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Water on Mars

Started by msholdenct, 12/06/2006 07:59AM
Posted 12/06/2006 07:59AM | Edited 12/06/2006 08:45AM Opening Post
Photos taken in October appear to show Mars has had water flowing on it's surface since we first started imaging the planet.
(edited to replace changed link)
Posted 12/07/2006 11:18AM #1
Once again the public is quickly enthused by news that might fulfill some of their hopes and wishes with little scientific skepticism. Is that good science?

A Reuters article on the subject inserted the following paragraph:

The scientists conceded the images were only circumstantial evidence not proof. They cited a possible alternative explanation that those features were caused by the movement of dry dust down a slope.

I recall similar hoopla a decade ago when NASA had President Clinton announce that an Antarctic meteorite contained small spheres that were likely Martian fossilized bacteria. That was later debunked.

NASA officials know that much of their funding is dependent on the public believing they are searching for life, or at least water. They tend to make announcements that may be positive to this theme well before sufficient examination has been done. Actually, I'm all for such schemes that cause taxpayers to become willing to pay for the scientific exploration of the solar system. I only object when a significant portion of the funding is diverted to manned missions.

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