Hmmm. Did you analyze that?

So those ever-optimistic planetary scientists from the Phoenix mission have suggested that the photograph seen here indicates a layer of ice just under the surface. Now, just from the photograph I’m not sure how you could determine it was ice. I’d want confirmation, like, perhaps in the form of spectroscopic evidence or something along those lines. I’m sure they will do this sort of thing eventually, but the thing landed on Friday. I think it’s a little premature to claim that shiny patch under the lander is ice. I do know some folks who work on this mission (and a former student of mine spent some time working on it in grad school) and I’m sure they will be thorough. But let’s not jump the gun here.

In other space-related news, the Shuttle launched today which means the ISS will soon have a new, working pump for its one and only toilet. Not sure why that’s important? Well, let’s just say the pump operates the vacuum portion of the toilet. In earthbound toilets gravity performs the task that the vacuum performs.

Bill: Hey, Yuri, you left the cap off the Gatorade again.
Yuri: That’s not Gatorade.

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