water flowed on Mars within last seven years

Continuing on from yesterday’s quotes from HAL as post titles, I was giddy with anticipation about NASA‘s Mars announcement today, and had to wait till I got home before the immensely satisfying statement of liquid water on Mars in the past seven years. Well there’s the balloon-puncturing ‘may have flowed’, emphasis on the scientific absence of hubris and so on, but…

“These fresh deposits suggest that at some places and times on present-day Mars, liquid water is emerging from beneath the ground and briefly flowing down the slopes. This possibility raises questions about how the water would stay melted below ground, how widespread it might be, and whether there’s a below-ground wet habitat conducive to life. Future missions may provide the answers,” said Malin.

— Science Blog

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I’m afraid, Dave. Dave, my mind is going. I can feel it…

Who woulda thought NASA would suddenly come over all media-savvy and blip out not one but two press releases in a matter of days? First with the “Back to the Moon! (er … soon … ish)”, which has got everyone going “yeah!!! … uh … yeah!!!” and wondering what to do between now and 2024 when we all get to live in Shackleton Crater near the moon’s south pole due to clement and sunny conditions most of the time. But somehow picking an asteroid hole named after the Antarctic explorer who spent far too long not exploring and marooned on the embarrassing misnomer Elephant Island eating penguins doesn’t inspire moon-tourist confidence.

NASA, mourning the silence of long-faithful Mars Global Surveyor after ten year mission are now keeping all space geeks, which I am deliriously proud to be, salivating with mind-numbing anticipation over Briefing to Announce Significant Find on Mars which is happening sometime around 3am Thursday. Plenty of wild speculation mostly revolving around water, microbes, aliens. I think it sounds all too much like 2001: A Space Odyssey, and I know exactly what they’ve found.