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Water on Mars: we need to be careful how we investigate other worlds

The discovery of flowing water on another planet is exciting, but we should curb our enthusiasm for fear of causing damage

By Philip Ball  

© NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona

Once again, The Onion gets it right. “Emphasizing [sic] that they only wanted to hear announcements about actual cool stuff in space, millions of impatient Americans flat-out demanded Monday that NASA stop holding all press conferences until they discover some little alien guys”, it reports. The Onion’s archetypal “Indiana resident” is reported as declaring that “Nobody even cares that there’s some water on Mars; we have water on Earth—so you shouldn’t even bother having a stupid press conference unless there’s proof of…

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