“Mars is not the dry, arid planet that we thought of in the past,” NASA scientists said at a highly anticipated press conference.
In the drum-up to the event, there was some speculation that evidence of life on Mars would also be revealed – but alas.
Answering the media’s questions on the probability of life on the Red Planet, NASA did have this to say: “We now have great opportunities to be in the right locations on Mars [to search for possible life].”
The case for salt water on Mars, as laid out by NASA, is a fascinating one. Careful study of the images of dark streaks (which, incidentally, change with the seasons) on Mars – as captured by the Reconnaissance Orbiter’s HiRISE camera – have NASA making a strong argument.
Though as Phil Plait of Bad Astronomy has pointed out, the detection of water is so far indirect.
Plait also has a good summation of the press conference, as well as of the overall search for water on Mars.
Twitter, meanwhile, has naturally exploded with jokes on the subject. Here are a couple of our favorites so far:
First company to bottle the Mars water can go to hell. Just getting this out of the way.— Derek: Dream Hipster (@AnarchistPrince) September 28, 2015
man: water on Mars? NASA, send Jesus! then we'll have WINE! nasa: who let you in man: I'm the House Science Committee! [slow fade to black]— Alexandra Petri (@petridishes) September 28, 2015