Scientists examining ancient rocks from Western Australia have announced the discovery of fossils of sulfur-loving bacteria from nearly 3.5 billion years ago. The significance is that there was not much oxygen on Earth back then, and this type of life could have flourished elsewhere in the solar system in the past, or even today.
Readers of In the Shadow of Ares will recognize a clear parallel to an important discovery in the novel. This is precisely what we had in mind.
Awfully convenient to have human scientists on the ground to know what rocks to examine. I look forward to the day when we have boots on Mars and can answer some truly provocative questions.
Still, there are plenty of fantastic reasons for going that have nothing to do with science.