Yes, there’s ice on Mars

“Whoohoo! Was keeping my eye on some chunks of bright stuff & they disappeared! Sublimated! So it can’t be salt, it’s ice.” That’s the triumphant verdict of the Mars lander Phoenix, which yesterday boldly declared, after 24 Martian days of scratching the planet’s surface, that yes, there is ice on Mars.

Phoenix is constantly sending back information to Earth, which is posted by the mission team using the instant messaging software Twitter (written, in touchy-feely style, in the first person as if Phoenix itself is providing its own commentary on its labours). Twitter, the ‘microblogging’ phenomenon, can thus claim to have brought the watery news to Earthlings’ attention.

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