This is a picture taken by the Phoenix Lander of water ice on Mars. Or, alternatively, some ice in a Hollywood backlot that somebody staged. Or, alternatively, Photoshopped ice. No but seriously, it's water ice on Mars.
The confirmation that water ice exists in the area directly surrounding the lander is big and good news for the Martian mission. NASA's stated goal for the Mars Phoenix was to find exactly this -- water ice -- and then analyze it. With the latest news, the first step is accomplished. All that's left now is to get the water into the Phoenix's instruments, a task which has occasionally proven more difficult than anticipated.
Now I know what many of you are thinking -- "So freaking what?" Well apparently you don't understand the profound implications of such a discovery -- we won't have to tote bagged ice up there to keep our drinks cold.
Thanks to Lee, who is actually helping me throw a party on Mars that's gonna be freaking awesome. Martian chicks and a cooler full of desert juice -- who's coming with us?