Astronomers are certainly not strangers to manipulating public relations through mass media - they write reasonable papers and then encourage the press to go nuts with it. Witness the recent arXiv paper by Vogt, Butler, et al on Gliese 581g, should it even exist, which reads
An article at TBD.com by Amanda Hess is about HIV-positive black gay men
. Okay, so far so good. But it had an important typo, namely a key letter left out of a word, and the correction at the top now reads:
If you can't read it ...
Welcome to October 10th, 2010, 10/10/10, unless you are in Europe, where they will write it 10/10/10 just to be different. If you are a fan of binary counting, 101010 translated to decimal is...42. If you are a fan of Douglas Adams, you know that the "answer to life, the universe, and everything" arrived at by the Deep Thought supercomputer was "42" ... after 7+ million years of analysis(1).
A new report in Nature Geoscience says there may be large deposits of carbonate sedimentary rocks a few miles beneath the surface of Mars.
If substantial carbonate minerals exist it might indicate a past surface environment with carbon dioxide, in contrast to its current acidic (and inhospitable) state.
Researchers Joseph Michalski and Paul B. Niles found evidence for carbonate bedrock deep under the Martian crust and believe the ancient sediments were linked to a volcanic eruption by the Syrtis Major volcano.
Conspiracy theorists love photo effects. If you want to see a man on Mars, you will eventually find it. But if NASA cleans up an image and then posts it, and then a high-contrast photo makes the rather weak lighting look like some anthropomorphized UFO, well, it's a conspiracy.