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Why Is Everybody Talking About Mars?

Because of Elon Musk and Matt Damon, obviously.

NASA

Mars is having its moment in the sun. (Yes, we went there.)

It feels as though everyone is talking about the Red Planet, and for good reason. It has been in the news a lot over the past week thanks to love from Elon Musk, Matt Damon and a useful substance scientists refer to as H2O. For the uninitiated, here’s a brief recap of how we got here.

It started earlier this week when NASA scientists unveiled what appears to be evidence of flowing water on Mars. That’s a big deal, of course, since as far as we know water is usually a prerequisite for sustaining life.

The discovery apparently excited SpaceX and Tesla founder Elon Musk, who has long discussed the idea of colonizing Mars. (SpaceX already builds rockets for NASA.) When asked on Friday about the possibility of life on Mars, Musk laid out an unorthodox plan: He suggested heating the planet by detonating fusion bombs over its poles every few seconds to generate heat. That heat would then turn frozen carbon dioxide on Mars into gas, which would heat the planet through a kind of greenhouse effect. Seriously.

To cap this all off, 20th Century Fox has timing that is out of this world. (Yes, we went there, too.) The studio launched its blockbuster movie “The Martian” on Friday, a film where an astronaut (Matt Damon) gets stranded on the planet after an exploratory mission goes awry. The movie brought in $18 million in box office sales on Day One.

For a better idea of what all the fuss is about, here are a few incredible photos, courtesy of NASA.

 According to NASA: Dark, narrow streaks on Martian slopes such as these at Hale Crater are inferred to be formed by seasonal flow of water on contemporary Mars.
According to NASA: Dark, narrow streaks on Martian slopes such as these at Hale Crater are inferred to be formed by seasonal flow of water on contemporary Mars.
Nasa
 A look at what NASA calls a “light-toned deposit” on the Mars surface. Apparently the Red Planet isn’t always red.
A look at what NASA calls a “light-toned deposit” on the Mars surface. Apparently the Red Planet isn’t always red.
NASA

This article originally appeared on Recode.net.