I know, ho-hum, right? If you’ve seen one dusty, rock-strewn photo from the red planet, you’ve seen them all. The difference here is in the mission of NASA’s Phoenix Mars Lander. This device has landed on Mars’s northern arctic plains with the tools to dig beneath the surface and analyze the ice there for signs of (or the conditions necessary for) microbial life.
This journey is amazing for a thousand reasons: One, the thing landed on Mars Sunday night and it’s already sending back photos. Two, the whole thing is solar powered. Three, the Lander will conduct “sophisticated scientific experiments” on the soil and ice on the spot (this thing isn’t coming home). Four, the goal of the mission is to “(1) study the history of water in the Martian arctic and (2) search for evidence of a habitable zone and assess the biological potential of the ice-soil boundary.” Five, the strong possibility that there will be some evidence of life on Mars will redefine how we view the universe and, for me, reaffirm a sense of the universe as an organic entity.
And so on. Go to NASA for more.