One of my first thoughts on reading the news story about a geologist saying they had evidence of recent water activity was similar to John Scalzi‘s. “Recent” to a geologist (areologist?) has a completely different connotation than to a normal person. But as it turns out, it was within the last seven years or so, which is recent enough.
Car & Driver‘s article on Spirit and Opportunity has been posted on their website.
If the 300-million-mile flights were on target, if the landings were smooth, if the rovers could extricate themselves from the landers, and if a million other ifs all came to pass, the rovers were expected to drive barely a half-mile under remote control from Earth before going kablooey. It was hoped that evidence that Mars once had liquid surface water would be discovered in 90 Martian days
I do remember all the bated breaths and worries glances we gave each other at work 23 months ago. The article brings those memories back, to be sure.
So perhaps in a few years, once we have our moon base up and running, we might have to worry about Mars looking like this: