From an editorial in the (Raleigh) News & Observer Tuesday:
The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has already shown us more than ever about Mars, the red planet. But scientists Monday offered some Earth-shaking news, pun intended.
It appears there are signs of water on the surface of Mars. From that conclusion comes more speculation. Namely, that Mars might be able to support some form of life. So now scientists will be using the high-resolution camera on that orbiter to try to determine even more details about signs of water on a planet that was thought to be a dismal and lifeless place.
Sure, the speculation went, it may be that Mars once had sources of water, but it was thought they were long since gone. With colorful pictures, that summation is now in question, and along with it a multitude of other things about Mars.
Indeed, NASA has continued scientific research, but the notion of more flight by humans has seemed to be on the back burner. The latest findings will cause speculation that manned flight to Mars may be worth it.
A manned flight to the moon once was thought to be preposterous. And then President Kennedy came with his charge to science and to American ingenuity. And the Eagle landed.