Unless you’ve been under a dusty red rock, you’ve probably heard that there is water on Mars. This is exciting news because it ups the chances that life somewhat like that of Earth could live on Mars. Specifically, it means that we would have a much better shot living on Mars. NASA is always the first to know, but the second is apparently Ridley Scott. Scott said in his interview with Entertainment Weekly that he heard the news early into the production of the new Matt Damon film ‘The Martian,’ coming out this weekend.
There, I just plugged a movie because of a science headline that happened to come out the week of its opening. Sound suspicious? Some think so. Twitter lit up with people accusing NASA of ‘The Martian’ marketing. Whether NASA is promoting ‘The Martian’ or not, Ridley Scott surely is. He speaks of conversations with NASA personnel referencing massive glaciers and ancient oceans to EW. This all may be, but the evidence of water on Mars isn’t entirely new. “There’s water on Mars!” is a headline that has made the rounds before. A more accurate headline is, “There is more reason to believe that there is water on Mars.” It’s less sexy, but true. My pop science friends were taking the news like the rover was drowning which just isn’t the case. When it comes to determining what may have existed on a planet at least 34 million miles away, we should expect the evidence to trickle in, pardon the pun. In this case, they found hydrated salt.
Hydrated salt on Mars is actually pretty cool. It’s the best evidence for water on Mars ever, but I expect better evidence will one day be found with a similar “Water found on Mars!” headline. Maybe it’ll be ready for ‘The Martian II.’ Kidding aside, I’m super excited for ‘The Martian’ and am glad Mr. Scott didn’t hear about this early enough to incorporate the news or an exaggeration of it into his movie. I’d much rather see a science MacGyver figure out how to make something to drink rather than come across a space oasis.