Dude: Water ice on Mars confirmed. It’s been deeply suspected for a while. But as the NASA folks have noted, this is the first time we’ve actually touched and tasted it, inasmuch as our un-Turinged robot underlings can be understood to taste and touch anything. Why does this matter? Well, as any science fiction author will tell you, this means we’ve got a fuel source to get back to Earth once we decide to blow a huge wad of cash and send people to Mars (break apart water to get hydrogen fuel, etc). Also there’s the little matter that as far as we know, without that water stuff, you can’t have that thing that your people call life. The fact we know there’s water on Mars heats up the search for life on Mars by a considerable degree. Not life today, mind you, but back in a wetter, warmer time in Mars’ history. Needless to say, finding evidence of that would be a big day. But this is pretty big in itself. You have permission to be impressed with NASA today.
Here’s the NASA press release of the event, for those of you that like original sources. And here’s the image of Phoenix’s “workspace,” including the trench in which they found the ice. You can see it in the picture. It’s the one that looks like it has ice in it.