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Readers React: Forget Mars. Why don’t we spend money to find water in California?

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To the editor: I too am excited about the exploration of Mars and our solar system. But I worry that we are ignoring existing and life-threatening problems on our own finite and overpopulated planet as we do so. (“Life lines on Red Planet,” Sept. 29)

Gaining knowledge about possible oceans on Mars while ignoring exploration of the nearly three-quarters of our planet that is covered by our own troubled, polluted and stressed oceans seems somewhat illogical.

Our massive and growing global population has already pushed our limited natural resources past the breaking point, causing mass migrations and political instability.

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Space exploration is great and does produce useful and valuable knowledge. But I would like to see some of that technology, expertise and money spent on exploring ways to save our one and only home, Earth.

Bob Hoffman, Long Beach

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To the editor: Science and space exploration are wonderful and exciting. However, spending billions of taxpayer dollars to find water on Mars seems to me to be wasteful.

Wouldn’t it be better to use that money and scientific expertise to find water for drought-stricken California? As it is, California is starting to look like Mars.

Theodore C. Ury, San Juan Capistrano

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To the editor: In the austral spring of 2007, I toured the McMurdo Dry Valleys of Antarctica and viewed Don Juan Pond from a helicopter.

The “pond” is considered a hyper-saline body of water, one of the saltiest on Earth. When I returned to the nearby research station, I noticed a newspaper article taped to a door in the Crary Laboratory. The headline read “Don Juan Pond Lives!” The article then described detection of “life” in the water.

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How exciting to consider any form of life on Mars. Any confirmation of this will surely affect our human exploration of the planet.

David Pohlod, Oak Park

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