This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
I enjoyed the humor of Alexandra Petri's tongue-in-cheek discussion of NASA's discovery of water ice on Mercury ("Mercury has ice! Does Venus have gin?" Tribune, Dec. 2), but want to make one additional point.
Unlike the dysfunctional, gridlocked navel-gazing of our government leaders, NASA is out there using its severely limited budget to gather facts. That's right, facts. Not ideology, not opinions, not conspiracy theories. Just facts about the universe around us.
For the first time in the thousands of years of humankind's history, we now have direct evidence of water ice on the planet Mercury. Could this fact be useful to us humans in the near-term? Probably not.
Could this ice on Mercury be helpful in understanding the way planets evolve over time, helping us to understand our planet and its accelerating climate change? Very possibly.
Either way, chalk up another one for the human spirit of discovery and exploration. Way to go, NASA. Keep up the good work.