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A Wet Mars

Stunning news from the red planet! The Curiosity rover has found evidence that at least one part of Mars, where the robot is now, once had fresh water, a warm climate, and the right chemistry to support life as we know it!

Bad Astronomy has the scoop, and it’s difficult for me to think of anything more to say that isn’t just the noise of raw excitement.

This still isn’t evidence of Martian life, past or present, but it is a clear indicator that it’s worthwhile to keep looking. It doesn’t mean that we’ll find life, or that life is or once was there for us to find. But consider that life arose on Earth almost as soon as the planet had the conditions to support it, and we have found the right sort of organic molecules elsewhere in the Solar system, and it definitely seems like we have a good shot at finding something if we keep looking.

And that’s the announcement I really want to read, that solid evidence of extraterrestrial life has been found. This is a step in that direction, if only because it encourages us to keep looking.

Home Sweet Home

Bad Astronomy featured this pic today, which came from the ESA spacecraft Rosetta.

Stunning image of planet Earth

Crescent Earth from 633,000 km away.

Breathtaking, isn’t it? For all the wonders of this vast universe, there are few sights as beautiful as our home. The little water world that’s named, with seeming irony, after dirt, and is home to all the life we’ve ever found. It’s lovely to see it as a place with phases like the moon, to challenge our usual perception. Read the rest of this entry

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