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Sunday, February 29, 2004

Mare Meridiani 

Is the Mars rover Opportunity finding evidence of water, or even life? SPACE.com thinks that it might be:

PASADENA, California -- Evidence that suggests Mars was once a water-rich world is mounting as scientists scrutinize data from the Mars Exploration rover, Opportunity, busily at work in a small crater at Meridiani Planum. That information may well be leading to a biological bombshell of a finding that the red planet has been, and could well be now, an extraterrestrial home for life.

There is a palpable buzz here at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California that something wonderful is about to happen in the exploration of Mars.

There is no doubt that the Opportunity Mars rover is relaying a mother lode of geological data. Using an array of tools carried by the golf cart-sized robot -- from spectrometers, a rock grinder, cameras and powerful microscopic imager -- scientists are carefully piecing together a compelling historical portrait of a wet and wild world.

Where Opportunity now roves, some scientists here suggest, could have been underneath a huge ocean or lake. But what has truly been uncovered by the robot at Meridiani Planum is under judicious and tight-lipped review.

Those findings and their implications are headed for a major press conference, rumored to occur early next week...
I will wait and see if this rumored press conference materializes, and if it does, exactly what is said. I'm hoping for something big, and not really expecting it. But you never know...
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