Daily Illuminator

August 6, 2008: Mars: The Wet Red Planet

"We have water. We've seen evidence for this water ice before in observations by the Mars Odyssey orbiter and in disappearing chunks observed by Phoenix last month, but this is the first time Martian water has been touched and tasted." -- William Boynton of the University of Arizona, lead scientist for the Thermal and Evolved-Gas Analyzer.

What's the big deal, water on another planet? Besides being a requirement for NASA's criteria for planetary habitability, available water makes a Mars mission much easier. Take water, apply energy (provided by the sun), and you'll get hydrogen to fuel your power plants, and oxygen, for that breathing thing.

It's a good time to be a geek
-- Paul Chapman

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