Courtesy NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of ArizonaWhen this image first appeared on computers at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California, scientists there were head-over-heels about the possibility that the Phoenix lander that settled on Mars last week had finally discovered tangible evidence of the Abominable Snowman. They even named it Yeti after the legendary Himalayan creature.
Courtesy NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona/Max Planck InstituteBut their excitement soon turned to disappointment when they realized the marking was just a test scraping made by the Mars lander's robotic arm. All was not lost however. Their emotional rollercoaster was soon headed upward again as they discovered that the lander's descent engines had blown away the topsoil and uncovered a large patch of ice right beneath the spacecraft. Exactly what it was sent there to find!
Scientist are hopeful the ice extends into the region the lander will be sampling in the coming days. They may even hope to find evidence of Elvis, but personally I think they should lower their expectations and stick to searching for other, less iconic, signs of life on the planet.