Discoveries on Mars continue to accumulate and paint a picture of a more welcoming planet than anyone imagined since the days of Percival Lowell’s starry-eyed observations of Martian canals. Measurements by NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter indicate a volume of buried water comparable to Lake Superior in the Utopia Planitia region. It seems that Mars is wetter than anyone imagined, a key resource for long term survival on the red planet. While maintaining a human presence will still be fraught with difficulties, it seems the resources to do so are nevertheless present. Perhaps some sort of limited colonization is even possible in the near future.
Other discoveries indicate that the time when Mars had an atmosphere and flowing water may not have been as long ago as previously assumed. Perhaps that Mars and the one we know today aren’t as different as it once seemed. How much of a push would it really take to nudge Mars back to that warmer, wetter world? Each new discovery seems to paint a picture where plans to terraform Mars seem to be moving from the realm of science fiction to that of hard science. For someone who watched the moon landing on a black and white TV as a child with stars in his eyes, these are exciting times.