March 23, 2006 | David F. Coppedge

Dry-Marsers Score Points

Those looking for water on Mars in hopes that life would grow in it had some setbacks this week.  National Geographic and Mars Daily reported on work by Gwendolyn Bart (U of Arizona) who found gullies on the moon similar to those on Mars thought to be formed by water.  Since the moon never had liquid water, this puts some doubt on the Mars-water claims and hints that other processes could have formed the gullies.
    Also, MSNBC reported that Andrew Steele of the Carnegie Institution is claiming a non-biological origin for the carbonates in the Martian meteorite ALH84001 (see Carnegie Institution press release).  Both these negative claims have their critics, however, as shown in the stories on Mars Daily and page two of the National Geographic articles.
    As the hunt for water and life continues, bystanders might instead opt for a thrill ride through the Martian Grand Canyon Valles Marineris posted by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

Take the thrill ride, and while enjoying the scenery, notice the utter lack of flowing water, trees, deer, mountain lions, wildflowers and sentient beings taking digital photos from the rim.  No Martian national park can compare with our Grand Canyon.  Percival Lowell would have been so disappointed.

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