The Blueberries of Mars

Was the Red Planet once a wet planet? A plucky Martian rover finally delivers some hard evidence

Giovanni Schiaparelli could have told you there had been water on Mars. It was Schiaparelli who peered through his telescope one evening in 1877 and discovered what he took to be the Red Planet's famous canals. As it turned out, the canals were an optical illusion, but as more powerful telescopes and, later, spacecraft zoomed in for closer looks, there was no shortage of clues suggesting that Mars was once awash in water. Photographs shot from orbit show vast plains that resemble ancient sea floors, steep gorges that would dwarf the Grand Canyon and sinuous surface scars that look an awful...

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