While the most recent Kardashian drama is storming the nation (I’m assuming anyway, because really who has time to keep up with them? Oh, right.) scientific discoveries of cosmic proportions are being made on Earth’s sister planet: Mars. News so astounding, so groundbreaking, so worldview altering it could literally rewrite everything we think we know about life in the universe. So far what has the reaction been? Well, mostly a lot of internet memes.
In all seriousness, the discovery of water on Mars by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration is possibly the single greatest astronomic/exploratory discovery this century, nevermind this decade.
Rivaling that of the discovery of the “New World” in 1492 by Columbus or the discovery of heliocentric solar system by Nicolaus Copernicus in 1543, this discovery opens up countless new questions (and more excitingly) countless new possibilities for answering the question on everyone’s mind: are we alone in the universe? Water has been known to exist on Mars for years in the form of polar ice caps, but it has only recently been discovered that there is actual running (and salty) water on Mars. Liquid water is basically essential for any and all life as we know it, meaning that there is a very real possibility that alien life exists just inside our cosmic backyard. This is seriously the stuff of science fiction.
So why aren’t people excited, and if you aren’t, why should you be? Well mostly it boils down to the fact that most don’t truly understand what this discovery actually means right now, and what it could mean in the very near future. Basically, this discovery first and foremost means that it is not only possible that life exists on Mars, but also bordering the spectrum of likely. If that alone isn’t enough to get you excited about this discovery, consider the implications of future missions to the Red Planet. If life can be supported on Mars, that may mean that somewhere down the line it might not be impossible for Mars to become another home for humanity. The word terraforming (taking an uninhabitable environment and making it Earth-like) is thrown around often in works of science fiction, but as this discovery proves, every day more and more science fiction is turning into science fact.
For more (wordy and in-depth) information on the topic, here’s a post from the people over at NASA who made the discovery in the first place: https://www.nasa.gov/press-release/nasa-confirms-evidence-that-liquid-water-flows-on-today-s-mars
And if you don’t want to take my word for it, take it from the one and only, Bill Nye the Science Guy (BILL BILL BILL BILL!).