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Water Oozing On Mars. Meh?

Yesterday, the big news was that NASA has solved a “mystery”.

What they found: There is, in the present, not just the distant past, a small amount of unfrozen water in a small number of places on or near the surface of Mars. It’s oozing around, creating a signature form of salt called perchlorate.

It’s a somewhat significant discovery, scientifically, but I find my impression of the earning is colored by the dramatic hype before yesterday’s announcement. The claim that there was some kind of great mystery about NASA had solved just wasn’t borne out.

Whether there is life on Mars, or ever has been, is a mystery. It really hasn’t been a mystery whether there is currently liquid water on Mars. There have been suggestions in the past of very recent flows of water in a mostly arid landscape. So, yesterday’s announcement was really more of a clarification, or a confirmation of earlier clues.

Rather than a mystery solved, it’s the equivalent in a mystery novel of a murder witness admitting that she was, in fact, at her lover’s apartment rather than her mother’s house at the time of the murder. It’s a step forward, but I wish NASA’s scientists would stop pretending that this sort of news is an historical breakthrough that we will never forget.

2 thoughts on “Water Oozing On Mars. Meh?”

  1. ella says:

    It is the point that the caught the water while it was flowing. There are myths about Mars that date way back. Remember when the photo of the “face on Mars” was first published, and then immediately denounced. Look at South American ‘art forms’ that were only visible from the air, and many are visible from satellites. Those are actually found all over the world. Now they are really old, but consider that the ‘Martian’ image is really, possibly billions of years old, probably millions. Given the sand storms and other wind erosion, plus we do not know what the climate was like when they left there, isn’t it just possible that it was created by the same people and/or their ancestors?

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