Phoenix Finds No Water on Mars Surface . . . So Far
Scientists are in no way surprised or discouraged about this early result.
I should hope not, considering that we already know that the probe's sitting atop a mother lode of water ice. One begins to wonder why we bothered sending Phoenix to begin with if NASA's consigned it to simply parrot previous discoveries. The public is effectively being asked to marvel at the Phoenix team's engineering savvy at the expense of learning very little of value about the planet being "explored."
Frankly, I'm rapidly losing interest in the Phoenix mission. Achieving a soft landing on Mars was cause for celebration, but it was hardly a first. Without the ability to detect possible metabolic activity, Phoenix seems doomed to serve as little more than a telerobotic placeholder for future missions.
One can only hope that Phoenix's successors will be equipped to tell us something fundamentally new.