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Look at those cavemen go!
December 6, 2006 11:32 AM   Subscribe

Please let it be true. NASA announces something pretty major, further prompting David Bowie's nagging question.
posted by gcbv (50 comments total)

 
For those who would like just a few more words: "NASA photographs have revealed bright new deposits seen in two gullies on Mars that suggest water carried sediment through them sometime during the past seven years."
posted by The corpse in the library at 11:36 AM on December 6, 2006


You're ignoring the full implications of this: what if it's some giant of unground martian giant spooge?
posted by tehloki at 11:44 AM on December 6, 2006


David Bowie is probably the greatest space philosopher in a generation. Thank you for linking to his lyrics. They give us all a lot to think about.
posted by Plutor at 11:55 AM on December 6, 2006


I am so fucking stoked by this news. Just imagine the possibilities here; self sustaining colonies, a steady hydrogen source for fuel, possibly even life.

I could very well be the first man to kill and eat a Martian. That would be so fucking great.
posted by Science! at 11:56 AM on December 6, 2006 [6 favorites]


Get your ass to Mars.
posted by bob sarabia at 12:00 PM on December 6, 2006


I bet they taste like chicken.
posted by InfidelZombie at 12:00 PM on December 6, 2006


I could very well be the first man to kill and eat be killed and eaten by a Martian.

But, yeah. Fucking awesome.
posted by brundlefly at 12:00 PM on December 6, 2006 [1 favorite]


Surprising they don't have snazzy new Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter images of this site. I guess this is the epilogue for the recently deceased Mars Global Surveyor- going out with a bang as they say...
posted by efbrazil at 12:03 PM on December 6, 2006


I could very well be the first man to kill and eat a Martian.

Big deal. I've been killing and eating whole bars full of Martians for many years now.

They're surprisingly tasty, and nothing like Long Pig at all.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 12:03 PM on December 6, 2006


There was life on Mars but they were voted off the planet by Richard Hatch.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 12:06 PM on December 6, 2006


David Bowie is probably the greatest space philosopher in a generation. Thank you for linking to his lyrics. They give us all a lot to think about.

And thank you for missing my deliberate attempt to parlay an intentional connection between something massively important and something obviously silly.
posted by gcbv at 12:11 PM on December 6, 2006


I could very well be the first man to kill and eat a Martian. That would be so fucking great.

Don't forget it's BYOCAFB (Bring your own Chianti and Fava Beans).
posted by spicynuts at 12:12 PM on December 6, 2006


Martians are huge, that means they have huge guts!
posted by owenkun at 12:12 PM on December 6, 2006


"...whose shirts you wear?"
posted by jaronson at 12:15 PM on December 6, 2006


They found an ideal, small American town full of our dead relatives.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 12:18 PM on December 6, 2006 [4 favorites]


There was life on Mars but they were voted off the planet by Richard Hatch.

A beautiful combination of both Richard Hatchs working in concert.
posted by Sparx at 12:21 PM on December 6, 2006


If life occurs twice in one solar system it makes it enormously probable that life occurs in other solar systems. Any probability theorists out there who are with me?

You can check out an Arthur C. Clarke story about mars read by the real life Arthur C. Clarke at record brother. He has a lovely accent.
posted by algreer at 12:28 PM on December 6, 2006 [1 favorite]


Percy Lowell, vindicated.
posted by rob511 at 12:36 PM on December 6, 2006


I hope it will be intelligent life cuz lord knows there ain't none on this planet.
posted by spicynuts at 12:37 PM on December 6, 2006


I'm not so sure. It kinda looks like a giant bird shit.... A really, really giant martian seagull dropping.
posted by R. Mutt at 12:47 PM on December 6, 2006


Perhaps an alien stopped by to take a leak.

Next Rest Stop: Mars.

Isn't it interesting how we believe government-funded intelligence data like this when there seems to be no reason for it to be falsified? I mean, is this any more credible than satellite evidence of weapons factories and whatnot?

Perhaps there's oil on Mars, and our President just wants to justify the expenditure to get there. Hmm.

all in jest, of course.
posted by davejay at 12:50 PM on December 6, 2006


I could very well be the first man to kill and eat be killed and eaten by a Martian.

I could be the very first man to kill and eat a Martian that has fed on man-flesh.

Awesome.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 1:03 PM on December 6, 2006


My theory: Alien RV dumping. They'll have to add Mars to this list.
posted by danherwig at 1:04 PM on December 6, 2006


I wouldn't get my hopes up that this means there could be life. From the interview-podcast:

"NARRATOR: What does this mean in terms of the potential for life?

MALIN: I don't know, I'm not a biologist. Certainly I could tell you the general impression is that water is necessary in its liquid form for there to be life, certainly life as we know it. And if there is liquid water on Mars then theoretically it improves the possibility, the chances that there might be life on Mars. My personal view is I'm very skeptical that there's life on Mars because the environment is so extreme, and on the Earth in most extreme environments the normal forms of life on Earth that we find in extreme environments sort of evolved into those locations from a much broader population. It'd be very, very difficult to do on Mars. "

posted by kolophon at 1:09 PM on December 6, 2006


There was supposed to be an earth-shattering kaboom!
posted by clevershark at 1:14 PM on December 6, 2006


Gahan Wilson's Click is probably the best thing that's ever been done on the subject of humans interacting with martians.

(I confess I'm not 100% comfortable linking to this site, which I just found through a google search, as no copyright information is given and I suspect it's not legitimate. It doesn't have ads so it's apparently a fan site more than an outright ripoff site.)
posted by George_Spiggott at 1:17 PM on December 6, 2006


If you want to eat like a Martian, look no further!
posted by brain_drain at 1:19 PM on December 6, 2006


this discussion becomes more interesting in light of this
posted by localhuman at 1:19 PM on December 6, 2006


There was life on Mars but they were voted off the planet by Richard Hatch.

A beautiful combination of both Richard Hatchs working in concert.


i don't trust any vote that involves tom zarek.
posted by lord_wolf at 1:23 PM on December 6, 2006


The bbc are reporting that water is only one of a number of explanations. Damn!
posted by algreer at 1:31 PM on December 6, 2006


Must be time for NASA to petition for funding again.
posted by NationalKato at 1:31 PM on December 6, 2006


Please let it [something massively important] be true.

A manned journey to Mars is only massively important in that it is a massive waste of tax dollars. Robots are much cheaper and can do most, maybe all, of what a person could do with regard to looking for evidence of extra-terrestrial life, which is one of a very few interesting scientific reasons to go to Mars (at least as far as I know, which isn't very far, I have to admit).

That said, Harper's recently published an interesting essay proposing that we send a man to Mars and leave him there. It would save money on the (lack of) return trip, plus it could serve as a uniting force for humanity - we could all watch the noble sacrifice of life in the pursuit of knowledge and adventure. I know I'd watch every minute of coverage of a purposefully stranded Mars-tronaut. Maybe the Jihadis wouldn't be so interested, but it seems plausible that a sizable chunk of humanity would find it compelling. Played correctly, the selection process would be pretty entertaining, too.
posted by noahpoah at 1:59 PM on December 6, 2006


"Surprising they don't have snazzy new Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter images of this site."

They will, soon enough, but the Orbiter may not have passed over this exact spot yet on its orbit. Just like our various low earth orbit recon sats and the ISS, the orbit carries it over a different track of land every pass, since Mars rotates.

I'm sure they're on a thoroughly-planned-out schedule of what to photograph, but if this is that hot, they'll bump it up the schedule to whenever the Orbiter passes over it next.

It's definitely mind-blowing to have 1-meter resolution images of Mars. Google Mars is going to be incredible in a year or so!
posted by zoogleplex at 2:09 PM on December 6, 2006


Next Rest Stop: Mars. Moon.

This whole "moon base" thing is perplexing. There is nothing on the moon. It is like setting up a colony in the middle of a desert. Just go a little further and there is an oasis. History will not be kind to this strategic error.
posted by stbalbach at 2:11 PM on December 6, 2006


god, not that tax dollar discussion again. please take that to the moon-base thread, will you? it gets annoying.
posted by kolophon at 2:16 PM on December 6, 2006


That said, Harper's recently published an interesting essay proposing that we send a man to Mars and leave him there.

There's also the idea of sending men to the moon and leaving them there, but follow them up with one-way supply flights. Have them establish a colony with the understanding that they'll probably never return to Earth.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 2:23 PM on December 6, 2006


noahpoah, what issue was that essay in? Because I can't wait for the DVD of Real World: Mars. Remember when Callie got pregnant by the Martian and opened the airlock on Jason? So bitchy!
posted by crookedneighbor at 2:29 PM on December 6, 2006


Mars: the ultimate 'outback'
posted by hortense at 3:34 PM on December 6, 2006


The current issue of Scientific American has a fascinating article on how recent rover evidence indicates that Mars may have spent much longer periods of time in its ancient past than has been hitherto believed as a watery, "earthlike" environment. Kind of cool to have this come up now after I just read the article over the weekend.

Oh, here, I found it online: The Red Planet's Watery Past.
posted by trip and a half at 3:53 PM on December 6, 2006


This is the most exciting news in months.
posted by EatTheWeak at 4:14 PM on December 6, 2006


What EatTheWeak said. But NASA is really spreading a terrible example of idiot science with that "Signs of Water Flowing on Mars" headline on its homepage, if carbon dioxide is indeed the more probable liquid behind the new deposits.
posted by mediareport at 4:29 PM on December 6, 2006


Crookedneighbor, I'm not sure if your first question is a joke or not, but the essay is in the November, 2006, issue (under Readings, titled Starship Trooper: Mars, the ultimate suicide mission).

Kolophom, the 'tax dollar discussion' is here, as in the moon base thread, completely appropriate. I am not at all sorry that you're annoyed.
posted by noahpoah at 4:40 PM on December 6, 2006


If life occurs twice in one solar system it makes it enormously probable that life occurs in other solar systems.

Oh when will GOD stop testing our faith?
posted by wfrgms at 4:48 PM on December 6, 2006


Beh. Wake me when Mars has an official corporate sponsor and/or a McDonald's/Starbucks/KFC.
posted by ninjew at 5:46 PM on December 6, 2006


I am officially changing my name to John Carter. Bring on the martian princesses!
posted by shmegegge at 6:40 PM on December 6, 2006


I could very well be the first man to kill and eat be killed and eaten by a Martian.

But that's ridiculous. Science! rhymes with neither cars, bars, nor guitars.
posted by cillit bang at 8:04 PM on December 6, 2006


I cannot believe that Science! would suggest eating our Martian kin. Everyone knows the first thing you do upon encountering an alien life form for the first time is mate with it. Eat a Martian. Bah. The nerve of some people...

Anyway, I think the whole point of the moon base is to escape Earth psychologically and physics-ally.

Logistically the Moon is easier to reach and sustain life on than Mars and so would represent an easier but still awesome achievement for humankind. In terms of fuel, engines, and all the other junk needed to make the rocketships go vroom, leaving from the moon is easier and cheaper than leaving from Earth or Mars. Less fuel is required, less thrust is needed, and you could probably even get away with less heat shielding.
posted by BeReasonable at 8:14 PM on December 6, 2006


Just go a little further and there is an oasis.

Are you referring to Earth or Mars here. Because Mars is hardly either just a little further or an oasis.

I'll save my waste of tax-dollars argument since it is so annoying to some, but I do want to once again point out that Earth is, by far, the most habitable place in the solar system. And by "by far," I mean that we could have a total nuclear war and Earth would still be more amicable to life than places like Mars or the Moon.
posted by moonbiter at 3:55 AM on December 7, 2006


I cannot believe that Science! would suggest eating our Martian kin. Everyone knows the first thing you do upon encountering an alien life form for the first time is mate with it. Eat a Martian. Bah. The nerve of some people...

Yeah no, if they're smokin' hot Martians I totally agree.
posted by Science! at 6:29 AM on December 7, 2006


Am I really the first to make a lame "share water, brother" reference? Particularly when others have brought up sleeping with hot Martians already.
posted by kalimac at 7:13 AM on December 7, 2006


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