NASA GIVES BRIEFING ABOUT MARS.
First let me get the big stuff out of the way.
In their briefing, NASA said that based on the evidence Rover Opportunity (MER-B) had gathered they are sure with a small degree of uncertainty that there was at one time liquid water somewhere on Mars. The evidence to that effect was pretty much all around and almost everywhere MER-B had been sniffing and grinding. They showed some nice panoramic images of the area and the rocks all look stratified to me, like they had been laid down by sediment buildup.
They said based on three pieces of evidence, which I don't remember off hand, that liquid water existed and made Mars habitable to life as we know it at some unspecified point in the past. Oh yeah, the three things that pointed at water were the stratified rock, the salts found in the pebble like objects and evidence of soluble material being leached out of the bedrock. If my memory serves me.
Later they took a few questions from the press folks who had gathered there and when asked if they could tell if the area was ever a lake they said they couldn't tell if this water action took place on the surface,as in standing water, or underground. I've never heard it postulated that sediment formed underground. I'm no expert on geology that's just my observation.
Now for the small stuff.
The press conference certainly did nothing to change the stereotype that space enthusiasts and/or scientists are geeks. Truly a geekier group would be hard to assemble than the team they put together for the briefing. I wish I had a picture of them to show you.
The graphics were cool. I especially liked the Mars Sample Return Mission animation.
Did they answer my questions about the images from before? Weellll, Yes and No
The first picture, the one of objects looking like little spherical pellets, they called these things 'blueberries.' They said blueberries are, based on their sulfur content (they ground into a few), are little balls of Epsom salt like you'd buy at the drugstore to soak your feet in. I don't think Epsom salt comes as little balls, correct me if I'm wrong. Probably has to do with how dry they are there on Mars or something
The the second picture, the noodle looking thing they did not even address, unless they did it at the very beginning of the live feed, which I missed. A cover up? Who can tell?
When the briefing was over they put up the NASA logo reminiscent of a message from StarFleet Headquarters. I DID happen to screencap a shot of that.
What geeks we are. What geeks we are, I freakin' loved that part.