Interesting news from Mars: it appears that the red planet’s dusty outer layer is 2 percent water by weight. The BBC talked to a scientist involved with NASA’s Discovery Rover project:
“If you think about a cubic foot of this dirt and you just heat it a little bit – a few hundred degrees – you’ll actually get off about two pints of water – like two water bottles you’d take to the gym,” Dr Leshin explained.“And this dirt on Mars is interesting because it seems to be about the same everywhere you go. If you are a human explorer, this is really good news because you can quite easily extract water from almost anywhere.”
Mars is mud—or it would be if it warmed up. That makes the other report more interesting: there’s no sign of the methane we would expect if there were life on the red planet. If life didn’t emerge or survive under relatively favorable Martian conditions, then it may be less common in the universe than previously supposed.An unsettling question thus follows: what if life on Earth is unique and humanity is the only intelligent species out there?