NASA just found out what these dark streaks on Mars are, and it's game-changing.

Over the weekend, NASA teased some very big news.

More specifically, all weekend long, the agency teased that a major Mars mystery was solved.


This morning's press conference, broadcast live from NASA headquarters in Washington, D.C., on NASA Television and on the agency's website, did not disappoint.

A self-portrait of the Curiosity Mars rover. Photo by NASA/JPL-Caltech/MSSS.

At 11:30 a.m. Sept. 28, 2015, NASA announced that, for the first time, they have evidence of flowing water on Mars.

They're called Recurring Slope Lineae, or RSL. They appear as dark streaks that begin in late spring, grow in the summer, and disappear by fall. Until now, NASA researchers couldn't explain what the streaks were.

Turns out, the streaks are evidence of salty water intermittently moving across the surface of the planet.

These dark, narrow streaks were formed by flowing water on Mars. Photo by NASA/JPL/University of Arizona.

But this isn't the first time water's been found on Mars.

(Wait, what?) Yep. Researchers discovered water frozen in small, salty puddles on the planet's surface at night and permafrost at Mars' poles.


Permafrost on the surface of Mars. Exciting. Photo by NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona.

But this latest announcement and discovery marks the first time that flowing water has been found on the incredibly cold, harsh planet.

Evidence of moving water could be a huge step forward in the search for life, and it opens up possibilities when it comes to the red planet's ability to sustain human life.

So ... are we sending humans to Mars? Not just yet.


Photo by NASA/JPL-Caltech/Cornell University/Arizona State University.

Even with the discovery of moving water, inhabiting the red planet — or even sending humans for a visit — is still a long way off. (Sorry, Matt Damon).

So for now, NASA and other international space agencies are conducting dry runs here on Earth.

Last October, six strangers (three men and three women) were picked to live in a dome on a Hawaiian volcano for eight months to simulate a stay on Mars. NASA backed the study to see if people isolated from civilization can work together and get along. It was essentially "Real World: Red Planet."


Even with successful simulations, NASA estimates the first human-manned mission to Mars won't happen until the 2030s.

That may seem like a long time to wait, especially after today's announcement. But as Dr. Jim Green, director of planetary science at NASA, told the crowd at today's announcement, it's all about safety.

"NASA's approach to exploration is not 'Star Trek.' It's not 'go where no man has gone before,'" he said. "It's really a very methodical approach for which we learn everything about the environment that we're going to subject humans to that we possibly can. ... And I anticipate continuing to do that for many years before humans even get in the vicinity of Mars."

But! This is a major breakthrough, and it lays the groundwork for many missions to come.

While you can't drink the water on Mars (it's much too salty) and you can't grow crops with it (the atmosphere on Mars is too thin), finding moving water on Mars is truly unprecedented and opens a lot of doors for exciting missions and exploration to come.

As astronaut John Grunsfeld said at this morning's announcement, "We are on a journey to Mars, and science is leading the way."

Photo by NASA/Greg Shirah.

True

When Sue Hoppin was in college, she met the man she was going to marry. "I was attending the University of Denver, and he was at the Air Force Academy," she says. "My dad had also attended the University of Denver and warned me not to date those flyboys from the Springs."

"He didn't say anything about marrying one of them," she says. And so began her life as a military spouse.

The life brings some real advantages, like opportunities to live abroad — her family got to live all around the US, Japan, and Germany — but it also comes with some downsides, like having to put your spouse's career over your own goals.

"Though we choose to marry someone in the military, we had career goals before we got married, and those didn't just disappear."

Career aspirations become more difficult to achieve, and progress comes with lots of starts and stops. After experiencing these unique challenges firsthand, Sue founded an organization to help other military spouses in similar situations.

Sue had gotten a degree in international relations because she wanted to pursue a career in diplomacy, but for fourteen years she wasn't able to make any headway — not until they moved back to the DC area. "Eighteen months later, many rejections later, it became apparent that this was going to be more challenging than I could ever imagine," she says.

Eighteen months is halfway through a typical assignment, and by then, most spouses are looking for their next assignment. "If I couldn't find a job in my own 'hometown' with multiple degrees and a great network, this didn't bode well for other military spouses," she says.

She's not wrong. Military spouses spend most of their lives moving with their partners, which means they're often far from family and other support networks. When they do find a job, they often make less than their civilian counterparts — and they're more likely to experience underemployment or unemployment. In fact, on some deployments, spouses are not even allowed to work.

Before the pandemic, military spouse unemployment was 22%. Since the pandemic, it's expected to rise to 35%.

Sue eventually found a job working at a military-focused nonprofit, and it helped her get the experience she needed to create her own dedicated military spouse program. She wrote a book and started saving up enough money to start the National Military Spouse Network (NMSN), which she founded in 2010 as the first organization of its kind.

"I founded the NMSN to help professional military spouses develop flexible careers they could perform from any location."

"Over the years, the program has expanded to include a free digital magazine, professional development events, drafting annual White Papers and organizing national and local advocacy to address the issues of most concern to the professional military spouse community," she says.

Not only was NMSN's mission important to Sue on a personal level she also saw it as part of something bigger than herself.

"Gone are the days when families can thrive on one salary. Like everyone else, most military families rely on two salaries to make ends meet. If a military spouse wants or needs to work, they should be able to," she says.

"When less than one percent of our population serves in the military," she continues, "we need to be able to not only recruit the best and the brightest but also retain them."

"We lose out as a nation when service members leave the force because their spouse is unable to find employment. We see it as a national security issue."

"The NMSN team has worked tirelessly to jumpstart the discussion and keep the challenges affecting military spouses top of mind. We have elevated the conversation to Congress and the White House," she continues. "I'm so proud of the fact that corporations, the government, and the general public are increasingly interested in the issues affecting military spouses and recognizing the employment roadblocks they unfairly have faced."

"We have collectively made other people care, and in doing so, we elevated the issues of military spouse unemployment to a national and global level," she adds. "In the process, we've also empowered military spouses to advocate for themselves and our community so that military spouse employment issues can continue to remain at the forefront."

Not only has NMSN become a sought-after leader in the military spouse employment space, but Sue has also seen the career she dreamed of materializing for herself. She was recently invited to participate in the public re-launch of Joining Forces, a White House initiative supporting military and veteran families, with First Lady Dr. Jill Biden.

She has also had two of her recommendations for practical solutions introduced into legislation just this year. She was the first in the Air Force community to show leadership the power of social media to reach both their airmen and their military families.

That is why Sue is one of Tory Burch's "Empowered Women" this year. The $5,000 donation will be going to The Madeira School, a school that Sue herself attended when she was in high school because, she says, "the lessons I learned there as a student pretty much set the tone for my personal and professional life. It's so meaningful to know that the donation will go towards making a Madeira education more accessible to those who may not otherwise be able to afford it and providing them with a life-changing opportunity."

Most military children will move one to three times during high school so having a continuous four-year experience at one high school can be an important gift. After traveling for much of her formative years, Sue attended Madeira and found herself "in an environment that fostered confidence and empowerment. As young women, we were expected to have a voice and advocate not just for ourselves, but for those around us."

To learn more about Tory Burch and Upworthy's Empowered Women program visit https://www.toryburch.com/empoweredwomen/. Nominate an inspiring woman in your community today!

Vanna White appeared on "The Price Is Right" in 1980.

Vanna White has been a household name in the United States for decades, which is kind of hilarious when you consider how she gained her fame and fortune. Since 1982, the former model and actress has made millions walking back and forth turning letters (and later simply touching them—yay technology) on the game show "Wheel of Fortune."

That's it. Walking back and forth in a pretty evening gown, flipping letters and clapping for contestants. More on that job in a minute…

As a member of Gen X, television game shows like "Wheel of Fortune" and "The Price is Right" send me straight back to my childhood. Watching this clip from 1980 of Vanna White competing on "The Price is Right" two years before she started turning letters on "Wheel of Fortune" is like stepping into a time machine. Bob Barker's voice, the theme music, the sound effects—I swear I'm home from school sick, lying on the ugly flowered couch with my mom checking my forehead and bringing me Tang.

This video has it all: the early '80s hairstyles, a fresh-faced Vanna White and Bob Barker's casual sexism that would never in a million years fly today.

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