Opportunity finds more evidence of water on Mars
'Homestake' is seen to the left of the shadow of Opportunity's robot arm.
December 8th, 2011
12:46 PM ET

Opportunity finds more evidence of water on Mars

The long-lived Mars rover Opportunity has spotted bright veins of a water-deposited mineral, apparently gypsum, on the surface of the planet. The vein is informally named 'Homestake,' and it and other similar-looking deposits are located in a zone where sulfate-rich bedrock meets volcanic bedrock, at the rim of the Endeavour Crater. Homestake is roughly 0.4 to 0.8 inches wide, 16 to 20 inches long, and protrudes slightly above the surrounding bedrock.

Researchers used three of Opportunity's instruments - the Micrcosopic Imager, the Alpha Particle X-Ray Spectrometer and the Panoramic Camera's filters - to identify calcium and sulfur in a ratio that indicates "relatively pure" calcium sulfate, specifically hydrated calcium sulfate, or gypsum.

The Homestake vein likely formed as calcium, dissolved by water out of volcanic rocks, combined with sulfur and was deposited as calcium sulfate in an underground fracture, which was then exposed at the surface of Mars.

Steve Squyres, principal investigator for Opportunity, said in a statement: "This tells a slam-dunk story that water flowed through underground fractures in the rock. This stuff is a fairly pure chemical deposit that formed in place right where we see it. That can't be said for other gypsum seen on Mars or for other water-related minerals Opportunity has found. It's not uncommon on Earth, but on Mars, it's the kind of thing that makes geologists jump out of their chairs."

Opportunity has found other evidence of water on Mars in the form of magnesium, iron and calcium sulfate in the bedrock, but that same evidence has also indicated a highly acidic environment. This new deposit indicates more neutral conditions, which could have hosted a greater variety of organisms.

Learn more about the Mars rovers, operated by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

The next rover to visit Mars will be Curiosity, launched in November 2011 and expected to arrive in August 2012. You can follow Curiosity on Twitter at @MarsCuriosity.

You can follow us on Twitter at @CNNLightYears.

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Filed under: Discoveries • In Space • Mars • News
soundoff (423 Responses)
  1. Bank loan Refinancing

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    August 6, 2012 at 7:00 pm |
  2. Gord

    Hasn't been a talk about the ice caps at the poles? I remember reading that that proves the existence of water on Mars?

    December 8, 2011 at 7:55 pm |
    • Drog

      huh?

      December 8, 2011 at 9:24 pm |
  3. Hadenufyet

    Maybe science will evolve far enough to one day determine that we are on an electron of an atom of a molecule of the toe jam of some other intelligent being. lol

    December 8, 2011 at 7:50 pm |
    • Kishore

      LOL! As long as we are not in the nether-regions of that intelligent being, I am OK.

      December 8, 2011 at 8:06 pm |
  4. Mike

    Human's just don't know what they don't know.

    December 8, 2011 at 7:29 pm |
    • Hadenufyet

      But sometimes they do know what they don't know , or so they would have you believe.

      December 8, 2011 at 8:06 pm |
  5. Joe

    With all this evidence of water on mars in the past, I am only left wondering why it is no longer there.

    December 8, 2011 at 7:05 pm |
    • david

      Does anyone realize that the system is millions of years old...and Mars was a thriving planet with life and water and the Sun was a hotter. Now the Sun has diminished and Earth is thriving.. So it goes to say millions of years, Mercury will be thriving with life because Earth has become desolate and uninhabitable.

      December 8, 2011 at 7:19 pm |
      • ForReal

        make that billions.

        December 8, 2011 at 7:22 pm |
      • Gord

        Does this mean that we will find dinosaur skeletons there?

        December 8, 2011 at 7:49 pm |
      • ForReal

        Hey Gord, the oldest dinosaur fossil is around 250 millions yrs. old. Mars is about 4.6 billion years old.
        Mars IS the dinosaur.

        December 8, 2011 at 9:17 pm |
      • ashrakay

        Mercury will likely never sustain life as it is too volatile due to it's proximity to the sun. Also, it will be the first to go when the sun becomes a red giant.

        December 8, 2011 at 10:42 pm |
    • JTWstephens

      Mars doesn't have magnetosphere. Subsequently, solar winds have been raping the planet for many years. Thus, the water was lost to space.

      December 8, 2011 at 7:29 pm |
      • Josh

        I agree, mars had an environment 90% suitable for life, but with no magnetosphere or larger moon, life cant have happened on mars, but it could be a new home in the future.

        December 8, 2011 at 7:32 pm |
      • Gord

        I don't think so. Gravity would keep the water in place.

        December 8, 2011 at 7:50 pm |
      • Gord

        If there was water and life, there was atmosphere. I think the two go together.

        December 8, 2011 at 8:00 pm |
      • Yobs

        @gord

        The solar wind ionized the water so that H2O split into hydrogen and ozone. those two can be carried away by solar winds without mar's gravity holding them.

        December 13, 2011 at 3:23 am |
    • Junius Gallio

      A couple of things happened:

      1. Mars lost its atmosphere. Mars has a lower gravity than earth, and started out with less atmosphere, but has gradually lost much of the atmosphere that it had over its history. (Earth also is losing atmosphere, but we have a higher gravity, and have biotic and abiotic processes adding to the atmosphere.)
      2. Water evaporates at much lower temperatures when under low atmospheric pressure. So the water vapor that is in the atmosphere is getting lost with the atmosphere.

      It's been a long-running process–several million, perhaps billion years–and truth to tell, while we now know Mars once had water, we have no idea how much.

      December 8, 2011 at 7:30 pm |
    • dt

      It went the way of the Social Security trust fund – the politicians took it.

      December 8, 2011 at 10:10 pm |
  6. ashrakay

    I see a lot of ignorant comments out here which are most likely coming from uneducated religious folk who will deny anything that comes to them in the form of intellectual evidence. Years of programmed subjugation to their superfriend overlord has numbed their brain to anything that doesn't come in the form of an angel, politician claiming to be sent from god, or a sausage wrapped in a pancake. The idea of life being possible on another planet, terrifies most of them because there is not mention of it in any of their holy and infallible books.

    To you religious people I have a question: Science has given you your home, your computer, your internet, your long life, your electricity, your iphones, your cars, your flushable toilets as well as every thing that isn't nature around you. What has god given you to compare to this and what has god done to improve life on this planet?

    December 8, 2011 at 7:02 pm |
    • ak

      God has given something to create all the items in the list you mentioned.

      December 8, 2011 at 7:10 pm |
      • jon

        youre funny. and naive.

        December 8, 2011 at 7:19 pm |
    • squeeker

      You are so wasting your breath on those folks... the blind lead the blind and ignorance is bliss...yadda, yadda, yadda... just give up.

      December 8, 2011 at 7:21 pm |
      • fimeilleur

        I disagree, the more these people hear that their irrational beliefs are not founded and should NOT be used as a basis for morality the better. If we say nothing, they will just gang together and impose their beliefs on the rest of us. We won't tolerate Islam to do it to us, why tolerate any of them?

        December 12, 2011 at 1:29 am |
    • Don

      I'm a religious man and I don't subscribe to the belief that science and religion can't coincide. To me all truth is part of one great whole. There's no such thing as scientific truth vs. religious truth. Truth is truth. Truth is found in science and truth is found in religions just like falsehood is found in both. I believe that God is the source of all truth. That he helps us learn truth and that someday we can know all things just as he does. That "science" as you describe it, is man's limited understanding of God's infinite wisdom. To many religious folks, like me, God has given us everything. He created everything including us. In this regard, when a man discovers a new scientific truth or invents a new technology, it is really God's light manifest in his work. As, I view the world in this way, I'm able to appreciate many different points-of-view and see beauty in many different things. I hope that religious people and scientific people can both be more tolerant, understanding, and less ignorant of each other. I think that's something that would make everyone happier.

      December 8, 2011 at 7:25 pm |
      • ashrakay

        I too believe that truth is truth, and I suspect you are an intelligent, thinking person. So I wonder a) why you would believe in something that cannot be verified with evidence, b) why believe in "god" over zeus, leprechauns or any other mystical story?

        December 8, 2011 at 7:33 pm |
      • Don

        That's a good question. Thanks for your comment. I think we could have some very interesting conversations. I believe that there is evidence. I wouldn't believe on blind faith. In my opinion God's fingerprint's are everywhere. I can see why people wouldn't believe mythical stories that are incredibly bizarre. But, in my beliefs, the Bible, and other scriptural works, are mostly symbolic. To me, the Bible is composed of inspired words. But, in our limited understanding (and ancient's people's even more limited understanding) it is easier for us to understand God's plan with stories and analogies. I imagine it to trying to describe our environment to a fish who has never experienced life on land. But, of all the evidences that I've found so far in my life, the biggest evidence that I've found isn't evidence in the way that you may imagine it. My evidence is not so much visual or intellectual. But, it is a spiritual confirmation that I have gained over the years through prayer and study. I believe that God speaks to all of his children (all mankind) in a spiritual manner. To me, this includes things that other people may call conscience, a good feeling, an incredible rush of new ideas, or even just a feeling of peace. The scientific evidence that I have seen only serves as a reconfirmation for the things that I have "felt" spiritually. But, I would like to know more about your beliefs and how you see the world.

        December 8, 2011 at 7:56 pm |
      • ashrakay

        Yes, I understand where you're coming from. I too have a "spiritual" experience when I consider the vastness of all that is. It's very beautiful and fulfilling to me and I often sit in wonder and feel a deep sense of humility when faced with what is. The difference is, that I do not conclude that this is because of a super being in the sky. This is reductionist logic and while it feels good to employ it, it does nothing to answer the deep questions that face us in life. In short, I can commune with the life around me and experience it deeply and still not need a god to be the reason behind it. Scientist love "not knowing." There is no need to rush to a conclusion in the search for truth. Historically we've found that doing so only hinders us from finding greater truths which are camouflaged by easy answers.

        December 8, 2011 at 8:15 pm |
      • JeeperJoe

        excellent conversation Don and Ash. It's better than all the name calling and insulting I see here. Makes me think about both sides of the issue thats thought provoking. Thanks.

        December 8, 2011 at 8:19 pm |
      • ashrakay

        @JeeperJoe, I admit I am one of the great offenders of name calling and insulting. It's not my preference though. I much prefer thoughtful disagreements. They are sadly lacking in the CNN forums. I'm always grateful to speak to people like @Don.

        December 8, 2011 at 8:30 pm |
      • Don

        Ashrakay: I also consider those things spiritual experiences. That's the reason I love this blog! There is so much "out there" that is incredibly beautiful and awe-inspiring. Whether "out there" be outer space or even in my own backyard. Even just looking at the sun and feeling it's warmth on a winter day fills my heart with joy. I guess that's the difference between us. I do see God in all of those things. That doesn't make either of us better, just different. I agree that it's inappropriate to jump to conclusions about things. I think many religious people are guilty of this. There is so much intolerance even between different Christian denominations. I served as a missionary for my church and saw a great deal of discrimination and it was mostly from other Christians. But, without jumping to conclusions, I feel that God stands ready to guide us to truth as we are open-minded and ask him for direction. As a missionary we counseled everyone we taught to study and pray about every concept that we taught. I thank you for being considerate and listening to my point-of-view with an open mind. It's been great talking to you. I hope I showed you that not all religious folk are ignorant and close-minded about the world.

        December 9, 2011 at 8:16 pm |
  7. Stephen

    The reason why life cannot be understood as having a beginning is because outside the 4th dimension, "That is time" there is in my opinion a creator who designed the cosmos. I believe this cosmic creator did not have an origin and that this one life force is the ultimate energy source of it all from whence all matter and energy come from.

    The reason why nothing was before the intelligent designer is simple. Energy cannot be creator nor can it be destroyed. It can only change form.

    I do not believe our eyes are equipped to see what is before this universe or should I say, "Multi verse". Religion is the ultimate and primitive failure to interpret the intelligent designer.

    I believe science should examine this new quest. No strings attached, "That is religion" and review the possibilities of universal evolution throughout the cosmos which I believe may bring a signature of a higher life form who is all powerful.

    I believe in life. And yes I believe in the ultimate life force from which all matter and energy originated from.

    I do not believe in religion however. I believe in science.

    December 8, 2011 at 7:01 pm |
    • CaptnKirk

      Stephen, you may want to believe in science but you clearly do not have a solid grasp of its concepts and the scientific method. You also don't understand the proper used of quotation marks.

      December 8, 2011 at 7:12 pm |
    • not on my watch

      so suppose that evolution occured on another palnet for say a billion years. during this period this species sciences evolve for a billon years. This species locates habital planets in the Universe, using their science they create a species of humans by inpregnating chimpanzees. Both evolution and creationizm can have an overlapping existence. Do not presuppose you know all, because you do not. When you generalize a group you expose your own ignorance.

      December 8, 2011 at 7:32 pm |
      • wpgguy

        aaaand BOOM goes the dynamite!

        December 9, 2011 at 1:15 am |
  8. truth

    just as people in the middle ages did not have the information to explain many things which we take for granted now
    we do not have the information to explain many things
    those in the future may acquire the knowledge to explain that which we cannot explain in our lifetime
    it may be possible that humans may never be able to fully explain or realize all that they wish to know
    we do know that we walk the earth a limited time .. HAVE A GOOD TIME (or don't)

    December 8, 2011 at 6:56 pm |
    • jon

      this is all a bunch of crap. i firmly believe that there is no rover on mars. never was. americans have been lying about space exploration since the moon landing (which by the way didnt happen either. thats why they dont try again). humans have never even been past earths upper atmosphere ( like the space station.) you guys kill me. funny stuff.

      December 8, 2011 at 7:16 pm |
      • noname

        Why, because you work at NASA? If everything you said were true, I'm sure that fewer than 30 people know about it. I'm just going to throw it out there, but this is 100% your opinion...Also, you should probably figure out how to prove that space exploration is impossible, mathematically; you would make a ton of money. I am very confident that if it is mathematically possible, we have done it.

        December 8, 2011 at 7:23 pm |
      • Hello

        How unfortunate you didn't take any classes besides wood shop.

        December 8, 2011 at 7:26 pm |
  9. Yoder

    From the shadow in the image, looks like they found a baby dinosaur too. Life does exist!

    December 8, 2011 at 6:52 pm |
  10. splasher6

    yet another NASA black hole....

    December 8, 2011 at 6:47 pm |
    • Factors

      Geez, that's so exciting – trillions of dollars spent for such an important finding? While 1 in 4 kids go hungery in this country!! Sure glad our trusted government has its priorities straight.

      December 8, 2011 at 6:52 pm |
      • Terminatus

        You shortsighted twit. Space exploration may just solve those kind of problems on earth. Even the simple answers lead to greater questions and even greater answers for us all. It's money well spent!

        December 8, 2011 at 6:59 pm |
      • Abhijit

        You know people like you ameze me. The scientific research is as important as feeding baies. Yes you can say cut down on other non-eseential stuffs (like military hardware, prok barrel programs, etc) to feed the kid & I will agree with you – but if you say cuting down on scientific research to feed the hungry then I will say you are being short-sighted.

        December 8, 2011 at 7:09 pm |
      • noname

        You are right, absolutely all funding for scientific research and development should be cut as of now because it is not as important as feeding hungry people. Here's a fresh perspective, how about let the 3 other hungry people deal with their own problems and let the government take care of programs that would be nearly impossible for private companies to handle. It is not the government's responsibility to feed people, it is responsible for upholding a system that allows people to take care of themselves.

        December 8, 2011 at 7:10 pm |
      • ashrakay

        @Factors, Please educate yourself before you comment. Since NASAs inception 57 years ago the total amount of money spent has been $486 billion—not trillions as you seem to think. Compare this to the $1.29 trillion spent for our war in Afghanistan for 2011 alone and you'll see that your outrage is sadly misplaced.

        December 8, 2011 at 7:25 pm |
      • ashrakay

        @Factors, Clarification on my previous statement: I meant in the Afghanistan war alone, as opposed to the year 2011 alone. In fact, it is the combination of the Iraq war and Afghanistan war combined. Sorry for the misrepresentation.

        December 8, 2011 at 8:23 pm |
  11. Hello

    We've been watching both Martian ice caps grow and shrink for years. I've yet to hear about the water from these...
    Would someone tell me what I'm missing.

    December 8, 2011 at 6:40 pm |
    • Steve

      The visible parts of the Martian polar caps are "dry ice," frozen carbon dioxide, not water. There seems to be water (ice) hidden under the Co2 cap at the South Pole.

      December 8, 2011 at 6:48 pm |
    • Anon

      Martian ice caps are frozen CO2, i.e. dry ice, not water.

      December 8, 2011 at 6:52 pm |
      • Hello

        Steve & Anon, I hear you, but many reports state the ice caps are water. Hence my confusion.
        See: http://news.softpedia.com/news/Martian-Ice-Caps-Are-95-Percent-Pure-102468.shtml

        December 8, 2011 at 6:55 pm |
    • Dr. F

      Seasonal melting and freezing of ice caps is not an environment ideal for life.

      Actual evidence of running water is far more indicative that mars may have at one time held conditions ideal for life, in which case further exploration would be warranted.

      December 8, 2011 at 6:52 pm |
    • ares

      Liquid water cannot exist on Mars today because the atmospheric pressure is below the triple point of water, so ice doesn't "melt" on Mars, it "sublimes" like dry ice (solid carbon dioxide). however, scientists believe that the Martian atmosphere in the past was thick enough to support liquid water, but over time solar winds blew away Mars's atmosphere after its magnetic field seized-up. of course this is all conjecture at this point, but the theory is pretty cool!

      December 8, 2011 at 6:58 pm |
  12. IDoNotExistForSure

    Life is so simple. Add a little water, time, randomness and the right chemicals and boom! You get a fully replicating cell with complex molecular machinery. Once that has evolved, complex organsims with eyes, muscles, nervous systems, and digestive systems evolved in a flash. Animals like Anomalocaris which had more complex eyes than previously thought. Isn't it wonderful how random mutations and natural selection work together? Evolution can design... oops I meen evolve anything if it wants too. Since complex life easily evolved here, I have faith that they will find life on Mars. I know its a strong fundamental faith, but I have faith. Praise Darwin.

    December 8, 2011 at 6:34 pm |
    • Atheist

      If left alone, hydrogen can produce iPhones.

      December 8, 2011 at 6:40 pm |
    • Terminatus

      Easy? I don't think so. Whatever force created the mathematical structure underpinning the chemical ability to organize a life is THE most important and complex mystery in all the universe! Seems quite UN-easy if you ask me.

      December 8, 2011 at 6:53 pm |
      • Dmo

        Nothing "created a mathematical structure". Mathematics was created to explain the structure in the first place.

        December 8, 2011 at 7:17 pm |
  13. Master Chief

    I have a simpler but more complex question. According to the Big Bang Theory the universe came into being with a tremendous explosion, think a trillion super novas at the same instant and it began to spread in all directions. It continues to this day, we are reminded that the universe is still expanding and constanly in motion. I get all that, seems a tad simplified but taken at face value, it's probably as good an answer that I will ever find. But my question is, if the universe is still expanding, what is it expanding into?

    December 8, 2011 at 6:34 pm |
    • Grayly

      Your question is nonsensical. You might as well ask what is North of the North pole. Or what is colder than absolute zero.

      The universe simply is.

      December 8, 2011 at 6:48 pm |
      • Master Chief

        I wasn't trying to stump or ask a question with no answer. I am struck with the idea that if something is expanding it must have something to expand into. Sort of like a growing thunderhead expands up into the atmosphere. I have heard many times over the past 40 or so years that based upon observations of stars and glaxies, the universe is rushing away from its center and becoming larger. I understand the thought but it would mean that we are inside something even larger. Dr. Seuss's Horton Hears a Who is funny but it is almost an animated version of my question. Or to quote science fiction writers Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle, "Are we simply a mote in God's eye?"

        December 8, 2011 at 6:59 pm |
    • Dr. F

      This is not really the right question to ask. The universe is expanding outward meaning the stars, planets, etc are expanding outward. As matter spreads, the "universe" spreads because the "universe" is just all matter. This is why the universe, to the best of our understanding is likely infinite (in fact mathematical models actually support a flat, infinitely expanding universe).

      I guess the best explanation to give would be matter expands into empty space, and therefore the universe expands. The universe doesn't expand into something else because, the universe is the largest overall encompassing principle being that it contains all matter.

      December 8, 2011 at 6:58 pm |
    • Gideon

      Our best understanding is the universe really isn't expanding "into" anything, because space (really space-time) is defined by the universe itself, so the concept of "outside" the universe is pretty much meaningless. Instead, the space itself is what is expanding. The universe isn't expanding away from some point, rather every point is moving away from every other point, because the space in between any two points is increasing. There is no "center" of the universe, so the whole thundercloud metaphor isn't quite right. It's tricky to wrap your brain around it, but it's the only explanation that fits with previous observations.

      December 8, 2011 at 7:16 pm |
    • Dmo

      The question is semantic. The answer is that the "knows" universe is expanding into the "unknown" universe.

      December 8, 2011 at 7:19 pm |
    • ForReal

      The Universe is expanding into the Universe. It will become, through expansion, what it will become....the Universe.

      December 8, 2011 at 7:20 pm |
    • Junius Gallio

      That's actually a very good question. Unfortunately, there _is_ no good answer.

      Part of the problem is that the universe did not "explode" at the Big Bang–the universe expanded, but we have no idea what exists "outside" of the universe, or even if there is an "outside of the universe" at all.

      December 8, 2011 at 7:37 pm |
  14. MINX

    SHOW ME THE WATER . . . ! ! ! :~) :~) :~)

    December 8, 2011 at 6:26 pm |
    • Junius Gallio

      http://www.motifake.com/image/demotivational-poster/0909/water-on-mars-demotivational-poster-1253725367.jpg

      December 8, 2011 at 7:40 pm |
  15. John

    Apparently these idiots dumb scientists think that since water exists on a planet, that means living organisms must exist as well.

    Just wow.

    December 8, 2011 at 6:22 pm |
    • CRG

      Scientists are not idiots, but anyone who calls them that is an ignoramus of the first order.

      December 8, 2011 at 6:32 pm |
    • Paulwisc

      No, these scientists think that evidence of water increases the possibility that life existed or still exists on Mars. You do realize the the words "could have" indicate non-certainty, don't you?

      December 8, 2011 at 6:53 pm |
    • Wow John just wow...

      I really would like to know how scientists who have spent thousands of years debating these topics are idiots in your mind... this proves how insecure and shallow you are and how you expect to people to agree that scientists examining mars are idiots according to "John" on CNN.com

      December 8, 2011 at 7:25 pm |
    • noname

      ??? You should try working in a scientific field. Not a whole lot of dumb idiots.

      December 8, 2011 at 7:28 pm |
  16. Ella

    People, you all have issues. the jack**** who talk about religous people cruelly, shut up. they believe in god so what? is it any of your business? and people who DO believe, these may be insulting but god does not want his children to fight or something. So try not to rant on here, that makes it worse. And scientific people, may I point out something to you? The men and women who discovered this are highly trained professionals who tested THREE times. not to mention earlier finds. Are you all happy now? Cause I hate you all bickering like 14 year old kids. Really? REALLY?!

    December 8, 2011 at 6:17 pm |
    • ashrakay

      And all of you people that tell your children that Santa Clause isn't real, shame on you especially.

      December 8, 2011 at 11:08 pm |
  17. Simulation Expert

    The Bible doesn't have a monopoly on God. Neither is it an authority on God. God may or may not exists but that doesn't mean Bible is is anyway correct.

    December 8, 2011 at 6:16 pm |
    • Simulation Expert

      darn types:

      The Bible doesn't have a monopoly on God. Neither is it an authority on God. God may or may not exist but that doesn't mean Bible is in anyway correct.

      December 8, 2011 at 6:17 pm |
    • CRG

      What are you going on about? This aritcle is about the possiblility that water once existed on Mars. It has nothing to do with God or the Bible.

      December 8, 2011 at 6:35 pm |
  18. BC

    Are we going to mine the water? Bottled water is going to be so expensive now.

    December 8, 2011 at 6:03 pm |
    • wiske57

      Ice! Its cold on one side, I think. Just have to figure out how to get it back to earth. Maybe a government loan like the solar people were able to get :)

      December 8, 2011 at 6:49 pm |
  19. ruben

    oh wow!!! now that we know the important fact that mars had water why don't we concentrate now on the sad state of affairs of the economy

    December 8, 2011 at 5:55 pm |
    • Will

      Really? you can see the value in scientific discovery? The economy and many many many other things are of importance, but not every job and person is focused on it. What do you do for a living?

      December 8, 2011 at 6:02 pm |
  20. Atheist

    First space came out of nothing. Then all the forces, matter/energy came out of nothing. Then life came out of nothing.

    December 8, 2011 at 5:53 pm |
    • Non-Atheist

      "First space came out of nothing. Then all the forces, matter/energy came out of nothing."
      - In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.

      "Then life came out of nothing."
      - And God said, 'Let the water teem with living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the expanse of the sky.'

      Wow. You're right, Atheist.

      December 8, 2011 at 6:09 pm |
      • God

        Hmm...I don't remember ever saying that.

        December 8, 2011 at 6:11 pm |
      • Bill

        Where did God come from? From nothing! So nothing is basically everything. In other words, God has nothing to do with anything! But obviously there is something now and what is responsible for it is called self-organization!

        December 8, 2011 at 6:46 pm |
      • noname

        First of all, God, that was the funniest comment I have ever read in a blog. Bill, hats off to you as well. non-atheist, logical thinkers hear your condescending, irrelevant, tell-all, rebuttal and feel sorry for you. Just telling you as a friend, hope you can forget that nonsense and live a fulfilling life.

        December 8, 2011 at 7:34 pm |
    • IgnorantAthiest

      Everything came from nothing! It makes total sense.

      December 8, 2011 at 6:10 pm |
      • closetiguana

        Before there was something there was nothing, not even gods.

        December 8, 2011 at 6:15 pm |
      • Hadenufyet

        Ya know , nobody knows . the end.

        December 8, 2011 at 7:43 pm |
  21. Gord

    The only reason (some) people can't let god go is because believing him pays well.

    December 8, 2011 at 5:50 pm |
    • GodMan

      It’s the only explanation that fits science and every religion on this planet; However, it doesn’t hurt to have a little faith.

      December 8, 2011 at 5:55 pm |
      • VerySimple

        How simple it should be. For all the complex creative abilities of man and his infinitely powerless inability to create life, we can't wrap our heads around the likelihood that we too were created. We can create, but not be created.

        Yes, not hard to understand, we just make it that way.

        December 8, 2011 at 6:22 pm |
    • Joey Rolon

      About you comment on both sides being wrong. That is my point intirely. We don't know, And we wont know by trying to come up with answers through an ego driven mind. Which is basically all humans. We are to obsessed about being right we don't take into account we are all wrong. We can understand the universe more but never completely because we are only one aspect. Quantum physics has really changing the face of science and religion and is starting to prove things that are literally mind blowing. If you haven't read up on it yet then you should, it might help you find the answers you seek because it explains what you just said.

      December 8, 2011 at 6:05 pm |
    • Joey Rolon

      Sry my grammar sucks. I don't spell check.

      December 8, 2011 at 6:10 pm |
    • ;)

      Not true.

      December 8, 2011 at 6:27 pm |
  22. Vince

    Wow

    December 8, 2011 at 5:47 pm |
  23. GodMan

    I hate to tell yo this but, God did not create man... Man created God.

    December 8, 2011 at 5:44 pm |
    • yup

      Well put.

      December 8, 2011 at 5:46 pm |
    • Gord

      I know that you are joking, but was Man so dumb that he created himself to be mortal, and god to live forever? LOL

      December 8, 2011 at 5:46 pm |
      • closetiguana

        Not all gods live forever. Just ask Zeus.

        Once they've out grown their use or the culture dies off so too do the gods.

        December 8, 2011 at 6:18 pm |
      • CC

        Well played, well played my good sir. :)

        December 8, 2011 at 6:24 pm |
      • closetiguana

        CC- Thanks, I waiting for someone to say "oh yeah well our god (or gods) are different, he's / they're real!" That'll put me in my place.

        December 8, 2011 at 6:41 pm |
    • Joey Rolon

      What created the universe? And if you ansswer has anything to do with the big bang or anything scienctific, explain to me how that star or molecule or whatever got there? How do we define nothing and if something was just always here why the hell do we have time? And no I don't believe in the almight god as told in the bible or any other religion for that matter. I do believe in a presence of life that is far more advanced and complete then we can imagine. Infact you are part of it and co-exist and create alongside as one. Then again I could be wrong.

      December 8, 2011 at 5:49 pm |
      • Gord

        If you ask me, BOTH, evolutionists and creationists are wrong. There must be another solution. And NO, I am not talking about Intelligent Design. I am saying that we have no idea and we are just pushing these theories, but they don't make sense.

        December 8, 2011 at 5:52 pm |
      • Kishore

        Gord, I think I agree. I am putting my money on a computer simulation of sorts.

        December 8, 2011 at 5:55 pm |
      • Grayly

        Again, another nonsensical question similar to asking what is north of the north pole.

        Time, existence, and even the very laws of physics did not exist prior the big bang. Therefore there is no possible what to even ask what happened before the universe existed, because before the universe existed there was no space or time for anything to happen in. The very words "before" and "created" are tied to a linear state of existence, and are incompatible with describing anything outside of that state.

        We simply do not, and can never, understand what happened "before" the universe. It would be like trying to think what ultra violet light looks like. It is simply beyond our ability to comprehend.

        December 8, 2011 at 6:52 pm |
      • Bill

        Well, we certainly know that creationists are wrong. All their theories contradict to available experimental data. But do we really know that evolutionists are wrong? Where is the contradictory data? Just name one!

        December 8, 2011 at 6:57 pm |
      • ashrakay

        @Gord, Actually evolution makes a lot of sense if you take the time and effort to understand the explanations of it. People that cannot accept evolution, I've found, usually lack the ability to think on an infinitely small scale over overwhelmingly vast spans of time. If you practice you can improve, but you must have a very wide spacial acuity. You will find that evolution is not a guess at what happened, but rather an explanation of the evidence we see before us. As more evidence (genetic or paleontological) is discovered, deeper and more complex our understanding of evolution becomes. With study, you will find a sense of "obviousness" to evolution.

        December 8, 2011 at 8:00 pm |
      • Gord

        @ashrakay, OK, answer me two questions.

        1. How is it possible that during those millions of years the population has not skyrocketed, when we can see in front of our eyes what can happen within only two thousand years?

        2, How come people have never invented anything worthwhile during those millions of years? Not even a wheel. They had the same mental capacity we do, at least for the last few millions of years according to the evolutionists.

        Don't be so sure of yourself. It is possible that you are the one who can't think logically.

        December 8, 2011 at 8:20 pm |
      • ashrakay

        @Gord, First of all, the population has grown proportionally to possibility of survival. You can look at mortality rates over the centuries to see how this is evident. With the ice age, it wouldn't have been possible for large civilizations to thrive as food would be limited. As we learned to shelter and clothe ourselves as well as develop ways such as farming to sustain ourselves, populations grew larger. You will see a spike around the 1800s in population as the advent of the industrial revolution and oil became more widely available. Thus making survival easier. This is exactly what we would expect to find in an ESS (evolutionarily stable system).

        To your second question, you need to understand that knowledge always begins at a slow pace and exponentially grows as more knowledge is obtained. As Newton said, “If I have been able to see further, it was only because I stood on the shoulders of giants.” The very concept of the number 1 requires an immense logical underpinning in the human brain. To build on that and eventually arrive at a system of weights, wheels, pulleys and other mechanics took many more years. Please read Raymond Kurzweil's "The Singularity is Near" for more references. He maps out the development going back to the dawn of man up to current technology and predicts future outcomes. It wouldn't be feasible for me to convey all of that information here.

        December 8, 2011 at 8:44 pm |
  24. Gord

    Offtopic, but I hate the fact that they are giving names to parts of Mars. Somehow, I would like to keep it untouched. Pretty soon we will talk about Obama Valley and Trump Mountains on Mars. Every rich person will want to have a piece of it, at least in names. That will be the time of the rape of Mars.

    December 8, 2011 at 5:40 pm |
  25. augustghost

    Thats where they can shoot the next "Hillbilly Hand Fishin' "

    December 8, 2011 at 5:27 pm |
  26. Necrofun

    Who's playin' backetball on Mars?

    December 8, 2011 at 5:26 pm |
  27. Kishore

    I don't know about you guys, but to me a slam dunk proof of water on Mars would be water on Mars.

    December 8, 2011 at 5:24 pm |
    • Laughing1

      Well Put!

      December 8, 2011 at 6:25 pm |
  28. Gord

    As far as I can see it could be anything. It could be just a light on top of something. Have they actually examined it?

    December 8, 2011 at 5:22 pm |
    • JC

      Are they claiming it?

      December 8, 2011 at 5:24 pm |
    • T Ciccone

      Did you read the second paragraph? They examined it with 3 separate instruments.

      December 8, 2011 at 5:27 pm |
  29. bx347gods

    Enough of this crap ..god created the earth, heaven, universe, and everything in it. Period. Go to church.

    December 8, 2011 at 5:13 pm |
    • Brian H

      Been there done that, got the shirt. Thanks for all the fish...

      December 8, 2011 at 5:14 pm |
      • Ian

        Ready for the hyperspace bypass?

        December 8, 2011 at 8:29 pm |
    • Jon

      So does that mean that there's water over the sky, like in Genesis? Don't be so literal.

      December 8, 2011 at 5:21 pm |
    • JC

      Bury your head in that book dumbo. There is no hope for you. Keep hallucinating and talking to your 'God'.

      December 8, 2011 at 5:23 pm |
    • Tim W.

      So whats to say this God did not put some water on another planet for awhile ?
      The universe is every changing, they have found sea shells on the tops of the highest mountains and found tropical ferns under the ice caps...............
      I do not see why finding water on another rock would have anything to do with anyones beliefs in their God !

      December 8, 2011 at 5:25 pm |
    • ChaoticDreams

      i believe that this is sarcastic, because if he truly believed this god would be capitalized

      December 8, 2011 at 5:52 pm |
    • steve

      Religious people as a whole don't scare me, just those who think like you.

      December 8, 2011 at 5:54 pm |
    • Charlie_In_VA

      Feedith not yon trolls ...

      December 8, 2011 at 5:56 pm |
  30. mac

    Mars > tim tebow

    December 8, 2011 at 5:13 pm |
  31. ohmygod

    religion will be the end of us all christianity wiped out indigenous peoples all over the world. faith is for ignorant people who stare facts in the face and discount the truth because it does'nt fit in with their Delusions

    December 8, 2011 at 5:04 pm |
    • Maude

      Amen to that Brother..... Amen

      Now lets us bow our heads and pray.

      Our father thou fart in heaven, forgive those who strech my ass against us, give us our daily dope ...etc....etc...

      December 8, 2011 at 5:09 pm |
      • Joey Rolon

        Like i said one-sided. I never said I was religious. In fact, I agree that religion has accomplished nothing but dividing us and brainwashing us to believe we have no power, when in fact we are the power. All I am saying is you can't find truth when you don't look at the whole picture. Quantum physics has already shown us that the universe is indeed a very intellegent design. So vast that we can't even begin to fathom it. I like to think god is more of the energy that creates all things. IT sees all because it is all. Stating that god is a thing or person is almost rediculous yet in a way true. It is everything. ITs what make the world go round. It is what we will never understand.

        December 8, 2011 at 5:29 pm |
    • Joey Rolon

      No its was screwed up one-sided people like yourself who created all that chaos not religion. Just people trying to prove they are right in a world they can't possibly ever understand. The way we view things is always changing. Science is always evolving and changing and faith is simply what we hold to be true in our hearts. Put your faith in science if you will but science will never be able to explain the universe. There is no logical explanation. NONE. How can something come from absolutely nothing? How did nothing get there? What is nothing? The answers are never one oneside or the other, but the entire thing. Science is religion, religion is science. Just a different way of trying to explain the same thing that we don't understand.

      December 8, 2011 at 5:16 pm |
      • Maude

        Alway's blaming someone else eh ! We peace loving atheist get trotten upon by you religious morons all the time. One day god will punish you and off to hell you go.

        December 8, 2011 at 5:22 pm |
      • Lol@Nut

        "Science is religion, religion is science"

        HAHAHAHAHAHA

        December 8, 2011 at 5:25 pm |
      • Ken

        Joey, you've got it all wrong. Everything about the universe is logical. They tell you its not to keep you believing. Trust me though, its totally logical.

        December 8, 2011 at 5:29 pm |
      • Joey Rolon

        I detect sarcasm but if not, eplain the universe to me? Explain to me how something came from nothing. Explain to me how this big bang happened and how the hell the thing that caused the big bang got there? Explain to me what is nothign? How do we define nothing. And if something was always just here well then what the hell is time?

        December 8, 2011 at 5:32 pm |
      • billy

        If something can't come from nothing as you claim, how did God get created? God is something, right?
        Your argument is as old and unreliable as the Bible.
        Maybe you shouldn't be posting nonsense on an article that has nothing to do with religion.
        Bye.

        December 8, 2011 at 5:35 pm |
      • Joey Rolon

        So funny that you blame religious people for hating yet you do the same thing. I NEVER said I was religious. If you read my other post I am actually quite against religion. Science has helped us "understand" much, but it is fundementally flawed when you don't take into account what you can't understand or what you percieve to be impossible. The universe is logically impossible. If you can explain it to me logically, I will take back everything I said and cal myself a moron.

        December 8, 2011 at 5:37 pm |
      • Joey Rolon

        Billy, Read the other comments. I AM NOT RELIGIOUS. I DO NOT BELIEVE IN THE OH SO HOLY GOD! I never said god created the universe. All I am saying is you can't choose a side when both sides are missing the points completely. JESUS! lol, Go read some new books on QUANTUM PHYSICS! IT IS PROVEN SCIENCE THAT LITERALLY makes darwinism and everything before seem like christianity.

        December 8, 2011 at 5:41 pm |
      • Bill

        When you say "Since is religion and religion is science" that proves to me that you don't have a clue about science and likely not much about religion either. The two are incompatible!

        December 8, 2011 at 7:07 pm |
    • Rocketscientist

      Which indigenous people groups did Christianity wipe out?

      December 8, 2011 at 5:48 pm |
      • Joey Rolon

        Dont bother man. People have to choose to believe what they want. We can only try to open there minds to other possiblities. But I am curious, what people did they wipe out? LoL

        December 8, 2011 at 5:52 pm |
      • Maude

        Canadians from New Foundland !

        December 8, 2011 at 6:27 pm |
  32. Maude

    Tin solders Nixon coming...
    Four dead in Ohio....

    December 8, 2011 at 5:03 pm |
  33. Patriot

    For Jimmy Crack and he doesn't care, what a moron.

    Guess you can sit there with your clicker and video game in blissful ignorance.

    what a huge success! Way to go NASA!

    December 8, 2011 at 4:58 pm |
  34. Walter H

    Gypsum? I don't know about water, but they've found the first traces of Sheetrock off of Planet Earth.

    December 8, 2011 at 4:54 pm |
  35. OldYgg

    Well, I'm done being a pansy about all this stuff.... ((((Ohhh is there life on Mars???)))) Let's settle the question by sending our hardiest microbes over there and see how they do. Is there life on Mars? Why yes, yes there is.

    December 8, 2011 at 4:52 pm |
  36. Ted

    "Jimmy crack corn and I don't care"....

    December 8, 2011 at 4:44 pm |
    • closetiguana

      What if Jimmy popped corn? Would you be so cavalier then?

      December 8, 2011 at 4:48 pm |
      • Nostrildamaeuos

        winner!

        December 8, 2011 at 5:31 pm |
    • Hugo

      Why did you post, if you don't care?

      December 8, 2011 at 4:53 pm |
    • Nostrildamaeuos

      If I was going to make a rover to analyze the composition of alien worlds, I'd make it an organic based rover..maybe something that looks like a dinosaur or something, and this Dino-Rover, if you will, could take bites out of things and analyze their chemical composition with an internal devise (more on this later) and beam me back information through their tail.

      That's what I'd do, if given the budget.

      December 8, 2011 at 5:30 pm |
  37. WhatWhatWhat?

    I wonder if they can tell if Mars was completely covered in water at any time in the past? Curiously, on the Earth, there is no indication whatsoever that a global flood occurred at any time in the past 2-3 billion years. It would be interesting to see if any of our fairy tales also came from Mars. Any money spent debunking fairy tales is money well spent.

    December 8, 2011 at 4:39 pm |
    • Brian H

      The global flood story is most likely a tale held over from when the last ice age ended and the Ocean levels rose 110 meters 8000 years ago.

      December 8, 2011 at 4:50 pm |
    • humtake

      If you are referring to the Noah story, you might want to get your facts straight. The Bible never says every piece of land was under water. If that were the case, then Noah never would have found land ever again.

      The worst part about being a scientific mind is dealing with other scientific minds who are only in science to try to prove someone else's beliefs are wrong. Instead, think about science as a way to prove people right. Then your experiments have far greater meaning, and you end up learning a lot more with an open mind.

      December 8, 2011 at 4:52 pm |
      • Walter H

        Doesn't it say it was to kill off all life, except for what was on the Ark?

        December 8, 2011 at 4:56 pm |
      • Idiotbox

        What's worse is using the Bible to explain science.

        December 8, 2011 at 4:58 pm |
      • Ken

        Actually, the Bible does say that. For 40 days and 40 nights, the earth was covered with water, in fact. That is why when the flood waters subsided, Noah's boat was resting on a mountain top. Every time something from the Bible is proven absurd, someone claims that it never said what it continues to say.

        Oh well... Believe what the nomads of yester-year said, they were probably better educated than today's scientists, right?

        December 8, 2011 at 4:58 pm |
      • humanbean

        I'm still trying to understand how Noah was able to go to all 5 continents of the world and get all those creatures onto a relatively tiny ark. Can you give me some kind of arrogant response to this question as well?

        December 8, 2011 at 5:03 pm |
      • Idiotbox

        Well humanbeing.....if you accept that God created the heavens and the Earth, then it's entriely plausible that he could "help" or assist Noah in getting all those animals on the Ark. I know i know. But again...if you accept that God created the Heavens/Earth/The Universe.....then it would NOT be difficult for God to have a global flood and get any and all animals on an ark for 40 days and 40 nights.

        December 8, 2011 at 5:10 pm |
      • closetiguana

        I'm still wondering what Noah had against the dinosaurs. Noah "Screw you dinosaurs!". And what did god have against land based animals but animals in the oceans got a pass.

        December 8, 2011 at 5:10 pm |
    • WhatWhatWhat?

      The bible says the entire Earth was covered, and that the waters later receded. You should re-review your delusional materials now, since you obviously don't have any indication of what you are talking about.
      Genesis 7:19 And the waters prevailed exceedingly upon the earth; and all the high hills, that were under the whole heaven, were covered.
      7:20 Fifteen cubits upward did the waters prevail; and the mountains were covered.

      December 8, 2011 at 5:02 pm |
    • Hugo

      WhatWhatWhat, why do you insist on taking the Bible literally? I know some people, who do believe, take the Bible literally. However, others, take it metaphorically and as lessons.

      The Noah story is likely based on fact. There are archeological records of a "1000 year flood" in what is now Iraq. Also the Hebrew word (AFAIK) for Earth and land are the same word. So, text translated as covered the Earth could have just as easily been translated as covering the land. (Floods pretty much have to cover the land, to be floods).

      So, what's your point?

      December 8, 2011 at 5:07 pm |
      • closetiguana

        Hugo- We need newer testament without quotes from god so people won't misinterpret the bible as factual.

        December 8, 2011 at 5:22 pm |
      • Ken

        What word translates as "high hills?"

        December 8, 2011 at 5:25 pm |
  38. bob

    i left some liquid on uranus last night

    December 8, 2011 at 4:38 pm |
    • slippyfists

      You're an idiot.

      December 8, 2011 at 4:46 pm |
    • Big Strong Man

      You sure did Bob. thank you ;)

      December 8, 2011 at 4:54 pm |
      • bob

        is that a wink or did i accidentally get some in your eye?

        December 8, 2011 at 4:58 pm |
    • THE JOKER

      HA HA HA! That's funny.

      December 8, 2011 at 4:55 pm |
    • KawiMan

      You better get Captain Kirk to wipe-out the Klingons from Uranus.

      December 8, 2011 at 5:01 pm |
  39. ghost

    I love my Father and my Savior and I enjoy science. I think it arrogant to think we are all that God made. Jesus gets poor representation. Some Christians forget that God created knowledge and wisdom and is considered more precious than gold and silver. To the educated- just because you have knowledge does not make you a better person just smarter better happens when you can handle differences without sinking to the low level. I don't expect you to worship God just don't knock us for doing so. May God bless you all...whether you believe or not.

    December 8, 2011 at 4:36 pm |
    • WhatWhatWhat?

      Religion = Delusion
      Coexistence is Futile

      December 8, 2011 at 4:41 pm |
      • big deal

        ^^^MORON^^^

        December 8, 2011 at 4:43 pm |
      • WhatWhatWhat?

        You...the lamest moron here today...is going to say that to me? Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha, wow, that just made my day!

        December 8, 2011 at 4:55 pm |
      • Hugo

        George Washington Carver was both a Christian and a scientist. His motivation to invent came from his faith. There's coexistence.

        BTW, it doesn't matter if God exists or not to my statement. GWC's motivation existed. (Right?)

        December 8, 2011 at 5:12 pm |
      • secularbear

        Agreed – religion is utter nonsense, and it's totally incompatible with scientific methodology, logic, and rationality. So many people try to straddle the line, but there's no room for common ground.

        December 8, 2011 at 5:16 pm |
    • closetiguana

      I don't believe in gods but trust me when I say that I'm grateful your god blessed me. Question is how did you know I sneezed?

      December 8, 2011 at 4:47 pm |
      • ge

        i heard a theory why people say "God bless you" or just "Bless you" when you sneeze, according to that theory it started during the middle ages when the bubonic plague was everywhere. One of the symptoms of the plague was sneezing, so when people hear you sneeze, they say "Bless you" because you are about to die. Dunno if its true though lol.

        December 8, 2011 at 4:53 pm |
  40. big deal

    I sure hope it doesn't taste like the water in Florida.

    December 8, 2011 at 4:28 pm |
  41. McJesus

    The first people to be sent to Mars should be Christian missionaries. With such a high risk of failure, one shouldn't risk the lives of valuable scientists.

    December 8, 2011 at 4:26 pm |
    • NT Reader

      And leave behind such kind hearted people here on earth like you?

      December 8, 2011 at 4:33 pm |
    • George

      hey ... keep the hate to yourself...........

      December 8, 2011 at 4:38 pm |
    • WhatWhatWhat?

      If it's good enough for McJebus, it's good enough for me!

      December 8, 2011 at 4:43 pm |
    • John

      Great idea. Although being as useless as they are nothing much would get done.

      December 8, 2011 at 4:45 pm |
    • secularbear

      Well at least the Martian rocks wouldn't be able to sue the Church after being forcibly sodomized.

      December 8, 2011 at 5:31 pm |
  42. serdich

    There is no life on Mars..either.

    December 8, 2011 at 4:24 pm |
    • Gunther

      Yes there is. They found a family of Mexicans up there.

      December 8, 2011 at 4:26 pm |
  43. Lou

    If there was not life in Mars before, I bet now there is! I seriously doubt we have sterilized everything we have sent there.

    December 8, 2011 at 4:22 pm |
    • phearis

      Nope, we didn't, but the fact that Mars has no ozone layer to filter out harmful UV rays, takes care of that little problem for us after a day or two. :-)

      December 8, 2011 at 4:28 pm |
  44. big deal

    Big deal. So it once had water, an atmosphere, etc. There is nothing there now. I love how scientist try to make something extremely boring into a big deal. Total waste of money.

    December 8, 2011 at 4:22 pm |
    • Jim Tucker

      I bet you screamed in delight when you finally won the roll on that digital staff in Warcraft.

      December 8, 2011 at 4:28 pm |
      • phearis

        Whoa! Hey, don't lop that waste of space in with us Warcraft geeks. We don't want him.

        December 8, 2011 at 4:30 pm |
      • big deal

        No, I'm just smart enough to realize that nothing will be gained from it unless we decide to destroy our own planet and hop to the next one. Wouldn't it be cheaper and wiser to save the one we have? Idiots. The only POTENTIAL hospital planets are millions of light yrs away and it you know anything you know that anything with mass can't travel faster than the speed of light. Therefore, we are stuck here.

        December 8, 2011 at 4:37 pm |
      • WhatWhatWhat?

        Wow, with a hospital planet so far away, people better not get hurt or they could die on the way there.

        December 8, 2011 at 4:46 pm |
      • @ big deal

        Objects with mass can't travel faster than the speed of light? That's so last month...read the papers big deal

        December 8, 2011 at 4:48 pm |
      • Idiotbox

        Actually BigDeal....CERN might have proof that mass (Neutrinos/subatomic particles) can travel faster than the speed of light with new research done via the supercollider that bascically contradicts Einstein. Regardless, I believe there might be other ways to travel through the universe without having to go as fast as the speed of light or faster. I should know....I used to live on Mars with Charlie Sheen when I was a Rock Star.

        December 8, 2011 at 5:06 pm |
    • George

      Well people make a big deal out of the NFL ... they really do nothing useful for the million dollar salaries .... most scientist work on problems like cancer, malaria, and HIV. Don't use the technology that was developed or accelerated by the space program ... like the internet ... computers ...etc. if you don't like it! You want the rewards but none of the cost nor responsibility.

      December 8, 2011 at 4:42 pm |
      • big deal

        So my criticism of THIS, by association, bans me of all things science? Typical egghead response. You can solve world problems but can't tie your own shoes. Stick with the subject. THIS is a waste of time and money.

        December 8, 2011 at 4:46 pm |
      • ge

        Waste of time and money? And yet you watch movies, surf the web, heat your cheap pizza in the microwave. I'm sure no amount of research was done on those conveniences and luxury, since they were all present in the Garden of Eden. Go read a book. ... heck... go read a few sentences about any science on wikipedia.

        December 8, 2011 at 5:00 pm |
    • WhatWhatWhat?

      big deal is a big dork. How many people do you think the Earth can sustain? How many are there now? How many will there be in 2100? Since the stupid people are multiplying so fast (you can thank your mother for that), we might need to find a place to overflow, eh?

      December 8, 2011 at 4:51 pm |
  45. Paul

    If you don't like science, stop using it. Get off the damn computer and go run naked in the woods, throwing spears around. Oh wait, spears use projectile paths, which is science. Just go throw yourself in the ocean and pray for salvation..

    December 8, 2011 at 4:17 pm |
    • amphiox

      Prayer requires language and syntax, which are also science.

      And finding that ocean needs science too.

      December 8, 2011 at 4:21 pm |
      • big deal

        Since when does language qualify as science? Idiot.

        December 8, 2011 at 4:39 pm |
      • Ph.D.

        Big Deal – Linguistics is a science, and ignorance is bliss...Don't worry, be happy
        (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linguistics)

        December 8, 2011 at 4:49 pm |
      • Big Deal is an IDIOT

        Linguistics – The scientific study of the human language. Now sit down and shut up you fool.

        December 8, 2011 at 4:51 pm |
      • lathebiosas

        Linguistics, the STUDY of language is a science, not language itself. Are turds a science? Studying them is.

        December 8, 2011 at 5:17 pm |
      • Not Really

        Language =/= Linguistics.

        December 8, 2011 at 5:30 pm |
  46. Tech42

    So why are we still just throwing tin cans at Mars?

    I'll go check it out if nobody else will!

    December 8, 2011 at 4:12 pm |
    • amphiox

      Our tin can missions are still running at a failure rate of 30-50% right now. Getting anything to mars in working order is still very hard.

      I would want our tin can success rate to climb quite a bit before risking human lives in such a project.

      December 8, 2011 at 4:20 pm |
      • Cosmo

        The failure rate would be much lower with human pilots.

        December 8, 2011 at 4:27 pm |
    • CJA

      You mean you'd like them to send humans. Well then if you want to bring them home you need a space launch facility on Mar so that you can launch your Mars to Earth mission. Getting from the surface back to space is not so easy It will happen but not soon.

      December 8, 2011 at 4:33 pm |
      • Sindy

        Huh? They seemed get back from the moon ok without a "space launch facility" - so I don't think that's really the ish

        December 8, 2011 at 6:30 pm |
  47. Dr Trollworth

    Ah, well, that was fun.

    It's cool Opportunity found water. I hope Curiosity has even more success. Also, I hope we send something cool to Europa sometime soon. That moon seems like it has a very high chance of interesting finds. Getting some pics from the surface would be remarkable.

    Cya.

    December 8, 2011 at 4:07 pm |
    • answer

      Hey they are planning something for Europa, unfortuneatly it wont be able to land but instead will swoop by like a bird grabbing "europa" so to speak which will tell us much about whats there. Of course they are plannng on sending the probe to a part of the moon that they think will show life can exist there. Landing on Europa is way beyond our technology roght now as its eratic.

      December 8, 2011 at 4:10 pm |
      • amphiox

        There were I think longterm plans for a landing on Europa for circa 2020 kicking around, I think. The problem isn't landing, it's that just landing tells us nothing. We have to sink something through the ice crust into the subsurface ocean to do any useful science.

        The planned mission is very expensive, due to the need for hard, cutting edge technology. It may or may not survive in its current form through the current economic problems.

        December 8, 2011 at 4:23 pm |
  48. ha ha

    you guys are funny. Made my day reading the banter in your comments. That's why they keep posting the story....

    December 8, 2011 at 4:04 pm |
  49. Maude

    I officially declare Mars to be Muslim. Allah Akbar to all.

    December 8, 2011 at 3:58 pm |
  50. Joe

    There has to be life on Mars because they named a candy bar after it. Anyone who's ever had a Mars Bar will certainly attest to the fact it's out of this world. Not only was there water, there was chocolate. Another indicator is Newt. He certainly isn't of human parents and thus must be Martian. It all fits now, yes.

    December 8, 2011 at 3:57 pm |
    • Maude

      you suck newt... yes ?

      December 8, 2011 at 4:07 pm |
    • Jonathan Seal

      I'm pretty sure Newt is from Uranus.

      December 8, 2011 at 4:14 pm |
      • Bassman

        You mean, lives in Uranus? HahAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA-not.

        December 8, 2011 at 4:21 pm |
    • Scott

      Bruno Mars is approximately 60% composed of water.

      December 8, 2011 at 4:31 pm |
  51. rkt210

    I thought that we already had proof when the rover found that empty Poland Spring bottle...

    December 8, 2011 at 3:50 pm |
    • Mr. Pitt

      Moland.

      December 8, 2011 at 4:24 pm |
  52. Eddie

    How many times do we need to be told this? How many more years?

    December 8, 2011 at 3:44 pm |
    • Idiots!

      42

      December 8, 2011 at 4:01 pm |
  53. josh

    The reason NASA was worthless and subsequently defunded was that it was ran by complete ignoramuses incapable of grasping the basic laws of physics (including time travel). Who we nee is someone like Sheldon Cooper running the program. Then we might be able to go places.

    December 8, 2011 at 3:40 pm |
    • Sheldon

      Josh
      knock knock knock
      Josh
      knock knock knock
      Josh
      knock knock knock

      December 8, 2011 at 5:10 pm |
  54. Joe Schmoe

    More useless research from the science-atheist groups..

    December 8, 2011 at 3:34 pm |
    • Dr Trollworth

      We should just cancel NASA. It's not even relevant anymore.

      December 8, 2011 at 3:37 pm |
      • kerry

        Maybe you could explain why nasa is not relevant anymore. Please be specific!

        December 8, 2011 at 3:43 pm |
      • Dr Trollworth

        We already went to the moon. That turned out to be pointless. Now we just send ships up to waste time putting up satellites for no reason. And sending probes to planets does nothing to put food on the table. And all the time we spend on telescopes and research? Why? Space is just a giant boring void with nothing useful in it. We should put more research into stopping ppl from using birth control and angering jesus. We should also put more money into political campaigns that stop gay marriage. Also, we need more money for NASCAR.

        December 8, 2011 at 3:47 pm |
      • Kush Rim-Farter

        Don't feed the trolls, Doc.

        December 8, 2011 at 3:50 pm |
      • justageek

        "Space is just a giant boring void with nothing useful in it." – You do realize that you technically live in space don't you?

        December 8, 2011 at 4:01 pm |
      • No Name

        @ justageek to his/her reply to Dr. Trollworth.

        "Space is just a giant boring void with nothing useful in it." – You do realize that you technically live in space don't you?"

        I think this is perhaps the best reply to someone's post I have ever read.

        December 8, 2011 at 4:09 pm |
      • Sheldon

        Dr Trollworth is of course talking about the space between his ears when he says it is a giant void.

        December 8, 2011 at 5:13 pm |
      • holy lolz

        trollworth, i feel like i need to congratulate you on your successful trolling of both sides of a painfully polarized subject. that takes talent, seriously.

        December 8, 2011 at 5:59 pm |
    • Dr Trollworth

      And I suggest we use the money saved by cancelling NASA to fund NASCAR.

      December 8, 2011 at 3:38 pm |
    • KennyG

      Agree. All in an effort to prove that there is no God, not for the betterment of the human race. Worthless science...

      December 8, 2011 at 3:47 pm |
      • Kush Rim-Farter

        Yeah, worthless science which allows you to sit your mothers basement and post drivel...you mouth-breathing troglodytic simpleton!

        Cool story, Bro!!

        December 8, 2011 at 3:52 pm |
    • josh

      *shakes fist* Whipper Snappers!!!!

      December 8, 2011 at 3:48 pm |
    • Holy than thou

      Indeed, the audacity of people using the benefits of such wasteful programs like computers and such to promote their Atheist agenda is blasphemous. Everyone already knows the truth is in that book and those heretic scientists are all conspiring to disprove God. What a waste of good money when the church needs it for the Eddy Long, Kenneth Copeland, Creflo Dollar, Benny Hinn and Joyce Meyer legal defense funds not to mention all those fleets of Rolls Royces, palatial mansions and lavish decoraations and such. I mean come on when the church is doing the business of spreading the love of Jesus, Ted Haggard style it needs the money to continue to spread the love.

      Stupid Atheist and those conspiring scientists.

      December 8, 2011 at 3:56 pm |
      • poopypants

        "using computers to further the athiest agenda = blasphemy"....obviously you don't know what an atheist is. blaspehmy pertains to things considered holy, religious, and for the simple minded....

        December 8, 2011 at 5:02 pm |
    • Rocinante

      @ Joe Schmoe: While I am a religious person, I still value advances in scientific and technology. It is plain to me for example that the history of the earth that we see in the fossil record is accurate and represents the creation of earth (the six creative periods.) Up to the point where Adam and Eve were placed in the Garden of Eden.

      December 8, 2011 at 4:09 pm |
    • CJA

      Yes I know all this science stuff is just to hard to understand and why bother to figure it out when we have better things to do like watch "Dancing with the stars".

      December 8, 2011 at 4:39 pm |
  55. Joe

    Gee Idiots....not getting enough fiber in our diet?

    December 8, 2011 at 3:33 pm |
  56. jerky

    well that could mean that mars once had life then lost its atmosphere and came here to earth

    December 8, 2011 at 3:30 pm |
    • jay zee

      duh! one word! scientology!

      December 8, 2011 at 3:54 pm |
  57. Idiots!

    It's sad how little many of you know about basic science. I guess it's really just a testament to how little education is valued in this country these days. In the future, please try to refrain from making ridiculous comments on things you so obviously know nothing about – the internets will thank you for not cluttering it up with your idiotic ramblings.

    And for those who don't think it's a good idea to fund NASA or scientific research in general, please feel free to not use any of the technology produced by such funding – INCLUDING THE AFOREMENTIONED INTERNETS. Morons...

    December 8, 2011 at 3:27 pm |
    • Me

      Back to your science worship...

      December 8, 2011 at 3:29 pm |
      • Idiots!

        Isn't the Invisible Man expecting you at church right about now?

        December 8, 2011 at 3:47 pm |
      • Paul

        If you don't like science, stop using it. Get off the damn computer and go run naked in the woods, throwing spears around. Oh wait, spears use projectile paths, which is science. Just go throw yourself in the ocean and pray for salvation.

        December 8, 2011 at 4:16 pm |
    • Dr Trollworth

      NASA didn't invent the internet. It's also a myth that anything NASA does it useful in any way. Also, education is less important than what you are making it out to be. I guess the name you gave to yourself explains your post.

      December 8, 2011 at 3:29 pm |
      • kerry

        Jesus, the ignorance on here gives me a headache. You morons are almost more than I can take.

        The backlash against science in this country just astounds me. This one says nasa does nothing. Its not worth my time to try and educate you. You are too far gone

        December 8, 2011 at 3:45 pm |
      • Idiots!

        While CERN, a European scientific organization, invented the world wide web, NASA did invent the microchip. Without that, it might be tough to post uninformed, idiotic comments on the web, no? NASA either invented or at least highly contributed to the development of the following:

        CAT Scanners, Microchips, Cordless Tools, Ear Thermometers, Freeze-dried Food, Home Insulation, The Joystick, Memory Foam, Satellite Television, Scratch-resistant Lenses, Shoe Insoles, Adjustable Smoke Detectors, Water Filters

        The list goes on and on...

        December 8, 2011 at 3:47 pm |
      • bryce

        I can see why you think education is unimportant. You're obviously getting by without any.

        December 8, 2011 at 3:59 pm |
      • Idiots!

        I like Dr. Trollworth. Obvious troll is obvious.

        Ridicule is the only weapon which can be used against unintelligible propositions.

        December 8, 2011 at 4:03 pm |
    • josh

      Al Gore INVENTED the internet in his workshop in the back of his yard. HELLO! Everyone knows that.

      December 8, 2011 at 3:32 pm |
    • Greg

      I wholeheartedly agree!!!!!!!! Science in this country deserves billions more-no-trillions more in funding!!!! And I agree that too many people today don't realize everything they do, travel in, entertain themselves with, etc etc, can be traced back to visionaries and scientists.... Ironic how we aren't the billionaires and policy makers in the country...

      December 8, 2011 at 3:39 pm |
    • LiviniaStar

      Carbonate rocks are found on the surface of Mars. Carbonate rocks only form under water. Also, there are monolithic, square/rectangular rocks on the surface of Mars that have perfect right angles. The only thing in the known universe that can create a perfect right angle is a human being. Mars will never sustain life again. The soil contains too much iron so plants will never grow. Also, the lack of a magnetic field would kill anything on the surface. Intro to Astronomy was a great class. Glad I took it.

      December 8, 2011 at 3:54 pm |
      • theba5

        Actually, crystalline structures often times have a lattice that will form a perfect right angle.

        December 8, 2011 at 4:10 pm |
      • LiviniaStar

        That is a highly plausible response; however, the rocks I am referring to are monolithic or huge. These were made by something with intelligence. One can tell by the placement of the "stones". I wish I had the photo to post here to show everyone. Alas, I put more stock into the lectures than the photos in the slide shows. Shame on me.

        December 8, 2011 at 4:16 pm |
    • Kush Rim-Farter

      I thought we were on the Interwebs, not the Internets...lol!

      December 8, 2011 at 3:55 pm |
      • Idiots!

        That too! Let's try not to confuse the mouth-breathers with too many different multisyllabic words.

        December 8, 2011 at 3:59 pm |
    • tevii

      "We need better education for our youth, so they can know just how stupid they are."

      December 8, 2011 at 4:11 pm |
  58. Shone

    Too Bad the Republicans keep on taxing the middle class like crazy, and giving billionares tax breaks. Send them to mars!

    December 8, 2011 at 3:21 pm |
  59. Mark J

    Yeah... wouldn't you like to know we aren't alone? Presence of even just microbes on another planet might change the way we view the universe. Humans will finally be able to get over their foolish self importance. I think realizing that we are not the "failed chosen ones" would be great for societal progress.

    December 8, 2011 at 3:21 pm |
    • Dr Trollworth

      There isn't life anywhere else. The bible proves that. Now I think we should stop looking because it'll only waste valuable time we could spend reading the bible more and studying it.

      December 8, 2011 at 3:27 pm |
      • Mark J

        Not sure about that. The Catholic church seems to have an official position that there is the possibility. I am not aware of anything that says that God banned the existence of aliens.

        December 8, 2011 at 3:32 pm |
      • monomial

        WHAT!! The bible proves there is no life other than on earth! The bible proves absolutly NOTHING, just silly stories. What a total MORON.

        December 8, 2011 at 3:38 pm |
      • Dr Trollworth

        Matthew 22:56-58
        "And God said, 'after the big bang, I made sure no aliens would show up... it's just you guys. Now you need to be fruitful and multiple... AKA start the big bang #2. L8ter dudez"

        December 8, 2011 at 3:39 pm |
      • Just Stop

        Yeah lets take time to read a book that says, and i quote (Deuteronomy 22:28-29 NLT) "If a man is caught in the act of raping a young woman who is not engaged, he must pay fifty pieces of silver to her father. Then he must marry the young woman because he violated her, and he will never be allowed to divorce her." Only a moron would follow a BOOK that says its okay to have slaves, kill babies, and rape women...ur ignorance must be bliss.

        December 8, 2011 at 3:53 pm |
      • Mr. Bible

        Don't know what bible you are reading from, but the Christian bible does not state one way or the other about other life forms in His universe. To believe God would not or could not create other life in the universe is like telling God to go live in my 9’x9’ storage. He is God and would create whatever He deems to be in existence including but not limited to angels, humans, dogs, cats, and even what man is not ment to know about.

        December 8, 2011 at 4:00 pm |
      • cosprons

        Herr Doktor, the bible also says that adulterers should be stoned to death; I fully expect you to find some rocks and stone Newt Gingrich to death, if you really believe in the tenets of the bible! That notwithstanding, have a healthy and long life. My poor godless scientific soul wishes everone well and condems no one, even the ignorant.

        December 8, 2011 at 4:11 pm |
  60. Dr Trollworth

    We should build a landfill on Mars and put tons of trash there.

    December 8, 2011 at 3:20 pm |
    • Mark J

      Nah it's cheaper to burn it and probably more environmentally friendly. Rocket fuel can be nasty stuff, and liquid oxygen and hydrogen take lots of energy to gather.

      December 8, 2011 at 3:23 pm |
  61. josh

    My question has always been why are we wasting our time with 'dead planets' like the moon or mars (that dont support life? Why not try to target planets that CAN support life (i.e. hospitable)?

    December 8, 2011 at 3:19 pm |
    • I dunit now

      In order to know where you're going, its best to know where you've been.

      December 8, 2011 at 3:22 pm |
      • josh

        nawwww you dont need to read a history book to just go on a road trip. :P

        December 8, 2011 at 3:26 pm |
      • TheButcher

        No, but you might want a map....

        December 8, 2011 at 3:32 pm |
    • kerry

      Which planet would that be??

      The reason we go to mars and the moon is because they are relatively close

      December 8, 2011 at 3:25 pm |
      • josh

        There LOTS of planets that scientist think support life or are duplicats of our planet. Some just revealed this week. I mean COME ON get on the ball and create warp speed and quit going to rocks and debating weather there was life on it zillions of years ago. Doesnt do us any good now. :P

        December 8, 2011 at 3:29 pm |
    • Greg

      Where are you demanding we focus on our mechanized exploration of the universe, Kepler-22b?

      December 8, 2011 at 3:35 pm |
      • josh

        for starters

        December 8, 2011 at 4:04 pm |
    • Hot Carl

      Okay genius, as soon as you develope light speed technology we can! Leave your parents' basement much?

      December 8, 2011 at 4:11 pm |
    • Hot Carl

      Josh, why don't you develope light speed technology so we can get there in an average person's lifetime? Get out of your parents' basement and get some fresh air.

      December 8, 2011 at 4:15 pm |
    • JohnW

      First prove to me that Mars cannot support life, then we'll talk. Remember "does not" is not equal to "cannot".

      December 8, 2011 at 4:24 pm |
    • FM

      Some of those dead world contain massive amounts of resources that we can use. The moon has Helium 3 on it. You'll need resources like that if you want them to build those warp drives and get us to those habital worlds.

      December 8, 2011 at 4:49 pm |
  62. mudbone

    Not sure why we don't cut to the chase and actually send up some rovers to look for life. They keep sending up all these robotes just to look if conditions could have or currently do have the potential to support life. Quit wasting all our money and get to the real question. We are not going to stop exploring the solar system if the answer is no.

    December 8, 2011 at 3:15 pm |
    • mudbone

      Every time we send up another robot to Mars we are taking the risk of poluting the planet with microbes from Earth. Lets actually look for life. Are Geologist the ones running this show?

      December 8, 2011 at 3:26 pm |
    • MichaelInDC

      We have to know which locations had the best chance of supporting life before we can send rovers to actually look for life.

      December 8, 2011 at 3:28 pm |
      • mudbone

        If they can tell that a planet contains water thousands of light years away then they ought to be able to figure that question out by observing Mars from an orbital satalite.

        December 8, 2011 at 3:30 pm |
  63. Joe

    Good point metriast...please vote with me to send "Mr Serious" there. Let's include "Maximus" as well cuz he doesn't have enough of an inquiring mind to be of any use here.

    December 8, 2011 at 3:13 pm |
  64. Clemener

    http://marsanomalyresearch.com/

    not everything is as it seems apparently....^_^

    December 8, 2011 at 3:12 pm |
  65. Mr Serious

    We have never been to the moon! That is why we have never been back or will be. Why wouldnt we build a moon bacse instead of a space station? Why wouldn't we go investigate the moon with the technology we have today? because we were never there!!

    December 8, 2011 at 3:02 pm |
    • Dr Trollworth

      I know! Right? It's crazy. All these geeks thinking that science and space travel is actually real. They been watchin' too much Star Wars or whatever. It's all a buncha hoagwarsh!

      December 8, 2011 at 3:08 pm |
    • sanjosemike

      There is actually a great deal of proof that we have been to the moon, not the least is the many pictures we have of it on ground level. Yes, I know you will say they were faked. That's a predictable response.

      I urge you to not read so many conspiracy web sites. They tend to breed paranoia that can easily overcome your "regular" life. When that happens you will find yourself depressed and anxious, without quite knowing why. There's some clinical proof that conspiracy web sites increase you dopamine and serotonin levels.

      Try to get out. Try not using that u**nal next to you. Try using the regular rest room. When you get out, you might actually meet a REAL woman! That would be an improvement, I'm sure.

      Good luck on your NEW road to health.

      sanjosemike

      December 8, 2011 at 3:19 pm |
      • cosprons

        I do not know how ignoranat Herr Doktor actually is, but i think anyone suffering from terminal cranial-rectal insertion could probably use a glass of scotch!

        December 8, 2011 at 4:18 pm |
    • kerry

      good lord, a hoaxer??? lol...anybody who thinks we have not been to the moon is just , well...an idiot.

      Its been explained over and over again how ALL the hoax theories have explanations. The rest of us will move on...you can stay in the dark ages if you want.

      December 8, 2011 at 3:27 pm |
      • Rev. M-kell

        If your thinking is right that we've never been to the moon then I don't believe there's a city called New York! I've never seen it and anybody that says they have is being paid to lie about it! TWIT! Maybe we should launch a probe to Earth and see if there's any intelligent life here!

        December 8, 2011 at 3:40 pm |
    • Everyman

      If we were never there then how do you account for the pictures, some from our latest lunar probe this year, showing our activity there?

      December 8, 2011 at 3:39 pm |
      • kerry

        Oh clearly EVERYTHING is faked. Mercury, gemini, apollo, the shuttle, the ISS...its all faked. The public is too stupid to realize it though...and the rest of the world.

        And not one person has ever come forward to say 'hey i worked on this, and it was faked'. Clearly they all have kept quiet

        its just all so simple!!!

        December 8, 2011 at 4:21 pm |
  66. metriast

    if mars used to have water, maybe they have more somewhere. If so, we can send all the earth's derelicts and losers up there to live.

    December 8, 2011 at 3:01 pm |
    • BrianLL

      I agree – send all the republicans up there. They can have their very own world-wide theocracy and corporate fascist regime all to themselves. It'd allow the USA to get back on it's feet and gain civility again too.

      December 8, 2011 at 3:09 pm |
      • DanD1

        Send hard line republicans and hard line democrats.... It's those who are ruining this great country of ours. Anyone that calls themselves a Democrat or a Republican are not only hypocrites but ignorant in my opinion. Before I get slammed with hate because of my opinion, let me explain. There are things we all are liberal about and there are things that we are conservative about. Hence the reason why the general public should get in the act of researching nominees before they walk into a booth and vote straight Republican or Democrat

        December 8, 2011 at 3:21 pm |
      • sam

        it is the red planet, after all

        December 8, 2011 at 3:22 pm |
    • John Williams

      And you should be at the top of the list.

      December 8, 2011 at 3:15 pm |
    • Soicanleavecomments OnBlogs

      Send me there!!! If the USA is the best place on earth to live then time to go!

      December 8, 2011 at 3:32 pm |
  67. Maximus

    Ok, so at some point in time, there was water on Mars. What does it matter?

    December 8, 2011 at 2:59 pm |
    • Seattle Science

      Yeah, why further our knowledge of anything? Let's just stop learning about things all together. I'm being sarcastic, if you didn't pick up on that.

      December 8, 2011 at 3:05 pm |
      • Jeff

        I don't mind learning. As long as the learning stops costing me tax money.

        December 8, 2011 at 3:12 pm |
      • Dr Trollworth

        There is no point to learning anything about the nature of the universe. We already have a book that tells us about the entire history of the universe. It's called the Bible. Duh! Some ppl just don't know anything...

        December 8, 2011 at 3:13 pm |
      • Seattle Science

        If you want to limit your knowledge because of tax money or a fictional book, that is your choice. I have a feeling you've probably limited yourselves in all aspects of your lives. Some of us enjoy learning about the truth, call me crazy.

        December 8, 2011 at 3:21 pm |
      • A

        Hey Jeff. You do realize that NASA's entire budget is under 1% of the total US budget (more like 0.6%), and by comparison, military, social security, and medicare/medicaid are all around 20%. Do you really have a problem with paying that little to a field that has improved your quality of life through technology as opposed to other money sinks?

        December 8, 2011 at 3:24 pm |
      • sam

        jeff must have gone to a private school, where he paid for his education with job money instead of tax money, because job money is much more enjoyable to spend.

        December 8, 2011 at 3:25 pm |
      • Doug

        I think I would rather spend 17 Billion (NASA 2010 Budget) on learning something new than the 55 Billion we spend on foreign aid (2010 Budget) half of which goes to countries that want to do nothing but kill us!!!

        December 8, 2011 at 3:28 pm |
    • earth2loons

      Precisely my question, too. Water is one of the most abundant molecules in the universe. We should be shocked if Mars did not have water at some time. This is a liberal media game, trying to sensationalize the meaningless.

      December 8, 2011 at 3:06 pm |
      • amphiox

        LIQUID water. That's the key. Water as a molecule is indeed plentiful in the universe. But flowing liquid water is, as far as we currently know, one of the rarest things of all.

        (We ALREADY know that mars has water, in solid form, right now. We;ve known for decades.)

        December 8, 2011 at 3:08 pm |
      • A

        Water, specifically liquid water, is one of the necessities for life as we know it. The discovery of a liquid water past on Mars, more neutral than the acidic environment discovered earlier, gives further cause for continuing to search for past life on Mars. You can't simply take an observation at face value. You must also consider the implications of the observation.

        Also, what Seattle Science said.

        December 8, 2011 at 3:17 pm |
      • Mark J

        Not always amphiox, there are things such as extremophiles that live in ice, and scalding hot rocks several miles underground in the dark.

        December 8, 2011 at 3:19 pm |
      • chelsea12345

        oh yea that liberal media. they're everywhere now right?

        December 8, 2011 at 5:17 pm |
    • Howie

      You must have missed the introductory class...Let's make it simple – water is a necessary condition for life as we know it. Conclusive proof of the existence of water, means that it is possible there was also life. So, having found water, we now know it might not be a waste of time to look for life. Even simpler – water = life, life = worthwhile discovery. If you still don't understand why this is important, you are reading the wrong articles. Try googling 'kardashian' that should keep you amused.

      December 8, 2011 at 3:14 pm |
    • Whatisthematter?

      Water is the most abundant????? Are you crazy?!?! I think you are thinking of Hydrogen. In any case, this IS important. Remains of water on a barren planet can give us more questions to research....what is the matter with you haters??

      December 8, 2011 at 3:14 pm |
    • Mark J

      Yeah wouldn't you like to know we aren't alone? Presence of even just microbes on another planet might change the was we view the universe. Humans will finally be able to get over their foolish self importance. I think realizing that we are not the "failed chosen ones" would be great for societal progress.

      December 8, 2011 at 3:17 pm |
    • J

      Jesus wouldn't ask questions! He'd watch NASCAR and eat potato chips while hatin' the guv-ner-mint just like every other red blooded American.

      December 8, 2011 at 3:19 pm |
  68. Lou

    I think the "water" on Mars dialogue ties into a bigger picture. I think many believe thru religion that life can only exist on Earth and does this mean that our God is also the God of Mars inhabitants?

    December 8, 2011 at 2:57 pm |
    • Food4Thought

      There are inhabitants on Mars? I must have missed that in the article.

      Or this could be another case of someone drawing conclusions on little to no information.

      December 8, 2011 at 3:15 pm |
      • Lou

        Should have writtent potential inhabitants yes.....but the point on finding water could mean that Mars was alive and many folks think that couldnt be possible because that would mean our God created their world as well.

        December 8, 2011 at 3:19 pm |
  69. Mr Serious

    and we can have a hot tub time machine, go back in time and see if there was water! Wow what a fantastic waste of a time machine!

    December 8, 2011 at 2:49 pm |
  70. 2tired2care

    So what they're saying is we now have the makings for hot tubs on Mars. Party time!

    December 8, 2011 at 2:48 pm |
  71. Mr Serious

    Seriously...Dont Occupy my Mars water!!

    December 8, 2011 at 2:47 pm |
  72. ipmutt

    Very nice work in the Bush era project. Too bad Obama has taken this kind of thing away in hopes of making America weaker,

    December 8, 2011 at 2:47 pm |
    • Will

      [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oavMtUWDBTM&w=640&h=390]

      December 8, 2011 at 2:54 pm |
    • Stevo

      You apparently missed the latest launch to Mars just a week or so ago eh?

      December 8, 2011 at 2:58 pm |
      • Jim

        I saw the animated version of how that rover is supposed to land on Mars. I give it about a 15% chance of succeeding.

        December 8, 2011 at 3:06 pm |
      • kerry

        Jim, you have very little knowledge of mars probes if you give this a 15 % chance. Please tell us all of the very scientific way you arrived at that answer.

        December 8, 2011 at 3:30 pm |
      • Jim

        Nice personal attack. I just believe that the landing system is too complicated and that the probe operators won't be able to address problems quickly enough by remote control at that distance. Time will tell if I'm right or not.

        December 8, 2011 at 3:48 pm |
      • kerry

        What personal attack???? I am asking you a legitimate question. If you dont have an answer that is not my problem

        December 8, 2011 at 4:23 pm |
      • Kush Rim-Farter

        kerry, why bother attempting to start a dialogue with jim or engage in civil discourse? it's an exercise in futility! Obviously, if he believes in his mind that they only have a 15% chance of landing safely, then by golly, it must be true!

        December 8, 2011 at 4:44 pm |
      • Jim

        "Jim, you have very little knowledge of mars probes if you give this a 15 % chance." That personal attack.

        December 8, 2011 at 5:35 pm |
    • Chrissy

      Obama has actually added more such projects. He eliminated the moon return, but added more projects like this and study of asteroids/near earth objects.
      Moon return was over cost and over budget...and shoudl be a commercial endeavor if it is only for ultimately commercial development that we return.

      December 8, 2011 at 2:58 pm |
    • Bob

      Dude, you don't know what you are talking about.

      December 8, 2011 at 2:59 pm |
    • Jim

      Too bad that Bush weakened America to the point that it can no longer afford projects of this kind.

      December 8, 2011 at 3:00 pm |
    • Michael

      Obama helped end the space shuttle program, while INCREASING funding for this type of project (and the overall budget for NASA!). Less than 2 weeks ago, a bigger badder rover was launched aboard an Atlas V rocket.

      December 8, 2011 at 3:03 pm |
      • amphiox

        And if it had not been for Bush ruining the economy and wasting all the money on useless military adventures, Obama would never have had to be forced to make that choice, and we could have done both.

        December 8, 2011 at 3:11 pm |
  73. Bob

    Exactly gman!! Because for all we know Aliens could be nothing more than a piece of dust that loves CO2 and eats nothing but rocks for lunch whil washing it down with a cup gamma rays!

    December 8, 2011 at 2:46 pm |
    • Dr Trollworth

      Also, they might enjoy the lack of atmosphere. Don't most organisms like their atmosphere around 0.4–0.87 kPa? That could help make their blood boil which would keep them warm at night when it's -87 C.

      December 8, 2011 at 3:02 pm |
  74. norris

    Is there water on Mars? Well just ask CHUCK NORRIS, he created water !

    December 8, 2011 at 2:43 pm |
    • Dan

      And the earth will end up just like Mars if CHUCK NORRIS decides he doesn't like it here anymore!

      December 8, 2011 at 2:49 pm |
  75. gman

    I find it interesting to assume that life on other planets is always assumed to have originated the way human life appeared on Earth. That water being found on Mars could indicate life existed there. How very "Human" to assume that water was even necessary. We no nothing about the red planet, if "life" was even a possibility, but yet here we are trying to apply "human" equations to a question that we have no way to answer.

    December 8, 2011 at 2:42 pm |
    • Leprakawn

      *Ahem* We k-n-o-w nothing...

      December 8, 2011 at 2:48 pm |
    • Chach

      No one assumes that "human life" (as you put it) originated the same way. What they are doing is looking for evidence that conditions on other worlds (such as Mars in this case) were similar enough to conditions observed on Earth to have developed the only kind of life we know about, which is life on Earth. They have not assumed that other forms of life have not developed or that it is impossible for anything but Earth-like forms of life to exist. But since they don't know what or how an un-Earth-like form of life would look like or how it would develop, they only look for things that know about. As far as we know, the only life we have observed is here on Earth. It is carbon based and it needs water at minimum. If there are other forms of life that do not require those two things, we wouldn't know what to look for, so we don't.

      December 8, 2011 at 2:57 pm |
    • KB

      Water has become the fundamental observational resource due to the fact that all life, including all three domains of life on Earth (which includes "rock munchers" and even "rock poopers"), requires water to be present in the liquid form. It is only this substance that has such a broad temperature range in the liquid state, while also providing the requisite physical properties necessary for enzyme 3-D structure/folding.
      The fact that we are looking for water is very straightforward and, the more you look at it, less about "human-centered" approaches and more "all scientific data to this point in history" kind of focused.

      December 8, 2011 at 2:59 pm |
    • Short memory

      How long ago did we KNOW life NEEDED oxygen? And it NEEDED the sun? And then we found hydrothermal vents...

      December 8, 2011 at 3:05 pm |
      • amphiox

        Actually, we already know that life DOES NOT need oxygen, or the sun.

        But oxygen respiration is the most efficient source of energy generation allowed by the laws of chemistry using the commonly available atoms and molecules in the universe. And large (multicellular), complicated critters needs lots of energy to support them. So it's a fair assumption that such life will be more likely to need/use oxygen than not. And if both types exist out there, it's most likely that the oxygen using types will be more common.

        December 8, 2011 at 3:13 pm |
      • amphiox

        We knew that life did not need oxygen almost from the very beginning of microbiology as a science. Anaerobic bacteria were known for a long time. We thought life needed the sun for a while, of course. It should be noted that although vent lifeforms do not directly need the sun, most of them rely on biochemistries that are indirectly dependent on the sun (for example, many of them metabolize sulfates, which are the byproducts of bacteria that need both oxygen and the sun. So while it seems likely that life supported by hydrothermal vents completely independent on sunlight is possible, that is not proven. It could still be that life needs a star to get started, and only after such a start and after spreading throughout such a star supported planet can it evolve to live in environments cut off from the star.

        December 8, 2011 at 4:00 pm |
    • amphiox

      It's simply an issue of practicality. The kind of life we know is the kind of life we know how to recognize and find. So if we are serious about wanting to search for life elsewhere, it makes sense to start with what we know, rather than wasting money and resources on pure speculation.

      If we succeed in finding another kind of life out there, it will be a kind that resembles our own (since that is what we looked for), but by studying it, we will be able to, hopefully, learn about the ways that it is not like our own. And then our understanding of what life is will expand, allowing us to broaden our search for more kinds of life that are more different from our own.

      And this process can repeat itself, on and on.

      Of course we still have to find that very first example of life elsewhere, but this is a much more sensible and less wasteful approach than to simply flail about randomly in the dark, hoping to get lucky.

      December 8, 2011 at 3:06 pm |
    • allanhowls

      Actually, you're wrong. It has long been hypothesized that non-carbon-based lifeforms may exist, with silicon being the most likely candidate, from a chemical standpoint.

      It is fairly safe, however, to assume carbon-based life when we see remants of a carbon-based ecosphere on Mars, as well as the knowledge that carbon-based lifeforms are viable in this neck of the woods.

      You're not going to have Radium-based organisms popping up in an environment so close to Earth's, now. It simply would not make sense. That does not preclude the (remote) possibility of such things existing elsewhere in the universe, but it does mean that we can put it fairly far down on the list of possibilities for Mars.

      Occam's Razor, and whatnot...

      December 8, 2011 at 3:15 pm |
  76. Chuck

    What we've really discovered here is that the same elements that exist here on Earth exist on other planets; that's hardly surprising. And that they form the same molecules on other planets that they form here on Earth; that's hardly surprising either. Physics works the same on other planets as it does here on Earth.

    December 8, 2011 at 2:39 pm |
    • Dan

      Thanks Einstein!

      December 8, 2011 at 2:46 pm |
    • x

      To discover that the molecule to existed in a specific state, which it no longer does there, is the achievement.

      December 8, 2011 at 3:17 pm |
  77. MrSnow

    Ok, so there might have been life... send Schwarzenegger over there NOW!

    December 8, 2011 at 2:39 pm |
    • Chuck

      "there MIGHT have been life."

      Might is the operative word there. But this is very, very weak evidence. This is like saying that if a man is seen leaving his house in Portland, Oregon walking in a generally-west direction, then he obviously must be going to New York City and no other possible explaination should be considered.

      December 8, 2011 at 2:43 pm |
      • Craig

        As someone who lives in Portland, Oregon if I were headed generally west I would generally walk into the Pacific Ocean and drown before I reached New York City. If he were headed generally east then you could assume I was arriving in New York City. You could make this assumption of New York City if you also assumed I had a way to traverse the ocean while walking west.(That would be a long trip).

        December 8, 2011 at 3:27 pm |
      • amphiox

        This is not evidene that there "might" have been life, weak or strong.

        This is evidence that conditions that would have supported earth-like life once existed. The gypsum is not only evidence of running liquid water for extended periods of time, but liquid water with a neutral pH (other evidence of early water on Mars had been of highly acidic water), which is quite friendly to even not-so-hardy earth-type microbes.

        Only after we confirm that conditions capable of supporting earth-like life once existed can we reasonably begin to even serious think about searching for the remnants of earth-like life.

        December 8, 2011 at 4:06 pm |
    • jashfhasklj

      hahahahaha

      December 8, 2011 at 2:44 pm |
    • too late

      If only we had shipped Schwarzenutter off to Mars 10 years ago, we wouldn't have had the Governator. Sigh.

      December 8, 2011 at 2:51 pm |
  78. nytw

    Why are we still wasting tax money on this nonsense. It is time to realize we can not afford to this kind of nonsense anymore. Liberals need to accept that and quit wasting our tax dollars on their Star Trek/Star Wars fantasies.

    December 8, 2011 at 2:38 pm |
    • Erik

      Were wasting tax dollars on non-sensical wars. This is for the pursuit of knowledge, and there is nothing more honorable than that.

      December 8, 2011 at 2:44 pm |
    • Dr Trollworth

      Ya!!!! Liberal bums! Stop wasting money on spaceships! NASA should be cancelled so we can blow money on other more important stuff. The nature of the universe means practically nothing. In 1000 years ppl will look back at the history books and be like,
      first guy: "Hmmm, they went to the moon for the first time in 1969. Who cares? I go there twice a week. Ah, and it says here they cancelled their space program because they needed more funds for energy production... whoa!!! Energy production money! Holy crap! That's amazing! We should teach this information in schools across the world!"
      Other guy: "What? The part about the moon landing?"
      First guy: "No! F that. The energy money thing!"

      December 8, 2011 at 2:46 pm |
    • danieljsf

      Yes, better to throw the money away on needless wars, killing thousands of people, so we can satisfy the greed of the Military Industrial Complex. That's the right-wing solution.

      December 8, 2011 at 2:47 pm |
    • Stephen Falk

      Yes the infinitesimally small amount of money..
      Science..yeah..screw that..why learn something about the universe that could possibly be applied
      to help humanity someday..

      December 8, 2011 at 2:50 pm |
    • PR

      Liberals? You know of course this rover was sent to Mars during Bush's term right and that's its lasted way longer than expected so the return of the cost of the mission is incredibly high, but I'm guessing you're a tbagger and are against education so you wouldn't really know these things.

      December 8, 2011 at 3:08 pm |
    • Tek

      Are you really that ignorant? How many useful items have come from going into space? Why don't you look that up before you start talking smack.

      Let's just look at a few to see how worthless they are. 1) Aviation safety... Yeah this is worthless, we don't need to be safe flying right? 2) Solar Energy – Yup another waste, we'll just keep burning fossil fuels. 3) Oil Spill control – wow all these useless projects... Nah we never have to worry about oil spills? 4) Eathquake prediction systems – We have no earthquakes on this planet... What a waste. 5) Some others include – Housing insulation, purification systems for water and waste, Smoke Detectors, MRIs and X-rays... All these are useless too right????
      Personally I am glad we "wasted" this money.

      December 8, 2011 at 3:10 pm |
      • Dr Trollworth

        OMG, yes. Massive waste of money. All those things are useless. All you really need to be happy in life is a can of beans and pocket full of dreams... and a bible.

        December 8, 2011 at 3:43 pm |
    • A

      NASA's budget is less than 1% (more like 0.6%) of the total US budget, whereas things like medicare/medicaid, social security, and military are about 20% each. Are you really that concerned about "wasting" (that waste, by the way, resulted in a lot of technology that you comfortably enjoy today) that 0.6% in the face of allllllllll the other money? By the way: that money is funding jobs, which should theoretically feed back into the economy.

      Talk like yours is one of the reasons the US is falling behind other countries in terms of mathematical and scientific literacy.

      December 8, 2011 at 3:31 pm |
  79. Chuck

    I don't understand the big deal with water. Yes, it is necessary for life as we know it. But so are a million other things. Water is a pretty simple molecule made out of two of the most plentiful elements and it forms naturally under very common conditions. The fact that there is water somewhere really says very little.

    December 8, 2011 at 2:37 pm |
    • Erik

      Wrong.

      December 8, 2011 at 2:42 pm |
    • Ehm-Duh

      Just so you know water is H2O. Hydrogen is very common throughout the universe. But Oxygen is NOT. It is only plentiful here on this planet – Earth (that we know of so far).

      December 8, 2011 at 2:49 pm |
      • John P

        Ehm-Duh you have absolutely no idea what elements are common in our own galaxy, let alone the 'universe" – we are discovering we know very little even about our own solar system for christ sake!

        I am convinced that the universe is absolutely teeming with life of all sort of forms – a huge petri dish in which we are but one speck. Statistics and probability tells us that – nothing tells us that oxygen is rare or uncommon at all.

        December 8, 2011 at 3:06 pm |
      • x

        John P, he's speaking in relative terms. Oxygen is rare as it only comes from the death of a star, whereas hydrogen is the basis of a star in the first place. Yes, when you expand your search to the entire universe it becomes "common," but in a local context (our solar system) it's much harder to find.

        December 8, 2011 at 3:14 pm |
      • Kuthrapali

        Oxygen is formed only from the death of a star?? What HAVE you been smoking? In case you havent noticed, OUR star is not dead. Suns function as a result of nuclear fusion...and complex molecules are formed by that process. Hydrogen to helium is just one of the most common reactions but carbon and other elements are formed this way. Most recently, it was discovered that complex carbon balls known as 'buckyballs' or the fullerene molecule are being formed by our sun and sent out on solar winds. The planets are continually being bombarded by fusion materials from the sun.
        Oxygen only has 8 protons and 8 neutrons.. it isnt that hard for the Sun to create.
        You are thinking of atmospheric oxygen. Mars has plenty of oxygen..but like most other worlds without life...that oxygen is locked up in the rock. The reason Mars has a red color? The oxygen there has combined with iron. This would be the condition of atmospheric oxygen on Earth if it had not been for organisms that produce oxygen as a byproduct of metabolism. Atmospheric oxygen is one key indicator of life on a planet- or at least a life form/ process that we would recognize. Other microorganisms have different metabolisms- some will survive in the high sulfur and heat of hot sulfur springs, for example. Organisms like those could then survive on Venus. Ones that use iron oxide and water could produce atmospheric oxygen on Mars.

        December 8, 2011 at 4:32 pm |
    • kerry

      Chuck, you are ignorant. Liquid water is not common at all. That is what they are looking for.

      I love how there are so many experts in this forum. Really makes me laugh

      December 8, 2011 at 3:33 pm |
  80. Sharpie

    This could also happen to the Earth if we lose our magnetic field. Apparently we are overdue for a magnetic pole switch, but that has not been fatal in the past.

    December 8, 2011 at 2:36 pm |
    • Geoscientist

      Earths magnetic field has nothing to do with us having water. Even when a pole reversal happens there will still be water. You should look up plate tectonics and look at the magnetic stripping...that occurred underwater and still does.

      December 8, 2011 at 2:57 pm |
  81. waterboy

    Don't Occupy my Mars Water!

    December 8, 2011 at 2:36 pm |
  82. EarthFan

    ACTUALLY... They had an issues with Occupy protesters of the water on Mars and eventually the water gave in and left. I just blame those darn fools. These ruined Mars now they are ruining Earth!

    December 8, 2011 at 2:34 pm |
  83. Dr Trollworth

    Booya! Water! Now they need to go find the aliens. I hope the aliens have already invented beer. That will increase motivation for colonization.

    December 8, 2011 at 2:34 pm |
  84. Asashii

    like we know what happened to Mars, is it testable other than scaled B.S., we cant even come to a consensus on our own planet more or less some other planet, its called theory for a reason because that is what it is !!!!!!! if you dont believe me just look up how the Dino's died, ice age-meteor-parasites-disease , so please lets keep down the certain facts when they are not !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    December 8, 2011 at 2:30 pm |
    • Breck

      I think you don't really understand what the word "Theory" means in a scientific context. A Theory is an explination that is backed up by multiple lines of evidence, not some idea that someone just pulls from thin air. It sounds like you don't buy into the idea of carefully taking measurements and developing the most likely explination for what all these measurements mean as a whole.

      December 8, 2011 at 2:45 pm |
    • x

      You really need to learn what's required to be called a "theory" by scientists. You're mistaken with a hypothesis.

      December 8, 2011 at 3:11 pm |
  85. skyrim

    In the grand scheme of things this is quite boring. If we landed on Europa, drilled a miles-long hole in the ice crust and dropped into an underground planet-wide ocean – yea, I'd say there is something to get all worked up about... But this? small calcium deposits of what may or may not have been water ? wooohoo? I think not.

    December 8, 2011 at 2:28 pm |
  86. hnmmmmm

    how is everyone a genius in these comments?!

    December 8, 2011 at 2:26 pm |
    • lunchbreaker

      The fundies haven't gotten here yet.

      December 8, 2011 at 2:31 pm |
  87. Mike

    What a fantastic find. We can only hope that Curiosity will be as successful as Spirit and Opportunity when it lands in August.

    December 8, 2011 at 2:14 pm |
  88. Joe

    Earth's eventual fate will be to be swallowed by the sun when it dies and goes supernova, but that won't be a for a few billion years yet so I wouldn't start cashing out my IRA if I were you.

    December 8, 2011 at 2:13 pm |
    • mr.derp

      but... our sun is a very unlikely candidate to go supernova.

      December 8, 2011 at 2:21 pm |
      • Asashii

        the next phase is actual a red giant which in theory has less mass but is hundreds of times bigger, according to the EXPERTS, and the theory of star phases !!!

        December 8, 2011 at 2:33 pm |
    • ScientistUno

      Umm... the sun won't super nova. It's not big enough...

      December 8, 2011 at 2:30 pm |
    • Leprakawn

      I remember in first grade that I had a book stating that the Sun would do something like that in 100 years. That being 22 years ago...looks like we are 78 years away from finding out what will happen.

      December 8, 2011 at 2:34 pm |
      • Howie

        I really, really hope you are joking. I know US education is not very good these days, but really.

        December 8, 2011 at 3:41 pm |
      • chelsea12345

        Sadly I don't think this is sarcasm

        December 8, 2011 at 5:19 pm |
    • Blackrobe

      Our sun does not have enough mass to become a supernova. It will burn all of its hydrogen then begin to expand into a red giant as it starts fusing helium. As it burns the remainder of its fusable material it will expel most of its mass into space and leave behind a hot "white dwarf" stellar core.

      December 8, 2011 at 2:49 pm |
  89. lunchbreaker

    Mars' problem is that it is much smaller than earth and therefore didn't have the gravity necessary to keep it's atmosphere... I think.

    December 8, 2011 at 2:11 pm |
    • Justin

      It actually boiled down to plate tectonics and the recycling of energy. I just saw something about this on "The Universe" the other day. Guess it had something to do with the dying of the internal dynamo inside the planet, no spinning mass generating a magnetic field around the planet, the solar winds can tear apart the atmosphere.

      December 8, 2011 at 2:15 pm |
    • rmollise

      Being smaller was Mars' problem, but not really because of gravity. It cooled, it's core solidified, and its magnetic field died, allowing the Solar wind to progressively strip away its atmosphere.

      December 8, 2011 at 2:16 pm |
    • TL

      The real issue is that Mars lost its magnetic field early

      December 8, 2011 at 2:18 pm |
    • lunchbreaker

      That, and the stopping of techtonic motion stopps volcanism, which is the major source of atmospheric gas.

      December 8, 2011 at 2:21 pm |
      • x

        Venus is the most volcanically active planet in the solar system, and tectonics are a thing of the past there as the surface has been "repaved" by lava flows. Also, emission of gasses into the atmosphere are no match for the solar wind without a magnetic field already in place.

        December 8, 2011 at 3:09 pm |
      • amphiox

        Venus is not the most volcanically active planet in the solar system right now. In fact Venus is almost volcanically dead at the moment. And Venus probably never had plate tectonics, or if it did, it lost it very, very early.

        Venus seems to go through cycles of being dead with intervals of extremely violent volcanic activity that repaves almost the entire surface with lava, with the last such episode happening maybe about 500 million years ago. And it is thought this happens precisely because Venus does not have plate tectonics, which would gradually and steadily release interior volcanic heat, rather than letting it build up to the point of total surface remodelling.

        The most volcanically active planet in the solar system is actually earth. The most volcanically active body in the solar system is Jupiter's moon Io.

        December 8, 2011 at 4:14 pm |
      • amphiox

        Venus has no magnetic field. It's atmosphere is in no danger of being blown away by solar wind.

        If Earth lost it's magnetic field today, earth would still retain its atmosphere for a pretty long time, too.

        December 8, 2011 at 4:18 pm |
  90. Duane

    So the question is, was Mars closer to the sun at one time and will Earth share the same fate?

    December 8, 2011 at 2:08 pm |
    • rmollise

      No. Mars wasn't closer, and Earth will not share its fate. Earth will die from heat, not cold. Long before the Sun becomes a red giant, its output will increase enough to make the Earth a waterless desert. We do have about a billion years left, but that is IT. LOL.

      December 8, 2011 at 2:18 pm |
      • amphiox

        Earth's ultimate fate will the fate of today's Venus, not Mars.

        But Mars' future fate may well be the fate of today's Earth.... Though this may require some non-natural intervention.

        December 8, 2011 at 4:08 pm |
    • us1776

      Nope. Mars being smaller lost its liquid iron core and when that happened it lost nearly all its magnetic field. Once that happened the solar wind stripped away any significant amount of atmosphere that was present. And in turn that caused the seas to evaporate and sublimate. The End.

      .

      December 8, 2011 at 2:21 pm |
      • Geoscientist

        And you know that Mars has no liquid core how? Was it that array of seismometers you set up?

        December 8, 2011 at 3:01 pm |
      • SmarterThanAGeoscientist

        It is known from physics. The actual core would be solid (iron), and the outer core would be liquid metal. The liquid metal being dragged around the solid core from spinning creates a magnetic field. With the lack of a magnetic field (Mars), this gives us a pretty good idea that the core is solid.

        That being said, Jupiter has a magnetic field, and that simply perplexes scientists at this point.

        December 8, 2011 at 3:11 pm |
      • amphiox

        A magnetic field requires something with charge moving around (ie electric currents) in circular paths (which are generated automatically from the rotation of the planet). Whatever is happening on Jupiter likely involves some layer of its core that is fluid (liquid or gas) and charged. But we don't yet know precisely what it is.

        December 8, 2011 at 4:11 pm |
    • For Sure

      Since none of us were alive during any of this, hopefully one day (in our lifetime) we can actually visit there and get a better idea of what is there and what actually never was.

      December 8, 2011 at 2:24 pm |

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