So we all went to the NASA.gov site at the appointed time (2 PM EST) to learn that...Realplayer sucks ass.
Just kidding. Despite the technical difficulties, we learned that the scientific community studying data from the Mars rovers believes an outcropping of rock was at one time immersed in liquid water. What does this mean? Well, it could mean that there's a possibility that Mars once had the necessary conditions to support life in some form. That would be cool. I'd like to suggest that NASA immediately send the rovers out to search for Sleestaks, giant man-eating clams and one-eyed one-horned flying purple people eaters.
The cynic in me can't help but notice how politically charged NASA's announcement was. Whoever was giving the briefing was very careful to mention that G.W. is committed to space exploration.
Isn't this just the type of thing that the Bush campaign needs in order to show the American public success? After all, we supposedly can't find a cave-dwelling billionaire attached to a kidney dialysis machine. Anyway, I don't want to get too hung up on this, because it's relatively unimportant given the magnitude of what we've just experienced.
If all of this turns out to be true - that liquid water once existed on Mars - I look forward to taking the next step. That next step would be to prove definitively that life once existed somewhere other than on Earth. Science fiction movies from Independence Day to Contact to Star Trek: First Contact have explored the notion of societal change brought about by the sudden realization by humanity that we are no longer alone in the universe. If we could bring humanity to that point, perhaps we stand a chance of gaining the appropriate perspective, such that maybe one day we'll stop blowing one another up or killing one another in God's name.
I hope I live to see the day.