It’s a big day for NASA news: first, they announced their intention to build a moonbase by 2024, the first permanent manned “colony” outside the Earth’s biosphere. Then they released photos, taken from Martian orbit by the Reconaissance Orbiter, showing 1976’s twin Viking landers and the Spirit Rover, still happily trundling around since landfall in 2004.
And now? The U.S. space agency has announced a news conference tomorrow morning to present new “science results” from the Mars Global Surveyor, whose long-extended mission ended abruptly this month after the apparent failure of a solar panel and the resulting loss of power.
Whatever is it, they’re touting it as a “Significant Find.” Now, what exactly can one find, that is significant, on a desert planet? My money is that the surveyor shot an indistinct image of a dusty ruin, pointing skyward, the last gasp of a preindustrial civilization. Either that or Jimmy Hoffa.
Update: Commenter Ryan spots that NASAwatch expects the announcement to be water flowing on the surface of Mars. In all seriousness, the best I’d hoped for was an arroyo or dried-up riverbed: actual existing water makes the prospect of contemporary life on Mars far more likely.