The Martian

It was perhaps not entirely coincidental that a movie about Mars premiered in the same week that revelations of liquid water on the Red Planet were made. Evidence of ancient flowing water on Mars has been accumulating for years and there have been hints that the planet once had vast oceans. Scientists had almost given up hope of finding liquid water there, but spectroscopic data from NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) suggests that the signatures of hydrated minerals are present on the slopes of Martian mountains that have mysterious streaks that could all be explained by the presence of flowing water. The finding, of course, raises two tantalizing possibilities: first that life might exist on the Red Planet and secondly that humans might one day be able to survive there.