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back to article NASA rover finds evidence of water flowing on Mars

NASA's famous robot rover Opportunity, still prowling the haematite steppes of the Meridiani Planum on Mars seven years after setting down, appears to have discovered concrete evidence that liquid water once flowed across the surface of the red planet. The 'Homestake' gypsum vein on Mars, imaged by rover Opportunity. Credit: …

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Coat

Alternatively...

It's wall plaster from an early Martian building ... Demolition rubble ... Maybe a temple ... definitely a ritual site ...

It's got the Time Team book in a pocket.

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Pint

... definitely a ritual site ...

... then the Time Team reference means you owe me a new keyboard!

<<Have one on me for the laugh.

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Joke

On the conspiracy websites: NASA finds alien plasterboard on mars!

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Alien

They're out there

Unfortunate location of a line feed got me all excited there for a minute...

"NASA's famous robot rover Opportunity, still prowling the haematite steppes of the Meridiani Planum on Mars seven years after setting down, appears to have discovered concrete"

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Trollface

I have a different theory

I reckon if they uncovered it all they find a big arrow and a sign to the nearest mc donaldshttp://www.theregister.co.uk/Design/graphics/icons/comment/trollface_32.png

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Human machine on another planet

I don't care how few people appreciate the feat, but this kind of thing always makes me excited and amazed by science.

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Amazing.

This is awesome stuff and the control mechanisms to even make sure the robot get's good information and isn't left at the mercy of speed of light radio waves...they take about 21 minutes to get from the array to the little box on the surface of Mars.

A staggering feat of engineering.

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More people than you think

The timing of todays news item is brilliant. Watched a documentary of the Rovers last night and it was absolutely fascinating. I think my wife actually got bored of me pausing it every few minutes to tell the story before they did!

Probably didn't help that we also MST3000'd the documentary, but hey.

Brilliant stuff. Pity the documentary only had the first 3.5 years of the Rovers lives though. Thought it ended a but early.

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What was the programme? Could UK viewers 'find it'? Thanks.

And yes, awesome job NASA!

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That aint water

That, sir, is a row of bricks, where the Tory government is going to build their new 'social housing' to hide all the poor people.

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Anonymous Coward

when did the UK government start the space program to send of all the poor people with a one way ticket?

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Anonymous Coward

Since it's a one one ticket, we don't need any space program, a giant bonfire should get ride of all the poor people

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Rover Lifespans

First, I want to say that this is the first I've heard of this discovery, so "The Register" scooped everyone from my perspective.

As for which rover will last longer, I expect Curiosity could well last a decade, assuming it doesn't suffer mechanical failure. After all, the Viking landers did. Curiosity is quite the robust machine; large, with several radioactive heaters (even Opportunity has those), much more massive and better to withstand harsh conditions. Opportunity can last only as long as its battery can hold out, which probably isn't as long as a thermonuclear power source. The reason that Opportunity's electronics haven't frozen solid, yet, is exactly because of its plutonium heaters (and excellent insulation, with some help from whatever sunlight it can get).

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Joke

Nah..

.. it has simply wandered into the flowerbed of some Martian who is now working hard to keep it from taking pictures of its house. Even on Mars they dislike Google Streetview :-)

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@Rover Lifespans

I have to say this gets to me every time - probably I'm not the only one who was watching the MSL launch last weekend shouting "Yes!" at the screen when we saw the fantastic live video of separation from the booster. Don't forget to keep following the story about the efforts to reactivate Prospero...................

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Anonymous Coward

Reminds me of the roads in Fallout New Vegas.

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just WTF is with you people and your love of the word 'boffins'? Is there any particular reason you almost refuse to use the word scientist? You know it doesn't make you look smart, just eclectic.

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I don't think geologists are boffins.

They're a specialised type of waterproof scientist for whom every problem can be solved using a suitably large hammer.

Boffins need sheds.

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@Webslicer

Nowt wrong with Boffin, especially in this context.

My job title at Bigger Blue was "Boffin at Large"; it was even on my business cards (only because they wouldn't let me use my preferred "Chief Cook & Bottle Washer"). My actual position? Floating Senior Member of the Technical Staff. I wandered from department to department, putting out fires.

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@Webslicer

Unfortunately you appear to be in the minority judging by 18 down to 1 thumbs up.

Boffin it is.

I'm one too (and a nerd)

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"it doesn't make you look smart, just eclectic."

From the World English Dictionary

eclectic (ɪˈklɛktɪk, ɛˈklɛk-) [Click for IPA pronunciation guide]

— adj

1. (in art, philosophy, etc) selecting what seems best from various styles, doctrines, ideas, methods, etc

2. composed of elements drawn from a variety of sources, styles, etc

— n

3. a person who favours an eclectic approach, esp in art or philosophy

Seems to me that an idiot cannot be eclectic, since he won't have sufficient culture to choose from. So that's a compliment then.

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WOW

Who's gonna be the first galactic plummer then? Where's me wrench??

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Anonymous Coward

"Who's gonna be the first galactic plummer then?"

Why would you need a wrench to grow plums ?

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its rubbish, there is a photo of some steps and metallic walls from mars, you just have to walk down and turn on the total recall generators

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Pint

Is it just me?

Or does the mention of "Spirit" and "Opportunity" remind anyone else of the maintenance robots "Huey, Dewey, and Louie" in the classic sci-fi movie "Silent Running"?

Raised glass to our intrepid diminutive robotic scouts.

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Alien

It's a shattered wall? I blame the Martian Mythbusters!!

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/12/08/mythbusters_mythfire_cannon/

"Today, Citizen Shhajelpaex and I will discredit the myth that smooth bore cannonballs have unexpected and strange ballistics when fired into a sloped surface. We are so confident that we can discredit this myth that we are completely unconcerned that the Chairman Xcm'kealthds Memorial Life Support and and Thermonuclear Complex is downrange from our test site!

<BANG!!!!!!!>

OH SHIT!!!!! Turn off the camer...."

"We are experiencing technical difficulties, please stand by....."

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Coat

Bad Idea!

If the nukular powered Curiosity has a problem and explodes, it could be seen as an act of war! What's to say the Martians haven't found a way to survive our bacteria?

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Sheetrock!

So we now know we'd have one essential component to build suburbs on Mars. All we need now is to find some lumber for framing. We also learn that nukes are good for powering around faster and further, but in the end good old solar buys you upwards of decade in staying time.

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