Lost in the delight over the news of Heller today, the gang of happy boffins running the Phoenix probe on Mars were smiling even broader when tests showed the soil could support life. Oh, you'd have to bring a bushel back here to grow asparagus in it but it is a bigger deal than you might think.
"So what," you might say, "dirt's dirt!"
Which it sort of is, except when it's not: for quite some time now, the best guess was that Martian soil was loaded with superoxides, more alkaline than household bleach. It would not be farmin' material.
So today's news changes the possibilities. Life on Mars just became a little more possible.
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