece of evidence and I'll concede.

        And @D, I agree.

        August 4, 2011 at 4:05 pm |
      • nugget

        @D FSM FTW

        August 4, 2011 at 4:11 pm |
      • Jared

        @The Guy

        I don't know. I've seen a lot of things that science cannot explain. I saw a friend healed one day while we prayed for him. The injury was over 20 years old and well documented. I saw another man who'd had a serious back injury run around a church after being asked if he wanted healed. These weren't people from large crowds that might have been planted either, these are people I know.

        August 4, 2011 at 5:43 pm |
    • Dork

      @kilcannon – I actually never said there is a God. I just asked who that person was to say there isn't.

      August 4, 2011 at 3:31 pm |
      • Dork

        @WhatWhatWhat – you really have no idea what you are talking about. Just because you lack faith doesn't mean that is the end all, be all. Perhaps everyone who practices religion should not tolerate people like yourself. Contrary to what you might think, your opinions and beliefs, whatever those may be, are not absolute. They are just opinions and beliefs.

        August 4, 2011 at 4:06 pm |
      • WhatWhatWhat?

        And those are just your opinions and beliefs, blah, blah, blah. Mine are based on facts, yours are based on delusion. There is, and never will be, a way to equate them. You THINK you're right, but everyone who suffers from delusions thinks that way.

        August 4, 2011 at 4:56 pm |
      • WhatWhatWhat?

        There is not...

        August 4, 2011 at 4:59 pm |
  27. hammerdsteel

    I wonder if the nookie tastes salty on MARS too???

    August 4, 2011 at 3:12 pm |
  28. Bob Oso

    no worrees, we will just go to mars, kill the aliens and plant our flag and claim it as ourz. colonise it, send a king with a iron fist, populate it, rule it, destroy it, and move to another planet. si or no? I teenk si.

    August 4, 2011 at 3:12 pm |
    • ABetterSpeller

      worries*

      August 4, 2011 at 3:31 pm |
      • Bob Oso

        hey dumbass, it was deliberate! Get a life!

        August 4, 2011 at 4:35 pm |
    • ABetterSpeller

      The 'H' should be capitalized.

      August 4, 2011 at 4:44 pm |
    • ABetterSpeller

      ours*
      think*

      August 4, 2011 at 4:50 pm |
  29. me

    SURFS UP!

    August 4, 2011 at 3:12 pm |
    • Really!

      Funny!

      August 4, 2011 at 3:52 pm |
  30. RamblinLonghorn

    All you short sighted morons need to remember this. The entirety of Humanity exists on one planet. One gamma ray burst; one rogue asteroid or planetoid; one brutal solar flare; and humanity is wiped from existence.

    Actual flowing water on another planet with a near earth atmosphere and climate is one of the most important developments in our understanding of the solar system, not to mention the future for the spread of humankind.

    August 4, 2011 at 3:11 pm |
    • Jason Collins

      Near earth atmosphere?!? Incorrect statement of the year right there.... Better pick a better source for your facts!

      Atmospheric Fail.

      August 4, 2011 at 3:19 pm |
      • Dork

        What about RamblinLonghorn's comment prompted you to be a complete di*k? Chill out, man. It will be ok.

        What he was getting at is Mars is "close" to Earth's atmosphere in relation to other planets. Some people just really are douche bags.

        August 4, 2011 at 3:23 pm |
      • Cliff

        It would have to be altered quite substantially to support human life.

        August 4, 2011 at 3:24 pm |
      • Jason Collins

        @Dork – because failing to point out the wrong information perpetuates stupidity. See, it already got you!

        August 4, 2011 at 3:31 pm |
    • NJ

      There is nothing "near Earth" about Mars. It is a cold, dry dessert with an extremely thin atmosphere that cannot support human life.

      August 4, 2011 at 3:23 pm |
      • Yeehaw

        The same could be said about Los Angeles

        August 4, 2011 at 3:27 pm |
      • ABetterSpeller

        desert*

        August 4, 2011 at 3:31 pm |
      • Jason Collins

        See, you're wrong too! I live in Los Angeles! I'll have you know, we are not cold! It's a miserable 96 degrees right now, and the atmosphere is NOT thin, it's thick, brown, and somewhat the consistency of tar, hahaha. Ah, LA... Why breathe the air when you can chew it? Lol. hope you got the sarcasm😉

        August 4, 2011 at 3:37 pm |
      • The Guy

        Jesus, @Jason – literal much? Take a joke, howdy.

        August 4, 2011 at 4:15 pm |
      • DeezNutzInYoMouf

        Cold dry dessert? Like fried ice cream? Sounds delicious! Tell 'em to bring me back one from the next mission, will ya?

        August 4, 2011 at 5:37 pm |
    • Aubrie

      Personally, I think the people that used to inhabit Mars thought the same way and came here when they messed up their planet....so are we going to ping pong back and forth???

      August 4, 2011 at 3:26 pm |
  31. mc

    Maybe we should stop spending billions trying to find water on far off planets and start looking for oil or alternative energy sources here on planet Earth.

    August 4, 2011 at 3:10 pm |
    • Greg

      No, we should create MORE and MORE tax cuts for the wealthy because they are job creators!

      August 4, 2011 at 3:13 pm |
      • Bill

        Ha, you are poor.

        August 4, 2011 at 3:20 pm |
      • DeezNutzInYoMouf

        No they are not. They just invest the money.

        August 4, 2011 at 5:38 pm |
    • Trippp

      Nasa's WHOLE budget is only about 18 billion per year. This mission was about 1% of that budget. I see nothing wrong in exploring other worlds in our solar system. Doing so just may lead to that energy you're looking for.

      August 4, 2011 at 3:15 pm |
      • Greg

        Sure those sound like small numbers in the big picture, but you're thinking like a lazy poor person. That will be paid for by very very hard working wealthy people. That's how people get wealthy. They work really hard. Have you ever seen a hard working poor person? Not for long, because they become rich! So don't go spending other people's money just because you're lazy.

        August 4, 2011 at 3:24 pm |
      • Cliff

        Actually Greg, I've seen many, many hardworking poor people–in fact, if things keep going the way they are that statement will soon encompass much of what was the middle class. For you to make such a statement shows that you are extremely wealthy and sheltered and/or extremely ignorant. And for your info, I know many people who were born into wealth and are very rich AND very lazy.

        August 4, 2011 at 3:27 pm |
      • SuffolkGuy

        No Child Let Behind ($32 Billion )cost twice as much as NASA in 2009 and accomplished what? Nothing! Even teachers detest it. National Science Foundation is less than 8 Billion why is NCLB worth 4 times the NSF?

        August 4, 2011 at 3:37 pm |
    • bostoncreme

      In case if our planet get destroyed for some reason, we need to find an alternate place where a human race can survive. Obviously assuming we know our sciences would know if and when that happens. Remember how our planet was destroyed once when an asteroid banged on it ?

      August 4, 2011 at 3:25 pm |
      • Cliff

        Technically, that asteroid didn't destroy the world but merely made it not inhabitable to many species (if you're talking about the event that obliterated the dinosaurs, remember that the ancestors of everything alive today survived it). Also, it would take a long time and way more funding than NASA has to make Mars habitable for a lot of people

        August 4, 2011 at 3:31 pm |
      • philip

        Actually, after reading these comments, I'm not sure if the human race should survive.

        August 4, 2011 at 3:51 pm |
    • Boris the Alien

      Why do you hate democracy? As a tax payer, I *want* my taxes to pay for this.

      August 4, 2011 at 3:27 pm |
    • XRAY.DL

      We have alternative energy sources identified...

      Ever heard of Thorium? Anyone? Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactors? The MSRE Experiment? The Aircraft Reactor Experiment back in the 50's? China and India have Thorium Programs... While... the US? What are we doing exactly? Oh yeah, Oil Sands...

      One atom of Thorium has 1,000,000 times the energy density of a Carbon-Hydrogen bond.

      Just saying...

      August 4, 2011 at 9:36 pm |
  32. Kevin in Atlanta

    I'm disappointed by the amount of people that don't understand how significant a discovery this is. Where do you people think the technology that powers your cell phones, laptops, and flat screen televisions came from? Advances in science, aeronautics, and engineering all feed from our desire to explore other worlds.

    The ignorance on this planet is astounding.

    August 4, 2011 at 3:10 pm |
    • mc

      Spew your genius on us when the economy picks up a bit.

      August 4, 2011 at 3:11 pm |
      • Kevin in Atlanta

        Last time I checked, the creation of the technologies associated with exploration requires workers. Not scientist or astronauts, but average folks. You know, jobs....that thing this country is lacking right now.

        When the space shuttle program ended, how many people lost their job because of that?

        August 4, 2011 at 3:18 pm |
      • Greg

        Exactly. Those lazy poor people need to get off their unemployed butts and start spending money to get this economy going. The hard working wealthy can't carry it all by paying the taxes they got a break on because we had a surplus! Am I right?

        August 4, 2011 at 3:19 pm |
    • Rob

      It's only significant when peoples basic needs are being met. Like jobs, food, housing, etc. If a guy on Earth can't feed his family who gives a damn about water on Mars.

      August 4, 2011 at 3:14 pm |
      • Ted

        you might give a damn if one day a technology that was developed by nasa for such type of missions is used in some medical device and it saves your or someone you love's life.

        August 4, 2011 at 3:20 pm |
      • Trippp

        So castrating NASA is the answer to you and others not having a job? Like I stated, NASA's budget is only 18 billion per year. Compared to what our government spends on all the welfare, medicade, medicare its miniscule and the returns are gigantic. Keep you head in the sand but as soon as technology permits off world mining, and tourism you're going to see a growth in the human race thats never been seen in its history.

        August 4, 2011 at 3:21 pm |
      • Jack

        Maybe you should have wrapped it up and not had a family you couldn't pay to support. Food for thought.

        August 4, 2011 at 3:23 pm |
    • AL

      Kevin, I agree completely. But you did forget one more good thing it has done; wether the morons you are talking to know it or not, the space program has also helped with national security.

      August 4, 2011 at 3:25 pm |
  33. RMc

    Most estimates suggest that in about 6 million years the Suns growth will engulf the Earth and make it uninhabitable (if humanity still exists). Have any studies been done to see what Mars will look like at that time? I would be interested to see the results of such a study. It is our logical next home in the universal neighbourhood and it will undoubtedly look very different by then... an atmosphere like Earths perhaps?

    August 4, 2011 at 3:10 pm |
    • ohwell

      Gee, I can't wait.

      August 4, 2011 at 3:11 pm |
      • RMc

        Hold your breath.

        August 4, 2011 at 3:14 pm |
    • MidWest Mac

      I think you mean 6 billion years, with a "b."

      August 4, 2011 at 3:13 pm |
      • RMc

        I wish I did. Hawkings 'Into the Universe'. Million, with an M

        August 4, 2011 at 3:15 pm |
    • Cedar Rapids

      I think its billions, not millions

      August 4, 2011 at 3:14 pm |
    • Astrophysicist

      I'm sorry my friend, but the sun will be begin to expand in approx. 5-6 BILLION years. Not million.

      August 4, 2011 at 3:15 pm |
      • RMc

        The Sun is constantly expanding.

        August 4, 2011 at 3:19 pm |
    • Chemack56

      I think you mean 6 BILLION, not million which is a mere blink of an eye for he cosmos.

      August 4, 2011 at 3:15 pm |
    • nobody special

      shouldn't that read Billion (with a B), and not Million?

      August 4, 2011 at 3:16 pm |
    • RMc

      Semantics anyhow. Any of you complete such a study? Im merely seeking an answer for a question.

      August 4, 2011 at 3:17 pm |
    • FenceSitter

      You worry about the expansion of the sun. What about the fact that the sun has and will mcondinue to get hotter and the current estimate is we will be like Venus in 1billion years,

      August 4, 2011 at 3:21 pm |
      • ABetterSpeller

        continue*

        August 4, 2011 at 3:33 pm |
    • Nick

      sorry man the nuclear reactions to cause the red giant face and by extension either the Earth being engulfed or the Earth being pushed further out (which is also a possibility) won't happen for Billions of years...with a B.

      August 4, 2011 at 3:23 pm |
    • Yeehaw

      Maybe in 6 million/billion years our descendants will have "evolved" back to primordial soup so they can survive in salt water – "survival of the fittest" in its finest hour.

      August 4, 2011 at 3:23 pm |
    • steven harnack

      Try 6 billion and you will be closer, not million.

      August 4, 2011 at 4:05 pm |
  34. killallthewhiteman

    I always thought that NASA should send probes out in space to look back at earth from different distances and see what kind of data that they could come up with from looking at pictures. Comparing the pictures to what we know is actually happening here could give insight on things like this where it is just speculation from images.

    August 4, 2011 at 3:09 pm |
    • Ted

      scientists have probes do that all the time. they turn around and look at the earth so we can get data to compare other planets we find to.

      August 4, 2011 at 3:24 pm |
  35. Philip

    Why is this important? This discovery on the ONE other planet that we have touched makes it almost certain that liquid water is on some of the OTHER planets out there. And when we're thinking about a universe full of other planets, cranking up the odds for life by just a little bit ... it means the possibility is much greater that there is extraterrestrial life somewhere. A little liquid water on one planet may not seem like big news. But it implies so much more.

    August 4, 2011 at 3:09 pm |
    • Me

      still pure speculation, doesn't mean a thing. Either way it's useless information. Doesn't do me any more good than to know what color socks the US president is wearing right now

      August 4, 2011 at 3:13 pm |
      • Philip

        Do you ever wonder about the universe? Do you ever stare into the stars and question what's out there? Well, the story today is that we have a tiny bit more information. We know more about the universe and what's out there. And knowing MORE is actually very useful information for people who are interested in the big questions. And, admit it, aren't you?

        August 4, 2011 at 3:28 pm |
    • Papa Smurf

      Perhaps I'm wrong but isn't the temp on Mars something like -250 all of the time so how in the heck is it possible to have "liquid water" on its surface. Even if that water comes from underground boiling hot it would freeze the instant it hits the surface.

      August 4, 2011 at 3:22 pm |
      • Aubrie

        It has night and day and seasons just like we do... bigger extremes maybe due to lack of atmoshpere, but the temp fluctuates... It's not static.

        August 4, 2011 at 3:33 pm |
      • D

        Yes, you are wrong. There is not a single, constant temperature for the whole planet. It has regions, just like we do. They specifically said 'near the Equator', ie: the warmest part of the planet.

        August 4, 2011 at 3:36 pm |
    • Pdat

      Actually NASA already released a couple of years back that an estimated 1/3 of the stars in the solar system have one or more planets that have deep oceans on them.

      August 4, 2011 at 3:44 pm |
  36. john

    Who cares. Try fixing the planet that we are destrying now.

    August 4, 2011 at 3:08 pm |
    • Truthwillsetyoufree

      Shallow Hal....

      August 4, 2011 at 3:14 pm |
    • Joe Regular

      It's because this planet IS being destroyed that space science is so important. We can't wait until we're eating each other to start planning. It doesn't hurt to look.

      August 4, 2011 at 3:15 pm |
    • FenceSitter

      If all where like you then we would be fixing the world whilst still in the dark ages. By the way the world is not ending.

      August 4, 2011 at 3:19 pm |
  37. Franco

    This must have been rushed: "The water is expected to be salty because previous study of the planet has shown that its surface is salty, so any water that flows in the subsurface is going to be salty." It could have been a LOT clearer. I still do not know if the water flowing out is salty OR salty!

    August 4, 2011 at 3:08 pm |
  38. JOE

    Looks like Barbara Bush's face.

    August 4, 2011 at 3:07 pm |
  39. dfgh dfgh

    Fantastic article. Thorough and insightful. You can tell someone put some time into this one. Good stuff, CNN.

    August 4, 2011 at 3:07 pm |
  40. Jason

    If you can show one Nation/Civlization/Tribe that ever PROSPERED by cutting the investment of exploration and technology – I will glady never speak of the subject again. Your ignorance leads you to think of all of this as some kind of expenditure. Go to the grocery store to find an expenditure elmo....this is investment.

    How simple and incomplete some thoughts are...."fix our planet". I'll make you a deal....let's trade budgets....shall we? I'll give you EVERYTHING we spend on NASA in one year IF you give me EVERYTHING we spend on "fixing" this place....agreed?
    What fools....

    August 4, 2011 at 3:07 pm |
    • Joe Regular

      Great point.🙂

      August 4, 2011 at 3:09 pm |
    • Truthwillsetyoufree

      If you havent gotten the email then you should investigate on your own because there are tons of things that were developed for space used every day in all areas of our existence. There a dozens and more articles answering this question. Do you know about Google? Then use it...

      August 4, 2011 at 3:17 pm |
    • ohwell

      Geez Jason...Chillax..I remember as a kid watching the rockets take off from Cape Canaveral – they even had closed circuit TV in the school to watch them. it was inspiring because collectively, we all stood on solid ground – that we truly are a great Nation that can provide and defend for all. Today – it's an abortion of society, an anomoly of Democracy. Though I agree with you – I now fend against the ugliness of Government officials and the corporates (because you have to include them now with any governmental discussion) that pretend "it's like it was". Nothing could be further fom the truth.

      August 4, 2011 at 3:21 pm |
      • Mike

        you said that already.

        August 4, 2011 at 3:50 pm |
  41. GuestColin

    It's all fun and interesting games until the zombies show up and chew your face off.

    August 4, 2011 at 3:06 pm |
    • wendybird

      You watch too much TV/movies, lol!

      August 4, 2011 at 4:28 pm |
  42. Goodstuff

    No one cares.

    August 4, 2011 at 3:05 pm |
    • billybob

      Sadly, you are probably right. No one cares about science anymore. We are being left behind. Here come the dark ages part2.

      August 4, 2011 at 3:10 pm |
    • gay

      Only Idiots dont care. and yo mama.
      Interesting stuff...

      August 4, 2011 at 3:13 pm |
    • Kevin in Atlanta

      Correction: Ignorant people do not care. Those of us who care to better mankind and further our understanding of the universe, as well as create new technologies from exploration such as this, care greatly.

      August 4, 2011 at 3:15 pm |
    • Truthwillsetyoufree

      How do we vote people off the planet... heres one....

      August 4, 2011 at 3:18 pm |
      • ABetterSpeller

        missing an apostrophe*

        August 4, 2011 at 3:34 pm |
  43. Pat

    Cool

    On a side note for all the people who wish to remain ignorant. Since 1956 NASA has cost 409 billion. The defense department cost 690 billion just for last year alone.

    Just something to think about when people say the space program cost too much

    August 4, 2011 at 3:05 pm |
  44. George

    This is just a small step in the long slow process of acclimating people to the truth about alien life. We are facing an invasion force from outer space but the government is keeping it a secret. That is the main reason for the one world government, so that we can meet the danger as a united world.

    August 4, 2011 at 3:05 pm |
    • Joe

      lol

      August 4, 2011 at 3:08 pm |
    • Richard G

      Ridiculous conspiracy theory much?

      First, why would an advanced intergallactic alien fleet care about such a non-advanced (relatively) species such as us?

      Second, why would they attack us unprovoked?

      Third, what proof could you possibly have to make you think this could even be possibly true?

      August 4, 2011 at 3:09 pm |
      • mike

        I bet you believe in jesus

        August 4, 2011 at 3:19 pm |
      • steven harnack

        Perhaps they don't "care" about us any more than you care about a bug that you step on. Why would they attack us unprovoked? Mankind attacks and kills all sorts of organisms that are doing us no harm, just 'cause we can.

        August 4, 2011 at 4:15 pm |
    • JoeJeo

      Hey George, I GET it....beleive me, I am ready – got a place in the Ozarks built over a quartz deposit – aliens HATE quartz – causes erectile dysfunction and abdominal bloating. And as for our politicians, I haven't heard one democrat or republican stand up for funding the alien defense network. I heard they have even considered closing area 51- disgraceful....

      August 4, 2011 at 3:12 pm |
      • steven harnack

        That quartz must have the same effect on humans and there must scads of it under the American southeast.

        August 4, 2011 at 4:20 pm |
    • matt

      wait is that true we are being invaded?

      August 4, 2011 at 5:15 pm |
  45. james

    Can we move the red planet closer to earth?

    August 4, 2011 at 3:04 pm |
    • spaz

      all humans need to die...they serve absolutely no purpose other than self gratification.

      August 4, 2011 at 4:13 pm |
    • suportivemom

      wellllllll. First off, the gravitational pull exerted by both planets in a close proximity to each other would destroy each other, even if the prospect were at all feasible. and yes I do know that was a sarcastic posting. it was just so stupid it chapped my a..

      August 4, 2011 at 4:30 pm |
  46. Rami

    Who give it a crap what is going on at MARS, the stock market is down 3.5% and you tell me they found salt water there.

    August 4, 2011 at 3:04 pm |
    • jryan

      Who cares about the stock market? It bounces up and down constantly.

      August 4, 2011 at 3:05 pm |
      • Andy

        Who cares about you puny Earthlings. You get excited over the silliest things. The invasion is imminent, resistance is futile.

        August 4, 2011 at 3:15 pm |
    • Shamrock6

      Exactly. Who cares about the stock market? It's up. It's down. Whatever.

      August 4, 2011 at 3:10 pm |
    • wally

      lol..dude...what a loozer...get out of the bubble ur living in....theres more to life than making money on something that doesn't even exist...one day there will be speculation of a disaster and the stock market will plummit the next day the disaster will have been averted and it will go back to its old position...what the value being added or removed?

      August 4, 2011 at 3:15 pm |
    • Ted

      Rami...I am willing to bet that you have no idea how the stock market works.

      August 4, 2011 at 3:42 pm |
  47. UCFKnightman

    Don't drink it!!! It's poisonous!!! I wonder if Robinson Crusoe (on Mars) figured that out...

    August 4, 2011 at 3:03 pm |
  48. hawk75701

    A manned mission to mars would be great for the economy, unfortunately we need more technology in order for the astronauts to survive the trip due to the solar radiation. Without the Earth's magnetic field they would fry.

    August 4, 2011 at 3:00 pm |
    • Greg

      ... and the technology we eventually create for the astronauts to survive the radiation could be used here on earth for thinks like a nuclear plant disaster (Fukushima). Actually, come to think of it, it might be better if a few very wealthy people in the US were marginally more wealthy. Nevermind.

      August 4, 2011 at 3:11 pm |
    • D

      More tech would also mean more jobs!
      And I think they've sorted out the radiation bit, otherwise the moon astronauts would have fried too.

      August 4, 2011 at 3:13 pm |
  49. FreeUrChains

    @Safeman62, It may cost a billion to find out, but unclaimed Real estate is worth a lot more for future generations. I think America needs to claim mars, especially for water and oil🙂 Also, this press release just so happens to be released with American preparation for a mission to mars, huh funny coincidence...America has held back a lot to the public.

    August 4, 2011 at 3:00 pm |
  50. PATRICIA

    Great so we spent a huge amount of money we DON't have to find out Mars has water. Now what? Go and pollute that to? Go with some buckets and bring some fresh water here? Spend a hel of a lot more money when it would be easier to make the desert of Africa habitable or even just the areas that are not getting any rain anymore???? WHO CARES! FIX THIS PLANET BEFORE GOING TO ....... UP OTHERS!

    August 4, 2011 at 3:00 pm |
    • Sigh

      I do believe you are missing the point. Your line of thinking is the same as those who doubted the Wright brothers and their airplane at the time but see how that turned out? This applies to almost everything in science. Do you have any idea of the contributions that came from the NASA program? Also compared to a lot of other activities in the United States, NASA's budget is tiny compared to them. The amount of good vs the cost from NASA far outweighs a lot of other programs than people don't seem to complain about.

      August 4, 2011 at 3:04 pm |
    • SeanNJ

      Do you often find yourself on the wrong side of issues?

      August 4, 2011 at 3:11 pm |
      • Sigh

        If the issue is spending, no. Reduce spending. Complain less about the programs that waste not a lot compared to the big ones like military spending. It just makes sense. Why complain about NASA which for FY11 had a budget of about 12B and not cry murder over the military spending which was over 700B? Get your priorities in place. Would we still be safe with a $600B+? Probably. There you go.

        August 4, 2011 at 3:22 pm |
    • Schmedley

      It's pretty sad that there are so many "people" here who have a "who cares" attitude about the space program.

      The science and search for life is just the icing on the cake. What do you think initially drove development of solar cells? Where did many advanced fabrics and materials and other things we use in our homes and cars everyday come from?

      Everything from batteries to UV resistant fabrics and other things you use daily and take for granted were originally developed for the space program and military and then commercialized.

      The whiners here are probably the same people whining about us falling behind in math and science. Healer heal thyself.

      August 4, 2011 at 3:30 pm |
  51. jdog

    the amazing things we could do if STUPID people stopped killing each other and other STUPID people stopped being greedy.....stooooooooooopid people, sooooooooooo very stooooooooopid....

    August 4, 2011 at 2:59 pm |
    • FreeUrChains

      Star Trek is our dreams, let's start implementing a humanitary federation to explore space and share science to every race and country!

      August 4, 2011 at 3:05 pm |
    • Papa Smurf

      Abortion, the death penalty, and killing people is what is saving our planet!!! The more people die the less people on the planet to reproduce and pollute it!! Think about it Stupid!!!

      August 4, 2011 at 3:17 pm |
      • suportivemom

        so pappa smurf, you volunteering to be the next to die and not pollute the gene pool?

        August 4, 2011 at 4:35 pm |
  52. Quincey9

    So freakin' what?!?!?! Can we PA-LEEEEASE fix what we've done to this plant before we start looking at another?

    August 4, 2011 at 2:59 pm |
    • jryan

      Ignorance. Where do you think our new technologies and brilliant ideas come from?

      August 4, 2011 at 3:02 pm |
    • chris B.

      Moving a population of people off of this planet and onto another would be a huge step in the direction of fixing this planet. We're nearly 7 billion, should be around 10 billion in 2020. The more people we add, the more damage we do. Get a few billion off this planet and onto another and continue to explore other planets potential for habitation. We know that Venus; upper atmosphere is habitable and actually have some good idea's for floating cities. The moon, could also be a potential home for a smaller amount of people, especially if we can create low energy methods of creating artificial gravity. If we want to take any steps towards improving this planet we need to first get our population issues under control.

      August 4, 2011 at 3:11 pm |
  53. Left Wing Nut Job

    It's only money and if we run out we can just raise the debt ceiling again! It's only money...right? Why care about the country going down the econimical tubes....I wanna touch a space rock....or smoke one!!!!!

    August 4, 2011 at 2:58 pm |
    • Amuli Mani salem attur

      Yes ofcourse ur corrct..

      August 4, 2011 at 3:12 pm |
    • Right Wing Nut Job

      Stupid Hippie! Don't you know that raising the Debt Limit will turn us all communist and kill Jesus? All us Republicans warned you Dumb-o-crats during the good ol' George W. Bush presidency that you have to have a balanced budjit! That's why we didn't put the medicare drug plan IN the budget, or those two wars we had. Presto! Balanced budjit!

      August 4, 2011 at 3:13 pm |
    • Right Wing Sell-Out

      I await the space rock to come smash ignorance like yours and save this Universe from the virus called Man.

      August 4, 2011 at 3:25 pm |
  54. JT

    "The water is expected to be salty because previous study of the planet has shown that its surface is salty, so any water that flows in the subsurface is going to be salty."

    Sooooo.... it's salty, right?

    August 4, 2011 at 2:58 pm |
    • nugget

      lol Yo dawg, I heard you like salt, so I got you some salt so your salt can be salty.

      August 4, 2011 at 3:19 pm |
  55. Tsk tsk

    Yeah, right, who cares about progress, discovery?
    I'm much too busy buying into media fear mongering that the sky is falling because the stock market fell a bit more.

    August 4, 2011 at 2:58 pm |
    • Quincey9

      Shut the F up, you idiot. Do you even understand the topic?

      August 4, 2011 at 3:01 pm |
      • PR

        You have to be the complete idiot to not realize he's being sarcastic to those who think this isn't important, so take your own advice twit.

        August 4, 2011 at 3:11 pm |
  56. jdog

    let's go look...er...riiight the economy...

    August 4, 2011 at 2:57 pm |
  57. Jeff D

    I think what is important here is the realization that with water comes life possibilities. The idea that 'we aren't alone'.

    August 4, 2011 at 2:57 pm |
  58. marensoneperiam

    If water came from meteors that fell from space, wouldn't it be possible for some form of water to exist on all the Planets?

    August 4, 2011 at 2:57 pm |
    • Chris R

      Water is one of the most common molecules in the universe and many locations have water in some form – liquid, vapor, or ice. The problem is that life seems to require water in it's liquid form and that is it's least common form. Being that we've found some liquid water it increases the chance that there is some form of life on Mars.

      August 4, 2011 at 3:14 pm |
      • Kevin in Atlanta

        It also increases the chances of us being to travel the Mars and survive. I think that's one of the major hurdles we as a species wanted to overcome before we actually leave our comfortable planet: Can we actually survive somewhere else.

        August 4, 2011 at 3:30 pm |
  59. James T. Kirk

    We should spend more on NASA and less on a non-productive and wasteful military .

    August 4, 2011 at 2:55 pm |
    • Spock

      This military protects your sorry ass, pussy.

      August 4, 2011 at 3:00 pm |
      • Goodstuff

        fuck queef stank.

        August 4, 2011 at 3:07 pm |
      • Bones

        Why bring cats into this conversation?

        August 4, 2011 at 3:18 pm |
      • James T. Kirk

        Spock, I remember you being more intelligent than this. The military budget has doubled since 2001. Prior to that, I was just as safe as I am today. Conclusion; we can cut military budget back to pre-2001 levels and be just as safe as we are today. By the way, you died in The Wrath of Kahn.

        August 4, 2011 at 3:27 pm |
      • nugget

        I'm a combat vet. The only americans I remember ever protecting are by brothers in arms. Plz explain how anyone in the military has protected americans in the last decade by helping to prosecute pointless and expensive wars? Iraq = no WMDs, Trashcanistan = no bin-laden. Grats on drinking the kool-aid, dood.

        August 4, 2011 at 3:39 pm |
    • Thayer

      Nope. We need to end NASA and start anew with an agency that doesn't hide the truth from the public that pays for them. I would suspect they have had this information for many, many years. This is the tip of the iceberg on Mars. Look into how they smudge pictures of the surface of Mars to hide what's there. They've been doing that from the beginning. Smudging is the smoking gun. NASA blows.

      August 4, 2011 at 3:01 pm |
      • Chris R

        Look at the picture above. How is that smudged? Seriously, take off the tin foil for a little while and think about things rationally.

        August 4, 2011 at 3:17 pm |
      • D

        Someone needs a tinfoil hat today.

        August 4, 2011 at 3:17 pm |
      • Artofwar

        ....The Federal government is hiding a hell of a lot more than NASA could ever hide, so I guess your logic would command that the Federal government be ended and we should start anew....Artofwar

        August 4, 2011 at 3:21 pm |
      • Thayer

        I wasn't talking about that picture. As I said, look into it. There is quite a bit of evidence they do image tampering/smudging of pics. Sounds to me like your another one of those sheeple that buys anything the government feeds you. You most also believe life only exists on Earth.

        August 4, 2011 at 3:38 pm |
    • Scotty

      Stupid comment. You have no idea what the military does, and continues to do to protect selfish ingrates like yourself.

      August 4, 2011 at 3:06 pm |
    • Common sense

      What we need is a world space agency. Will never understand pride in someones country. The country itself and the people who run them could care less about you. oh yeah, but without countries, why would we have a military and then who is going to save my ass, since I am a pussy. Space exploration should be at the forefront. We have broken the rock we live on and will eventually (sooner than later) need somewhere to go or become extinct. Screw all the politicians and banks and the monetary systems and start living as humans, not Americans, English, Spanish, Mexicans, etc. We are all in the same boat. And it's funny how the military people can't imagine life without war. As much as you protect my pussy ass, you also get it into binds without my consent.

      August 4, 2011 at 3:12 pm |
      • suportivemom

        Unfortunately the formation of such a "league" would have to be neutral, and at this point I don't see the nations of the world allowing the formation of anything they could NOT personalty pull the stings on. The people of the world should remind their governments that.... people should not be afraid of their governments; governments be afraid of their people. unfortunately most people(not just Americans) have developed a lackadaisical approach to life. Untill we have a more active population all the time, not just at the voting booth I think we have pood the scrooch

        August 4, 2011 at 4:55 pm |
  60. Jeff

    I love hot dogs!

    August 4, 2011 at 2:55 pm |
    • ohwell

      Me too. Mustard only.

      August 4, 2011 at 2:56 pm |
      • Derek

        I like just ketchuip on mine....yum!

        August 4, 2011 at 3:23 pm |
  61. HappyME

    Better spent doing science and finding out what we know and what we don't know than fighting useless wars, propping up the military industrial complex and spending all our money on wasted government handouts. 14 T in debt and rising. I'd rather it be spent on doing science and exploration/growth.

    August 4, 2011 at 2:55 pm |
  62. Nick

    Oh my gosh people. Not every article has to be about the economy. Yes the economy is in the sh*tter but that doesn't mean every journalist of every news agency needs to stop what they are doing and write about the economy. If you wanted to read an article about the financial crisis, why did you click on an article titled "Mars may have salt water"?

    August 4, 2011 at 2:54 pm |
    • ohwell

      Yo Nick. Where did the f'ng money come from to discover this 'beautiful and fascinating' fact? I respect your opinion, but in TODAY'S world, money IS an object. I wish it were'nt true.

      August 4, 2011 at 3:02 pm |
  63. Comrade

    Manned mission to mars would create jobs right here on earth. Someone has to build the spaceships, spacesuits, and what not that needs to be in mars for colonization. Plus there is probably a lot of minerals, rare materials that we could harvest from mars. Another big win. Mars is ours to exploit, people! $$$

    August 4, 2011 at 2:54 pm |
    • Joe

      Fact: If the moon were covered with gold bars, it would not be cost effective to go get them. Forget about mining in space...it will remain the stuff of science fiction for centuries yet to come.

      August 4, 2011 at 2:56 pm |
      • Zach

        Fact? Based on what?

        August 4, 2011 at 3:12 pm |
    • Mark C

      Rare minerals from Mars? You realize it would cost about a million dollars an ounce to bring anything back, right? Sheesh.

      August 4, 2011 at 3:00 pm |
    • Joe Regular

      Don't be so quick to condemn the mining of other space bodies. There are ways to deliver durable matter back to Earth or towards it from the Moon, asteroids, and probably from Mars too. Mass Drivers (railguns) are even being proposed to shoot raw materials into orbit from the surface of the Earth. Yes, mass processing of extra-terrestrial ore, water, fuel, and other vital items is many years away, but you have to start somewhere.

      August 4, 2011 at 3:09 pm |
    • Scott

      Mining asteroids for rare metals would pay for itself and more, and it could be done with existing robotic technology. So what's stopping us? Lack of leadership; short-term thinking; semi-literate American public that doesn't give a rat's arse about anything that requires more thought than punching buttons on a TV remote.

      August 4, 2011 at 3:11 pm |
      • suportivemom

        And who is at fault? We spend more time at work than with our kids because we struggle to keep them fed and a roof over their heads, yet we are rapidly falling behind in the educational levels of many other countries because..? Ultimately we who complain and moan are the one at fault, but we don't stand up to our governments educational cutbacks and end up raising ignorant (not stupid, totally different meaning) emotionally damaged and irresponsible children. who have been taught by their babysitters (the game stations) and their emotional supports, (their gangs) the easy and violent way.
        The games are not at fault, nor the music. It is the lack of parental guidance that doesn't involve violence that tells our kids, hey that stuff isn't real its pretend you don't do that in polite society.

        August 4, 2011 at 8:58 pm |
  64. @Safeman62

    Safeman – in 2011, NASA supporting activities budget was $12.78B and nation defense was $738B. Before you make accusations of like '$100,000,000" please do your homework and stop being ignorant. Remember the national defense budget isn't even considered a 'mandatory spending' expense when it comes down to the national budget.

    August 4, 2011 at 2:54 pm |
  65. ohwell

    In a related story, scientists discovered traces of yeast infections on Lady Gaga's costumes.

    August 4, 2011 at 2:54 pm |
  66. Robert

    Gross on the other side is always greener.I think we should start new economy in Mars which never go down.

    August 4, 2011 at 2:53 pm |
    • ohwell

      Wall Street and the BANKERS have already laid claim to the Milky Way.

      August 4, 2011 at 2:55 pm |
      • Gordon Gekko

        Yes we have.

        August 4, 2011 at 3:01 pm |
  67. Rj

    Finally a news topic that does not involve republicans and democrats strangling each other over the reforms....

    August 4, 2011 at 2:53 pm |
  68. e.

    finally...news that doesn't include lindsay lohan or any other lame celebrities.

    August 4, 2011 at 2:51 pm |
  69. Dave

    Great. Too bad we ended our Shuttle program!

    August 4, 2011 at 2:51 pm |
    • mike

      dont be so sure of that. Just because the shuttle program is officially ended doesnt mean there is technology existing that will take people throughout the solar system.

      August 4, 2011 at 2:53 pm |
    • Lorraine

      The Shuttle Program did NOT fly to Mars! The Shuttle were basically local buses that flew within our orbit

      August 4, 2011 at 2:54 pm |
    • TBM

      This is the first thing that needs to be done for man to go beyond LEO. The shuttle was a 30yo very expensive mistake.

      August 4, 2011 at 2:58 pm |
      • Lorraine

        Yes.

        August 4, 2011 at 2:59 pm |
  70. ohwell

    We could use an invasion right now. This is the prelude to public buy-in for NASA exploring Mars, nothing more. With the state of the world right now, they're banking on the premise that we all want to get the Hell out of here.

    August 4, 2011 at 2:51 pm |
  71. Dan

    The universe is full of water and life.

    August 4, 2011 at 2:51 pm |
    • Dave

      Life only exists HERE because we are created in the image of God, with no others sharing that honor. Yep.

      August 4, 2011 at 2:52 pm |
      • Orchid333

        @Dave – Ignorance must be bliss.

        August 4, 2011 at 3:00 pm |
      • Bill in Florida

        Sorry Dave, but your 2000-year-old beliefs don't stand a chance in the face of 21st-century science and technology.

        August 4, 2011 at 3:00 pm |
      • SCAtheist

        You know this how? I hope that you're being facetious.

        August 4, 2011 at 3:01 pm |
      • Frank

        If life only exist HERE as you said then there should not be a God in Heaven which is not in Earth according to the Bible so think about it Dave.

        August 4, 2011 at 3:01 pm |
      • D

        Methinks Dave might have been being sarcastic. (I hope)

        August 4, 2011 at 3:20 pm |
      • Mike

        The bible is the history of mankind only but clearly it says that there is life out there. It mentions God Almighty, his angels and the Arc Angel Michael (Christ) spirit creatures. Ancient Isrealites and the Christian Apostals agreed that they existed so Christians do believe there is life outside of earth. What the bible isn't clear on is if there is physical life like ourselves out there. It makes no mention of it. It simply says in the beginning God created the Heavens and the Earth.

        August 4, 2011 at 3:35 pm |
      • ry290

        Dave is being sarcastic...idiots

        August 4, 2011 at 3:38 pm |
      • AllKnowing

        Kid, I've flown from one side of this galaxy to the other, and I've seen a lot of strange stuff, but I've never seen *anything* to make me believe that there's one all-powerful Force controlling everything. 'Cause no mystical energy field controls *my* destiny. It's all a lot of simple tricks and nonsense.

        August 4, 2011 at 3:47 pm |
      • @ALLKNOWING

        "AllKnowing:
        "Kid, I've flown from one side of this galaxy to the other, and I've seen a lot of strange stuff, but I've never seen *anything* to make me believe that there's one all-powerful Force controlling everything. 'Cause no mystical energy field controls *my* destiny. It's all a lot of simple tricks and nonsense."

        OMIGOD!! HAN SOLO Quote for the Win!!! I love it!!! HAHAHA

        August 4, 2011 at 4:42 pm |
      • Dave

        Congrats to Ry for being the only one paying attention.

        August 4, 2011 at 6:14 pm |
    • jryan

      That's funny Dave. If you're serious, which I hope your not, then you don't understand jack about your beloved book.

      August 4, 2011 at 2:54 pm |
      • bwllm

        No, it just means he has a better relationship with his creator than he does with the man shaped tool meant to introduce. you really have no proper concept of christianity, but then again, most christains dont either.

        August 4, 2011 at 2:56 pm |
      • ohwell

        Took the words right out of my post, jryan.

        August 4, 2011 at 2:58 pm |
      • jryan

        Silliness. Blind silliness.

        August 4, 2011 at 2:59 pm |
      • bwllm

        great rebuttal Jryan, how often do you use that to trump your oppenents?

        August 4, 2011 at 3:01 pm |
      • Dave

        Oh yes. I'm super religious, alright! Out to prove that we don't need no mumbo-jumbo scieeeeeeentists telling us what's out there in the universe! We already know! It's all RIGHT HERE!

        August 4, 2011 at 6:18 pm |
  72. JOE

    I just found a spot for Sara Palin, Rush Limbaugh and the Tea Party. Good ridence!. PS, Don't forget to write your uncle Sam from time to time. And don't forget to brush your teeth Sara. Bye bye now.

    August 4, 2011 at 2:50 pm |
    • SCAtheist

      Especially considering they don't believe in science!

      August 4, 2011 at 2:56 pm |
    • A. Jacques

      Why ruin Mars with those wastes of space. Send them to Mercury i say.

      August 4, 2011 at 2:56 pm |
      • Bill in Florida

        Or better yet, send them into the vacuum of space.

        August 4, 2011 at 3:01 pm |
    • AL

      Sure, let's get rid of anyone that would have the possibility of stopping the madness in which the current occupier of the White House has created.

      August 4, 2011 at 2:57 pm |
      • Scott

        AL, is so much gullibility painful? Ask Rush to spot you a few of his pain-killers.

        August 4, 2011 at 3:16 pm |
      • suportivemom

        Don't forget to spread the blame. The house and senate don't have squeaky clean bums either. remember the FAA.

        August 4, 2011 at 9:07 pm |
    • bobby

      there would be no Uncle SAM to write!

      August 4, 2011 at 2:58 pm |
  73. ualeem

    Lest send Sarah Palin.there. =).

    August 4, 2011 at 2:50 pm |
  74. Scooter

    Just another planet for us to screw up!!!

    August 4, 2011 at 2:49 pm |
  75. Modern Philosophy

    Everyone is complaining about the cost? Who cares.. it is probably about 0.01% of tax payers money. We spend almost 30% on our military and we don't even have a real war.

    August 4, 2011 at 2:49 pm |
    • Rj

      lol @real war.....

      August 4, 2011 at 2:51 pm |
    • bwllm

      Id rather be prepared for war than know if there is salt water on mars. seriously. Safety or currently speaking "trivial" knowledge

      August 4, 2011 at 2:54 pm |
    • MikeK

      but someone has to make money , even in this economy, somehow! Who cares if people in other countries get killed and the taxpayers get shafted!

      August 4, 2011 at 2:54 pm |
    • Sigh

      @bllwm – That's right. Have all the weapons in the world while we get surpassed by all other countries in terms of technology, education, etc. We're going to be a bunch of morons with weapons pointed at everyone else while they prosper. Great thinking.

      August 4, 2011 at 3:01 pm |
      • Scott

        The GOP platform in a nutshell.

        August 4, 2011 at 3:18 pm |
      • Sigh

        The question is, would we still be safe and still a top military power if we reduce our military spending by $100B? I'd still feel comfortable with our military having a $600B budget. If I'm wrong, all of you people that don't want to reduce its spending can have one of our 5,000 or so remaining nukes and wipe out the rest of the planet to feel safe. The ends justifies the means right? Sigh...

        August 4, 2011 at 3:29 pm |
  76. Nathan

    COME ON CNN – Get back to the real issue, Mars is minute...continued economic reform needs to be force fed down the congressional gullet. Stop making butterflies to confuse the public into forgetting they're in for a world of pain unless we actually have a resolution to this madness.

    inb4sparta

    August 4, 2011 at 2:49 pm |
    • MikeK

      blah blah blah, we are scientifically bankrupt and we will fall behind in the one area that we were best at, besides blowing stuff up, which we've been the best at since WW2.

      August 4, 2011 at 2:56 pm |
    • suportivemom

      Come on Nathan, we cant dwell on the war ALL the time, sometimes we have to stop and sniff the saline solution.

      August 4, 2011 at 9:11 pm |
  77. j

    Exactly how is this going to help the current planet we are on now? CNN and NASA is a bunch of morons

    August 4, 2011 at 2:49 pm |
    • jryan

      "are a bunch of morons"

      August 4, 2011 at 2:50 pm |
      • Jonny Cannuck

        Lol you got pwned n00b^^^

        August 4, 2011 at 2:58 pm |
    • JGB

      It would be "CNN and NASA are a bunch of morons," moron.

      August 4, 2011 at 2:51 pm |
    • MikeK

      correction:

      "j is a bunch of morons"

      August 4, 2011 at 2:53 pm |
      • johnny

        Haha! Moronic! Hahahah!

        August 4, 2011 at 2:58 pm |
    • Common Sense

      It saddens me to see how ignorant, short-sighted and one dimensional some people are. The information gathered from this kind of science leads to all kinds of benefits for mankind.

      August 4, 2011 at 2:54 pm |
  78. Lorraine

    How close are we to full disclosure? Something wacky is going on and it has nothing to do with politics or the economy. I dunno, there seems to be a bad vibe through out the planet.

    August 4, 2011 at 2:49 pm |
    • Gerry

      You sense that too? Any ideas?

      August 4, 2011 at 3:06 pm |
  79. bwllm

    Alien discover on my 21st birthday?!?!?! freakin score!

    August 4, 2011 at 2:48 pm |
  80. Pete

    They should have packed an ampoule of imported water on one of those rovers to watch what happens if they open it during the season and in the location where they think liquid water should be able to exist.

    August 4, 2011 at 2:48 pm |
    • Scott

      They know the temperature and pressure at the sites, therefore they know how water will behave. The Viking landers also carried water and mixed it with Martian soil, then studied the chemical reactions.

      August 4, 2011 at 3:22 pm |
  81. mike

    This is clearly the beginning of ufo/extraterrestrial disclosure. Anyone who does enough research can put the pieces of the puzzle together.

    August 4, 2011 at 2:47 pm |
  82. No Life

    I doubt if there is life on mars.

    August 4, 2011 at 2:47 pm |
    • jryan

      There's life in the ice of Antarctica. No reason to believe there's no life on Mars.

      August 4, 2011 at 2:49 pm |
      • jimbojones

        Except for the lack of any reasonable atmosphere on Mars that would be sufficient to sustain such supposed life in those extreme conditions. Scientists say "where there is water, the possibility for life exists." OK, fine. Until there is direct evidence of life observed on Mars, the existence of such life is dubious.

        August 4, 2011 at 3:21 pm |
      • XRAY.DL

        There's also life at the bottom of the oceans near magma vents with... no atmosphere to speak of since it's underwater. No sunlight. Only ambient temperature provided *by the liquid hot magma* (in Dr. Evil voice). No reason to suppose life could not exist on Mars. Albeit probably not "intelligent" life. Life could also exist on Europa. I'd say there's a good chance of it. And it's even farther away. Again, perhaps not intelligent... But then again, who is these days?

        August 4, 2011 at 9:40 pm |
    • ohwell

      There's no life on Earth, so WTF?

      August 4, 2011 at 3:05 pm |
    • CommonSense

      I am quite sure there is very little intelligent life left here on Earth.....

      August 4, 2011 at 3:07 pm |
      • Again

        And you are not exception to this!!!!!!! Idiot!

        August 4, 2011 at 3:40 pm |
  83. jryan

    This is no surprise to me. It was just a matter of time.

    August 4, 2011 at 2:47 pm |
  84. Cosmos

    Simply amazing. It's a shame that the great Carl Sagan isn't still here to be a part of this news!

    August 4, 2011 at 2:46 pm |
    • Right Wing Sell-Out

      Its a shame our leaders and heroes arn't more like Carl Sagan, and less like Arnold.

      August 4, 2011 at 3:43 pm |
  85. Biff

    To the ignorant tea party twits – this is why we give the government money – to learn things. You should try it some time.

    August 4, 2011 at 2:46 pm |
    • nobody

      Except that Obama and his cronies have put the axe to space exploration in favor of buying the welfare vote with more entitlements....

      August 4, 2011 at 2:53 pm |
      • Scott

        If you want space exploration then you have to invest in it. Does anybody see that happening with the Tea Party budget?

        August 4, 2011 at 3:25 pm |
      • suportivemom

        Now this may be a bit out there but let me throw it on the floor so we can all stomp on it.
        1. Nobody wanted to funnel money into the space program that was so riddled with you can't do thats' and like you can get funding for that...(NOT!) there were fewer scientific advancements being preformed than could be.
        2. Can the program and get fresh minds wrapped around the original civilian tenants for space exploration with fewer ties to the military's oooooh I want that and I'm not sharing, mentality.
        3. encourage the population that what was once a fantasy is now and will be in our grasp.
        We lost focus and excitement with the space program, now we have the light back on. For now it is dim and it flickers, but the dream has not gone out.

        August 4, 2011 at 9:30 pm |
    • lol

      so why did obama get rid of our future space program? oh thats right to give it to the mob run unions. good game lib

      August 4, 2011 at 3:07 pm |
      • Scott

        Typical tea bag trash– a conspiracy theory for everything.

        August 4, 2011 at 3:26 pm |
  86. Mike

    Countdown until some Teababy says this is a waste of taxpayer $$$... 3...2...1...

    August 4, 2011 at 2:46 pm |
    • Avhelp

      I am not a Tea Bagger Mike, but I invite you to drink all the salt water you want.

      August 4, 2011 at 2:46 pm |
      • Mike

        Desalination

        August 4, 2011 at 2:51 pm |
    • NWBill

      Hey, Mike ... why don't you put away your hatred of the Tea Party, and just talk about the discovery and the science of the story, OK? This isn't a political column; it's a science column. If you have a problem – take it somewhere else.

      Now, on to what I originally wanted to say; wouldn't Mars be an excellent location to send an experimental NERVA craft, so that we can both test nuclear propulsion in interplanetary travel ... while sending enough biology and geology experiments to find and test the saltwater? Two birds with one stone; an unmanned spacecraft with a nuclear engine, and the BIGGEST lab and science tools ever sent into space.

      August 4, 2011 at 2:55 pm |
      • Mike

        Thanks for the lecture Mr. Bill. I will take that into consideration from now on (SARCASM)

        August 4, 2011 at 2:56 pm |
      • Scott

        Good idea, but you can't separate science from politics or from the Tea Party in which science haters are overrepresented, and which wants a budget that guarantees the US will never be able to invest in space exploration again.

        August 4, 2011 at 3:30 pm |
    • ohwell

      Mike...grow up and try your best to think rationally.

      August 4, 2011 at 3:06 pm |
      • Mike

        Again, thanks for the advice, but kindly blow it out your a**.

        August 4, 2011 at 3:30 pm |
  87. Brian

    Makes me think of the Dr Who episode "Waters of Mars"...

    August 4, 2011 at 2:46 pm |
    • ohwell

      Smoke another bowl, Brian.

      August 4, 2011 at 3:07 pm |
      • Mike

        leave another snarky comment ohwell

        August 4, 2011 at 3:53 pm |
    • Doctor Who

      Waters of Mars... great episode there!🙂 I seriously do hope we can send some teams of robotic builders to create a few geodomes there... Its a pity that we are unlikely to see any human colonies on Mars in our lifetimes.. The only way for the human species to survive is to get off the planet... like a dandelion blowing seeds to the wind. Hey, and for the Bible people out there- God said Be Fruitful and Multiply. Not put all your eggs in one basket n die when I decide to Snuff you out again. Im WATCHING YEW....

      August 4, 2011 at 4:47 pm |
  88. Kishore

    "The study does not prove water exists, but identifies it as the best explanation."

    Two things:

    1. Even if it is proved, so what?
    2. Why is this on the main page as breaking news when the whole global economy is going down the tube? Are there any immediate plans to migrate to Mars?! I didn't get the memo.

    August 4, 2011 at 2:45 pm |
    • ant

      And here he is Mike!

      August 4, 2011 at 2:47 pm |
      • Avhelp

        Ant, I bet you believe Clinton balanced the budget when in reality he added 1.5 trillion to the Fed debt and 3.7 trillion to the public debt in 98. IE: He robbed social security.

        August 4, 2011 at 2:50 pm |
    • Avhelp

      Another Internet Explorer IQ kind of story. Breaking? Yeah, the news is broken and Nasa just wants more money.

      August 4, 2011 at 2:48 pm |
      • Mike

        Guys, we should probably start checking with ^^this guy^^ before starting any scientific research. He clearly knows what is worthwhile and what isn't.

        August 4, 2011 at 2:55 pm |
    • tiki

      there's more important things in life than your portfolio

      August 4, 2011 at 2:49 pm |
    • joeNYC

      @Kishore – You think small.

      August 4, 2011 at 2:49 pm |
    • Bill

      You are a douche

      August 4, 2011 at 2:49 pm |
    • tiki

      btw – using chrome

      August 4, 2011 at 2:49 pm |
    • Rj

      The whole global economy topic has been beaten to death by news outlets before the recession hit.A little change of pace with news coverage like this one is much needed to keep the audience awake.

      August 4, 2011 at 2:50 pm |
    • MikeK

      Anything that sparks interest in science is good for the economy. We are turning into a society of mindless consumers while our science jobs go to 3rd world countries. Do you think that has been helping the economy?

      August 4, 2011 at 2:50 pm |
    • Mark

      We found out that our neighboring planet may have the conditions needed for life. That may mean 2 planets in one solar system could support life, making the probability of life outside our solar system pretty significant. Knowing if there is life out there is kind of a big deal in the grand scheme of things.

      August 4, 2011 at 2:55 pm |
      • Mark2

        Statisticly: 1. Infinte universe 2. infinte number of planets in said universe. 3. FINITE number of habitable planets. So the odds of life in the universe is ratio of finite/infinte a value so close to zero that there is no life in the universe.

        August 4, 2011 at 4:49 pm |
      • 1plus1

        Mark2,

        If the universe is infinite (and we're not sure it is), then the number of habital planets is infinite. Which has some very interesting consequences when you start thinking about it. It means that there are an infinite number of other earths out there. Basically, every possibility that could ever be – is. If the universe is infinite there is a world out there where you are president, and a world where the dinosaurs never died out, a world where the cuban missile crisis really ended in crisis, a world where you zigged instead of zagged, ad nauseum.

        August 4, 2011 at 5:24 pm |
      • NASA

        Mark 2,

        You can't calculate probability with infinite numbers. Your estimation on the probability of habitable planets and on the existence of life elsewhere in the universe needs some more work. Good luck!

        August 4, 2011 at 7:33 pm |
      • NASA

        Sorry to rephrase...infinity is not a number.

        August 4, 2011 at 7:34 pm |
    • Michael

      the colonization of mars has long been a goal of NASA as a matter of fact. i know a man who spent several years attempting to breed a strand of ecoli that would survive on mars, for farming purposes, as part of his biochemistry doctoral work. and before you say why, think of all the good that has come from space exploration. if you don't know what i'm referring to, go read.

      August 4, 2011 at 2:56 pm |
    • Denizen Kate

      @Kishore, you didn't get the memo because people with no imagination, curiosity, or vision will not be included when the human race finally breaks out of the confinement that is earth and begins to really explore the universe.

      August 4, 2011 at 3:00 pm |
    • ohwell

      Uh...Hello....it's a PR job kishore. Take it easy.

      August 4, 2011 at 3:10 pm |
  89. John in AZ

    I think we should send all members of the Tea Party to Mars...what with that protestant work ethic, and pulling themselves up by their bootstraps, they should have that place turned into eden in just a few years! Their limited understanding of science might be a problem...

    August 4, 2011 at 2:45 pm |
    • Nathan

      No, they will just pray everything better.

      August 4, 2011 at 2:49 pm |
    • CensoredTea

      Thanks, Obama for moth-balling the US manned space program.

      I'm sure the Chinese now have even more to look forward to when they land on Mars.

      August 4, 2011 at 2:51 pm |
      • James in AZ

        The decision to "mothball the space program" was made by Bush, not Obama.

        August 4, 2011 at 2:58 pm |
      • Cedar Rapids

        Yep, he cancelled the replacement shuttle plan and said instead that Nasa will concentrate on other programs like....hey, going to Mars.

        August 4, 2011 at 3:00 pm |
    • Publicus1776

      Actually, they couldn't handle Mars. Too much real science involved (notice the project managers systematic way of examining this - a scientific method!). They wouldn't believe what they found, instead they would try to make Mars exploration fit their Creationists theories. Can't live on a hostile planet like that.

      August 4, 2011 at 3:03 pm |
    • Denizen Kate

      I think we should leave them here and start a new human society on Mars (or somewhere out there) with no religious fundamentalists holding us down. Don't the Tea Partiers mostly disbelieve the science of climate change? I say let them stay here and continue to ruin the human habitat on this planet.

      August 4, 2011 at 3:05 pm |
      • vincent

        save today first if we want to save the future!

        August 4, 2011 at 3:32 pm |
  90. Wow

    People are losing their jobs left and right in this country because we're broke, but somehow we can find the money to spend to see if Mars has salt-water? Seriously????

    August 4, 2011 at 2:45 pm |
    • joeNYC

      @Wow – without NASA and spending on science in general, you wouldn't have your computer. That's just the start of what you wouldn't have....

      August 4, 2011 at 2:50 pm |
    • MikeK

      we're broke because all our Engineering jobs are going to Chindia

      August 4, 2011 at 2:51 pm |
    • tiki

      the money spent on the instrument used here was spent long ago - what do you suggest - because of the current economy to simply not use the expensive toy? now that would be a real waste

      August 4, 2011 at 2:52 pm |
    • Denizen Kate

      A little perspective, please. NASA's budget is maybe 1% of the total. Would you miss a penny out of a dollar if you decided to toss it into the little collection jar at the checkout stand in the grocery store? And if that measly little penny funded a few amazing scientific discoveries, would you still gripe about the expense? Wow. Get a grip, will ya?

      August 4, 2011 at 2:55 pm |
    • JGB

      And the people doing this research have jobs because of Govt funding. Take that funding away, and you will add to the jobless ranks.

      August 4, 2011 at 2:56 pm |
    • sebastianbirkoff

      The space program is alot like the school systems. we invest the money so we have a chance at a brighter future. For those who are against funding schools or NASA, I hope when you go to the assisted living homes, it is a public school grad in charge of your meds, and start praying they can read the bottles. lol

      August 4, 2011 at 2:59 pm |
    • Sick

      Instead of making NASA the scapegoat, why don't you whine about the war or other big wasters? It's like crying over pennies when you're blowing big bucks on other things without any hesitation.

      August 4, 2011 at 2:59 pm |
    • David

      Why do small-minded twits like you still bother yourselves criticising the achievements of the space program? there will always be ups and downs in the economic cycle but man's higher self and his drive to pioneer the universe goes on. People like you can only see the next step in front of you – if you and the other twit who wondered why we spend money on space had any sense of history, you would know that America's wealth stems from its pioneering spirit – both of which reached their heights with the Apollo program. Since then we have become a nation of small-minded second-besters (you are an excellent example) who are more than ready to settle for a hot lunch and the vapor of security.

      keep your naysaying to yourself – you'll never achieve much with that attitude, so don't discourage those who actually have vision and work to make it happen.

      Here's to bigger and better things for NASA and the private space industry – and by the way, if we had to subtract all the revenue earned by every business whose products were made possible by NASA, our nation would be even poorer than your imagination is right now

      August 4, 2011 at 3:00 pm |
      • Artofwar

        ....Best put!!!

        August 4, 2011 at 4:23 pm |
      • Jeremy

        Thanks for the amazing post David. I agree wholeheartedly.

        August 5, 2011 at 7:52 am |
    • Hypocrites

      All of you bashing WOW are hypocrites; YES we need to cut the military budget as well as hundreds of different programs but what makes the space program so special that it should be exempt??? The military at least keeps us safe (maybe too safe, 700B safe), if you serious think we can move to Mars anytime soon YOU need a reality check, it will not happen in any of our lifetimes and probably not even in your children’s lifetime!!! I am not saying we should do away with NASA but they should absolutely have their budget cut just like hundreds of other programs. Finding space men on other planets is not going to help us get out of this crisis!!

      August 4, 2011 at 3:30 pm |
      • Sick

        We're not saying there isn't waste in NASA. I'm positive there is but when it comes down to it, the amount of waste from NASA compared the waste in the military – percentage wise – is vastly disproportionate. If you're going to cry and whine over waste, fine devote some of your effort to NASA but you're not focusing on where the most good can come up from cutting the fat – other programs other than NASA. Complain about the pennies after you shore up the big dollars. Would you feel safe with a $600B army? I sure would still and hey, dropping that $100B+ from the military would fund NASA for over 10 years or so. Hypocrites? More like being logical of where to place the blame.

        August 4, 2011 at 3:46 pm |
      • Doctor Who

        Actually not hypocrites at all. You wanna talk about military spending and safe-guarding the interests of this country?? Let me tell you this: India has a satellite now circling the Moon. When China and India get to Mars first and start colonies, and conquering the land and claiming the planet and its resources... They will get richer, and your complaining whiny ass will get poorer. But Im sure you can pray your way out of it. Oh yea, except that may not work against 'Chindia" lol.

        August 4, 2011 at 4:54 pm |
      • suportivemom

        other countries don't say we can't, they say how do we..... all we Americans do is whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa that's to expensive, give me my blankie. THAT'S why we are behind the 8-ball

        August 4, 2011 at 9:44 pm |
    • Traylor Trash

      Sure nasa funding may not put any of your trailer trash bible beating morons to work in the pig farms, but it just may employ thousands scientists, engineers, etc.

      August 4, 2011 at 3:34 pm |
    • 1plus1

      WOW, you have no idea...
      the budget for NASA is currently about 0.6% of the total federal budget. At it's highest point in 1966 it was 4.4%. The return on investment that our country receives from this relatively small investment is a much higher rate than any other investment that our governmakes.
      WAKE UP

      August 4, 2011 at 5:58 pm |
  91. Arnie

    Quaid!!!!

    August 4, 2011 at 2:45 pm |
    • TRD

      'Quaid!' Priceless!!!

      August 4, 2011 at 2:50 pm |
    • Jay

      So we are closer than ever to three-breasted women!

      August 4, 2011 at 2:57 pm |
    • rufud

      start the reactor!

      August 4, 2011 at 7:23 pm |
  92. Rob

    Agree with Reed; discoveries like this offer hope for answers to the burning questions and really pave the way for planetary colonization; the only way we're going to survive is to be able to live places other than just Earth. I look forward to a great Migration to Mars...I'll be the first one to buy a ticket!

    August 4, 2011 at 2:45 pm |
  93. Jeff

    Who cares if they find water...we can't move there.

    August 4, 2011 at 2:45 pm |
    • joeNYC

      1511:

      Who cares if there are forests and building materials and places to plant crops in the new world? We can't move there.

      August 4, 2011 at 2:52 pm |
    • Howie

      Your ignorance is so astounding that I shouldn't bother with this, but here goes...Actually, we can move there. Today, with existing technology, whether or not there is water. It wont be a comfortable place to live, but we can do it. If there is water, it becomes a whole lot easier. Further, whether there is water is not really a question of our survival on the planet, but an indication of possible extraterrestrial life. Wherever we have found water so far, we find life. By extension, if we find water on Mars, there is a good bet that we will find some form of life there. If we do that, we know that we are not alone in the universe. That's important to me, but I graduated from High School.

      August 4, 2011 at 2:54 pm |
      • Barely graduated

        Keep on watchin Star Trek and think it is possible!!! If it were possible, we would have been able to actually put ONE person on the planet. Keep dreaming and yes you probably graduated from high school but we can all see that that is as far as you went!!!

        August 4, 2011 at 3:19 pm |
      • rufud

        Before we landed on the moon, engineering classes taught how it was impossible to do so.

        August 4, 2011 at 7:25 pm |
  94. Joe

    That's nice. Meanwhile back on earth, $14 trillion in debt, 9.2% unemploment, stock markets are crashing, and a new recession is knocking on the door. But it's nice to know that Mars gets puddles once a year.

    August 4, 2011 at 2:45 pm |
    • Rob

      Ye of little vision. It's morons like you that stifle the space program, and it's morons like you who will cry out "WHY DON"T WE HAVE ANOTHER HOME" when Earth becomes too crowded, uninhabitable or both.

      August 4, 2011 at 2:46 pm |
      • Moron like you

        And it is morons like you that keep contributing the poverty in the world!!!! And it is morons like you that care more about invisible green men versus humans here on earth!!!

        August 4, 2011 at 3:11 pm |
    • Wow

      Thank You!!!!!

      August 4, 2011 at 2:46 pm |
    • Justin Observation

      Yeah, let's all wallow in the debt crisis, and not have any other interests.

      August 4, 2011 at 2:53 pm |
    • Joe

      Rob, it's morons like you who don't understand that it takes hundreds of billions of dollars to get to Mars – money that we don't have will never have until we put our house in order right here on earth. And that's just to put a few people up there. You're even more the moron for thinking that mankind will ever be able to migrate off this planet in any tangible way such the species could perpetuate itself without the earth. I am the visionary in this scenario, because vision also requires a firm footing in reality. You keep on watching Start Trek and hoping for the fairy tale. We'll see who's vision comes true. Dick.

      August 4, 2011 at 2:55 pm |
      • tiki

        no one's talking about migrating to mars - a satelite– launched and paid for (albeit with credit) a while ago - took some pictures - some people (doing these jobs theyre paid to do) interpreted said pictures – this isn't a current waste of resources - you should have been b***chin ~ 8 years ago it you were that concerned about projects like this ...

        August 4, 2011 at 2:58 pm |
      • Joe

        Actually, Tiki, Rob the moron above makes that very point about leaving the earth for another planet. You and he should go first and send for the rest of us when you're settled.

        August 4, 2011 at 3:03 pm |
      • Amen

        Joe....WELL SAID!!!

        August 4, 2011 at 3:13 pm |
    • tiki

      14 trillion in debt, unemployment, crashing markets - all trivial problems - 'stop thinking with your wallet, start thinking with your mind, so we can move ahead, instead of behind'

      August 4, 2011 at 2:55 pm |
    • Sick

      Instead of cutting NASA's 12B a year how about the military spending of 700B+? There's an idea for you.

      August 4, 2011 at 2:56 pm |
      • Joe

        Well, Sick...at least you're addressing the problem here on earth...good job. Fund NASA, cut military spending, close tax loopholes, and slash entitelments to reign in the debt. Fine by me.

        August 4, 2011 at 3:05 pm |
      • Sick

        @Joe – Most people would agree with you. We need to address what's wrong here first but I think the fundamental fight is where to cut it and people are blaming things like NASA which in reality wouldn't help much. I think we need to divert our anger to places like what you said. Smaller things like NASA and education and whatever, which have a relatively small impact on the FY12 budget can't get smaller without eliminating them completely.

        August 4, 2011 at 3:13 pm |
    • Will

      might be running away from your problems, but it's a bit of an arguement towards leaving.

      August 4, 2011 at 3:21 pm |
    • Keel Hauler

      Ah, another member of "Club Me". If it doesn't affect me, benefit me, or interest me, it's not worth doing or hearing about and is a waste, right? After all, you won't be around to have to worry about those problems when things get that bad, right? News flash:You could take every cent of the money spent on space exploration and attempt to alieve the insurmountable problems of global famine and overpopulation, and you won't make a dent. If anything we should be spending MORE on space studies. You'll forgive us if some of us want to try and save the boat before it sinks, or maybe get another one.

      August 4, 2011 at 3:25 pm |
      • idiot

        YOU are an idiot...you are telling me that 12 billion will not feed the millions of starving children in the world??? You can feed a child for like a buck a day, you need to get a grip! I am for NASA and do NOT think we should do away with it but lets be real!!!!

        August 4, 2011 at 3:44 pm |
      • PushingBack

        Well put. That money would be spent and then next year, there will be just more hungry people. If you can't sustain a population in the area on the resources you have, stop multiplying. If you can't feed the kids you have, stop making more.

        August 4, 2011 at 4:50 pm |
      • suportivemom

        @ Pushingback. Please remember that there are religions out there that do not allow population control, and governments more interested in lining their pockets than helping their people. but what do I truly know. I try to research before my mouth farts out a stink.

        August 4, 2011 at 9:54 pm |
  95. Justin Observation

    The surf's up but the oxygen levels are down. Dude.

    August 4, 2011 at 2:44 pm |
  96. Joey

    Imagine, one day you'll turn on the TV to CNN, you hear "This is CNN, Breaking News" and a shocked Wolf Blitzer announces the discovery of extraterrestrials. One day.. if such a thing can happen in our lifetimes.

    August 4, 2011 at 2:43 pm |
    • caw

      We can only hope. It would allow us to actually discover there is intelligent life in the universe. So far none has been proven to exist on earth.

      August 4, 2011 at 2:46 pm |
      • At least your are looking in the mirror

        And you are no exception to that!!!

        August 4, 2011 at 3:07 pm |
    • joeNYC

      When they find stuff living on Mars, Or Europa, Or Triton, it is going to blow people' minds.

      I for one cannot wait, and hope to see it in my lifetime. It's not a matter of if, but of _when_ .

      August 4, 2011 at 2:54 pm |
    • Reasonable1

      @Joey Please stop. You are scaring Jan Brewer of Arizona. Arizona will now have to make new laws and declare those aliens illegal too.

      August 4, 2011 at 2:55 pm |
    • LOLA

      This is really interesting,t hank you for sharing

      Casino en ligne sans telechargement

      August 5, 2011 at 7:40 am |
  97. First

    First!

    August 4, 2011 at 2:43 pm |
    • Stinky Fish Boy

      Actually you were third so I guess you lose.

      August 4, 2011 at 3:26 pm |
  98. Safeman62

    I wonder how much hat cost to find out. $100,000,000???

    August 4, 2011 at 2:43 pm |
    • Joey

      Probably. And that makes you mad because?

      Hold on, I'm going to live the rest of my life angry that an amount of tax money I didn't even notice I spent was spent on extraordinary scientific achievements.

      August 4, 2011 at 2:45 pm |
      • Serious??

        @Joey.....And this is extraordinary how????? Does it help put food in the mouths of starving children??? Does it put a roof over their heads??? I didn't think so!!!

        August 4, 2011 at 3:00 pm |
    • caw

      Do you or someone you care about wear glasses? Are they scratch resistant? That's a NASA invention. Sleep on a memory foam mattress, another invention from the money given to NASA. Satellites that carry your Cable TV or another communications, give them up. You didn't want to give NASA that money. Smoke Detector in your house? Get rid of it. Nasa created those as well. Cordless tools? NASA designed those for the first moon landing.

      Basically a lot of good comes from NASA and the money we give them. So stop your complaining or get rid of the things they've invented for the money you don't like them to get.

      August 4, 2011 at 2:53 pm |
      • Me

        That is the worst argument I have heard!!! NASA can still invent those things without spending trillions looking a Mars!

        August 4, 2011 at 3:05 pm |
      • SB

        @Me... trillions? LOL. NASA's budget is about one half of one percent of the Fed budget. That works out to ~20 billion currently. And that covers everything they do; all the probes, landers, rovers, satellites, telescopes, the ISS, all the science that's done here on the ground, and all the thousands of people they employ.

        It's astounding to me that people like you exist. Do some basic fact checking before you open your mouth again.

        August 4, 2011 at 3:39 pm |
    • Really!

      $1000,000,000 for a hat! Really!

      August 4, 2011 at 3:23 pm |
  99. Reed

    More proof that NASA needs political and public support. Cool stuff, guys.

    August 4, 2011 at 2:42 pm |
    • Me

      More proof they don't have anything better to do but to waste time

      August 4, 2011 at 3:09 pm |
      • Joel

        Wow, 'Me' you are really getting a lot done for this planet. Boy, are you useless. Say what you want, big talker, Nasa got things done for us while people like YOU do NOTHING for us.

        August 4, 2011 at 4:34 pm |
      • Christian

        "Me" is a retard just like 3/4 of the people living in this country. No surprise, really.

        August 4, 2011 at 5:16 pm |
      • minisheree32

        wow "me" do you realize that without NASA we wouldn't have alot of things like disposable diapers, all that technology in your phone, mobile internet, the computer you are on right now, etc. do you know what NASAs budget is? 1/80 of a penny. yeah. thats how much they have to spend. google it.

        August 11, 2011 at 4:32 pm |
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