Friday, December 08, 2006

The Martian spring

To the latest hints of water on Mars, Tim Radford in The Guardian applies a necessary, uh, splash of cold water:
Since 1996, orbiters and landers have been crashing down on Mars (in some cases, literally) every 18 months or so and mission scientists have announced the discovery of water on Mars at least half a dozen times in the past seven years. But, in each case, they haven't actually discovered water at all: just indirect evidence, either that it must once have been there, or that it could still be lurking furtively below the arid Martian dust, waiting to sneak out and leave a gully, a wadi or a wash as teasing evidence of its fleeting presence. ... The Martian water torture will continue until somebody actually lands on Mars, drills a borehole, taps into an aquifer and then makes a cup of tea with the stuff.

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