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Vox Sentences: Life, er, lake on Mars

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Scientists may have discovered a lake filled with liquid water on Mars; updates on the Russian nerve agent attack that killed three in England continue to roll in.

Is the red planet bluer than we thought?

NASA/JPL-Caltech/Univ. of Arizona via Getty Images
  • Radars have detected what scientists speculate is a lake of liquid water beneath Mars’s southern polar ice cap. The discovery, which is the most significant evidence of liquid water on the red planet to date (if confirmed by further research), raises questions about the planet’s ability to host life. [CNN / Ashley Strickland]
  • The MARSIS radar examines the planet’s surface and immediate subsurface while traveling on the European Space Agency’s (ESA) Mars Express orbiter. The radar sends out signals and analyzes what “bounces back.” [BBC / Mary Halton]
  • The existence of liquid lakes beneath Mars’s surface means that some form of microbial life could exist within the planet’s subsurface. Nevertheless, these findings aren’t by any means definite proof that Mars is hospitable for life (as we have come to understand it). [Independent / Andrew Griffin]
  • The Italian team of scientists analyzed three years’ worth of data, whose longevity and stability gives their findings more validity. [Scientific American / Lee Billings]
  • The Mars express team is basing its findings on the dynamics of ice sheets in Antarctica and Greenland. But it’s important to remember that space “does not cooperate” and anything goes. [National Geographic / Nadia Drake]
  • It’s possible, for instance, that the evidence has been analyzed incorrectly and the lake is filled with sediment instead of water. [ABC Australia / Belinda Smith]
  • The discovery, along with other evidence from years past, is more reflective of what once was, rather than what persists today. Vast lakes and rivers likely dominated the warmer, Earth-like Martian surface billions of years ago. [Popular Mechanics / Jay Bennett]
  • Overall, the research is the beginning of how scientists determine where humans may one day land on Mars. [The Verge / Loren Grush]
  • Meanwhile, Mars is moving toward its closest position to Earth since 2003 — look up when you have the chance! [Vox / Brian Resnick]

Russian nerve agent kills an innocent Brit

  • A British woman named Dawn Sturgess was killed by a Soviet-era military-grade nerve agent called Novichok at the beginning of July. Leaders across the EU are pointing fingers at Russia as authorities try to get to the bottom of the attack. [Vox / Madeleine Ngo]
  • Sturgess’s boyfriend, Charlie Rowley, was also poisoned by Novichok but survived after spending three weeks in the hospital. Rowley says the nerve agent was disguised as perfume, which he gave Sturgess as a gift, in a boxed and sealed container. [Guardian / Steven Morris and Kevin Rawlinson]
  • The same batch of nerve agent was used in March to poison Sergei Skripal, a former Russian spy and British informant, and his daughter Yulia — both of whom resided in a southern English town 8 miles from where Sturgess lived. The United Kingdom expelled 23 Russian diplomats as a result. [WSJ / Jenny Gross]
  • Authorities have since identified two suspects in the Skripal case who they are “sure” are Russians. The Kremlin denies any involvement with the attack. [ABC News / Julia Macfarlane]
  • Investigators suspect that a drop team left various receptacles containing the nerve agent around the town of Salisbury. Public health officials are warning residents not to touch anything that doesn’t belong to them. [CNN / Nina dos Santos]


  • There’s a good chance that Russia’s Vladimir Putin gave President Trump a soccer ball bugged with some sort of wifi-accessible antenna implanted by Adidas. The ball could thus be vulnerable to hacks. ... Spying? By the Russians? Groundbreaking. [Bloomberg / Vernon Silver]
  • Students that survived the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, will be getting a therapy dog to provide emotional support. Man’s best friend is, once again, here to save the day. [NBC Miami]
  • Singer Demi Lovato was hospitalized on Tuesday, July 25, after overdosing on unspecified drugs. She is now in stable condition. [Rolling Stone / Sarah Grant]
  • More and more teenagers are smoking Juuls, the trendy e-cigarette, as the company takes over the e-cig market. The Massachusetts state attorney general is investigating Juul Labs to combat the epidemic and get to the bottom of what makes Juuls so enticing to teens. [The Verge / Rachel Becker]


“This is a new me. If I could go back and do a lot of things differently, I definitely would.” [Former Playboy Playmate Karen McDougal speaking to Ronan Farrow about her alleged affair with President Donald Trump, for which she recieved hush money / New Yorker]

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