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

Mars may have flowing saltwater, study says

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

CNN's Matt Smith contributed to this report.

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Filed under: In Space
soundoff (977 Responses)
  1. 2bits

    Why don't you keep your scientific articles in the Scientific American or such instead of BSing the public about something on another planet when we have so many problems on our own planet huh?

    Jeeze get a life CNN.

    August 4, 2011 at 9:29 pm |
    • Chris

      If you have children I hope you don't home school them.

      August 4, 2011 at 9:32 pm |
  2. curt

    Who gives a @#$# the only people that will live when this planet go's are the super rich and whoever they choose to come a long...

    August 4, 2011 at 9:27 pm |
  3. someone

    Just HOW MANY TIMES do I have to hear this before they actually send something there and FIND water?!

    August 4, 2011 at 9:26 pm |
    • cocopuf

      Actually, salt water, which we already have plenty of ... here ...

      August 5, 2011 at 11:37 am |
  4. Jack B

    I'm sure that the unemployed and starving are just thrilled to learn about this.

    August 4, 2011 at 9:25 pm |
    • cocopuf

      Especially salt water.

      August 5, 2011 at 11:39 am |
  5. brad1001

    I was a child in the 60's and lived the space chase. It was great. It's over for now, robotics and satellites will have to do for awhile. Many of the things that everyone so touts as being resultant of the space race would have been made without it, so enough already about that, it's old. We the people deserve a better government policy of spending without subsidizing the behemoth corporations that have fleeced us in the name of space.

    August 4, 2011 at 9:20 pm |
    • ADiff

      Like so many of the 'children of the 60s' you are obviously mistaken about a great many things. A little knowledge can be a dangerous thing, especially when, as is so obvious in your case, it can be wielded like a ring through your nose to lead you were others will. Just keep on believing everything is the fault of those humongous companies....let's see where that gets you.

      August 5, 2011 at 12:09 pm |
  6. George

    Those are huge mountains.. An earthquake dislodges smaller rocks will roll down the mountain creating chanels in the sand .. no water..

    August 4, 2011 at 9:17 pm |
    • ADiff

      So you're an expert at analyzing aerial photographs...of Mars? Remarkable! Does NASA know you'll be happy to volunteer your expertise? Please, do tell....

      August 5, 2011 at 12:11 pm |
    • SciGuy73

      Those would be marsquakes, and Mars doesn't have them. At least not like on Earth. Mars is not tectonically active.

      August 5, 2011 at 8:29 pm |
  7. Jim

    We don't spend nearly enough money of this stuff.

    Save the James Webb Space Telescope

    August 4, 2011 at 9:16 pm |
  8. Kingofthenet

    Google... 'Satan's Trick's'... get right, before Rapture!

    August 4, 2011 at 9:13 pm |
    • Timetraveler

      Go sell that crap to your kind. Nobody here buys that s#%t.

      August 4, 2011 at 9:55 pm |
  9. MICHAEL

    All that flows is not water!

    August 4, 2011 at 9:13 pm |
  10. DNS

    The ocean has salt water, sand and food. It is barely explored while billions/trillions go to the space program.

    August 4, 2011 at 9:09 pm |
  11. Kishore

    I got hold of another picture, and in this one, light, toe-like features seem to appear in the Mars summer then fade in the Mars winter. I am thinking it is fresh water.

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

      ... and if it is fesh water, then what? Are we going to ship back to Earth? Get real.

      August 5, 2011 at 11:44 am |
  12. Paul Ronco

    I would not be the least bit surprised if Mars once had intelligent life which then wiped itself out by the burning of fossil fuels, the emissions of which permanently altered the atmosphere and subsequently destroyed all life on the planet. There may have also been nuclear warfare in the final stages as rival corporate nation-states fought for the last scraps of habitable and fertile land, clean water sources, and energy that were left.

    August 4, 2011 at 9:04 pm |
    • Chris

      And maybe there was a real-true Martian Santa Claus.
      Wild speculation. If you have a point, make it on this planet and I'll take it seriously and maybe agree.

      August 4, 2011 at 9:24 pm |
  13. Omnipotent

    Hmm do you think Adam and Eve started on Mars? Damn there goes that whole bible theory. Grrr just when I was starting to believe in fire breathing dragons.

    August 4, 2011 at 9:03 pm |
    • Chris

      Your view of religion is as shallow as it is off topic.

      August 4, 2011 at 9:25 pm |
  14. MikeBell

    It's amazing that the we're stuck on the running water theory.
    What about heavy gasses or other elements that are liquid at those low temperatures?

    August 4, 2011 at 8:59 pm |
    • cja

      The temperature when this was observed was over 0C or 32F. Not much else but water is liquid when it is that warm. At that temp with such low pressure even the water might varorize

      August 4, 2011 at 9:10 pm |
  15. sonic10158

    This is Mars calling Major Tom!

    August 4, 2011 at 8:59 pm |
    • MikeBell

      I get it. That's a pretty good song by David Bowie.

      August 4, 2011 at 9:02 pm |
  16. MarsBar

    Do what Arnold says, "You need to get your #@$$ to Mars!"

    August 4, 2011 at 8:55 pm |
  17. Foxhole Atheist

    I'd like to share a revelation that I've had during my time here. It came to me when I tried to classify your species and I realized that you're not actually mammals. Every mammal on this planet instinctiv­ely develops a natural equilibriu­m with the surroundin­g environmen­t but you humans do not. You move to an area and you multiply and multiply until every natural resource is consumed and the only way you can survive is to spread to another area. There is another organism on this planet that follows the same pattern. Do you know what it is? A virus. Human beings are a disease, a cancer of this planet. You're a plague and we are the cure.

    -Agent Smith

    http://www­.youtube.c­om/watch?v­=-Na9-jV_O­JI

    August 4, 2011 at 8:55 pm |
    • cocopuf

      I'm sorry, but you are as dumb as an atheist would be. lol

      August 5, 2011 at 11:49 am |
  18. Kingofthenet

    This is Obama and the Islamist's and Marxists handiwork, to try and discredit my Bible, well i ain't in fact i am buying ANOTHER gun!

    August 4, 2011 at 8:54 pm |
  19. DNS

    Since I am 68 years old, my grandchildren will see people on Mars. My immediate concern is rain in Texas.

    August 4, 2011 at 8:54 pm |
  20. Logistics

    ii just want to know whats up with this information,? truth be told they know a lot more than what is told. -_- pointless. Government!! Open up!

    August 4, 2011 at 8:46 pm |
  21. vincent

    life is like an algebraic expression, it's best in it's simplest form so why complicate in trying to solve the future if solving today will keep the future!peace people!

    August 4, 2011 at 8:44 pm |
  22. Logistics

    yayy, Salt Waterr.! now whats next,? thy say it oens doors and brings in benefits. haa which we'll never see.

    August 4, 2011 at 8:40 pm |
  23. username1

    Step back a few frames and it's not hard to understand that the most beautiful and complex thing that we know of in the universe is the human mind (Created by God or not, the fact still remains). Capable of understanding and manipulating the universe, with the potential for infinite good. Extending that logic, we have a duty to protect this. As many writers have said the life expectancy of earth is limited, whether my meteor, death of the sun or some other unknown phenomenon. The most important thing we are doing on this planet is understanding our universe and working toward becoming a multi-planet civilization

    August 4, 2011 at 8:33 pm |
  24. Logan9773

    70 degrees at the equator? Mars or bust! Just need a little grass.

    August 4, 2011 at 8:26 pm |
  25. red

    Surf's up on Mars, people. All right.

    August 4, 2011 at 8:23 pm |
  26. ted

    Sand ! powder like sand can look like water was flowing . in caps I will say it again . SAND!!
    This is my theory ,and i hope I am wrong . Water on mars would be a cool find for science .

    August 4, 2011 at 8:12 pm |
  27. clinky

    This story is interesting but terribly written. Anyone agree? "Mars is about 50 million miles farther from the sun than Earth is from the sun." You don't need to say the object of comparison twice. Read on to this paragraph: "The water implicated in the new study is expected to be briny because previous study of Mars has shown that its surface is salty. The flows are finger-like and small; nowhere near the size of major rivers on Earth. They are also very narrow: 0.5 to 5 yards, or meters, wide." 1) How exactly do you implicate water? 2) Studies of Mars, or study of Mars in genral? 3) A yard is not the same as a meter.

    August 4, 2011 at 8:09 pm |
  28. Reg

    Everyone who remembers watching the classic movie/mini series "The Marian Chronicles" where people from Earth settle on a terra-formed Mars and encounter intelligent aliens, must feel strongly and practically know there's life there. Some day all those billions will end up vindicating just that, which we can intuitively already know.

    August 4, 2011 at 8:00 pm |
  29. Rob

    So what if the market's down... No one seems to care about that when they have their faces glued to the tv, watching has been celebrities try to dance or sober up, doesn't stop them from cheering on their teams during a game. These people are same fools that buy into party politics, and instead of voting everyone out on the collective rears, they go along with the blame game and vote the idiots that caused there precious market and economy to collapse, it's their own fault... Maybe they should refuse CAT scans and MRI's since they were developed in part because of the "so what" space program, throw out their cell phones and GPS's that rely on satellites put in space by the "so what" space program... The market isn't down, and they didn't get laid off, because of the space program.

    August 4, 2011 at 7:22 pm |
  30. teepee

    none of you clowns will live to see us go to another planet...what if we have a flat tire half way over there?

    August 4, 2011 at 7:15 pm |
  31. Future

    Instead of spending all the $$$ and resources available for wars and conflicts we the people on this planet should all come together and aim to reach beyond this planet. Mars is just the beginning of this long journey. I am hopeful that one day soon all the people on this planet will realize that there is a lot more beyond Earth and the only way we can get there is by uniting and working towards a common goal to go as high above Earth as possible. Just look at the sky above for a moment, that is the infinity because all the answers to our questions and resolutions to our problems lies above us not below.

    August 4, 2011 at 7:12 pm |
    • teepee

      do you idiots realize how far the next planet is? what about food? oxygen. space station or planet station housing...green houses and veggies. FOOD PEOPLE, FOOD! you think we can just go that far and just set up shop? how stupid to think it is so simple.

      August 4, 2011 at 7:17 pm |
  32. Tim

    Don't believe much if any of this. The atmospheric pressure on Mars cannot sustain water in the liquid form for very long. It all evaporates very quickly due to high vapor pressure relative to the atmosphere. What kind of scientists are these that don't understand basic thermodynamics?

    August 4, 2011 at 6:55 pm |
  33. Tony Greene

    Ignorance is always around the corner or across the street. Everytime someone ignorant is exposed to something they don't understand they can embrace the opportunity or immediately try to dismiss or discredit the situation. In our species we have crawled, walked, ran, and now we have flown to other countires, continents, and now other planets. What would have happend if our forefathers had dismissed the dream of evolving?

    I might not understand the significance of this find but I do understand that someone out there that matters does. Before I begin to blast the program or its usefulness, I will explore the situation entirely. I will "educate" myself before I post openly on a CNN forum and make myself look like a moron.

    I think most of us here could benefit from some self education before we go crying about how useful or wasteful this program is to our country.

    August 4, 2011 at 6:51 pm |
    • teepee

      err...it's a bit further away than another country pal...how we gonna get there? what about air and food and drink? think we can make it by next year this time?

      August 4, 2011 at 7:19 pm |
      • Tony Greene

        If there is water on Mars then that could possibly be used to facilitate and sustain life. As I am sure you're well aware water can be used for fuel and to grow our own food. Just because we can't get there next year or in this decade doesn't mean we shouldn't be planning for it now. Just as you've prepared yourself mentally for your day at work tomorrow, our human race must prepare ourself for the space aged tomorrow.

        August 4, 2011 at 9:43 pm |
  34. Richard

    So what? NASA has been going to Mars fopr 50 years. They couldn't find life if it jumped up and bit them on the ass. What a waste. I wanna know what the military is doing in space. What do you want to bet they know way more than they're telling us. NASA can kiss my grits. It wouldn't hurt my feelings if they de-funded the whole damn thing.

    August 4, 2011 at 6:40 pm |
    • teepee

      finally someone with some sense...military in space only mean more wars...

      August 4, 2011 at 7:21 pm |
  35. Marine5484

    Hey "me" where do you think many of the breakthroughs that have happened during the 20th century came from? But with a screen name like "me" I can see that your a self absorbed and ignorant.

    August 4, 2011 at 6:26 pm |
  36. DrDiomedes

    Couldn't we, from a probe, agitate the surface with a active tun-able laser and check out the spectrum?

    August 4, 2011 at 6:10 pm |
  37. gupsphoo

    Did Jesus even know the existence of Mars? I doubt it.

    August 4, 2011 at 5:57 pm |
    • DrDiomedes

      Yes he did. It was one of the major wondering stars of his time.

      August 4, 2011 at 5:59 pm |
      • ADiff

        Nice. Assuming actual historicity, yes, you are quite right.

        August 4, 2011 at 8:25 pm |
  38. ADiff

    This is another in the recent series of sensational press releases from NASA that more than anything else call into question the judgement of the agency and its personnel. It's probably past time to bury the cadaver, get rid of NASA, and figure out a new, more rational, vehicle to national space policy. It's a shame the Obama Administration decided to terminate the U.S. manned space program....but let's be honest, it's never had a rational, sustainable mission from the very start. It's always been about politics and sideshows, not a real goal for human exploration and eventual mastery of space....

    August 4, 2011 at 5:53 pm |
    • DrDiomedes

      Note that the Air Force still has a strong space program. And the President's move toward privatization was not a bad one.

      August 4, 2011 at 5:56 pm |
      • ADiff

        The USAF does not have anything remotely resembling a 'space program'...what it does have is a series of projects to develop and deploy military assets in LEO, an exercise in past and current technology, not exploration or discovery. This is not to belittle these or suggest them unwarranted or unworthy, merely to categorize them accurately. Exploitation of LEO and geosynchronous orbit technology is probably properly 'privatized' as it's not developmental, and there's very little, if anything, to be learned or discovered there.... But Space Exploration is such a long-term goal, and so expansive, it lies certainly outside the bounds of any concept of a market economy, and simply cannot be handled except by an institutional public organization. The real trick is framing the mission..... That was NASA's Achilles Heel, as its mission never really made any sense in a larger social perspective, however much it made from a short-term political one.

        August 4, 2011 at 7:57 pm |
  39. Mike

    What tomorrow's headline: Saltwater May Not Flow on Mars? Or even better: Beer may flow on Mars. Or not.

    August 4, 2011 at 5:53 pm |
  40. nadine

    If there is flowing water then there must be fish and if there is fish there might be a fisherman somewhere.

    August 4, 2011 at 5:52 pm |
    • DrDiomedes

      You can see him if you zoom in 🙂

      August 4, 2011 at 5:54 pm |
  41. DrDiomedes

    Science is awesome! What great strides we have made since we've come to appreciated its methodology. It certainly is one of humanity's greatest accomplishments, allowing to understand our place in this great universe. Note also the difference between SCIENCE and ENGINEERING AND TECHNOLOGY.

    August 4, 2011 at 5:52 pm |
  42. jessicaber

    ASU does nice research of Mars with The Hubble, right?

    August 4, 2011 at 5:49 pm |
    • ADiff

      I tend to agree with the pundit who said that Hubble was the only good thing to come out of the STS program....

      August 4, 2011 at 8:00 pm |
  43. jayman419

    Briny water also has a lower freezing point than plain water, at least in the environmental conditions of our planet. That's why salty ice water is one of the best ways to cool your 6-pack.

    August 4, 2011 at 5:45 pm |
  44. Kenneth

    You know, the more the religious tout their 'complexity' and life is 'perfect' to exist on Earth, the more they are proven incredibly wrong. If there's even a chance Mars can provide life, even a SLIM chance, a planet must be near a star like ours in the habital zone, the Kepler Mission taught us that.

    August 4, 2011 at 5:41 pm |
    • DrDiomedes

      True. But we don't need to argue the case. Let the science speak for itself ... be the "bigger" of humanity

      August 4, 2011 at 5:58 pm |
    • ADiff

      Huuummmm...you see one example of a thing, and conclude all possible examples of such things must be like it. I think I'd go with Asimov's admonition that "the thing about aliens, is they're alien". Life might take a vast number of possible forms, and I think we're wandering into error to assume it can only be organized around the same biochemical basis as our own.

      August 4, 2011 at 8:04 pm |
  45. another guy

    Reallycuteguy, the moon is closer to earth it is to mars. Also space exploration is for the good of EVERYONE. This goes beyond nations, these discoveries will mean something long after we're gone. Is our nation floundering? Sure. But that's such a small period of time in the big scheme.. We should better mankind as a whole and if america goes bankrupt then maybe we had it coming for electing tea party members to turn our need for additional revenue into a game of chicken. Nobody needs a million dollars in profit a year...when our country was most successful the tax rate on the rich was at LEAST 4 times higher.

    August 4, 2011 at 5:41 pm |
    • ADiff

      If Space Exploration is "for the good of Everyone", or for the good of anyone...then it's doomed. Space Exploration cannot be utilitarian if it's to be likely to succeed. Like all other commentators here, I think you underestimate the magnitude of the challenge, and the time that will be required to achieve real progress. Don't think in decades, but in Centuries, and very possibly in hundreds of those, to achieve real progress. The problems are daunting, and the answers now unknown. A Space Program likely to succeed must be existential, not utilitarian. it must not serve men, but the value of mankind itself. Otherwise it will not manage to stay in the field long enough, and remain fixed on its purpose steadfastly enough, to have any chance of success.

      August 4, 2011 at 8:10 pm |
  46. Thomas James

    What are all these foolish remakrs about good and earth and creation.

    Jesus christ people, you are children of the stars and you belong to this solar system. This solar system is the birthplace of mankind. Mars, Venus, all these planets are your home. And one day they will be as natural as earth. Rejoice over this and quit fighting about God. God exists, but he really woudl prefer you to use ur heads.

    August 4, 2011 at 5:40 pm |
    • DrDiomedes

      We all may from star dust ...

      August 4, 2011 at 5:59 pm |
      • DrDiomedes

        We are all made from star dust ...

        August 4, 2011 at 6:00 pm |
    • ADiff

      There always room for hope, but I see no reason to believe mankind will not die in the cradle.

      August 4, 2011 at 8:29 pm |
  47. lefty avenger

    This is amazing news. Perhaps life can be supported on other planets and those of us who want to leave all this massive stupidity here on earth can take off!

    August 4, 2011 at 5:28 pm |
  48. reallycuteguy69

    hey just wondering is mars closer to the moon than earth

    August 4, 2011 at 5:24 pm |
    • reallycuteguy69

      sorry forgot to include im not american so thats why i dont already know the answer

      August 4, 2011 at 5:26 pm |
  49. Ray

    Wow. Does anybody pay attention to American history? America was the nation of discovery; we pursued answers to all scientific questions and curiosities. Remember the great space race? We're a nation ofɜ innovation and discovery! This story is a tribute to our success as a nation, and shouldn't be dismissed as soft news that should be pushed off the headlines to make room for yet another story of how far we've fallen.

    August 4, 2011 at 5:23 pm |
  50. EricMatthews

    I am wondering if it will turn out to be shadows, although I am hoping it is water

    August 4, 2011 at 5:22 pm |
  51. jorgoy

    life in Mars what mars, its only a claim made by self proclaimed scientists who seemed to know everything in fact they are just ordinary as anyone, drop your insatiable dreams and stop wasting tax payers money, YOU created the global financial crisis while you didn't have the slightest idea that we were about to crash, etc .......................................you will never live in mars, just like a child who puts his/her hands up asking for the moon, but as we grow older we learn that this isn't possible then we settle for more smart and realistic dream.when will you learn?

    August 4, 2011 at 5:21 pm |
    • regertz

      Yeah, Captain, damn those smart college guys like Mr. Roberts who think they're better than you and go around trying to look smart inventing all those things...Cars, airplanes, fire, nuclear reactors, rubber, agriculture, vaccines, electricity...that good ole folks like you don't want or need. You do realize that just one Jovian methane moon could keep us in natural gas for centuries? Or that if we could utilize the solar system carefully we could restore Earth to a pristine state and put the most dangerous factories in space? That we could farm solar power on an enormous scale? But hey, if man was meant to fly, right? I suggest you must have some reality TV to watch but you wouldn't want to use a smart guy's invention like television, right? Oh, yeah you're using a computer.

      August 4, 2011 at 11:29 pm |
  52. Andre

    Stupid Nasa of course there is where do you think the little green men get their table salt from?

    August 4, 2011 at 5:17 pm |
  53. Kishore

    Once again folks, a vote against explorations such as these is NOT a vote for temples/churches/bibles/what-have-you. Please desist with your strawman arguments. Are you guys saying that we are plush with cash and have a budget surplus to fund any/all projects? Is it really important,now, with all that is going on, to focus on whether there is a salt water flow on, get this, MARS?!

    August 4, 2011 at 5:16 pm |
    • teepee

      another smart person

      August 4, 2011 at 7:24 pm |
    • XRAY.DL

      1) Thorium Based Power. It creates very valuable byproducts as a result of the reactions in the reactor and can be sold to the market within 8 years of turning it on. We're talking billions of dollars of Molybdinum 99, Neodymium (Sp?), Cesium, Xenon, etc. etc. etc. Oh, and you can make Carbon-Neutral Gasoline and get us the heck out of the Middle East, forver. Unless we need sandbags or hourglasses.

      2) Legalize Weed. Tax the crap out of it like everything else in this country. Free all the people in jail for selling or possessing.

      3) Death Penalty by Firing Squad. Much Cheaper. Oh, that applies to life in prison too.

      Our country is very fixable. Very quickly.

      August 4, 2011 at 9:48 pm |
    • regertz

      Yeah, it is important. It suggests life could exist on Mars independently which could open endless doors in research that could take us in thousands of new directions. It suggests Mars could be colonized which could offer all kinds of possibilities. And it came at relative chump change in cost thanks to NASA's careful budgeting these last few. No practical invention comes without years of basic research. Tom Edison didn't pull the light bulb or the phonograph out of thin air...The airplane didn't just appear in the Wrights' bike shop one day.

      August 4, 2011 at 11:37 pm |
  54. Leo

    Personally i would rather see detailed photo's of the cylinder looking object's that were brought up on goggle mars a few weeks back....

    August 4, 2011 at 5:11 pm |
  55. Andrew

    Where there's liquid water life might find a way to exist. Life has turned up in deep oceans, hot springs, and under Antarctic ice sheets, so why not Mars? Hardy bacteria might even have floated to the top of the Earth's atmosphere, ridden the solar wind, seeded Mars, and thrived even in harsh Martian conditions.

    August 4, 2011 at 5:10 pm |
  56. brako

    salt yogurt too

    August 4, 2011 at 5:10 pm |
  57. Shawn

    I used the Hi-Rise camera a few months ago and witnessed a few areas that indeed looked like water flows near the equator. I thought I was hallucinating and a few of my friends agreed with me! Perhaps there is some water! Also Saturns moon Enceledus was just found to have liquid salt water and also has the protection of saturns magnetic field!!! WOOOO go go go go go lets find some LIFE

    August 4, 2011 at 5:02 pm |
  58. Robert

    Unless anyone can see water on Mars helping our country get back on track they can blow it our their actuator.

    P.S. A job in the space program or any government position is not the answer because at the end of the day it only adds to our countries deficit.

    Argue that.

    August 4, 2011 at 4:57 pm |
    • regertz

      Easily oh short-term, quick-profit one. These jobs are excellent investments just like any business. Pay brilliant scientist x 100 or soGs (far lower than he/she might get in industry). Scientist pays taxes, makes brilliant contributions to national research, generating prestige and more customers for the US's educational system. He/she buys in the local economy, helping to strengthen it and generating new businesses. His/her research produces spin-off technology and new revenue-generating industries. Look over the history of the US since WWII. The GOP is selling you a myth that they don't believe in (why else are they in Washington?). It's government investment in the economy that produced our magnificient prosperity from the 40s on...Investment in education (GI BIll of Rights, student loans, grants) and research and direct grants and hiring that paid great dividends to most Americans. As we abandon this, we see the national economy and our future contract. Sensible long-term investment in the economy with an eye to keeping our lead in basic research and the world's best higher educational system will keep that future expanding.

      August 4, 2011 at 11:50 pm |
  59. chrs Hanson

    What are we waiting for??? Send a probe durin the mRtian summer.

    August 4, 2011 at 4:42 pm |
  60. Hmmm.

    So, for all of the money spent... we get the following:

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

    That's pretty awesome.... Wouldn't it be better to invest in studying the planet and organisms that have evolved over millions and millions of years? I mean, we have a really big telescope that hasn't spotted too much in the way of an 'evolved' planet as it pertains to life. Perhaps we should point the telescope at Earth, and have the scientists study that. There are plenty of new species being found...

    August 4, 2011 at 4:33 pm |
    • VonDoom

      Maybe all those Creationists will finally shut up if life is discovered outside of Earth.

      August 4, 2011 at 4:57 pm |
      • Shawn

        I am a Creationist and I believe that there is life evolving on millions of planets throughout the universe!!! What now?

        August 4, 2011 at 5:04 pm |
      • teepee

        shows how stupid you are...we never said this is all there is...pay attention arse.

        August 4, 2011 at 7:25 pm |
    • suportivemom

      if you have a bunch of CZ's in a bowl, how easy is it to just reach in and grab a diamond? We haven't even explored a tiny fraction of our known sky numbnuts.

      August 5, 2011 at 9:12 am |
  61. VonDoom

    We always look at life as it's lived here on Earth thinking that life cannot exist in anything but a similar ecosystem. I personally think that when we start to get out there and visit other planets, we are going to find that life not only exists but that it adapts to it's environment. Even Earth has gone through severe changes where life has not only adapted, it's flourished. Life even exists in the most inhospitable places on Earth. The fact that most American's don't care or think that this is a waste of time will probably be the reason why your great-great grand-kids will be speaking Chinese as much as English. We will be their cheap immigrant labor force after they get up there and unlock future potentials.

    August 4, 2011 at 4:32 pm |
    • teepee

      don't hold your breath man...it'll never happen

      August 4, 2011 at 7:13 pm |
  62. Nemo

    By profession I am a microbial biochemist that studies extremophiles... I would die to get a chance to sample any of the "damp/wet/slimy mars sand" and take a look under the microscope. It is hard to not expect to see something floating in that sample that could not be identified as a bacteria or archaea... or something entirely odd and new, but very much alive!!!!

    August 4, 2011 at 4:30 pm |
    • Hmmm.

      What's to say that you wouldn't get a similar result by studying slimy sand, say, at the bottom of one of our oceans?

      August 4, 2011 at 4:41 pm |
      • Nemo

        I have already done that. yes there is life down there too, by submerged black smokers. On Earth life is infectious, its everywhere we tend to take it for granted... but out there, its not as common, or at leats not common in our backyard of our solar system. maybe, just maybe, microbes live on Mars and some fo the moons of Jupiter and Saturn.

        August 4, 2011 at 4:44 pm |
      • Hmmm.

        Both would yield a result of new organisms living in a 'hostile' environment, correct? I guess my point is that NASA spent a lot of money speculating that life exists on Mars because of the possibility of 'flowing salt water'. So, we are searching for life based on conditions that exist on Earth. I'd be more impressed if scientists found life on a planet that didn't have Earth-like conditions (i.e. flowing salt water). Otherwise, we'd might as well search here on Earth for new organisms.

        August 4, 2011 at 5:03 pm |
      • Nemo

        I agree, "if" the conditions on Mars were like Earth, finding an organism living in that environment would be a little less exciting than same conditions on Earth. One must consider Mars is cold, lots of Co2, potential hyper saline water, irradiated, dry... it is very harsh even by Earth extremophilic standards. One other aspect one should consider "if" life is found on Mars, how did it get there? Did it evolve there? Is it related to any of the life here on Earth? What metabolic processes are different or similar to Earth's organisms... So many questions would erupt just from the acknowledgement that life was found onother planet. It would dawn a new age of research for humankind.

        August 4, 2011 at 5:25 pm |
  63. Dunzel

    Okay NASA now stop it – just stop it. We know you're upset that you've been shutdown, and you're looking for reasons to exist, but the truth is there's just no money for you to continue. If you want to go on, come up with some technological way to fix the economy. Of course, that would be a tall order since the very man that killed you off sits in the White House. Show him your films and documentaries on water on Mars, and the possibility of life elsewhere, and how you just need to go there to check it out. He's the one you need to convince – not all of the Start Trek fans out here.

    August 4, 2011 at 4:22 pm |
    • VonDoom

      NASA has never been an agency that will "fix the economy". That's going to come from the private sector but NASA is the stepping stone for the private sector to get out there. Did you know that something as trivial as Velcro wouldn't be around if it wasn't for NASA. Now Velcro might not save the world or fix economies but it adds to the pot. Our downfall is going to be this repeated ignorance that America will always be a huge superpower just because we exist. That kind of arrogance is the same thing that brought down Britain who used to be the biggest superpower the world has known for say, a few hundred years or so. They thought that as long as they controlled railroads and a massive navy nothing could touch them, look what happened.

      August 4, 2011 at 4:40 pm |
      • Hmmm.

        If we didn't fly 25% of our shuttle missions, we'd be out of debt, and have about a trillion to spare. Velcro is for lazy people, anyway 😉

        August 4, 2011 at 4:43 pm |
  64. Dubnation

    OK that's it I'm packing up folks it's time to go it's too damn expensive to live here and the rent is too damn high mars here i come.

    August 4, 2011 at 4:11 pm |
  65. Mike

    Interesting stuff! I hope NASA gets the support it needs to look further into this.

    August 4, 2011 at 4:05 pm |
  66. petercha

    Way cool! I hope that this paves the way for the eventual colonization of Mars. Future astronauts and colonists will need a source of water and a way to purify it, if we are to establish bases there.

    August 4, 2011 at 4:03 pm |
    • Chilemocho

      No one is colonizing Mars you moron. wake up and smell the coffee

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

        Wake up and smell the inferiority complex, Chilemocho. Get over yourself.

        Chilemocho? More like Chilebozo! Oooooooh, snap!

        August 4, 2011 at 4:22 pm |
    • Scott

      Certainly not you, Chilemocho, in your self-imposed world of limits.

      August 4, 2011 at 4:18 pm |
  67. Howdy Doody

    Sorta exciting- but not really. Now that the shuttle is gone as a program (thankfully) NASA needs to re-focus on what is achievable and that will also build a foundation for space exploitation. Mars is of course the ultimate goal- but- we don't need more expensive probes and rovers to be sent there. We need to get to the Moon and we need working space stations that are not show pieces.

    NASA- get your act together- put together a long term plan – and SELL IT.

    August 4, 2011 at 4:03 pm |
    • petercha

      Amen, Howdy.

      August 4, 2011 at 4:04 pm |
  68. Somebody

    “What makes these new observations so interesting is they occur at much lower latitudes where temperatures are much warmer and where it’s actually possible for liquid water to exist,” said Arizona State University geophysicist Phil Christensen.

    What is so interesting about it? Did you expect to find flowing water where it is 90 below zero? Do we need a genius to figure out we should look for flowing water where the temps might support it? No wonder Obama wants to get rid of NASA, even that moron is probably just smart enough to realize you seek flowing water where it wouldn't be frozen.

    August 4, 2011 at 3:54 pm |
    • Chilemocho

      i gotta agree with somebody...

      August 4, 2011 at 4:00 pm |
    • Scott

      Liquid water = possibility to support life. Until recently we weren't even sure whether Mars has much water. Thanks to NASA we now know that it has. The next logical thing is to see if it can be on the surface, or always locked up underground or at the poles. Thank you again, NASA. This is an important finding for studies of ET life, if it exists or ever existed on Mars, and for future colonization. We now know that colonies could extract water with relatively little energy cost from areas of Mars that are far from the poles.

      August 4, 2011 at 4:14 pm |
  69. Yeehaw

    CORRECTION: NASA scientists have discovered yet another way to waste taxpayers' money!

    August 4, 2011 at 3:54 pm |
    • Scott

      CORRECTION: Every dollar spent on exploration, discovery, and innovation is an investment in our future. Get off your lazy arse and make a contribution to society.

      August 4, 2011 at 4:08 pm |
      • Whoseewhatsit

        Finally! A sensible person commenting!

        August 4, 2011 at 4:25 pm |
  70. Keel Hauler

    All of you opposed to space study, just what do you propose to "solve the worlds problems"? Add NASA's budget to social programs? And when that doesn't do anything, then what? There are over 300 million people in this country. I think we can handle some multi-tasking.

    August 4, 2011 at 3:53 pm |
  71. Mark L.

    NASA needs to deploy a lunar module to Mars and take Sarah Palin, Michelle Bachmann, John Boehner, Ron Paul, Mitch McConnell, Newt Gingrich, etc. with it. I'm quite certain the Tea Party and Grand Ol' Plunderers (GOP) can do wonders for Mars. (But then again...poor....poor Martians...LOL...)

    August 4, 2011 at 3:52 pm |
    • petercha

      Hate much, Mark? And yet you liberals constantly preach love. Hypocrisy at it's finest.

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

        In a thread about science, it's only appropriate to attack the science-haters.

        August 4, 2011 at 4:21 pm |
    • mif991

      Oh how funny and original....!

      August 4, 2011 at 8:23 pm |
  72. SoundGuy

    Check out this artistic rendering of the sound of the red planet, based on the calculations of Hans Cousto! http://youtu.be/mEkyaWAR2x0

    August 4, 2011 at 3:51 pm |
  73. BassMaster

    Gentlemen...launch your skeeters.

    August 4, 2011 at 3:50 pm |
  74. Cynic

    Saltwater & Tears!

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

      LMFAO!

      August 4, 2011 at 4:26 pm |
  75. james darnley

    we can;t even take care of this planet.what right do we have to go screwing up other one;s.as long as one child on this planet goes to bed hungry at night we do not have the right to be spending billions to find out next to nothing.especially since space travel for humans is an impossibility.

    August 4, 2011 at 3:47 pm |
    • Cynic

      Are you sure you live on this planet?

      August 4, 2011 at 3:50 pm |
    • Keel Hauler

      Idiocy.

      August 4, 2011 at 3:54 pm |
    • Scott

      That is nonsense. You feed that child by creating new opportunities. You create those opportunities through exploration, discovery, and innovation.

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

      And just what charities are YOU donating to, to help those starving children, James?

      August 4, 2011 at 4:07 pm |
  76. Jake

    I think its great that an article about scientific discovery is ahead about the economy. Its something to be excited about because if we find out more about other planets we can learn a thing or two about our own

    August 4, 2011 at 3:47 pm |
  77. Chilemocho

    i wanted to be an astronaut growing up, now i want to be a scientist and look at the sky all day while getting paid... nice

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

      Unfortunately, in addition to looking at the sky all day, you have to write reports begging and pleading for funding, in addition to writing reports on what you see in the sky. And there is a ton of math involved as well. Hope you like calculus!

      August 4, 2011 at 4:08 pm |
  78. unafy

    Terraforming Mars & migrating there is a good idea, before the sun destroys everything here on earth!

    August 4, 2011 at 3:46 pm |
  79. Heath

    I do not know about all of you but after the Discovery channel's mutliple "any day now" Earth doomsday prophesies I want a contigency plan. Let's get folks to Mars and go ahead and claim all those sure to be there and higly valuable resources for the United States.

    August 4, 2011 at 3:44 pm |
  80. Chris

    I dont think this has anything to do with our economic crisis . America is tainted with the thought that everything is waisting money and destroying our civilization , come on guys , its Mars . Get over yourselves . After we inevitably destroy Earth , we're going to have to live there by terraforming . So this may be more important to the human existance than you 22$ out of every pay check !!

    August 4, 2011 at 3:42 pm |
  81. J-Pap

    Every Mammal on this planet instinctively develops a natural equilibrium on the planet, but humans do not. Humans multiply and multiply until every natural resource is consumed. The only they survive is to consume, spread and multiply. Human beings are a VIRUS.

    ~ Matrix 1

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

      If you think you're a virus, Pap, what do you plan on doing about it?

      August 4, 2011 at 4:09 pm |
  82. 2bits

    Why are we concerned with what is happening on Mars when our own nation is falling apart? Isn't it about time to focus on EARTH?? Getting tired of scientists totally out of control thinking of themselves and their PET projects that are a waste of resources when you can't afford it.

    August 4, 2011 at 3:40 pm |
    • J-Pap

      Finding life other than here will cause a huge paradigm shift in the way we think and create. Perhaps it will create unity.

      August 4, 2011 at 3:44 pm |
    • Scott

      2bits, why do you think our nation is falling apart? IMO it's because we have lost our pioneer spirit. We spend more time trying to hold on to what we have that in taking risks to build a better future. Investment in science and technology, including space exploration, is what made our nation great. Now we argue about whether we should teach evolution or creation in science class. Now when science tells us that humans are altering the climate, a lot of Americans think it's some evil socialist conspiracy. Meanwhile nations like China invest like mad in science and technology. Who is going to come out on top, do you think?

      August 4, 2011 at 3:53 pm |
      • cocopuf

        The one's who know the truth ... about how all this has come about (period)

        August 5, 2011 at 12:09 pm |
  83. Chilemocho

    This is just NASA trying to stay in the news to see if they can get a little money after all their funding gets pulled from under them... think about it

    August 4, 2011 at 3:40 pm |
  84. Keel Hauler

    I'd like to see space exploration continue,if only so I can one day get away from the self-centered, uneducated, ignorant dolts who don't care about the future of their own species.

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

      Good point, Keel. Some folks just don't seem to see that survival of the human race is paramount.

      August 4, 2011 at 4:10 pm |
  85. TruthSeeker

    The secret of human unification and the end to all religious and political strife can never be found here on Earth. Until we learn about the cosmos and abundance of life within the universe, we will always be stuck fighting each other.

    August 4, 2011 at 3:39 pm |
    • J-Pap

      Totally agree. Then we can get on with fixing our mess we've created from believing in false prophets, aka religion. Think how much could get accomplished when we drop religion from the world and realize we are just a speak of sand in the universe and we have bigger things to work on than praying to mythical false hopes.

      August 4, 2011 at 3:47 pm |
  86. Aubrie

    WOW!! Summer, equator temps in the 70 F range on Mars!!! sounds better than the freaking oven temps we have here of 100+.... With a water source, I think that should be explored.... this would lead one to think there would be evaporation... so why is there no atmosphere or clouds?

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

      There are clouds and snowfall on Mars, but not as prominent as on earth, due to the much thinner atmosphere. Mars has a water cycle, just as we do on earth.

      August 4, 2011 at 3:59 pm |
  87. Hi

    Help me out here. Aren't there polar ice caps on Mars (Norrth & South), which were discovered in the 17th century? Haven't we been monitoring these growing and shrinking for years? Sorry if I sound a little confused about this "New discovery" of flowing water.

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

      The Martian polar caps are part CO2 (dry ice) and part water, which grow by condensation or precipitation, and shrink mostly by sublimation (solid direct to gas). Whether liquid water can exist on Mars under certain conditions has been the subject of much scientific inquiry, but these new results certainly look promising!

      August 4, 2011 at 4:02 pm |
    • cocopuf

      But in the article it says salt water ... that IS very significant. Why? I haven't the foggiest. We have enough of it here on Earth. lol

      August 5, 2011 at 12:05 pm |
  88. Chilemocho

    I think I would rather see any news about the Kardashinans than of Mars, at least I can cause a big BANG on them LOL

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

      Yeah right, like they'd give you a second look.

      My gawd, you're an idiot.

      August 4, 2011 at 5:28 pm |
  89. rizzo

    Awesome!

    August 4, 2011 at 3:37 pm |
  90. Yeehaw

    The only logical conclusion is that our solar system is a giant kitchen. Case in point, according to the prophet of a rather large religious group (based in Utah), the moon is cheese; now we have a planet made of saltwater. Can we find a planet comprised of tortilla chips, another of tequila, and another of salsa . Our solar system might just be a giant margharita with chips and salsa. Siesta time. Too much thinking. zzzzzz

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

      I saw a picture of an asteroid that looked kind of like a big stuffed olive. There has to be a martini comet to shake (not stir) out there somewhere.

      August 4, 2011 at 3:40 pm |
      • suportivemom

        ....I dunno. If that olive astroid decided to hit earth it would cause a big stir and SHAKE us up. lol

        August 5, 2011 at 9:29 am |
  91. Newsraider

    They don't know anything about Mars and can only guess.

    August 4, 2011 at 3:36 pm |
  92. Keel Hauler

    We should have been to Mars already. We got to the moon using 1960's technology! So much for our "Pioneer Spirit".

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

      That' right. We when stop exploring we start dying.

      August 4, 2011 at 3:40 pm |
    • petercha

      Amen to your and Scott's comment, Keel.

      August 4, 2011 at 4:14 pm |
  93. Consultofactus

    Nothing like liquid water or salt water could "flow" on Mars. Compared to Earth, Mars doesn't really have an atmosphere – the mean atmospheric pressure on Mars is 600Pa compared to the Earth's 101,300Pa. Anything like water would boil away in a mere fraction of a second. Sorry, no puddles, no streams, no flowing water salty or otherwise.

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

      I totally agree dude. Why havent the scientist thought of that? morons

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

        Thanks – maybe the best they could hope for is some good ol' fashion frost or snow when the H2O sublimates, but we'd be able to very easily detect that but still nothing would "flow".

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

        Because they need to find something to justify the expenditures, and of course keep their jobs going. The only way is to find gold out there ... water is no good.

        August 5, 2011 at 11:57 am |
    • Scott

      It depends on the local pressure, temperature, salinity, etc., not on the global average. Consult more facts, dude.

      August 4, 2011 at 3:45 pm |
      • Chilemocho

        Nah I think the other dude is right, dude. The rover thingie they sent a few years back was going crazy with all the readings at the surface level, nothing can live there and if it does, its probably adjusted to the pressure over billions of years and looks really funky

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

        @ chilemocho. Just to increase your vocabulary knowledge a "dude" is a pimple on an elephants a**. kinda resembles you.

        August 5, 2011 at 9:32 am |
  94. Casey

    ROFLMAO another stupid article and even more stupid commenters LOL

    August 4, 2011 at 3:34 pm |
  95. Earnest T Bass

    can't afford it after this week.

    August 4, 2011 at 3:34 pm |
  96. Matt

    who cares? they are just trying to fire up the useless space program again by finding excuses like this crap. hey moron, terrorist niigger Obama, balance the budget moron.

    August 4, 2011 at 3:34 pm |
    • XRAY.DL

      Really....................................................................................................................................... Quite a waste of oxygen you are. Get off my planet. Now. Go. No excuses. Leave. I'm waiting... You're still here... Just my luck.

      August 4, 2011 at 9:51 pm |
  97. Anonymous

    This is amazing.

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

      This is also amazing: the sound of planet Mars: http://youtu.be/mEkyaWAR2x0

      August 4, 2011 at 3:40 pm |
  98. Schmedley

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

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

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

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

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

      Well said.

      August 4, 2011 at 3:38 pm |
      • Colin ( !!!!! )

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J_sEtNrYlC4

        !

        August 5, 2011 at 2:50 pm |
    • Really!

      Hey Schmedley, I be a whiner! I'm also very well versed in math and science, it's my livelyhood. Unfortunately, I can't find a f***ing job here in the U.S.A.

      August 4, 2011 at 3:41 pm |
      • Interested pedestrian

        Maybe if they put more money into space exploration they would need more help in the math and science fields and you could get a job with them.....
        Just saying....

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

        Hey, Really! How can you claim that math and science are your livelyhood when you state that you can't find a "f***king job in the USA".........I mean they either are or aren't your livelyhood and at first blush it appears that they can't be since you're unemployed. I, myself, am a scientest and have been gainfully employed for the past 25 years. In those 25 years I've worked for 4 companies, three of which were shut down and moved overseas....fortunately weeks prior to the shetdowns I was contacted by my future employers who had of the impending shutdown and were interested in acquiring my services. The point is that here still are many companies in the USA that seek talent and hire scientist......good luck to you.

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

        We've gotta go to Europe or Japan bro. They appreciate science and math there. You may even like it. I love both, spent a lot of time there while in the air force.

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

        My math and science are not that great but I have a job. Maybe it is your personality? based on your single comment you seem like someone I would not want to work with.

        August 4, 2011 at 4:16 pm |
      • Technoidatx

        Maybe if you could actually spell livelihood you could get a job.

        August 4, 2011 at 5:09 pm |
      • Steve

        Now THAT'S 'Well Said' & were my thoughts exactly!! The 'flow' on Mars could be liquid gold & it sure as heck wouldn't help the 'average' person here on earth! How about taking care of the basics here first before you decide to throw any more money into space???

        August 4, 2011 at 6:06 pm |
      • Cheeto Dust

        Yes and it is the Space programs fault the economy is where it is at. Riiiiiight...

        August 4, 2011 at 6:57 pm |
      • crazycatman

        Maybe if you spent a little less time studying math and science and a little more time studying grammar and spelling, employers would read your resume instead of throwing it away.

        August 4, 2011 at 7:03 pm |
      • Chuck

        Space exploration = jobs & technological innovation.

        August 4, 2011 at 7:27 pm |
      • Hey Really!

        Why don't you move to your northern neighbor country, plenty of teaching Jobs. I just took plunge and cannot be happier!!

        August 4, 2011 at 9:03 pm |
      • Timetraveler

        If you're any good at all you can work on Wall St. You'd have work for crooks, but you'll be working.

        August 4, 2011 at 9:54 pm |
      • Rob

        You must not be very good at what you do then.

        August 4, 2011 at 9:58 pm |
      • OK

        OK Bill Nye then go innovate yourself a job like the rest of us innovators and quit looking for someone to hire you.

        August 4, 2011 at 10:33 pm |
      • Ralph

        Keep looking for that f......g job! Maybe if you lose the attitude, NASA will consider you with those good math and science skills.

        August 5, 2011 at 1:54 am |
      • blame it on the politicians and lazy americans

        blame it on the politicians and lazy americans

        August 5, 2011 at 2:43 am |
      • Jess

        Perhaps our math and science programs would be in better shape if we had "scientists" taking their "livelihood" from those fields, instead of "scientests" depending on them for their "livelyhood."

        August 5, 2011 at 6:13 am |
      • samuraishonan.blogspot.com

        Maybe it has to do with the choice of vocabulary you use.

        August 5, 2011 at 9:04 am |
      • Paul

        There are many people who can't find jobs and blame the economy or outsourcing but they never once reflected upon themselves and see why employers don't want to hire them... Before blaming others, make sure you are blameless first.

        August 5, 2011 at 9:41 am |
      • Raj

        Exactly that is why they are exploring Mars – so that people like you can be sent up there. No more whiners needed here!
        Wait... do you care about a slide down the Santa Maria crater? How about taking a dip in natural salt water jacuzzi spa?

        August 5, 2011 at 10:00 am |
    • Joe

      I think it's because people have other things to worry about. Like jobs and making sure to put food on the table every night. Maybe that's why nobody really cares about salt water on Mars while the market is down over 400 points.

      August 4, 2011 at 3:44 pm |
      • bose

        Dude, did you even read the original comment?

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

        Yeah, and a lot of us math and science types rely on NASA to put food on our tables and pay off our expensive student loans. There is no need for the middle class to be waging war against the middle class.

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

        ::facepalm::

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

        anyone who is more concerned about the stock market being down than a massive scientific discovery really needs to get their priorities in line

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

        There will always be those that succeed and are successful..likewise, there will always be those that underachieve.. it is life.. why stifle exploration...what will be the greater benefit to mankind?..welfare/unemployment checks...or NASA?

        August 5, 2011 at 2:27 am |
    • KennyG

      If scientist would set goals that make sense then more people would support their efforts. Trying to prove that life exists on Mars or anywhere in the universe serves no purpose other than to deny that God exists. Since that seems to be what most scientists believe, it is hard to believe that think otherwise (their motives). Science should explore and create things that would benefit those living on this planet. Fortunately, many inventions and discoveries have happened because of space exploration, but many more could happen if the focus was more realistic, and Earth bound.

      August 4, 2011 at 3:55 pm |
      • Tapati

        @KennyG, why doesn't life elsewhere simply show that God is enthusiastic about creating life? I don't see why the existence of God is dependent upon an Earth-only policy of creation.

        August 4, 2011 at 4:07 pm |
      • Jared

        The purpose is not to disprove God. If they can find life on other planets they can understand how life survives the environments that are hostile to us. With that information they could then hopefully develop a way for us to survive there. American views on subjects such as this are frequently tainted by the religiously charged atmosphere in their country. Space travel and exploration is being worked on by countries from around the world. In many of these countries religion does not have anywhere near the same impact on everyday life as it does in America. I live in Canada, so close to the USA that when I look out my living room window I see the Olympic Mountains of Washington State. Yet I've grown up in a country with gay marriage, government run health care and such complete religious freedom and tolerance that I honestly do not even know the religious affiliation of any of my friends or even of my cousins families. It is such a non issue in daily life, at least in the city I live in, that the idea that space exploration (especially that conducted without US participation) could somehow be tied to suppressing religion would seem ludicrous to myself and probably to many other Canadians.

        August 4, 2011 at 4:21 pm |
      • me

        Kenny, if G_d created the heavens and earth, wouldn't the discovery of life elsewhere only confirm and glorify G_d?

        I really don't understand close-minded people like you. You supposedly believe in an omnipotent G_d who literally has the power of creation, but you don't want to explore the beautiful universe of G_d's creation...? Kenny, I don't think it's G_d you worship. I think you are deceived. I think you actually worship the other guy.

        And please tell me some specific examples of "inventions" that "could have happened" if scientists restricted themselves to earth-bound research...? I'll make it easy for you – just name 3 things.

        August 4, 2011 at 4:23 pm |
      • Kenny of Salt

        Kenny, my homonymous brother...
        1 – The search for knowledge about Mars doesn't exist soley to disprove the existence of God (I'm not even sure what chain of logic one might use to try)
        2 – The possible existence of liquid water, and potentially living organisms, on Mars is; a) interesting just in itself, and, b) relevant to ongoing discussions about the origin and development of life on Earth
        3 – There is more to this than just the finding of a single fact (liquid water). The technology and analytical tools that were developed to make this finding also have inherent value and will doubtless find other now unforseen uses.

        there is no way of knowing where a line of investigation will lead, but it is clear that continued curiosity and exploration is vital to continued human well being.

        Peace

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

        Why would proving live exists somewhere other than Earth disprove a Creator??? Your nuts man lol. Im sure God has life evolving on many many many millions of other worlds. Why would you think it would only be here?

        August 4, 2011 at 4:56 pm |
      • Cadiz

        Whaaat? Uh, your statement makes absolutely no sense. Maybe you would be more comfortable in some other time like during the Spanish Inquisition when questioning anything could get a person labeled as against God and tortured to death? Grow up and start using the brain God gave you when she created you.

        August 4, 2011 at 4:57 pm |
      • adam

        Are you for real? Why would life out in the universe automatically mean "god" does not exist? Not that I believe he does, but why would life mean that? The Vatican has said its possible there is life out there.

        This is a major problem in america, not just with science, but with nearly any topic. There is a right and a wrong, a black and a white. In america shades of grays do not exist.

        August 4, 2011 at 4:58 pm |
      • Wzrd1

        Your computer comes from that science that is "trying to prove that God doesn't exist". Destroy that devil spawn.
        If you get injured or sick, do NOT seek treatment, you are disobeying God's will. AND those treatments are from those scientists "trying to prove that God doesn't exist". It's DEVIL SPAWN.
        Get real. Do you think that God is a moron that makes a vast universe ONLY for ONE little planet? Would finding some microscopic life on Mars erase your God? If so, your faith is weak and your wisdom non-existent.

        Here is what is REALLY going on, not your fantasies on religious persecution.
        NASA has probes on Mars. They have other probes in orbit around Mars. They are LEARNING about our solar system.
        Some of that learning helps people here, with new technologies, medical procedures and improved technologies.
        All the while, not caring one whit about any proof of the existence or lack thereof of any deity.

        August 4, 2011 at 5:02 pm |
      • Aletheya

        KennyG – your logic is ... impenetrable. And wrong.

        The thing you need to realize is there is nothing special about Earth, except perhaps that it's a water world that supports life. Earth in the universe is like one grain of sand somewhere in the world. The universe is so vast the human mind cannot even comprehend it all. And it is only one universe in a multiverse of infinite others. It seems likely that our universe teems with life, because it is primed to. If God exists, he created it that way. Do you really think this one little spec of sand among infinite other specs is the apple of God's eye? Get over yourself, that's too much hubris for one human being.

        Exploration and discovery is what makes it all worthwhile. If we're not going to push out and explore, even in our own backyard where a neighboring planet may harbor life – then there is no bloody point in any of it.

        One last thought – if we don't spread out and populate other worlds, we are ultimately doomed. A big rock will impact the planet, or some other catastrophe will happen, and we'll be wiped out just as has happened many times in Earth's history. We need to explore and colonize worlds like Mars, simply as a survival matter. Or doesn't that benefit people enough for you?

        August 4, 2011 at 5:26 pm |
      • JeB83

        Yes KennyG you're right. That's EXACTLY why scientists are searching for life on other planets.

        It's just like when they invented vaccines and antibiotics to DENY the LORD his holy right to inflict horrific diseases on people!

        August 4, 2011 at 5:37 pm |
      • mif991

        Agree with Tapati. I am a believer in God and throughly and enthusiastically applaud what our scientist are doing. If they discover life in other planet it proves nothing relative to the existance of God. I wholeheartily support NASA and our space program. Government should support space exploration.

        August 4, 2011 at 8:18 pm |
      • 21k

        shawn writes that god has life evolving on many different planets. i guess he's a scientist with a long view, and is very patient. because in that case it would have taken him billions of years to get to where he had created hitler. but of course did nothing to intervene in the murder of 6 million other people. this leads one to realize that if god does exist, he is certainly a sociopath.

        August 4, 2011 at 8:40 pm |
      • Whatever

        I will believe in god when he pays my rent! With ya G these other guys are just weird...

        August 4, 2011 at 9:01 pm |
      • XRAY.DL

        I don't see how proving life exists in other places proves or disproves a creator. I also think you're a bit off when you say that scientists want to disprove the existance of God. In my opinion – and granted this is my opinion – I don't think science will ever be able to prove or disprove the existance of God. "God" or whatever name you call him/her is a extradimensional being – according to the texts and whatnot he's of a different realm of reality (hence extradimensional). So, if God is beyond our ability to observe, we can neither confirm nor deny his existance, which... makes sense. I mean, it is called Faith. If we could prove – conclusively, that there is a God or Gods... It wouldn't be Faith, it'd be fact.

        I come from a family of very avid "old-school" fire-and-brimstone Southern Baptists... I despise them for close-mindedness. Science and Religion can coexist in perfect harmony because they are searching for answers to two different questions.

        Science: How?
        Religion: Why?

        August 4, 2011 at 9:20 pm |
      • Jason

        People like this annoy me. Science has nothing to do with faith. Truth is god didnt create us. Maybe theres a god like figure out there fine I can believe in that but evolution alone kills a lot of the faith bit and evolution is pretty much a proven fact at this point. So anything else science finds.... has nothing to do with killing some ones faith.

        August 4, 2011 at 11:01 pm |
      • ktisis

        The fundamentals of your point are sound. To put a finer point on it, it is not so much a race to find evidence to deny a creator (per se) but a race to show that "we are nothing special" and that "earth isn't important to God", etc etc. This, of course, is easily disproved, since God became a HUMAN to die on the cross to pay for our sins. He said that he "took on the nature of humanity" to die once, and that He would never die again. If there are sentient, moral, physical agents elsewhere in the universe, then, if fallen, there can be no redemption. Also, the scripture states that when God is finished with His plan for planet Earth, He "creates a new heavens, and a new earth"– it says in II Peter 3 that the "universe will pass away....and the elements will dissolve with fervent heat" (a reverse big bang-talk about "heat" death!?) So, the center of God's affection is His redemptive love for mankind in paying for our sins, and that His plan for the entire Universe is linked with His plan for earth. The immensity of the universe is to accomplish 2 things: (1) humble us from thinking too highly of ourselves (in other words-loved, but pretty insignificant–we are prone to ego) and (2) the power of the Creator to be able to create time/space/(matter/energy). Since the complexity of DNA precludes a non-intelligent origin, the possibility of "undirected" evolved life elsewhere is effectively zero. Those who study protein synthesis and DNA/RNA transcription do not buy into such "fad science" such as extra-terrestrial life. Read the latest (respected) journals, the research is conclusive. Specified complexity (such as DNA) has never been shown to be the result of non-intelligent causation. Ever. Additionally the existence of non-material realities such as logic, mathematics, and natural law defy a non-intelligent origin (Einstein). Throw in the law of cause and effect and this court case is over, only debated by those with an a-apriori agenda of skepticism, those who place their materialistic faith in bent spoons, aliens, and self-organizing matter.

        August 4, 2011 at 11:08 pm |
      • Johnny Hands

        @Kenny G, don't be such a pessimist – maybe God has left proof on Mars that he does exist – have you ever thought of that. We've looked on Earth for that evidence and haven't found it yet, so maybe it's on Mars.

        But seriously, I support unmanned missions, but do not support manned – too expensive, and no point to it. If there is a point to it, the politicians need to tell us what the point is.

        August 5, 2011 at 12:45 am |
      • KennyG = DUmb

        "Trying to prove that life exists on Mars or anywhere in the universe serves no purpose other than to deny that God exists." WHAT????????????????????????????????? ARE YOU SERIOUSLY THAT STUPID???????????????????????????????????????????????????

        August 5, 2011 at 1:05 am |
      • J

        Forget God. Sue your brain for denial of service,

        August 5, 2011 at 1:07 am |
      • Dog

        Its to to prove Santa Clause does not exist.

        August 5, 2011 at 2:01 am |
      • gaunt

        Firstly, what an incredibly foolish comment. Scientists are looking for life on Mars simply because, if life exists seperately on two planets in the same solar system, it mans that life is EVERYWHERE. Since evolution is a universal law, it would effectively be pretty telling evidence that we are not alone.

        Secondly, how shaky and weak must your faith be if you see boogeymen hiding in every lab and university, just WAITING to prove your god wrong! Frankly, there is nothing about life on Mars that inherently disproves God, though it would throw a big wrench into the beliefs of the real whackjob zealots of many organised religions: you know the ones who think they are unique and made in the eyes of God, and then use that feeling of being special to empower their hatred, their judging of others, their shrill abuse of anything different and their votes for the Tea party.

        Well, we can hope.

        August 5, 2011 at 4:32 am |
      • Saiyan5

        They already know life exist allover the place. Now the mind control system of religion would fall, and the sheeples will wake Up. That will not contradict the existence of the creator.

        August 5, 2011 at 9:37 am |
      • The Philosopher

        "I do not believe that the same god that has given us logic and reason has intended us to forgo their use." – Copernicus
        Why are you worried about scientists finding life on other worlds, your logic falls right in with the logic that the Earth is flat and the center of the universe aka the belief that we are so important to God that all things must revolve around us and us alone. Therefore there are no other worlds in your logic, unless you're using only the beliefs of your religion that benefit YOU. Also 90% percent of scientist believe in at least one god, so their motive is probably not to disprove religion. And who says this doesn't benefit mankind? It creates jobs, supports US industry, fulfills the many curiosities of humankind, and increases the demand for high education jobs. One final question, would space exploration be space exploration if it was only the exploration of things on Earth?

        August 10, 2011 at 9:50 pm |
    • petercha

      Very good point, Schmedley. Also, some folks don't seem to understand that the space program creates MANY jobs all around the country, not just in Cape Canaveral.

      August 4, 2011 at 3:56 pm |
    • Better Times

      I agree with Schmedley. A tough job market combined with (and caused by) a down economy makes it hard to think beyond the everyday concerns that lack of income creates, and rightly so. Immediate, intelligent investment is necessary to combat these problems but it can't come at the expense of more long-term benefits.

      As Schmedley noted, NASA and the space program resulted in groundbreaking technology that added jobs and revenue to our economy. This kind of investment does not pay out overnight but in the long run it can have a much greater (and more benificial) impact on our quality of life.

      August 4, 2011 at 4:03 pm |
    • spaz

      Meef..calalo speerk intronsoid

      August 4, 2011 at 4:16 pm |
    • Tapati

      @Schmedley, thanks for bringing this up. Too many people think about the costs and don't see the benefits right here on Earth. I remember an article about Robert Heinlein and how his life was prolonged by medical treatments that had their roots in technology developed for space travel. I've always thought that NASA should have a PR campaign with tv commercials about all the things we use every day that originated with the space program and especially, how many jobs were produced as a result in the private sector. Everyone says America needs to make more products here at home–we're missing an opportunity by not continuing to invest big time in space exploration. Those new products would be developed for the Mars expedition that so many say we shouldn't do. I'd love to see a comprehensive list of things we got from the space program. (Velcro is one amusing and often used item.)

      August 4, 2011 at 4:18 pm |
    • JJ

      Schmedley, you seem to living in your own fantasy world. It's called PRIORITIES. Look it up in the dictionary.

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

        fuck you, you moron.

        August 4, 2011 at 9:30 pm |
      • slippery slope judge

        Jeez man. Can't we multi-task here? Can't walk and talk at the same time? What a loser.

        August 4, 2011 at 11:06 pm |
      • regertz

        If priorities are jobs, what could be better than high-tech, high-paying jobs that produce enormous benefits in spin-off technology? I think we're foolish not to be using our shuttle expertise to build a new fleet and plan a larger ISS in geo-synch orbit with an eye to development of space-based solar power. And begin development of a modular Earth-Venus-Mars platform to carry crews and equipment between the three planets (instead of a wasteful one-shot mission) Balance of course is necessary but surely such investment in the future better than blindly handing cash with no strings to any corporation that blackmails us by threatening to pull out of the US.

        August 4, 2011 at 11:18 pm |
      • BoB

        I looked up priorities in the dictionary. It doesn't say one damn thing about Schmedley's personal fantasy world. Dumbass 😛

        August 5, 2011 at 5:32 am |
    • suferdude

      SURF'S UP!!

      August 4, 2011 at 4:34 pm |
    • Rich

      Have we really devolved to the point where scientific knowledge and exploration is frowned upon because it doesn't "make money" or make some mundane everyday product better? The advancement of human knowledge is, itself, a laudable goal. It saddens me to see so many "who cares" comments. The majority of people are far too shortsided to see that, and instead cheapen the whole discussion with childish one-liners.

      August 4, 2011 at 4:36 pm |
      • Rory

        Exactly, JJ (above) is a fine example.

        August 4, 2011 at 5:22 pm |
    • Amit

      Well dont get emotional on this, I feel even NASA is badly affected by funds, and to raise funds from Government they are creating worldwide sensation, think about it, Mars is one of the nearest to earth, but it still took so many years or decades to find water on surface, there are hundreds of probes roaming in space to find water or life but still they are not sure, I have really huge interest in space explorations and science, but wasting huge money just to find water on another planet doesn't justify any budget, unless there is a sureshot doomsday ahead..

      August 4, 2011 at 5:12 pm |
      • Sureshot

        There IS a sureshot Doomsday coming it's called a Meteor. Our planet has been hit by thousands of them and we will be hit by thousands more. It's not a case of if but when. Now I'm not saying it's gonna happen now, tomorrow or even for another thousand years, and who knows maybe we'll destroy ourselves before then. The point is, as a previous poster stated. Colonizing our solor system is a matter of survival for our species. Though I agree now at this time of debt perhaps we should perhaps spend less until we fix the global economy, but to say that it's a total waste and worthless is false.

        August 4, 2011 at 10:18 pm |
    • PerryComo

      It is not that people don't care, it is a matter of what is the priority at a time when we have famine and poverty roaming our Beautiful Earth. Knowledge of our solar neighbors is important. Many of the items you have mentioned, would have been developed much more cost effectively as a result of the modernization. If we put the same budget that we put in defense and space into innovative research, I can guarantee you that much better and more cost effective results shall be obtained. Believe me, I have been there and seen it happen.

      August 4, 2011 at 5:13 pm |
      • SciGuy73

        Do you have any idea what Nasa's budget really is? It is less than $20 billion a year. As a comparison, the research budget of the National Institutes of Health, just one government agency, is over $28 billion. We give away more money to foreign countries each year than we spend on Nasa. We spend more money on potato chips and pretzels in this country than we spend on Nasa. If you feel so strongly about about spending Nasa's budget for other purposes, then stop eating potato chips and send that money instead. Science is important. Without it, we would all literally still live in the dark ages. But then, I suppose some people still do.

        August 5, 2011 at 7:40 am |
    • Marc

      I agree completely. Except that I don't think we even need to fall back on the rationale of developing new technologies that benefit mankind (even though that is true) as justification for the space program. Exploration of our planet and the solar system and galaxy and universe beyond is worth doing just for the understanding we will gain. Imagine if we discover life someplace other than earth in our lifetimes! And what would it be like – even on a planet with likely nothing more than microscopic, simple lifeforms – such as Mars would likely be home to.

      August 4, 2011 at 6:35 pm |
    • Daws

      Don't forget the digital cameras everyone now uses. That tech was first developed for deep space telescopes.

      August 4, 2011 at 6:46 pm |
    • teepee

      you can forget about going to mars or any other planet until we learn to live and get along here...usa cannot go there without spending a lot of cash which we don't have. can't we just all get along?

      August 4, 2011 at 7:10 pm |
      • Gnarsh

        Those of us who don't have our heads firmly in the sand would love the chance to go to Mars, so we can get away from short-sighted idiots like yourself.

        August 5, 2011 at 10:37 am |
    • teepee

      really...who cares?

      August 4, 2011 at 7:29 pm |
    • Human

      In case you never knew.
      The residents of planet earth are not the only humans in the universe.
      We have a more advanced group of our race on some other planet with technologies more advanced than we could imagine.
      We ended up here because they cloned a group of people and set them here on earth as test subjects to see if we would take a different path as we evolve, and develop different forms of technologies they may copy.
      If you follow history closely you may realize that they have tried on numerous occasions to communicate with us, and change our path.
      Once upon a time mars might have been suitable for our race.

      August 4, 2011 at 8:29 pm |
      • Ken

        WTF???

        August 4, 2011 at 11:17 pm |
    • MINN3APOLIS

      Perfectly said

      August 4, 2011 at 9:00 pm |
    • cja

      Don'r bother with those silly "spin-offs" none where actually developed for space and they are not why we continue to go to space. There are better reasons to explore space, like so we don't remain ignorant. That is #1 by far. The only way to understand your self or your place or your solar system is to compare it to others and see where it fits in. The cost is small, less then $100 per year from each of us. Some people spend that every month on a cell phone contract

      August 4, 2011 at 9:05 pm |
    • jiwat

      To all,

      Explorarion is human nature and how how we as a civilization advance. First man dared to travel across the plains. Then into the mountainsof Arfica, Europe and Asia. Then across the seas like the Mediteranean and Brithish channel. In 1492 the Greatest explorer to date dared to cross the Atlantic and the "flat" world. In turn, the world was found not to be flat and North America was colonized by Europeans. Then there was Lewis and Clark who crossed this great country in the mane of "Exploration". Last of all in 1969 there was Apollo 11 that was the defining moment of human exploration, the moon landing.
      The one common thing with all of these happenings are that they are great events that will be remembered by all human for eternity.This country and world and its people need a "REAL" goal, and it is not to be a millionaire, billionaire, president, CEO, congressmen, or senator. Exploration has ALWAYS furthered human civilization not money, greed or power. Those three have always ended civilizations.
      The goal of Earthlings on Mars is what humanity needs. It will bring the world together and will prove to create more jobs, revenue and better educated indivduals than you can possibly image. Look at what crossing the Atlantic or North American continent did. Those two events started some of the most prosperous times in history.
      I am a mechanical engineer and I believe this goal would enthrill all engineers, physicists, chemist and all scientists in general. If there is 1 scientist who would not be thrilled to be part of a goal like "Mars" they are not scientists.

      August 4, 2011 at 9:17 pm |
    • Sen Viejo

      No development on Mars. Not much evidence of water, either. No highways, no hospitals, no college aid, no unemployment insurance, nothing. Ah, so this is where the Tea Party activists come from.

      August 4, 2011 at 9:18 pm |
    • Chris

      I certainly am one who wants more resources put into space exploration and programming. However, your argument is flawed. Please don't tell me you think innovation can only occur in the context of military and space interests. It may HAVE occurred this way, yes, point taken, but that's just a contingent historical development. So one can take your point and still argue that if money were taken from military and space spending, innovation would occur in other contexts, like environmental engineering or new travel technology etc. But again, I agree with your underlying sentiment.

      August 4, 2011 at 9:22 pm |
    • Chad

      I came to this story just to read the comments...I knew they would be lively.
      Unfortunately, while the spelling, grammar, and general intelligence of the "CNN comment crowd" (in general...and for lack of a better term) seems much better, there is still one common denominator:

      ALL OF YOU PEOPLE ARE CLUELESS ABOUT LIFE, IN GENERAL, AND WHAT REALLY MATTERS !!!

      Now, go on, trolls, and type some more meaningless sh*t, so you can feel gratified about you existence.

      As Ron White puts it: "Stupid is Fo-evva". :o)

      August 4, 2011 at 9:43 pm |
    • chris

      I AM ALL FOR EXPLORATION, BUT WHY ARE WE NOT BOMBING MARS WITH SEEDS , MICROBES , SPORES ETC.AT SOME POINT WE MAY PROVE LIVE EXISTS OR HAS EXISTED ON mARS but will that change our plans to convert it to our use ? We have gone out of our way to manipulate earth to our goals. Will that change on Mars. ?

      August 4, 2011 at 9:56 pm |
    • Smuker

      This is a ploy by NASA to spend more trillions of dollars of our hard earned money to explore Mars.

      August 4, 2011 at 9:59 pm |
      • slippery slope judge

        lol... no, that is what our defense budget is. Although trillions in space? All for it.

        August 4, 2011 at 11:10 pm |
      • Exar Kun

        Hold up a dollar bill. Now take a scissors and trim off the barest sliver of one end–that's how much NASA gets of that dollar. It's not even enough to get halfway to the ink, you moron.

        August 10, 2011 at 7:13 pm |
    • realist

      Agree.

      August 4, 2011 at 10:06 pm |
    • TonyNYC

      What's even worse is the statement "water is considered necessary for life". What an idiotic statement to make, when life can take many forms (pure energy, etc.). How limited our scientific minds really are.

      August 4, 2011 at 10:07 pm |
    • Brendose

      Looks like a bunch of up close pictures of old people. The fingers, the eyes.

      So, we're up on the moon by '69.....it's 2011, and we're getting screen saver shots of Mars??? Darn sci-fi movies......ruining my hopes and dreams. Screen saver, here we come!

      August 4, 2011 at 10:18 pm |
    • J.C.

      I actually took the time to find the log on this to say who gives a s**t. We got people starving in this world, we have an economy in the hole, because we are worried about lines on Mars instead ofhow to manufaturethings on earth. We are loosing out to Asia and borrowing money we don't need to in order to say we saw lines in space. Than the first thing I read is some fool saying we got batteries from the space program. 95% of our technolgy advances come from military programs, programs to defned ourselvs from other humans, not from bouncing around in space. Yes we may get technologies from the program, becaus people are develpeing items her on earth to resisit the climate in outerspace, but we don't find anything out there. It is ego driven scientist that want to say they did something first. Ego driven statemen who want to say "if we can put a man on the moon we can do anything." If this program is so great why are our children falling behind in science and math, why are thee advances not funneling down to our children? Let's get real, let's worry about our earth and our country and not about some lines out in Mars, seriously who is better off today because we found those lines? The grant writing scientist who is seeking more money from the US taxpayer is about the only one.

      August 4, 2011 at 10:23 pm |
    • logan

      even NASA admits they have no specific purpose for further space exploration, other than to explore. grow up.

      August 4, 2011 at 10:35 pm |
    • Emmanuel Goldstien

      I agree with Schmedley–It is sad how few people care about the space program or realize what a boon to our culture it could produce. Sadly, it seems that the less educated people are the ones that don't care, and of course the less educated in America are the VAST majority.

      August 4, 2011 at 11:01 pm |
    • just me

      Right on the money Schmedley! Problem is, the same people that think this is all worhtless are the same people who wouldn't be caught dead using a solar panel or any of the new technology. It's un-American to them. They think it's patriotic to burn as much oil as they can (i.e.: SUVs and pick up trucks). To conserve and think about the environment is a communist plot in their eyes. Climate change is a global scam to make Al Gore rich, and Barack Obama is a Kenya born socialist.
      In other words..... redneck idiots who think Fox news and Rush Limbaugh are voices from the Gods.
      Their only response to ANY news item is: a) How does this affect my taxes? or b) How does this create jobs?
      It's a true shame to see this once great society being ruined by handfull opf idiots who think they know more than the educated.

      August 5, 2011 at 1:11 am |
    • Ramon F. Herrera

      Hey, I am as pro NASA as you can possibly get, but my position is: "Mars and te Moon will still be there next century".

      August 5, 2011 at 1:15 am |
    • papia

      Actually a handful of people here in the USA understand the value of Math and Science, a vast majority just live off their talent and have no clue where all the innovations come from. That's why trivial shows like 'America got talent or something like that', stupid reality shows are so popular. Britney S., Paris H. etc. are the ideals of young kids. When did you see a popular show or something like that showcasing the scientists or brilliant students? Never! No wonder a lot of people don't appreciate space research.

      August 5, 2011 at 1:32 am |
    • dsenses

      If all these exploration is to prove we humans can live on Mars. We can't. Stop wasting precious money and focus on your building your heavy debt-laden economy. If it's liveable, the Aliens would have probably found it first.

      August 5, 2011 at 1:44 am |
    • brylle

      yes,.. another astonishing discovery by NASA... good works guys.. WE ARE NOT ALONE IN THE UNIVERSE.

      August 5, 2011 at 1:54 am |
    • Ketsanee Seehamongkol

      It is indeed fascianting studies. The sad thing is that we have plenty of life on Earth that is highly endangered, and nobody gives a damn. I know, becasue I try to contribute in saving the wild Thai orchids, but people could not care less. I guess the day when the orchids are extinct, some billionaire will finance an expedition to try to find a surviving fragment, but right now we kill what is under our feet and chase dreams. Ketsanee Seehamongkol, Chiang Mai

      August 5, 2011 at 2:44 am |
    • Me

      Space exploration is a waste of tax player's money. I am gald the shuttle has been grounded. The moeny should be put inot universal health care. The USA should also stop having wars.

      August 5, 2011 at 4:15 am |
    • D' Oh!

      You've got a point but to spend hundreds of billions and in the end they help the community with fabric and solar cells!
      The space program should be halted until unemployment in the US ends and other financial problems fixed. WE are wasting billions in space while people starve in Somalia

      August 5, 2011 at 6:09 am |
    • wasserball

      I'm a space program supporter, but the inventions that we utilize in our daily lives came at a tremendous and excessive cost. Even without the space program those useful inventions we take for granted would have come along anyway, simply because of commercial research and development.

      August 5, 2011 at 7:40 am |
    • Logan

      Two failed wars that have cost trillions, one of the worst education systems and unemployment rates in the developed world, some of the highest rates of cancer, diabetes and heart disease, but yeah, we should invest money on seeing if thee is water on mars, who cares indeed. Maybe we should fix the problems we have on this planet before we start focusing on another that really offers us nothing.

      August 5, 2011 at 9:12 am |
    • LibyanNina

      I wonder how people see space exploration as nonsense. How did people discover America?. No one expected at that time that there was still undiscovered land.

      August 5, 2011 at 10:39 am |
    • cocopuf

      Funds are also being cut for some space programs because choices have to be made over the US economy let alone the global one. Without jobs, the space exploration will grind down until things get better... in 5 – 10 years in my opinion. We cannot neglect the defense spending too much as well as the social programs that are also necessary to have.
      In other words, the sooner we CUT spending on unnecessary (for the time being) programs, raise some taxes on just about everything along with a balanced budget goal, the sooner we will recover and fly to Mars and see if there is a salt water for sure. Good day.

      August 5, 2011 at 11:32 am |
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