Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech

Named for the Roman god of war, our red-tinged planetary neighbor continually draws our fascination. In fiction, Mars

is often the source of malevolent alien invaders. In space exploration, it’s an important destination for NASA rovers—such as Curiosity, which landed on Mars earlier this month.

Of all the things we learn about Mars through the rovers, nothing seems to grab public attention like hints of water. Although the research is exciting, RTB astronomer Hugh Ross cautions that water on Mars does not guarantee the past (or present) existence of Martian life:

The ideological reason for the excitement is the popular (though illogical) notion that “liquid water means life.” While no one disputes the necessity of water for life, science has shown that liquid water is merely one of many requirements for life, not the only requirement.

Furthermore, water is actually one of the most abundant molecules in the universe—yet extraterrestrial life remains undetected. It seems the research is favoring Hugh’s point that it takes more than water to sustain living organisms.

Check out these RTB resources for ongoing coverage of the search for water on Mars and what it means for RTB’s creation model:

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— Maureen