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Book Review: The Martian, by Andy Weir

Once upon a time, there was a webcomic called Casey and Andy. Mad science, zany characters and lots of geekery, it was one of my favorites. I was sad, but satisfied, when it ended.

Then about a month ago Howard Taylor mentioned a hard sci-fi novel called The Martian, and that it was written by the same Andy Weir who once gave us Casey and Andy. I bought the book before I finished reading Howard’s post about it.

And it’s good.

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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.

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