Mars has a different atmospheric pressure than here on Earth, that being the case liquid water can not exist. What happens is that when ice is exposed to the atmosphere it literally turns straight to gas, skipping the liquid stage, this is called sublimation. NASA has just announced that the patch of white shiny stuff they found has started to vanish, this can only mean that sublimation is taking place. The only real thing left for Phoenix to do now of find evidence of organic compounds that lead to life.
This is a major discovery, we now have evidence that water existed on Mars and is still there in ice form.
Phoenix Principal Investigator Peter Smith of the University of Arizona said:
"It must be ice, these little clumps completely disappearing over the course of a few days, that is perfect evidence that it's ice. There had been some question whether the bright material was salt. Salt can't do that."That's not bad going, the craft has only been there for 24 days. It was day 20 when the hole was dug and 4 days later they an ounce that they have found ice.
Needless to say that the discovery has come at an interesting time. The US Presidential candidates have been announced and who knows what is in store for NASA and space exploration. Hopefully this will encourage the new President to re-examine the current policies and throw a bit more money their way.
This is another nail in the coffin of intelligent design or creationism (whatever its called). I see a future that many have predicted, seas on Mars and colonists walking the land breathing the air. Start terraforming now I say.